Cookbook offers favorite recipes and techniques

Short Paste for Tarts

The owner of a Portland store that specializes in cookbooks once proposed that Sunset reissue its 15-year-old (Easy Basics for Good Cooking). She described it as one of the most useful books available for the beginning cook and equally valuable for the culinarily adept.

Well, I have something better to offer: Sunset’s New Easy Basics Cookbook, Step by Step: The Fundamentals of Good Cooking (Sunset Books, Menlo Park, CA, April 1997; $24.95). This 192-page book represents the effort of many ― including food writers whose names you’ve seen through the years on our masthead. It was my pleasure to act as editor for the project.

Like the original book, this has a hard, spiral-bound cover. And the basics are still here, from cream puffs to flaky pastry, homemade broth to sauces, as well as easily referenced directions for roasting poultry and meat and cooking vegetables ― updated with the most current information available.

The 170 new color photographs emphasize step-by-step directions. And the 283 recipes are for today’s tastes and tools. Stir-frying has become a basic technique, each recipe has nutritional information, low-fat concerns are considered, the recipes reflect today’s market, and illustrated guides help you with the new greens and mushrooms.

A recipe that is essential for every tart I make is this no-fail press-in dough. Like all the recipes in the book, this one gives standard and metric measurements ― ready for the future.

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