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Recipe inspiration, tips, and kitchen hacks from the Chowhound editors.

Which Are the Good Dried Herbs?

Which dried green herbs are worth using? Very few. Only oregano, thyme, bay leaves, and rosemary have decent flavor in dried form. You’ll find dried versions of just about every herb out there, both in supermarkets and from high-quality spice merchants, but except for these few, they’re pretty much tasteless–“like faded grass,” says xnyorkr.

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How to get anything out of dried herbs?


Real, traditionally made pemmican is very intense. It’s a traditional
Native American food composed of ground, dried jerky, fat paste, and
possibly some dried berries, says
JMF, who has experience making and
eating it. The berries add a sweetness and tartness, but it’s probably
not something to eat other than as survival food. As it ages, the
rendered fat and meat powder develop a very strong flavor that not
everyone will appreciate. Modern pemmican made from high-quality meat,
duck fat, and berries might be an experience for the culinarily
adventurous, but it’s not exactly dinner party fare.

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How to Cook a Meal in Your Hotel Room

Warning: Coffee makers and irons are not intended and should not be used to do anything other than make coffee and take wrinkles out of clothes, respectively. This article is for humor purposes only. But these instructions really do work.


1. Set the iron to the highest setting with the steam turned off.

2. Fill a coffee filter with six broccoli florets. Load into the coffee maker. Run six cups of water through for tender but still crisp veggies.

3. Put 1/2 cup of instant rice per person in the coffee maker. Run the appropriate amount of water (check the box for instructions) through the coffee maker, then leave the machine turned on for 5 to 10 minutes until the rice is fully cooked.

4. Season four large scallops per person on both sides with salt and pepper, and place between two sheets of foil. Place the hot iron on top of the foil and press down to sear lightly for 1 to 2 minutes per side.

5. Dice one small shallot into the coffee maker. Load two to four sprigs of fresh thyme into the filter basket without a filter, then run 1 cup of cream and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice through the coffee maker together. Season with salt and pepper, and allow the sauce to reduce over the hot plate for 15 to 20 minutes. Just before serving, add 1 tablespoon diced butter and swirl to melt. (Note: Coffee maker will require heavy cleaning afterward.)

6. Use a clean disposable razor to shave black truffle over the plated rice, scallops, and broccoli, then pour sauce over each plate. Garnish with thyme.

7. For dessert, heat 1/2 cup cream in the coffee maker. Add a 12-ounce bag of good bittersweet chocolate chips and stir constantly until melted and smooth. Serve with whole strawberries, sliced banana, pound cake, dried apricots, and marshmallows for dipping.


1. Heat the iron.

2. Cut bacon strips in half, then place between foil sheets with the edges crimped together to seal in grease. Iron the bacon, opening one side of the foil packet every few minutes to check for doneness and allow steam to escape. Slightly crisp bacon takes about 10 minutes.

3. Prop up the iron so that the flat part faces straight up, create a foil “boat,” and place on top of the iron. Grease with bacon fat, and crack one to two eggs into it. When cooked enough to hold together—7 to 10 minutes on a small iron—flip eggs over and cook to desired doneness. Serve with bacon and coffee (made the normal way in the coffee maker).

How to Stay Up Late

There’s something going on all day and all night at SXSW. How do you stay awake? “The most important thing is to make sure you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per 24,” says Dr. Gregory Belenky, director of Washington State University’s Sleep and Performance Research Center. But they don’t have to be consecutive nighttime hours. The body’s temperature fluctuates naturally throughout the day, and it’s easiest to fall asleep when it drops. You can take advantage of a natural body-temperature decrease in the late afternoon by getting in a quick “disco nap” between work and partying. There is even evidence that splitting up your sleep periods can actually enhance performance.

If you absolutely have to go without sleep, caffeine helps. But keep in mind that the more you consume, the worse job it will do at keeping you awake. Skip it until you really need it. Instead of a morning latte, drink coffee at night when you’re out on the town. Caffeine goes to work anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes after you consume it, and the buzz will last for three to four hours, so plan accordingly. Belenky also recommends moving around as a way to stimulate the brain and stave off sleepiness. Walk instead of taking a cab. Get out on the dance floor. And don’t drink too much. Not only will booze make you tired, but it will also cause sleep disturbances as it wears off—passed-out-drunk sleep is less effective than sober sleep.

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A Tale of Two Chickens

The San Antonio Express-News has filed an engaging business feature about a restaurant in crisis.

The problem? Your quick-service eatery, which did bang-up business in England, is tanking in Texas. For some reason, the novelty of fried chicken doesn’t go as far in San Antonio as it does in Guildford.

The solution? Dipping into your Pakistani heritage in order to convert your menu from Fried This, Fried That, and Fried The Other Thing over to kabobs, chicken tikka, and samosas (which the paper helpfully defines as “pasty puffs filled with spicy potatoes”).

Anyone searching for an inspiring story wherein halal meat and America’s increasingly adventurous taste in restaurant food team up to kick ass would be well-advised to check out this surprisingly detailed write-up.