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Aug 12, 2010 05:10 PM

I've Got It...Now What Do I Do With It?

We've all done it...bought some food item on a whim, and then had to figure out how best to use it. Could have come from an ethnic store, a catalog, or from a Web site. Or maybe you received something as a gift.

My most recent purchase was Bhutanese Red Rice I saw on a Web site.. (A separate post.)

So 'fess up Hounds. What have you bought/received, where did you get it from, why did you buy it, and, most importantly, what did you ultimately do with it?

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  1. Lime pickle, which is a blazing-hot, salted curry condiment - I bought it at a local Indian store because the jar was just beautiful, made of thick blue glass. I realized by the potency that it could never be anything but an addenda to food, but I used teaspoonfuls for acid in concoctions that needed it, and my go-to for a cold, to this day, is to put a Tbs. in hot chicken broth. This stuff is FIRE, will add piquancy and depth. I also like it on scrambled eggs, and I now use a milder version of mango pickle in chutneys, dressings, and "experiments". Unfortunately, the brand in the gorgeous bottle can't be found anywhere, at least not by me, but I did discover other decent brands. If anyone knows how to obtain Bedaker's Lime Pickle, please let me know!

    3 Replies
    1. re: mamachef

      I bought a jar of Bedakar's Lime Pickle because it was mentioned in an article by the late Laurie Colwin. It is a taste I'm glad I acquired. I haven't tried the broth application yet, but will as soon as the weather turns colder!

      1. re: mamachef

        I can get Bedaker's Pickles where I'm at, but I'm not sure I can get them in a blue jar. The jars I get are clear, and have a yellow label. I wonder if you had something like a Bedaker's premium? I'll def be on the lookout now. I have garlic, and chili. I have yet to try them, but I think I just might crack a jar right now.

        1. re: gordeaux

          I think it was premium now that you mention it. Good looking out; thank you. And do open the jars; they make such amazing condiments and flavor boosters. One more thing to do with any of the flavors is to mix 1/2 to 1 tsp. in deviled egg filling; another is to melt butter, add a T. or so of any pickle, and roll steamed asparagus around in it. Outrageous!

      2. A big box of those pretty asian fungi that look like the cosmetic sea sponges. I'm not sure what t o do with them or even look them up online because there was no English on the box.

        2 Replies
        1. re: EWSflash

          Do they look like this?

          They're called "snow ear" mushrooms. In CHinese cooking they're usually used in sweet or savory soups.

          1. re: harukiri

            We use them to re-create a salad that we had at a Thai restaurant. Lots of fish sauce and lime, red onion, shredded cabbage, chili.

        2. guava paste - I made some cream cheese and guava pastry things and they were nothing special. the rest of the stuff is still in my fridge and needs throwing out.

          8 Replies
          1. re: smartie

            Black salt powder, product of India. No ingredient list, but I'm betting there's asafoetida in there.

            smartie, have you tried the guava paste with a nice sharp cheese... just a thought.

            1. re: grayelf

              it's probably been sitting a good few months in a ziplock. Time to trash it.

              1. re: grayelf

                I don't think it's asafetida you're sensing, just the sulphur compounds that give black salt its...sulphurous...smell.


                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  Cool thanks -- now I just have to figure out what to do with it :-).

                  1. re: grayelf

                    It's used to make chaat masala, and it's supposed to aid digestion if you take a pinch.

                    1. re: grayelf

                      Use it when making chaat of any kind, or when making chana masala (aka chhole).

                      Some people add a pint to certain tofu dishes to get a sulfurous eggy smell.

                2. re: smartie

                  guava paste can last a long time unrefrigerated even after opening. One of my favorite things to do with guava paste is to puree it with a can or two of chipotle in adobo. You can hardly notice the guava in the heat of the chipotle but it gives it a subtle sweetness and it's very versatile

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    Oh nice! I bought guava paste last night to pair with some cheese, but now I have a couple of ideas for what to do with the rest.

                3. Not an outlandish ingredient, but.... fennel seeds. I don't make my own sausage, but I just thought they'd be great to have around. You know, for .... steaming mussels. Is all I've done with them so far. Maybe toasting them and adding them to a rub for lamb?

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: linguafood

                    I always add a little fennel seed to my Bolognese.

                    1. re: linguafood

                      I add a little ground fennel seed to pork meatballs, for a simpler version of Italian sausage. Or why not try making a very basic chorizo with it? Easier than it sounds - Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has a good recipe (about halfway down the page)

                      1. re: linguafood

                        i like them combined with bay leaf, shallots and garlic roasted with chickpeas.

                        1. re: linguafood

                          - pickled vegetables (or gravlax!)
                          - roasted potatoes
                          - crust for pork, lamb or hearty fish like swordfish or salmon
                          - fennel seed cookies
                          - fennel seed tea
                          - candied fennel seeds

                          one of my favorite quick & easy carrot dishes is similar to this:

                          or this chicken dish from Cooking Light, which i haven't made in ages but i recall really liking:

                          1. re: linguafood

                            You can pass it on to a mother-to-be who plans to breastfeed. They are supposed to help, and I hope this is not OT.

                            Also, I once had a stash of fennel seeds too that I feel was going stale, and I ended up toasting and covering with caramelized sugar. They were quite nice to chew on, especially after a heavy meal.

                            1. re: linguafood

                              Oooh, how about mixing it into some ground pork, along with some sage, for homemade loose sausage? I also sprinkled some onto roasted veggies tonight.

                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                Lots of great ideas. T-1 till I can use my fennel seeds!!!! Home kitchen, here I come.....

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  I throw some into vegan/vegetarian spaghetti sauces. It gives a nice flavor that I miss when I cook without sausage in those sauces.

                              2. re: linguafood

                                Make a fennel spice rub...1 cup fennel seeds, 3 tsp. coriander seeds, 2 T. white peppercorns, 3 T. kosher salt....mix in a grinder and use on pork or lamb.

                                I also add a few Tablespoons to my homemade spaghetti sauce.

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  I use fennel seeds in porchetta. Delicious!!

                                  1. re: linguafood

                                    Make masala chai. REAL masala chai.

                                    2 c water
                                    1 T fennel seeds
                                    1 1/2 tsp cardamom seed
                                    4 to 6 whole cloves

                                    boil for 3 minutes, add 2 C whole milk, bring to a slow boil again

                                    add 1/4 c mamri style (CTC) tea, you can buy this at an Indian grocery, it's loose tea that looks sort of like gunpowder. You can use 4 to 6 cheap unflavored tea bags if you can't find the CTC stuff, thought it won't be quite as good. Heat at barely boiling for no more than 2 to 3 minutes.

                                    Strain, serve, sweeten to taste.

                                    Google "authentic indian railroad tea" for the exact recipe and full explanation, also you can find a list of sources for Indian foods online there at the bottom of that post, or to find Indian markets in your area.

                                  2. Off the top of my head: mustard oil, a gigantic bad of tumeric and sumac powder. I'm scared of the mustard oil since after I bought it I heard some consider it to be toxic. I use a little tumeric now and then, but 8oz? Who knows, maybe I'll dye stuff with it. Sumac powder I make "lemonade" with.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: corneygirl

                                      I use tumeric alot. I heat up a cast iron skillet, add oil along with yellow mustard seeds, tumeric, curry powder, and paprika or cayenne pepper. Fry until very fragrant, then add thick slices of tomato or boiled potatoes or even a couple of eggs. Instant indian flavors.

                                      However, I do have some sumac powder that is unopened. How do you make lemonade from it?

                                      1. re: tcamp

                                        I just stir it into cool water. It doesn't really dissolve, but it settles to the bottom eventually and leaves a lemony flavor. It would probably be really good on fish or roast chicken.

                                      2. re: corneygirl

                                        One woman's turmeric is another's garam masala. I bought a jar, but did not like it as well as the mixture I'd had previously. I bought another, and it was better. I started mixing my own, and that made me want to do that *all* of the time (I resolved to use the ones on hand, but with a few tweaks, so as not to waste them). A friend, remembering my off-hand comment about the first garam masala, thought she would be helpful and bring me a very large bag of the stuff from a market in the city. Maybe I should start doing garam masala Mondays. And Tuesdays.

                                        1. re: corneygirl

                                          i'm going to try that lemonade thing! i just bought some, and made rice with pine nuts and sumac mixed in. yummm.

                                          1. re: corneygirl

                                            Mustard oil is pretty powerful stuff, and in any but very small amounts can leave you gasping for air as your nostrils and lungs burn from the intense fumes.
                                            I use very small amounts in the Korean cold noodle dish Naengmyeon, in dipping sauces (soy sauce, brown sugar, chopped green onion, and a drop or two of the mustard oil), mustard sauce, etc.
                                            Just be careful with the amounts used.

                                            1. re: hannaone

                                              Is it pungent like mustard seeds or cabbagey? The noodle dish sounds good! I think it is like the "spicy cold buckwheat noodles" at the Korean place I like to get lunch at.

                                              1. re: corneygirl

                                                Think wasabi or horseradish with a kick