Magazine article Sunset

In the SUNSET KITCHEN

Magazine article Sunset

In the SUNSET KITCHEN

Article excerpt

TIPS FROM OUR TEAM

"Apple chips echo the fruit in the sparkling wine, and they're delicious with cheese too."

TOP TOOL

PRECISION

In the Test Kitchen, we've found that a good jigger makes a big difference in getting precise results-for, say, a Sparkling Mai Tai on New Year's (drink recipe on sunset.com). Our pick, the Danesco multilevel measuring jigger ($13; amazon, com), is unbreakable and marked off by the half-oz., ml., and tbsp.

WE'RE LOVING

Instant appetizers

These apple, pear, or citrus crisps aren't just an upgrade on dried fruit-they're cocktail party-worthy. Sunset wine editor Sara Schneider's favorite combo: the apple chips ($5/15 slices; simpleandcrisp.com) with Laura Chenel goat cheese and Iron Horse Russian Cuvée 2009 ($40).

COOKBOOK OF THE MONTH

Green evolution

If there's one cookbook that can hold us to our healthy-eating resolution this year, it's Greens + Grains: Recipes for Deliciously Healthful Meals (Chronicle, 2014; $20). By former Sunset staffer Molly Watson, the book turns these nutritional powerhouses into dishes that taste anything but dutiful (here's to you, Farro, Chard, and Ricotta Casserole). To start, remember her rules for cooking greens: 1. Cook leaves and stems separately (stems take longer to get tender). 2. To tone down bitter flavors of sturdy greens while preserving their color, blanch the greens by boiling briefly, then cooling quickly. 3. Soften raw greens like kale by ^ massaging with salt and a bit of oil.

KNOW-HOW

Homemade corn tortillas

A recent visit to the Santa Fe School of Cooking (santafeschoolofcooking.com) reminded us how amazing- and easy-homemade tortillas can be (try them with our Spicy Lamb Tacos, page 90). You'll need a tortilla press ($20; surlatable.com).

1. Put 2 cups masa hariná and V2 tsp. salt (optional) in a bowl and slowly add P/4 cups hot tap water, stirring until dough becomes a ball. Knead a few times. Shape into l3/4-in. balls and cover with plastic wrap until needed.

2. Line a tortilla press with 2 circles of thick plastic (cut from a resealable plastic bag). Press a ball between plastic to 6V2 in.

3. Toast tortilla on a lightly oiled hot griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, turning once, until speckled brown, 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Wrap in a kitchen towel to keep warm. Makes 10.

FOUR WAYS WITH ...

Flavored popcorn

Sure, you can buy a bag of flavored popcorn, but a homemade version tastes a whole lot fresher (and steers clear of neon orange "seasoning").

Heal 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a large pot over high heat, add Vi cup popcorn kernels, and cover. Shake pot often as corn pops. When popping slows to a few seconds between pops, remove from heat and let sit until popping stops. …

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