Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Cookbook Review: Curtis Stone's Relaxed Cooking

For some folks, it's Tyler Florence.

For some, it's Michael Chiarello.

For some guys, it's Nigella.

For me, it's Curtis Stone.

Of course, we're talking about celebrity chefs who get us a little hot under the jacket - or celebrity chefs whom we'd love to have cook naked for us in our own kitchens - perhaps a little "dessert" included. So, you can imagine I was totally stoked to get the opportunity to review Curtis's new book, Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone.

The subtitle is Recipes to Put You in My Favourite Mood. Um-hmmm. I definitely got into a mood while going through the book, I can tell you that.

Seriously, though, this book is about just what the title indicates, relaxed cooking, and despite the double entendres, being relaxed is Curtis's favourite mood. In his own words, "For me, there are few things that are more relaxing than lingering at the table with good friends...But I know that for a lot of people, putting together a meal, especially for guests, is the opposite of relaxing..."

With that in mind, the recipes in this book are all quite simple and don't use lots of complicated ingredients. The focus is on fresh, seasonal ingredients. The chapters cover everything from breakfast to brunches, to party foods, and of course a dessert chapter entitled "Sweet Dreams." There are lots of beautiful colour photos, some of them even containing Curtis himself (though it might be said that for some of us, the fact that he isn't in every photo is one of the book's weaknesses).

I started out by making the granola on page 18, and it was pretty good. It's not as good at this recipe, but still, it is worth trying out. I also made the Crumbed Chicken Breasts Filled with Swiss Cheese on page 156 because it reminded me a lot of Donna-FFW's awesome Chicken Mutz. It was simple to put together and quite tasty - and it was relaxing, come to think of it; I got to read while it was cooking.

Would I recommend it? Sure. If you're a beginner cook, the simplicity of the recipes are an asset to have around. The desserts alone look worth it - in addition to all the pics of Curtis, of course! There's Banoffee Pie I can't wait to try that looks super easy and totally decadent. This book is definitely worth a look.

15 comments:

Elyse said...

I think Curtis is super cute, too! Thanks for the book review.

Donna-FFW said...

OOOHHH,, he is a hottie, wanna share? Thanks for the shout out.. I will have to check this out of my library, recipes sound great and Im looking for more pics;)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

An interesting book for the lazy days!

Cheers,

Rosa

Cathy said...

Glad you reviewed this! I was hoping to pick it up this weekend. And yeah...mmmmm Curtis.

Borderline Lil said...

Did you guys get to see Surfing The Menu, the TV show Curtis did with the equally yummy Ben Donohue (Perth chef, from the UK show The Best)?? It was great, I saw them shooting one of the eps a few years ago -- they are REALLY nice blokes as well as lovely to look at.

Borderline Lil said...

I just noticed my typo in above comment - meant to be "Ben O'Donohue"! It's late haha

Wandering Coyote said...

Lil: I saw Surfing the Menu, which is where I first spied Curtis! And yes, Ben is totally cute, too. They had another show that they did with a woman, where they each made a dish and put it through a window for guests to eat and the guests had to rate the dish...I can't remember what it was called.

Helene said...

I have to order this book.

Van Santos said...

Feeling a little "randy" are we?

Joie de vivre said...

I just saw an advertisement yesterday for this book in a cookbook of the month club offer. I haven't seen Curtis before, is he on the Food Network? I'm glad to hear the book is good, I'm always on the lookout for good cookbooks.

Wandering Coyote said...

Van: you don't know the half of it!

Joie: He has been on the Food Network, but I'm not sure if he has recently. We are now getting him on a different channel doing a show called "Take Home Chef."

adventureswiththewoods said...

Yeah, I could go for a serving of Curtis. Seriously, though, his cookbook looks great. Think I'll have to pick it up!

Borderline Lil said...

That show, with the two other chefs, was The Best, a British cooking competition show. The girl, Silvana Franco, previously worked with Ainsley Harriot, and she is an amazing cook (calls herself that rather than a chef - is that to do with qualifications? not sure??). Anyway, Silvana has written the most amazing pizza cookbook which is where I got my rosemary, pancetta and goat's cheese recipe. She ROCKS.

Wandering Coyote said...

Lil: Good to know. I'll have to take a look on Amazon for that cookbook.

tamilyn said...

I *heart* Curtis-but haven't found him on TV in quite some time. Even my teenage girls think he is 'smoking' and that disturbs me a bit......

I will have to look at B and N and see if I can find it.

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