"Japanese and fusion are two cuisines that make me nervous. One is daunting and the other usually a disaster. But the best new book I've cooked from in months dabbles in both-and nothing is lost in translation.... A mad-scientist approach...amazing...gorgeously photographed.... Gower borrows concepts and tastes to produce Western food with just enough Eastern exoticism...lively...a wonderment...borders on brilliant...At a time when originality seems to be the missing ingredient in far too many cookbooks, The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen
is a good cure for the comfort-food blues." -The Los Angeles Times
"California native Eric Gower recently returned after a decade or so in Japan exploring aspects of Japanese cooking - using shiso, ginger, sake and tofu, and fresh produce, fish and meats. Now he's put the results of his own experiments into a book The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen
, full of easy recipes for American home cooks to try." -Associated Press
"Curious cooks will find surprisingly wonderful flavors in the Breakaway Japanese Kitchen
by Eric Gower, who lived in rural Japan for ten years. His experiments with local staples like shiso leaves, ginger, and sake have led to such pitch-perfect dishes as 'Udon with Fig & Herbs' and 'Edamame Mint Pesto'." -Fine Cooking
"Eric Gower's cooking freely mixes Japanese ingredients and Western ideas, but don't call it fusion. He thinks of his cooking as a break with sometimes limiting traditions, and the title of his cookbook-The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen: Inspired New Tastes
- perfectly expresses that philosophy." -Sunset Magazine
"Chef and author Eric Gower can whip up a fine-tasting Japanese dish....The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen
, his latest cookbook, melds Japanese and Western ingredients and techniques into altogether new tastes...Gower's recipes would likely be considered renegade in Japan: there's scallops with miso and ruby grapefruit, and udon (wheat noodles) served with a sauce of figs and herbs, to name some combinations ... but even 'total neophytes' can follow the recipes." -Stars & Stripes
"Japanese food is associated with strict rules about flavor, balance and visual harmony, but Gower's book takes a relaxed approach. The recipes are a breeze to make; many of them can be put together in 15 minutes... and the lively flavors are here in the recipes without all the fuss." -The Globe & Mail
"Eric Gower uses an interesting mixture of American and Japanese ingredients to create unusual dishes with a Japanese flair: tofu salmon mouse shitake pesto. The results are more Californian than Japanese, but Gower's recipes are clear and ingredients are available in most American supermarkets. The photographs by Watanabe display a Japanese style of presentation that is both aesthetic and appealing." -Persimmon Magazine
"A bit like fusion approached from the other side, Eric Gower's The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen
has its foundation on the classic tastes and presentations of Japan. However, Gower has given himself permission to play.... Gower's dishes are almost all exceedingly simple, his instructions direct and concise." -January Magazine
("Best Cookbooks of the Year Issue," fall 2003)
"It's easy to dismiss books, ideas, and recipes if one is unfamiliar with the ingredients and unwilling to try something new. This should not be the case with Eric Gower's The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen
. After living in Japan for 10 years, Gower returned to California and started experimenting with the widely available once exotic ingredients such as soy, ginger, sake, and tofu. The results are not only terrific, they are healthy and most can be made quickly and easily....The secret of all the recipes is the author's imagination in combining Japanese and Western favorites to produce completely new tastes. Watanabe's photographs are as inspirational and mouthwatering as the recipes. Here's a case where fusion is not confusion." -Culinary Thymes
"Gower's cooking philosophy has two main tenets: first -eating healthy, delicious food does not mean you need to spend hours in the kitchen; second-it is not a sacrilege to experiment with Japanese food... Japanese cooking is rigid in terms of which ingredients can go together. Gower bends the rules with each recipe. Cooking his way is all about combining and emphasizing the flavors of the ingredients...The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen
is an excellent source of deliciously seditious dishes to delight your palette and amaze your Japanese and other friends." -Eat Magazine
"The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen
by Eric Gower is his modernist/contemporary interpretation of Japanese food. The dishes are the result of a passion for good home-cooked food and experimentation." -The Global Gourmet
"These dishes add modernity to the Eastern staples of rice and tofu. Seemingly easy and quick to prepare, they will suit anyone who truly enjoys healthy, natural, and tasty food. Titles like 'Smoked Salmon with Edamame,''Cherry and Shiso,'and 'Beet Salad with Ginger, Smoked Trout, and Walnuts,' reveal how Gower 'breaks away' from the standard repertoire of our daily bread." -Kyoto Journal
"In The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen
...Gower combined literary easy reading with an imaginative culinary brain unrestricted by formality...As traditional cookbooks go, this publication fails completely. It fails so gloriously and in such impressive style however, that it fully belongs on the bookshelf or, better still, open on the kitchen counter." Mainichi Daily News
"This is not a Japanese cookbook, but rather an eclectic selection of dishes incorporating Japanese staples like soy, persimmons and shiso with the olive oil, butter and fresh herbs such as mint and coriander found in a Western kitchen....The book gives a much-needed reminder that there's a whole lot more you can do with any given ingredient if you leave the straight and narrow conventions behind and try something new." Kansai Time Out Magazine
"The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen
is a lovingly presented, hands-on cookbook with creative ideas for simple and fast Japanese-style interpretations of Western food. For readers less familiar with Japanese cooking, the book is certain to offer interesting new ways of adding an exotic accent to the meals they serve, while for Japanese amateur chefs it presents novel approaches to food using the ingredients they have always had around them." Skyward Magazine
"A flick through Gower's cookbook proves that he follows a passion for flavor rather than fancy style or presentation. Not once does he call his work fusion cuisine, or California-style, and thankfully there's not a single funny-named, rainbow-colored seaweed roll in sight. Instead Gower's introduction is down-to-earth, and his numerous recipes are simple, quick and unpretentiously minimalist. He focuses on unusual flavors... Breakaway Japanese Kitchen
is a casual and un-daunting book that proves Japanese ingredients are versatile." Japan Times
"I discovered a new approach to tofu and other Japanese ingredients in a cookbook called The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen
by Eric Gower... His book has transformed my view of tofu. I used to think of it as a soft, inert, white blob. Now it is a gourmet treat." Shukan ST
The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen is a coup d'etat. Its elegant, easily prepared, and highly original dishes combine Japanese and Western elements in ways that produce completely new tastes.
Author and chef Eric Gower artfully combines staple ingredients or seasonings from Japanese cooking-like edamame, shiitake, ginger, or soy sauce-with the easygoing, flexible approach of his native California. His dishes are born of passion for good home-cooked food and experimentation over 15 years spent living in Japan. He achieves his big flavors with citrus fruits, vinegars, ginger, shallots, fresh herbs, and plenty of coarsely ground black pepper.
Edamame Mint Pesto with almonds and garlic is an aromatic and satisfying departure from the usual basil. Tofu Salmon Mousse, lightly flavored with walnuts, is a smooth, rich-tasting spread for thinly-sliced toast and perfect for a Sunday brunch. Scallops with Miso, Ginger, and Ruby Grapefruit is an unforgettable blend of flavors, with citrus offsetting the deeper miso.
Many of the dishes can be made in ten minutes, and can be paired with a salad and bread to make a meal.
While incorporating Asian ingredients, the author tailors the recipes directly to American kitchens, and frequently offers suggestions for substitutions, such as fresh tarragon in place of shiso seeds.
The food is beautifully photographed by Fumihiko Watanabe, photographer of Nobu: The Cookbook, which was nominated for the 2002 James Beard award for best food photography.