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.