Recipes to Put You in My Favorite Mood
by Curtis Stone
For most, entertaining is a high-stress, labor-intensive task that involves lots of running around, hard-to-use kitchen tools and a sink full of dirty dishes. Well, things just got easier with Australian-born Curtis Stone's Relaxed Cooking - a compilation of flavorful, hassle-free recipes that'll keep you out of the kitchen, allowing you more time to spend with friends and family.
Stone, the host of TLC's Take Home Chef and author of Cooking with Curtis, keeps the home cook in mind with an array of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and desserts (even sides to share and things to eat on the sofa) from crispy vegetable fritters or cheesy crêpes with proscuitto to chicken and leek pie or grilled pineapple skewers with coconut and caramel sauce.
As the title suggest, the book's goal is to keep you cool in the kitchen. Although some of the recipes do require a bit more effort, most are simple and straightforward. The book is full of beautiful, mouth-watering photographs of every dish as well as some shots of Stone, named one of People magazine's sexiest men alive.
More about Chef Stone: an interview with Sophie Gayot
Curtis Stone's Kitchen Solutions line
Toasted Walnut Sourdough with Melted Gorgonzola and Cranberry-Fig Preserve
12 ounces fresh cranberries
8 ounces dried Black Mission figs, halved
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
32 whole walnut halves
8 slices walnut-raison sourdough bread, halved equally
8 ounces Gorgonzola cheese (Gorgonzola dulce)
To make the preserve: Combine the cranberries, figs, sugar, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup water in a medium-size heavy saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes or until the mixture thickens and the figs soften. Let the preserve cool comp0letely, and remove cinnamon stick. (You can make the preserve up to 2 weeks ahead of time.)
Preheat the broiler. Place the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown, tossing once or twice. Remove the walnuts and reserve them for the garnish. Arrange the bread slices on the baking sheet and broil until golden and crisp on top. Turn the break slices over and spread the cheese on the untoasted side. Broil for 15 seconds, or until the cheese is just beginning to melt. Spoon some of the preserve onto each piece of toast, garnish with the walnuts, and serve.
Reviewed by Sophie Gayot