BOOK REVIEW: TV personality’s take on food

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Everyday Harumi

By Harumi Kurihara.

(Octopus Press, London, UK, 2009, 192 pp, $27.99, hardcover)

This beautiful volume of famous television personality Harumi Kurihara is packed full of her classic and tweaks-on-classic recipes, all carefully crafted with the special Harumi characteristics, yet with careful consideration toward what is available in American grocery stores.

From basics such as “Harumi’s Barbecue Sauce” — a sweet and tangy mixture of honey, sugar, miso, apple, garlic, ginger, and sesame — to Halibut and Eggplant Miso Gratin, this compilation of recipes capture a clean and pure essence of Japanese cuisine that is hardly found in Japanese restaurants in America.

Ingredients almost never surpass 10 items, and each recipe is accompanied generously with beautiful photos.

”Everyday Harumi” does a wonderful job of showcasing the best of Harumi as she introduces basic Japanese kitchen setup and ingredients at the beginning of the book, but doesn’t hesitate to include more complex recipes as well.

This book is perfect for vegans or vegetarians looking for a different palate of flavors as the majority of the recipes are either all-vegetable or with an easily excludable meat. For vegetables, freshness and flavor are key, as Harumi’s style emphasizes pairing vegetables with sauces like sesame-miso and light peanut dressing.

But lest the omnivorous amongst us protest, this book is perfect for anyone on a day-to-day basis, as recipes are simple, healthy, and delicious and reflect the best of Japanese cooking.

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