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Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone: Recipes to Put You in My Favorite Mood Hardcover – April 7, 2009

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Editorial Reviews Review

Book Description
“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... I’m here to tell you: It doesn’t have to be that way.”--from the Introduction

Aussie Curtis Stone, host of TLC’s Take Home Chef, is best known for his laid-back approach to cooking. Though he’s worked as head chef in several Michelin-starred London restaurants, some of his most memorable meals are the ones he’s shared with friends at home. Now, Curtis shows you how to have as much fun in the kitchen as your guests are sure to have over a comfortable, unforgettable meal.

In Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone, you’ll find everything from “First Thing in the Morning” bites and “Brunches to Blow Their Minds” to “Weekend Lunches” and “Something to Eat on the Sofa.” With the home cook in mind, Curtis avoids off-putting culinary lingo and hard-to-find ingredients. Instead, he picks what’s in season and just around the corner. This down-to-earth approach results in wonderfully interesting and flavorful taste combinations that are perfect for parties or just hanging out with a close friend or loved ones.

Recipes include:

• Caramelized Nectarines with Yogurt and Honey
• Crispy Tortilla with Ham, Chile, Spinach, and Fried Eggs
• Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad with Pepper-Crusted New York Steak
• Pan-Fried Calamari with Roasted Asparagus Salad
• Homemade Salted Caramel Popcorn
• Baby Baked Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives
• Sticky Chicken Drumsticks
• Red Curry with Lobster and Pineapple
• Veal Cutlet Coated in an Aged Jack Cheese Crust
• Slowly Cooked Brisket with a BBQ Bourbon Sauce
• Creamy Mascarpone and Parsley Polenta
• Brownie Cupcakes

These delicious recipes and Curtis’s infectiously easygoing attitude are all it takes to end your entertaining stress and get you and your guests into a relaxing mood.

From Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone: Fresh Linguine with Garlic Shrimp and Homemade Pesto

This satisfying dish just takes minutes to put together. Despite the speedy preparation, it seems really indulgent and tastes fresh and healthy at the same time. When making pesto, you can vary the consistency to match the purpose: Make it nice and thick to spread over bruschetta, or thin it with extra olive oil so it’s easy to toss through pasta, as in this version.


For Pesto:

  • 1 1/2 cups (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For Linguine:

  • 12 cherry tomatoes on the vine

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 9 ounces fresh linguine (from the dairy case)

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 20 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • Parmesan shavings, for garnish

(Serves 4)


To make the pesto: Grind the basil, pine nuts, and grated Parmesan cheese with a mortar and pestle until a smooth paste forms. (If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, use a food processor instead.) Slowly add the olive oil, grinding until a smooth sauce forms. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste. Then cover and set it aside.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the vine of tomatoes in an ovenproof skillet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil over the tomatoes, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes in the oven for 8 minutes, or until heated through.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the linguine and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking, for about 2 minutes, or until al dente.

While the linguine cooks, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and shrimp and sauté for about 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are just cooked through and the garlic is tender. Stir the pesto into the shrimp mixture.

Drain the linguine, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the linguine in a large bowl with the shrimp-pesto mixture, adding enough of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten the sauce so that it coats the pasta evenly.

Using a two-pronged carving fork, swirl some pasta around the fork. Slide it off the fork, letting it mound in the center of a plate. Repeat. Arrange the shrimp and the roasted tomatoes around the pasta. Garnish with the cheese and serve.

From Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone: Lazy Asparagus Omelet

One of my favorite parts of going on holiday is heading down each morning to the hotel’s breakfast buffet. I always make a beeline for the omelet station--even a chef loves having someone else man the omelet pan sometimes! Back at home, I make this much easier version and find it has all the flavor of those yummy holiday omelets. Taleggio is a creamy cheese similar to Brie, with a slightly stronger flavor; it pairs really well with asparagus. Serve this with some hot, grainy toast.


  • 15 thin asparagus spears (about 6 ounces total), tough ends trimmed

  • 12 large eggs

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 2 ounces Taleggio cheese, shaved into thin slices

(Serves 4 to 6)


Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Cut the tips of the asparagus spears into 3-inch lengths; then cut the remainder of the spears into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cook the asparagus in the boiling water for 30 seconds, or just until it becomes bright green. Drain the asparagus and submerge it in a large bowl of ice water until cool; drain again.

Preheat the broiler. Using a fork, whisk the eggs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend well. Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat, swirling the pan to coat it with the butter. Add the eggs and asparagus, and gently stir with a silicone spatula to lift the cooked egg off the bottom of the skillet and stir it into the uncooked portion (be careful not to overstir the omelet). As the omelet begins to set, give it one last gentle stir. Then scatter the cheese slices over the top. Place the pan under the broiler and cook for about 1 minute, or until the omelet is set on top and the cheese has melted. Using the silicone spatula, loosen the omelet from the pan, slide it onto a platter, and serve.


"Curtis shows that making beautiful, delicious, satisfying food can also be fun. With recipes like these, you’ll be inviting people over a lot more often."
—Todd English

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; First Edition edition (April 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307408744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307408747
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.9 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #611,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By ShopGirl on April 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is exactly what is says it is: Relaxed cooking ala Curtis, and not at all boring by any means! Better yet, the ingredient lists are fairly short, the recipes uncomplicated and easy to follow, all with that touch of sophistication that Curtis is known to bring to his dishes.

The book design gets a good review as well. The photography is bright and luscious, the layout modern and simple, and most importantly, the type is on the larger side (excellent when following along while cooking!).
Personally, I can't wait to try the recipe for the rhubarb ripple ice cream myself (and how good does that sound!?)

Overall, this book makes cooking exciting and approachable for the modest cook, yet is capable of interesting a more seasoned chef's palette. A great addition to any cooks' collection.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've enjoyed Curtis on TV for his laid-back, yet passion for food, not to be stuffy, but really good and enjoyable dining.

Here he provides recipes for that target, relaxed cooking and dining as he puts it. It is the Aussie way, he says. I believe him, and am attracted to this as I first was to Graham Kerr. They are knowledgeable about five-star dining, yet prefer simpler, relaxed recipes for entertaining their friends.

Curtis has even some new categories to highlight this more casual approach such as "Weekend Lunches" or "Something to Eat on the Sofa." The majority of ingredients and techniques required to prepare these recipes are not that difficult, with the exception of some of the seafood, e.g. daurade, however, he does in most cases provide substitutes for these harder to find types.

I've only tried a few so far, but find them delivering on the theme of wonderful, relaxed food: Heirloom Tomato and Burrato Salad with Pepper-Crusted NY Steak; Smoked Trout Melt with Cucumber on Pumpernickel; Peach and Honey Cake with Orange Syrup; and Spicy Sausage Breakfast Burritos.
There are many more that I look forward to trying.

This proves to be a cookbook such that both the chef and the diner can enjoy not too formal and sophisticated dishes, yet as Curtis writes: "deliver a lot of flavor and plate appeal for the effort invested--in other words, to help you be as relaxed in the kitchen as you are in front of a that crackling fire." Goal achieved!

The layout and color photos are superb as Clarkson Potter Publishers have a reputation in their cookbook collection.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J Michelle on April 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I love love love this book! Talk about sprinting to get back into the kitchen. I was all over it. This is the yummiest selection of recipes that I've seen in a long time that will have you instantly inspired to get back into the kitchen. Who would have thought that a chef of Curtis's professional caliber could simplify things and make your everyday life in the kitchen so easy!

The chapters are broken down by occasion, I rather like "something to eat on the sofa" which is a great chapter filled with comfy foods that you don't need to sit at the dinner table for. Or how about some great recipes for entertaining a crowd "crowd pleasers" and another favorite "sweet dreams" for all things sweet and delectable that will send you in to the sweetest of food comas!!! I could go on!!!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan VINE VOICE on July 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a guy, I'm unmarried, and I'm not a chef. Despite this, I tire quickly of the usual bachelor fare - i.e. microwavables, takeout and dining out - and like to cook for myself occasionally. I find a lot of cookbooks intimidating, either in terms of ingredients or prep time.

This book came as quite the relief. Most of the ingredients were things I recognized, and most of the stuff that wasn't was explained by the author, usually with an alternate ingredient if the listed one isn't available.

All of the recipes are printed in large font, and none take up more than a page. Also, pictures are included with virtually all of recipes to give you an idea of what you're shooting for. A brief introduction to each recipe gives helpful suggestions (I especially loved the "When serving this to kids, make sure to pass out napkins").

The book is neatly divided into breakfast, brunch, everyday dinners, dinners for entertaining, couch food and desserts. Every section includes staples (French toast or rack of lamb, for example) as well as an "ooo let's try this" exotic (like "Corn and Bacon Muffins" or "Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream").

A side note after reaading other reviews: this is "Relaxed Cooking." If you are looking for exotic, complicated or sophisticated recipes, look elsewhere. This is the kind of cooking you would do on an everyday basis.

All in all, this is a great cookbook with simple recipes - most take about 20 minutes by my watch. A must for anyone who wants to cook great food but doesn't want it to be a chore.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By wvwoody on June 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm an experienced cook. My partner and I cook from scratch, what most people would call gourmet meals, about 70 percent of the time. But, when I read this book I knew I had to try some of the recipes. I have made about 2 dozen of various types. I haven't found a bad one yet and except for one would make them over many times. The chicken and leek pie is simple and fabulous. When I need something fast this is my go-to book now
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