Curtis Cooks with Heart and Soul

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Overview

Many of the dishes have a down-home flair, but his imaginative use of greens and pasta reflects a passion for the fresh flavors of California-style cooking. In wonderfully fragrant and soul-satisfying dishes, such as Creamy Artichoke Pasta, Asparagus with Sun-dried Tomatoes over Pasta, and Peppers and Pasta, Curtis combines America's favorite comfort food with appealing vegetables and fresh herbs. Other hearty dishes include Pumpkin Soup, Wild Mushroom Chowder, Eggplant Enchiladas, and Apple-Squash Casserole. ...
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Overview

Many of the dishes have a down-home flair, but his imaginative use of greens and pasta reflects a passion for the fresh flavors of California-style cooking. In wonderfully fragrant and soul-satisfying dishes, such as Creamy Artichoke Pasta, Asparagus with Sun-dried Tomatoes over Pasta, and Peppers and Pasta, Curtis combines America's favorite comfort food with appealing vegetables and fresh herbs. Other hearty dishes include Pumpkin Soup, Wild Mushroom Chowder, Eggplant Enchiladas, and Apple-Squash Casserole. Lighter, vegetable-based fare includes easy-to-prepare stir-fries, curries, and rolls. Curtis's knowledge and passion for produce are reflected in surprising, palate-pleasing improvisations, such as Lime Soup, Pizza Primavera, Vegetable Paella, and Swiss Chard Quiche. Healthier twists on Southern favorites, such as Red Beans and Rice and Black-eyed Peas, explode with flavor while skimping on fat. For other good, old-time flavors, Curtis includes staples from his childhood in Georgia: Hush Puppies, Biscuits, Stewed Okra and Tomatoes, Mama's Potato Salad, and Mama's Cabbage. And there's even more to Curtis's brand of eclectic, meatless fare - salads, chilis, stews, dressings, gravies, salsas, sauces, dips, and side dishes! Plus dessert. Curtis's repertoire ranges from traditional Southern specialties, such as Mud Pie and Benne Wafers, to family favorites, such as Sweet Potato Pie and Pecan Pie, to the downright, blatantly wicked: Hot Fudge Pudding.

The star of the popular Food in a Flash series presents a new book that will appeal to the millions of health-conscious cooks looking for more meatless dishes--that don't lack in flavor. Aikens, who was illiterate until the age of 26, will donate half of the proceeds from this book's sale to literacy organizations.

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Editorial Reviews

Barbara Jacobs
The association of food with love is common among chefs and food writers, but the relationship between food and literacy? Television cook Aikens, who learned to read after the age of 26, shows his dual love of food and reading. What's unusual about his meatless selections is that they must be quick, easy, and convenient; the directions are simple, and the recipes do not require a lot of equipment.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688140120
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/28/1995
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 7.31 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Corn Chowder

Serves 3 to 5


This is so good, it's hard to believe it's so easy to prepare. When I stopped eating red meat in the early eighties, hamburger was the only thing I truly missed.Veggie burgers helped take care of that. And when I gave up seafood a few years later, I really missed New England clam chowder. I'm able to quench my desire for that with corn chowder. It tastes nothing like clams, but it has the same feel and the same creaminess, and it's so filling.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons corn oil
1/4 stick (1 ounce) butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup vegetable stock (page 20)
1 cup water
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 cups corn, fresh, canned, or frozen
3 whole green onions, chopped
3/4 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Put the oil and butter in a large pot. Add the onion, shallot, and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the stock, water, potato, celery, and bay leaf. Cook until the potato is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the corn, green onions, and milk. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaf and serve piping hot.


Sweet Potato Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie


I do believe every African-American mother knows how to make sweet potato pie, and if she has a son, he does too. Here is one I learned from mine.

Ingredients:

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeledand diced
1 1/2 to 2 cups water
1 stick (4 ounces) butter
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 unbaked recipe Homemade Pie Crust (page 196)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place the potatoes in a saucepan covered with the water. Bring to a boil and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and soft. Drain and discard the water. While the potatoes are still hot,mash them with the butter and sugar. Let this mixture cool slightly, then add the beaten eggs along with the buttermilk and vanilla and combine well. Pour into the pie crust and bake for about 1 hour.

Curtis Cooks With Heart & Soul. Copyright © by Curtis Aikens. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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