Internationally known chef, television host and best-selling author Curtis Stone started cooking in his native Melbourne, Australia, and after getting his feet wet at the Savoy Hotel, he set off to London, where he continued his culinary education learning from the best - legendary three-star Michelin chef Marco Pierre White.
Since then, he has used his simple, yet confident technique using seasonal and organic ingredients to help amateur cooks find confidence in their own kitchens.
Stone explains how to make his favorite dishes from his new book "Good Food, Good Life," including: Grilled rib-eye steak with avocado chimichurri, peas with rosemary parmesan cream, buttered buns, ricotta fritters with quick mixed berry jam and pineapple-lime margaritas to drink.
Grilled Rib-Eye Steak with Avocado Chimichurri
After a long week at work, there's nothing quite like the feeling of grilling up a steak while sipping on a cold one and knowing that I have two free days ahead. Throw some red bell peppers and onions on the grill to serve alongside the steaks, or serve with Humble Beans. I buy big, thick steaks to achieve that juicy, rosy medium-rare doneness, but if you don't have a Fred Flinstone appetite, the leftovers make killer steak sangas.
SERVES: 4 to 6
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOK TIME: 15 minutes
4 boneless rib-eye steaks (about 12 ounces each and 1 inch thick)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups hickory wood chips, soaked in cold water for 1 hour
Smoker wood chip box or a 13 x 9-inch aluminum foil pan (if using a gas grill)
1. Let the steaks stand at room temperature while you prepare a grill for medium-high heat: For a gas grill, spread the drained wood chips in the smoker box and close it; alternatively, spread the wood chips in the foil pan. Place the smoke box or foil pan on a lit burner. For a charcoal grill, sprinkle the drained wood chips over the hot coals.
2. Coat the steaks with the oil and season with salt and pepper. When you see the wood chips beginning to smoke, set the steaks on the grill grate and grill them for about 6 minutes per side, or until the meat feels only slightly resilient when pressed with a fingertip, for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to a carving board and let rest, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.
3. Serve the steaks with the avocado chimichurri.
Chimichurri is a favorite Argentinean sauce made of chopped parsley, cilantro, garlic, vinegar, and oil. For this version, cubes of avocado are folded into the sauce.
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup olive oil
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 firm but ripe avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and cubed
1. In a small bowl, stir the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, oregano, and black pepper together. Whisk in the oil to blend, then stir in the cilantro and parsley. Gently fold in the avocados.
Peas with Rosemary-Parmesan Cream
With their antioxidants, sweet taste, and beautiful color, peas are nutritional powerhouses and stars at the dinner table. Here I fold them into a rich Parmesan cream for a side.
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 10 minutes
MAKE-AHEAD: The peas can be boiled up to 1 day ahead. Submerge them in ice water when they come out of the boiling water until they are cool, then drain well, cover, and refrigerate.
3 cups fresh peas (from about 3 pounds peas in the pod)
½ cup heavy cream
1 small fresh rosemary sprig
2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the peas for about 4 minutes, or until they are just tender. Drain well.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium heavy saucepan, combine the cream and rosemary and cook over medium heat, whisking, for about 2 minutes, or until the cream begins to bubble slightly. Whisk in the butter until melted, then whisk in the cheese. Season to taste with pepper. Discard the rosemary sprig.
3. Fold the peas into the cream sauce and serve.
Crispy Potato Cakes
Don't hesitate to switch up your usual potato routine with this crispy spin-off.
PREP TIME: 15 minutes, plus 1 hour for chilling
COOK TIME: 35 minutes
MAKE-AHEAD: The potato sheet can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered, and refrigerated.
4 medium russet (baking) potatoes (about 8 ounces each)
4 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and cook for about 15 minutes, or until they are soft on the outside but still firm in the center. Drain the potatoes and cool slightly.
2. With a small knife, peel the warm potatoes.
3. Using the large holes on a box grater, shred the still-warm potatoes into a large bowl. Add the scallions, cornstarch, thyme, and salt and toss well.
4. Line a small baking sheet (12 x 9 inches) with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Press the potato mixture evenly over the baking sheet, forming a ½-inch-thick layer. Top with another sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until cold and set.
5. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Place a nonstick baking sheet in the oven.
6. Remove the potato sheet from the baking pan and cut it lengthwise in half, then cut each half into 6 rectangles, for a total of 12 rectangles.
7. In a large heavy nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Place 6 potato cakes in the pan and cook for about 4 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown on the bottom. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook until melted. Turn the potato cakes over and continue cooking until crisp and golden brown on the bottom and heated through. Transfer to paper towels to drain any excess oil. Keep warm in the oven while making the remaining potato cakes. Wipe the skillet out and repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, potato cakes, and butter. Transfer the potato cakes to a platter and serve immediately.
These billowy buns are a great introduction to baking your own yeast breads because they're simple but special. Plus they're great for sandwich fillings. Hudson and I have fun rolling out the dough, though the kitchen looks like a flour-bomb has hit it when we're done. Add extra flavor to the buns by sprinkling poppy or sesame seeds over them just before they go into the oven.
MAKES: 14 buns
PREP TIME: 30 minutes, plus about
1½ hours for the dough to rise
COOK TIME: 16 minutes
MAKE-AHEAD: These buns are at their best when freshly baked, but they can be baked up to 1 day ahead, cooled, and stored airtight at room temperature. To reheat the buns, wrap them in aluminum foil and warm in a 375°F oven for about 5 minutes, or until heated through.
1 envelope active dry yeast
⅓ cup warm water (110° to 115°F)
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
3 tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 large egg
3⅔ cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) salted butter, melted
1. In a small bowl, whisk the yeast and warm water together. Let stand for 10 minutes, or until foamy.
2. In a small saucepan, stir the milk and shortening over medium-low heat just until most of the shortening has melted and the mixture is lukewarm. Transfer to a large bowl.
3. Stir the sugar and salt into the milk mixture. Whisk in the egg, then whisk in the yeast mixture. Add the flour and stir until the dough forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth.
4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and turn it to coat with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free area for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. (Alternatively, you can refrigerate the dough for up to 1 day to rise slowly.)
5. Brush two 8-inch round or square cake pans or baking dishes with some of the melted butter. Punch the dough down and divide it into 14 equal pieces (about 2 ounces each). Roll each piece into a ball: Lightly moisten the work surface with water so the dough sticks to the surface slightly and pulls as you are cupping it with your hand to shape it. Don't feel as if you have to have perfectly shaped buns--the buns are actually most attractive when a little rustic and bumpy.
6. Arrange 7 dough balls in each of the prepared pans and brush generously with melted butter. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free area for about 30 minutes, or until the buns just begin to touch.
(Reserve the remaining melted butter.)
7. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
8. Bake the buns for about 16 minutes, or until they are puffed and golden brown. While the buns bake, remelt the reserved butter. Brush the warm buns generously with the melted butter and serve warm.
Ricotta Fritters with Quick Mixed Berry Jam
My friends go absolutely gaga when I make these, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, at home. What better way is there to end a meal than piping hot fritters (read: doughnuts) with a fresh berry filling? Happy food, happy life. The warmth of these bad boys extends to those at the table.
MAKES: about 20 fritters
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOK TIME: 12 minutes
MAKE-AHEAD: The fritter batter can be made up to 2 hours ahead, covered and refrigerated.
Canola oil, for deep-frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup Homemade Ricotta (page 106) or good-quality fresh whole-milk ricotta
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
½ cup whole milk
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1. Pour 3 inches of oil into a large wide heavy saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, and salt to blend. In a large bowl, whisk the ricotta, eggs, milk, and orange zest to blend, then whisk in the flour mixture.
3. Working in batches, fill a 1¼-ounce ice cream scoop with batter, lower the scoop into the hot oil, and release the batter while the scoop is submerged in the oil, to achieve a circular shape; repeat to make more fritters, without crowding the pan. Fry the fritters, turning occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they are deep golden brown and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fritters to paper towels to drain. Return the oil to 350°F between batches.
4. Dust the warm fritters with powdered sugar and serve with the jam alongside, or fill the fritters with the jam
Quick Mixed Berry Jam:
This summer jam will keep for up to 1 week, stored airtight in the refrigerator.
MAKES: about 2 cups
¾ cup fresh raspberries
⅔ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup fresh blackberries
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. In a medium heavy skillet, combine the berries, sugar, and lemon juice and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, mashing the berries with a fork. Simmer the mixture, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until it thickens slightly, into a very loose jam consistency.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and set the jam aside to cool to room temperature for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Margarita mix be damned! Tuck this winner in the fridge before your guests arrive so it's ready for the first "Cheers." Don't skip the grated lime zest--it's the key to giving these margaritas good lime flavor. Gold and silver tequila are both great in this recipe--it just depends on your preference. But be sure to use a good-quality tequila.
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
MAKE-AHEAD: The pineapple mixture can be made up to 2 days ahead, covered, and refrigerated.
1 medium ripe pineapple (4 pounds), peeled, quartered, and cut into large chunks
3 tablespoons finely grated lime zest (from about 4 limes)
¾ cup fresh lime juice (from about
3 cups filtered water
6 tablespoons agave nectar
1½ cups tequila
¼ cup Cointreau
1. In a blender, working in batches, combine the pineapple, lime zest, lime juice, and filtered water and blend until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into an 8-cup measuring cup or pitcher. Stir in the agave, tequila, and Cointreau.
2. Fill six 8-ounce glasses half-full with ice. Pour the margarita mixture over the ice and serve immediately.