Across the Table from Curtis Stone
The hunky Aussie chef and host of the new show Around the World in 80 Plates comes clean on what he loves about America and the skill every home cook should master.
1. What's your favorite U.S. food trend?
The farm-to-table movement is fantastic. I like the way farmers markets have become so popular. I've spent a lot of time in the Midwest, where they're naturally everywhere. But they've moved to the corners of America, too—Portland, Baltimore, San Francisco.
2. What about a favorite U.S. food?
That's the beautiful thing about America. You're interviewing an Aussie, and I'm going to talk about Mexican food. America is so multicultural and welcoming. I love the casual taco stand. It's not technically American, but you have your own version of it.
3. What skill should every home cook know?
How to stock a pantry and fridge full of quality seasonal fruits and veggies. It makes throwing together a meal simple. If you want to see how I do it, follow my blog on curtisstone.com.
4. Burger or shrimp on the barbie?
Definitely a good burger grilled over charcoal with some crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, homemade ketchup, lettuce and tomato. There's nothing like it.
5. Go-to summertime cocktail?
I came up with this the other day: Throw cubed watermelon, fresh mint, crushed ice and vodka into a blender.
6. What's your favorite food and beverage pairing?
Mussels cooked in white wine, served with cold beer.
7. Have a great no-recipe recipe?
Visit the deli. Get some good Italian prosciutto, mixed olives, pickled veggies and local cheeses. Put it all on a platter and serve with rustic bread and quality olive oil. Then let people go for it!
8. Congrats on your new baby! Planning to get him in the kitchen anytime soon?
Oh yes. Involving kids early is important, opening them up to flavors and tastes, and teaching them to cook what comes out of the ground. Activities like growing their own veggies give them a good foundation in food.
9. By the way, we'd love to have you. Ever consider applying for U.S. citizenship?
Absolutely! Looking into dual citizenship is on my to-do list.
Curtis was named one of People magazine's Sexiest Men Alive. It didn't hurt that he's been known to say such things as, "I always peek in a woman's freezer. The more ice cream, the more it impresses me." He's been on the reality cooking shows Take Home Chef, America's Next Great Restaurant and, now, Bravo's new Around the World in 80 Plates, a series following 12 chefs across 10 countries in 44 days.
Fresh Crab & Avocado Dip Recipe
Lightly adapted from Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone.
Yield: 12 servings
- 4 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 3 to 4 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, divided
- 2 Tbsp. minced fresh chives
- 15 oz. fresh crabmeat, squeezed dry
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 3 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil
- 1 red jalapeno chili, minced
- Tortilla chips
- Mash avocados with sour cream, 2-3 Tbsp. of the lime juice and the chives in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon evenly into a glass serving bowl.
- Lightly mix crab, mayonnaise, basil, jalapeno and 1 Tbsp. lime juice in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon evenly over avocado layer. Cover and refrigerate until serving or up to 8 hours. Serve with chips.
Grilled Corn with Sun-dried Tomato-Bacon Butter Recipe
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
- 6 ears yellow corn
- 2 tsp (approximately) olive oil
- 2 slices applewood-smoked bacon
- 1 stick (4 ounces) salted butter, softened
- 2 tbsp minced shallot
- 1 1/2 tbsp minced sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
To prepare corn:
- Prepare grill for medium-high heat.
- Pull off husks from corn cobs and remove corn silk. Rub oil over corn to coat lightly.
- Place corn on grill. Cover and cook, turning occasionally, until corn is soft and juicy and charred, about 15 minutes.
To make butter:
- Meanwhile, fry bacon in large sauté pan over medium heat until it is golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes per side.
- Transfer bacon to plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil. Finely chop bacon.
- Stir bacon, softened butter, shallot, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, thyme, red pepper flakes and oregano in medium bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- As corn is removed from grill and transferred to platter, immediately spread some of butter mixture all over corn so it melts and coats corn. Serve any remaining butter mixture alongside.