Talk Takeaway: Cooking with Curtis Stone

Posted on Jul 31, 2013 10:45am

For The Talk's Food Festival, Chef, Cookbook Author and "Top Chef Masters" host Curtis Stone stopped by for a Talk Takeaway: Cooking segment.  He showed the ladies some of his delicious dishes from his new cookbook, "What's For Dinner?" Here are the recipes!


Grilled Shrimp and Rice Noodle Salad

l live in Los Angeles, where it can get pretty hot in the summer, so I like to have some cool, refreshing main-course salads in my repertoire. This one uses mai fun, the thin rice noodles that you'll find in Southeast Asian cuisine. It has all of the flavor attributes that make me love this kind of cooking— sweet, sour, salty, and spicy—and tender and crunchy textures. Just writing about it makes my mouth water.

Serves 4


6 ounces rice vermicelli (mai fun noodles) or angel hair pasta

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/3 cup Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1¼ pounds extra- large shrimp (16 to 20 count), peeled and deveined

1 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 carrots, cut into thin matchstick-size strips (about 1½ cups)

1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced

3 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced

¼  cup thinly sliced fresh mint leaves, plus

¼  cup small leaves

1 red jalapeño pepper, sliced into thin rounds (seeded if desired)

1/3 cup roasted peanuts


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Stir in the vermicelli and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes, or until barely tender. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until cooled. Drain well and transfer to a large serving bowl.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce, and sesame oil together. Pour about half of this dressing over the vermicelli and toss. Refrigerate while you grill the shrimp. Reserve the remaining dressing.

  3. Heat a large grill pan over high heat. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until opaque throughout. Remove from the pan.

  4. Add the carrots, mango, half of the scallions, the sliced mint, and jalapenos to the noodles and toss with the remaining dressing. Top with the shrimp. Sprinkle with the peanuts, mint leaves, and the remaining scallions and serve.

Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas and Tomatoes

The beauty of quinoa is that it is a complete protein— other grains are usually combined with legumes to achieve the same nutritional content. (Quinoa is really a grass, though it is categorized as a grain.) I like the flavorful and earthy combination of chickpeas and quinoa, brightened up with lots of vegetables. You can add grilled skinless, boneless chicken breasts for a heartier dish.

Serves 4



2 cups quinoa

1 tablespoon extra- virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

3 cups reduced- sodium chicken or vegetable broth

Shallot–Red Wine Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

¼ cup extra- virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh flat- leaf parsley leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


One 15- ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

2 cups not packed baby arugula

½ cup halved cherry tomatoes

½ English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and diced

¼ cup diced red bell peppers

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper



  1. To make the quinoa: Put the quinoa in a fine- mesh sieve and rinse under cold running water. Set aside to drain well.

  2. Heat a medium saucepan over medium- high heat. Add the olive oil, then add the shallots and cook for about 2 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the quinoa and stir well. Add the broth and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium- low and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender but not mushy and the broth has been absorbed.

  3. Spread the quinoa on a baking sheet and let it cool, then fluff with a fork.

  4. To make the vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk the shallots and vinegar together. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Add the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

  5. To make the salad: In a large bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, chickpeas, arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers. Toss with the vinaigrette and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide among four plates and serve immediately.

New York Cherry Cheesecake

Here's my lemony New York–style cheesecake. Fresh summer cherries are ideal spooned over it. Don't bother to cook the cherries, just macerate them with lemon juice and sugar to bring out the juices.

Serves 12


Butter for the pan


12 whole graham crackers

3 tablespoons sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Four 8- ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1¼ cups sugar

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs

Sour Cream Topping

2 cups sour cream

3 tablespoons sugar

Cherry Topping

1 pound fresh Bing cherries, halved and pitted

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice



  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch- high sides.

  2. To make the crust: In a food processor, grind the graham crackers into very fine crumbs (you should have 1 1/3 cups). Add the sugar and melted butter and pulse until moistened. Press the crumb mixture evenly onto the bottom and 1½ inches up the sides of the pan. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the crust is a shade darker. Cool on a rack, then wrap three layers of wide heavy- duty foil around the outside of the pan.

  3. To make the filling: Clean the food processor bowl, then blend the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla; pulse to combine. Add the eggs and pulse until blended.

  4. Pour the filling into the crust- lined pan. Place the pan in a large roasting pan. Pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the filling is set except for the very center when the pan is gently shaken (the cake will become firm when chilled).

  5. Meanwhile, prepare the sour cream topping: In a medium bowl, stir the sour cream and sugar to blend.

  6. Spoon the sour cream mixture onto the hot baked cheesecake and smooth it over the top. Continue baking the cheesecake for about 15 minutes, or until the topping is set. Let the cheesecake cool in the pan on a rack for 1 hour.

  7. Run a sharp paring knife around the edges of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan sides (leave the sides in place). Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or until thoroughly chilled.

  8. To make the cherry topping: In a medium bowl, combine the cherries with the sugar and lemon juice and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until juices form.

  9. Remove the pan sides from the cheesecake. Cut the cake with a large sharp knife (dip the knife in hot water after each cut to moisten it and wipe it clean) and transfer to plates. Spoon the cherry topping over and serve.

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