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April 19, 2006

A Good Idea

Dominic Armato
I love Thai chiles, but I hate the way they're packaged.

Maybe hate is too strong of a word. But it drives me nuts that I rarely need more than two of these little fellows, and yet it's impossible to buy fewer than fifty of them at a time. It isn't a cost issue. They're dirt cheap. It just always feels like a waste. I hate using 2% of a package and then just trashing the rest. Which is why I'm embarrassed that I didn't do this myself.

Back in December, I was over at my folks' place to do a little cooking, and in typical fashion I bought a huge package of Thai chiles so I could mince a couple into some dipping sauce. Then, a couple of weeks ago, a bag of dried chiles turns up on my desk at work (deposited there by my father). Apparently, my mother took the leftover chiles, spread them out on a cookie sheet and sat the cookie sheet on top of a radiator. The result is the beautiful pile of dried chiles you see here.

I love 'em. For starters, they're potent. And the flavor is really nice. Rather than the earthy spiciness you get from most store-bought dried chiles, these have kind of a sweet-tart, almost fruity character. I mean, they're all hot pepper, but I'd use them differently than I do typical dried chiles. I could see these going very well with something fruity. They're a nice change of pace, and definitely preferable to just throwing them out. Not to mention which, they look awesome. I look forward to trying them out in something.

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