Sunday, December 14, 2003

Helpings



Compiled by Chuck Martin

I have a recipe that calls for a "wineglassful" of wine. This confuses me, because wine glasses are different sizes. What amount of liquid is the recipe calling for?

A wineglassful is not as vague as it sounds; it is an actual unit of volume, more commonly used in Britain than in the United States. In standard bar measurements in the United States, a wineglass is four ounces, or half a cup.

Wine 101: If you'd like to learn more about drinking the contents of a wine glass, consider enrolling in a class taught at The Wine Merchant in Oakley (3972 Edwards Road). Classes begin Jan. 8. Cost is $35 and reservations are required: 731-1515.

Looking ahead: The star chefs of the Food Network have made their food and eating predictions for 2004, including the explosion of tapas-size dishes on restaurant menus; the increasing popularity of pomegranates as a fruit, juice and molasses; and the emergence of exotic hot chocolate drinks flavored with ingredients such as ginger, chiles and banana peel. The TV chefs' gadget for the new year is the santoku, a short (7-inch), flat-edged Japanese-style chef's knife. The Food Network will premiere shows on new and old food trends and innovations in January.

Fiery fondue: This hot chocolate is for dipping - not sipping. But it's definitely exotic: Simmer 2 dried habanero chiles in 1 cup water, covered, for 10 minutes. When chiles are mushy, remove from water, chop finely and reserve pulp. Melt 1 medium-sized bar of dark chocolate in microwave or double-boiler. Stir in habanero pulp and stir until creamy. Serve hot chocolate with fresh strawberries for dipping. From www.pepperfool.com.

Dependable gadgets: If you're looking for a dependable brand of inexpensive kitchen gadgets to give as gifts, the name to look for is Oxo. The editors of Cooks' Illustrated magazine have named their favorite 10 gadgets for less than $20, and three of them are made by Oxo: Good Grips Black Swivel Peeler ($5.99); Good Grips Citrus Juicer ($11.99); and 6-inch Stainless Steel Strainer ($19.99). For the complete list of stocking stuffer gadgets, go to www.cooksillustrated.com.




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