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Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

Patience Pays Off in Better Food

It is often said that many stews and other long-cooked dishes are better the day after they are made. This allows the convenience of cooking them ahead of time, which is especially useful if you're entertaining. Querencia takes this a step further by freezing such dishes. "You will enjoy the convenience of having the stuff ready when you want it because you can cook not only for tomorrow but for next month," she says. Her one caveat is that the texture of potatoes suffers when frozen, so avoid freezing dishes that include potatoes.

goodhealthgourmet maintains that dishes such as hummus and bean dips and blended soups, anything puréed that has multiple components and complex seasoning, improve with 12 to 24 hours of rest in the refrigerator. She explains, "Letting it sit for a while allows for a more harmonious flavor—you get a more subtle layering of the overall flavor of the recipe as opposed to tasting numerous separate ingredients that just happen to be in the same dish." Refrigerated dips should come to room temperature before serving.

Discuss: resting

What Is Miner’s Lettuce?

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Grow Your Own Beer Garden

Those who like to grow their own cocktails and brew their own beer can now add another link to their DIY chain with the Grow Your Own Beer Garden kit. The kit comes with a plastic "sprouting and growing dome," dirt, and seed packets for hops, wheat, and barley. Plant the seeds, tend your garden, pick, and brew. Oh, and then drink.

Grow Your Own Beer Garden
, $25

The Top Grocery-Store Etiquette Gaffes

The Top Grocery-Store Etiquette Gaffes

Bad things happen with low blood sugar. READ MORE

Salami, On and Off the Antipasti Plate

Salami is best known as part of a selection of antipasti or a sandwich ingredient, but there are creative ways to use it in a variety of dishes, as well.

Cherylptw slices salami super-thin and lays it on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then bakes it at 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes, until it crisps. Blot with paper towels and allow to cool, then eat as a snack or use as the base for antipasti salads (Cheryl likes chopped roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil).

When fresh favas are in season, JoanN makes a favorite antipasto salad of raw favas, salami, mint, and Manchego cheese.

More ideas: Add salami to scrambled eggs or frittatas; try CHOW's Omelet with Ricotta and Salami; add to bread dough; add to minestrone or a fresh tomato sauce for pasta.

Discuss: How to eat salami

How to Fake Sous Vide Sausage

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How to Crisp Up a Sausage

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Overheard on the Home Cooking Boards

"I had housemates who would cook the chicken at high heat with no seasoning and it turned out great; I never knew how much flavor the fat from inside the skin could impart while cooking. I've done it with and without salt and have gotten the same results. The [45 minutes at 450 degrees F] rule works great for whole birds and slightly less time for chicken parts. I've put it in the oven wet and dry, I've used supermarket brands, fancy free range, and other name brands, I own a pathetic 30-year-old oven and I have found no matter what I do that high heat is my friend." – free sample addict aka Tracy L, on roast chicken with crispy skin

"We had a finger food night of Japanese pub food (izakaya) at home the other night and decided to tempura the chive blossoms from our garden. They were fantastic. Crispy, oniony, and peppery. Best thing I've ever had with tempura." – tearingmonkey

"It's great as a finishing oil and in vinaigrettes—it has a rich, buttery quality that pairs particularly well with seafood and vegetables." – goodhealthgourmet, on avocado oil

Coffee’s Broken Fix

Here's the bad news all you coffee addicts—hell, let's be transparent here, all us coffee addicts—have been dreading. If you drink coffee all the time, it doesn't perk you up. At all. It does prevent you from falling into a coffee-deprived stupor, but that's about it.

Like an addict who can't get a buzz without blowing through a $500 pile of powder, frequent caffeine users are victims of their own familiarity with their fix of choice.


That’s So Salty! It’s Not Salty Enough.

Several years ago, I wrote a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that called for kosher salt. Soon after the recipe was published, I received an email from an upset mom who said the cookies were so salty she couldn't serve them. I had tested those cookies 20 times (really!). I was determined to prove her wrong. I reached for my kosher salt (I always use Diamond Crystal, a habit I picked up in restaurant kitchens), and then realized I hadn't tested them with Morton's kosher salt. So I made them again with Morton's. It was like eating a salt lick.

That was the day I learned that salts are not created equal.