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Do you ever buy something and only use it once? what do i do with these?

ok, for starters..fish sauce.. it doesn't smell so great, what can you possibly use it in that it tastes good?
-oyster sauce, i've never really used it, what does it go good in?
-a jar of pimentos

also as a secondary question, does anyone have any great uses for fennel seeds and caraway.?. they've been sitting in my cupboard, but i don't have the courage to just "try" it and maybe ruin a good dish

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  1. Caraway seed is very good in things like Eastern European-style veal stews. The only use I've had for fennel seed is in Italian sausage, but not that many people make their own sausage.

    6 Replies
    1. re: BobB

      Yes, definitely look to Eastern European recipes for uses for the caraway. My Polish grandmother uses it in all kinds of meat & veggie dishes. Goes well with cabbage.

      If you're up to it, you could always make rye bread:)

      1. re: BobB

        Pizza spice without fennel seed is like rye bread without caraway seed: an abomination.

        1. re: mclaugh

          The only good rye is the one without caraway seeds. Just throw them out and be glad you dont have to taste them.

          1. re: ESNY

            Oh, I hate caraway Rye too. But, I like caraway in lots of other things. They are an excellent companion to various lentils in Indian preparations and make a lovely addition to a traditional (cream based) clam chowder.

            1. re: ESNY

              caraway rye toasted, soaked with butter, spread thick with marmite.

              food for the gods!

              1. re: ESNY

                As one who grew up on rye bread with caraway seeds, I beg to differ. For me, rye bread without seeds is just lacking something essential. But as my mom used to say "that's what makes horse racing" :-)

          2. I use fish sauce in Thai food that I prepare - chicken coconut soup and Thai chicken pasta.

            I've used oyster sauce in potstickers/asian dumplings.

            Pimentos? You got me there . . .

            1 Reply
            1. re: sheilal

              pimento cheese , chicken a la king

            2. I use a great deal of fennel seed which has a licorice/anise flavor. That's the flavor in good Italian sausage for one thing so I often add it to Italian dishes when I use sausage , such as pizza, lasagna, sauces, stuffed eggplant, etc.
              I also love it with fish and oysters. I add it to fish stews especially when they include tomatoes. Oysters Rockerfeller has an anise or fennel flavor. My sister makes a wonderful oysters rockerfeller soup. I do oysters rockerfeller soufflee. Both use fennel.

              I use pimento for pimento cheese sandwiches so I never have it left lying around. Easy, cheap to make from things usually on hand.

              1. I use fennel seeds as a finishing touch for fish, chicken and pork dishes (really good with pork 'bolognese' and pecorino romano). Slightly aniseedy in flavour. Basically I use them as a top note for anything that I might put a fennel bulb in - particularly if I can't get any decent looking fennel and so have to omit it! I had a very nice fennel (and cardamom - I think) pureed soup once that had a drizzle of olive oil and some toasted fennel seeds as a garnish - lovely. I bought my fennel seeds in Sicily where fennel grows like a weed by the side of the roads, so if I think of a meal as being Sicilian then I consider the fennel seeds (don't always use them but...) Hope that helps!

                As for using stuff once, we have a twelve day rule. Don't ask!

                1. Pimento is good as a color accent, and adds a touch of flavor. Haven't used them in a long while but I used to add them to cooked frozen corn so it looked pretty. It would be good I think to blenderize it/them and swirl into a corn chowder too.

                  Your instincts are right on target as far as adding fennel and caraway willynilly to your dishes. They have rather pronounced flavors, so they could really make the taste go askew, and not necessarily in a great way. If you would like to use them up, or put a dent in them, you could make some crackers or flatbread with them, and press them in, baking it nice and brown. I would also add sesame seeds to the mix, just because sesame rules!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Seldomsated

                    yes-- we love to put different seeds on homemade breadsticks (brush dough with egg white then sprinkle on seeds) Caraway, fennel, sesame, poppy-- all are good. (btw our breadsticks are kind of fat and chewey; more or less a skinny french loaf)

                  2. Fish sauce--can't live without it. A must for a lot of Thai, Lao, Vietnamese food. Yes, smells bad in the bottle, but really changes character (to good) once incorporated.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Thai food (and all SE Asian food) just doesn't taste the same without fish sauce.

                    2. Bought once: "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"

                      What do with it? Still taking up room in my freezer.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Take it to the toxic waste dump where it belongs. Bleh!

                      2. If you look at the "forever roasted pork" recipe, it calls for a spice rub of fennel, coriander seed and sea salt. That rub is fabulous on ribs, pork tenderloin, and of course the pork shoulder in the recipe. You could make a large batch of this spice mix and share it with friends. I like to add caraway seed to sauerkraut. And the fish sauce will last forever.

                        1. Pimientos> Try sauteeing some strips of pork (like for stirfry) in with some chopped garlic. Toss in the pimientos, stir till heated through. Taste-test to determine whether to add a little lemon juice. Good with rice.

                          1. ha ha to the ICBINB - Is it the liquid in the pump? I put it on air-popped popcorn when I am in a diet phase, but that is about all!

                            1 Reply
                            1. Fish sauce also makes a great sub for anchovies in Caesar salad, sauteed veggies, etc.

                              Oyster sauce is instrumental in Chinese broccoli beef, chow mein, etc. Check out any Chinese cookbook, esp. the Cantonese or primer versions (Martin Yan, Ken Hom).

                              1. i use oyster sauce to dip pork chops, steak, and chicken in. damn MSG..

                                a little oyster sauce and sirachi.

                                1. A few drops of fish sauce adds life to most vegetables. So do chopped pimentos.

                                  Now, who wants to buy the pasta machine I got 25 years ago, used more than once but less than three times.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: KRS

                                    ooh i always wanted a pasta machine..(you mean the kind that rolls it out and shapes it?) not so much for pasta, but for fondant and stuff for cake decorating..

                                  2. Bought and used once: old bay seasoning, a block of tamarind.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Glencora

                                      Obviously you aren't from the Cheasapeake Bay area (did not mean for that to sound insulting if it did). Over here they use old bay on everything (crabs, corn, french fries, sandwiches). I've even seen it in salt shakers at the table.

                                        1. re: Glencora

                                          if you don't want that tamarind, send it on to me.. i can't find it anywhere around here, and i have some recipes i want to try that call for it

                                          1. re: Glencora

                                            Add some tamarind to hot and sour fish soups and to lentils. I go through a block in a month (plus I have a jar or two concentrate on hand).

                                          2. Fish sauce -- I put it in gravy (turkey, chicken, pork or beef) when I add the stock. It really doesn't taste anything like it smells -- just make sure you never add it to a sizzling hot pan or people will run from your kitchen! Always add it with other liquids.

                                            A jar of pimentos will liven up a tapenade or a ratatouille or even a caponata.

                                            Oyster sauce -- only ever use it as the base for a sauce for Chinese broccoli (gai lan).

                                            1. I primarily use oyster sauce in three dishes:

                                              1. Like Das Ubergeek, I sprinkle some oyster sauce over boiled or steamed Chinese broccoli (gai lan) or Chinese cabbage.

                                              2. Fried rice.

                                              3. Scrambled eggs.

                                              My friend uses oyster sauce on her pho, which is NOT my preference, but if it works...

                                              1. Jarred ginger. I thought I bought jarred garlic so I could ease up my time a little bit by not chopping my garlic, but I didnt realize that I had bought ginger instead of garlic!! AND, I opened the bottle too.. so I cant even refund it. What do I do? It also has sugar in it too.. ugh.

                                                1. fish sauce adds great flavour to a napa cabbage salad dressing

                                                  1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
                                                  2 tablespoons soy sauce
                                                  2 tablespoons rice vinegar
                                                  1 teaspoon sesame oil
                                                  1 tablespoon lime juice (~ 1/2 lime)
                                                  1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
                                                  1 pinch cayenne
                                                  Coarse salt and cracked black pepper
                                                  2 tablespoons black or white sesame seeds

                                                  My two favourite uses for caraway are
                                                  1/ Tossed with saurkraut, topped with strong chedder, baked until the cheese melts
                                                  2/ boil brussel sprouts in chicken stock, toss in browned butter, caraway seeds and a squeeze of lemon.

                                                  1. Fennel seeds are used in Indian cooking as well as Italian (and I would also use them sprinkled on bread or breadsticks). Sounds like you need to check out some Thai, Chinese, and Indian cookbooks from the library to use up all that stuff!