Buying ingredient for recipe

PattyPeterson2208January 30, 2013

I have a large library of cookbooks with I love to read sometimes I come across on new recipe I want to try but do not have an odd ingredient. More than once when I get around to getting it and now I do not remember where I saw the recipe or have forgotten what I wanted to make. A few things I found in the pantry when I moved were candied ginger, hearts of palm, basmati rice, lots of spices, chutney, chili pastes and some chorizo in the freezer. Now I need to find something else to make with them as I am trying to down size pantry items. Does anyone else have this problem? Don't tell me to write it down that would be too easy and I would lose what I wrote it on. Patty

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jimster

"Does anyone else have this problem?"

Are you kidding me?!?!? lol!!!

I found at least a couple of the same things you found. And I'll bet that you and I are not the only CFers who have an ancient can of hearts of palm in the pantry.

Jim

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 3:23PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Heheh, I am still looking for that captivating recipe that lured me into a can of coconut milk, and we do not like curry!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 3:37PM
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compumom

Yes, all the time! But I'm also trying to clear out the clutter. Someone here shared that if you google recipes for that ingredient, you may find something new that's appealing. Unfortunately, that takes planning and perseverance, I'm still looking! LOL

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 4:07PM
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momj47

The trouble is, when you do a search for that new recipe, it always requires something else you don't have. It's an endless cycle.

Good luck

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 4:22PM
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CLBlakey

too funny you should see my spice cupboard 3 full shelves 24 inches wide some double stacked.

oh ya what do you make with that can of coconut milk I have one too LOL

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 5:14PM
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mustangs81

No, I haven't had that problem...today.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 5:21PM
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cloudy_christine

I've gotten to the point that I just won't make any recipe (well, almost any) that requires some little bottle of something I'll never use again.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 5:29PM
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publickman

I have everything you mentioned, except that instead of chorizo, I have breakfast sausage in the freezer.

As for the coconut milk, you can make great macaroons using coconut milk instead of condensed milk, but you would have to have coconut in your pantry as well. I frequently substitute coconut milk for regular milk when making custard or creme anglaise, which can then be frozen into ice cream. I never put coconut milk in curry.

Right now I have so many chili pastes and curry pastes that I think it may take me a while to use them, even though I use them almost every day. I have a large collection of hot sauces, plus I have chilies in my back yard! There are certain things I can never be out of, and chili sauce is one of them. On the other hand, I use very little black pepper in comparison. I also have several types of soy sauce and fish sauce, as the flavors vary.

Lars

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 5:40PM
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chi83

Coconut milk also makes a nice non-dairy whipped cream. Just refrigerate the can overnight, skim the cream from the top and whip it. The leftover water is great to drink or in smoothies!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 6:06PM
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annie1992

Thanks, chi, I didn't know that! I used my can for rice pudding.

Yes, I definitely have that problem. I have powdered sumac for Lars' Algerian Chicken, and a jar of tamarind paste that I don't remember why I picked up. Elery likes things hot, so we have hot sauces and chili pastes and canned/smoked/drived/crushed/whole/fresh/pickled chilies, LOL. I'll never use 'em all.

Candied ginger, though, that goes in Grandma's molasses cookies!

Annie

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 9:41PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Hmmm, I appreciate your responses on the coconut milk, Lars and Chi! Some good ideas if I can't find the original recipe that made me buy it.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 9:43PM
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publickman

Annie, tamarind paste is very good when making Pad Thai, but the recipe I have for that uses a lot of ingredients that one would not normally have. However, the tamarind paste adds a much better, brighter flavor than if you used tamarind in liquid form.

I bought a block of tamarind paste at an Indonesian market, and the package said it was seedless, but I found a seed in it anyway and planted. For three years I had a tamarind tree in my back yard in Venice, but then I found out how large they get.

Lars

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 9:53PM
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annie1992

Lars, I'm sure it wasn't for Pad Thai, but I had a recipe that I got the tamarind paste specifically for and now I can't remember what it was, of course.

I'm glad to know that my tamarind paste was a good choice in plac of juice, though, because I will definitely use it someday.

Too bad about the tamarind tree, though, that would be kind of unusual, I think.

Annie

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 10:51PM
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EATREALFOOD

I avoid buying "found & then lost" ingredients by focusing on one cuisine at a time until I am comfortable with it then trying another. For example I would buy simple Chinese ingredients that could be combined in many different ways to make many meals(stir fry, egg rolls, dumplings, pan-fried noodles, soup, omelets). Soon all of those ingredients then become my pantry staples which allow me to cook something I love whenever I get a craving without having to run around. With all the great recipes out there it's easy to drift among them and then end up with bits and pieces stuck in the back of the cupboard. So for a few weeks Chinese, then Indian, then Greek, then Italian or Spanish.
....I have 10 cans of coconut milk since I hate to carry heavy cans I stock up. LOL. I think a nice Thai inspired curry stew is in my future LOL.
Coconut milk is great for yoghurt fruit blender drinks, use in place of almond or soy or cow milk.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 11:37PM
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GWlolo

I like to cook a fairly international cuisine and organize my dry goods storage by cuisine type so I can look at the Thai or Chinese shelf and be inspired. With fresh ingredients, it is harder as you have to cook with the same item on consecutive days to use up. Celery and parsley are always too much for me. Mayonnaise and things like garlic salt and lemon salt. When I try a new recipe, I try to stick to the recipe accurately and won't substitute- just so I get a accurate baseline not skewed by my "adjustments". But one off ingredients bother me. I still have that orange flavored water I bought to make madelines for a Proust get together for my book club.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 2:07AM
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pat_t

So glad I'm not the only one who looks in my pantry and wonders why I bought certain items! I still have a jar of mole sauce and no clue why.

Here's a good use for that coconut milk:

Here is a link that might be useful: Pina colada ice pops

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 6:02AM
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grainlady_ks

I have a bottle of Nigella (spice) I special ordered for a recipe, and have misplaced the recipe, but never had enough interest to find another one. Good intentions, bad execution.

When it comes to coconut milk, I buy powdered coconut milk from Wilderness Families and now I can make it as needed, in different ratios (water to powder) so I control the richness of the mixture whether I'm using it in a curry, as a pudding, or fermented with real kefir grains for a yogurt-like product.

-Grainlady

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 6:42AM
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EATREALFOOD

GWlol-I organize my pantry the same way you do but recently the Italians have taken over since I stocked up on tinned tomatoes LOL.
I love to use orange blossom water, it keeps well and is beautiful in Greek biscuit recipes(perfect for dunking in espresso) or Pastiera Napoletana(from Lydia's Italian-Am. Kitchen) or in almond biscotti.

Bumble--Oh and coconut milk in rice pudding is the best--with cardamon, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and chopped pistachios.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 7:02AM
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susytwo

I have a can of chestnut paste that I bought for 2011 christmas cookies, for which I ended up not having time to bake. Forgot to pull it out for 2012 Christmas, and am now eager to find a use for it.

I threw out a bag of caraway seeds last week. I really dislike the taste of caraway, so I can't imagine why I even had them.

I would take the coconut milk off your hands. We use it a lot here. Pancakes, muffins, oatmeal, smoothies... :-)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 9:57AM
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donna_in_sask

I have a bottle of Chinese Black Vinegar in my cupboard...have no idea what I had planned for that. I made Pad Thai last week, so brought out the fish sauce that was nearly full in the cupboard...how can you tell if it is spoiled or not, it smells like something died in there even when it's fresh...

I like to have a well-stocked pantry because I am not the type of person to go and ask a neighbour for any ingredients.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 5:16PM
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patti43

Coconut milk is great for making coconut rice to serve with a pork roast or any Thai dish. It's sinfully good. I also have a recipe for mashed potatoes with coconut milk if anyone is interested. Our DD doesn't do gluten or dairy, so coconut milk has been a saving grace on more than one occasion.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 5:43PM
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jimster

"...fish sauce that was nearly full in the cupboard...how can you tell if it is spoiled or not..."

It's spoiled. It's supposed to be. If it's not spoiled it's no good. :-)

Fish sauce is used sparingly as a flavor enhancer, not as a flavor to be noticed in the finished dish. It's like the anchovy in Caesar salad or the ambergris (whale vomit) in perfume.

Jim

This post was edited by jimster on Thu, Jan 31, 13 at 19:09

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 7:05PM
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mustangs81

Jim, I heard today that there's some ambergris available for purchase. You interested?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 7:17PM
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jimster

Cathy,

I like anchovies but a lot of people don't. I wonder how ambergris would be on a pizza.

Jim

This post was edited by jimster on Thu, Jan 31, 13 at 19:55

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 7:52PM
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cj47_gw

LOL, I love this thread. I also love experimenting with world cuisines, but it sure makes for an interesting pantry. Anybody have an idea of what to do with a can of nopalitos? I was in a Mexican grocery and it looked interesting, but I have no idea what to do with it now. :-)

I can help with the candied ginger, though--I make my own ginger simple syrup and so end up with a lot of candied ginger left from that. It freezes well. I dice it up fine and throw a handful into apple pies or anything made with apples. It adds a beautiful, fresh tasting kick, and it sort of dissapears so people know there's something in there that tastes good but they can't say exactly what. :-) I also toss it into oatmeal, throw a slice or two into tea or lemonade, and add it to muffins and other baked goods. It is also good for motion sickness--I gave my brother a bag of it when his family drove cross country and it kept my nephew's tummies settled.

Cj

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 9:43PM
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seasyde

My most recent "find" is a bar of white chocolate. Really not sure why I bought it. We rarely eat dessert, and when we do white chocolate isn't high on our list of favorites. I'm tempted to offer it to a friend who does bake with it. Only thing is I have no idea how long its been in the cupboard. Does this stuff go bad?

Wish I could find a couple of extra cans of coconut milk - we like curry!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 9:50PM
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jimster

Cj,

Slice the nopalitos (if they aren't already sliced) in strips about the width of a pencil. Dress them with vinaigrette or similar dressing. Include some tomato, onion or other fresh salad vegetables.

I like ginger ice cream.

Jim

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 10:02PM
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jojoco

The candied ginger is for Annie's gingersnap cookies. The best cookies ever. Even if you think you don't like ginger.

As far as the coconut milk goes, this mystery, as to the original recipe that must have been posted here, calling for coconut milk, has been going around for several years. I suggest someone find a good pina colada recipe and we all open our collective cans in a group toast.

(Actually, I'll have to buy more as I use it for a Thai red curry sauce often).

Jo

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 10:22PM
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tami_ohio

Now if someone could find the scalloped potatoe recipe I have in a book somewhere that calls for whipping cream..... I made them once, they were really good. I haven't been able to find it since. And it's been 2 years this Easter. I have lots of stuff in my pantry that I have no idea why!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 7:55PM
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KatieC

Candied ginger dipped in chocolate...mmmmm... I've cooked basmati rice in coconut milk, and made rice pudding with it. And peanut sauces ...and curries. Hearts of palm I can't help with. I have a can of those myself.

We have 64 sq ft of pantry with at least three shelves of odd ingredients and seasonings that I've collected. I tend to go overboard when I visit new stores. Sometimes I'll grab a couple of ingredients and google them for inspiration. I just found a little tub yellow curry paste stuck behind some jars. I've never tried it, but I sense something spicy for dinner this weekend.

A friend of mine runs our local food bank. I always get a raised eyebrow when I do my annual pantry cleanout/donation, lol.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 8:29PM
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jimster

"I'll bet that you and I are not the only CFers who have an ancient can of hearts of palm in the pantry."

"Hearts of palm I can't help with. I have a can of those myself."

That makes three of us. I rest my case! :-)

Jim

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 8:36PM
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