Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Disturbingly Oily

I had a very disturbing day a few days ago.

Disturbing because I thought, all innocent like, that we had moved beyond this issue. I truly thought it was something that I could put my culinary mind at rest about. But, alas. Apparently not. People still do not understand the different uses for the variety of oils out there. They, amazingly, still think getting one "EVOO" (May you burn in a bath of it Rachael Ray) is perfectly acceptable for all uses in the kitchen.


Stop it! Just STOP!
Ok. First of all. No self respecting Chef goes about in the kitchen saying "EVOO". They just don't. I think they would probably be taken to the walk-in and stabbed quietly a few times if they did. So Stop it. Now. It's a redundancy. If you have Olive Oil in your kitchen. It better be extra virgin. Or you lose your chef card.

Moving On.

There are SO Many different Oils to cook with it's ridiculous. Nut oils. Grape Seed oils. Different Olive oils. All dependent on what you want to do. How high of a temp you want to cook with.

Quick run down of a very few...

Nut Oils:  Great for high high temp cooking. Like Saute. They have a very high temp burn point. Meaning that you can get them up to a really high temperature before your pan bursts into flames if you forget to put something (like the food you're cooking) into it. You can see the burn point of an oil by carefully watching for the slight shimmer of the oil in the pan, then it starts to smoke a little. That's the burn point.  Nut Oils get really hot before they do this. They're great for seasoning cast iron pans for just this reason. However. If you have a nut allergy. DO NOT USE! Grape seed Oils are the next best thing.

Grape Seed Oils: Again. High Burn Point. Lighter flavor then nut oils. They don't have the allergy issues. Some people feel they are too fruity.

Coconut Oil: This has a med burn point. But it's great for baking. You can use it for sauteing, because it does impart a wonderful flavor, but you have to be careful. Quick. Have your prep done.

Mmmm. Tasty...
Olive Oil: Extra Virgin. The workhorse of the kitchen. However. The Beauty of Olive Oil is the surprising depth of flavor in the small 'vineyard' offerings. Much like wine, olive oil has different flavors if it is handled and stored differently. So this is a great way to have a cheap, healthy salad oil on hand for the summer. Find a local Co-op, or Specialty store. Do an olive oil tasting. I'm not kidding. You will be amazed at the range of flavors.

Also. Light and heat are not a great way to store your oils. So right out there by your stove top? Bad. Unless you use them at a rapid rate. I generally get a big can of Olive Oil, and transfer to a more useable container that I keep by my stove top. But the main can is kept in a cool dark place. You know your oil, Any type of oil, has gone bad when it smells rancid. Smell it. Does it smell like car oil? Or Gasoline? Or Vaseline? It's gone bad. Throw it away. There is nothing you can do. No secret culinary tricks. Just throw it away.

And not down the sink, idiot. That will clog your drain.

So the guy next to me in line at the grocery store said, "Just get the Crisco Brand Olive Oil, we can put that on the salads. It all tastes the same."

First of all. Crisco makes an Olive Oil?! Second of all, CRISCO MAKES AN OLIVE OIL!?

Kill me.


  1. I was recently chastised by a health-conscious friend when I described the numerous oils I have in my house (I'm a sucker for them, and for vinegars).

    I have a lot of food grade coconut oil in my house which I've used in home cosmetics, but never in baking. It's something I want to try.

    1. I have a hard time biting my tongue when people get going on how "unhealthy" oil is for you. I have no idea where that comes from. Yah. If you drink a pint of it in one sitting. Sure. If I eat a pint of ice cream that's not so great either. Sigh. Common Sense and Moderation! We have to Live a Little! (How old was Julia Child when she died? And she had butter and wine and oil and All SORTS of stuff in her diet!)

  2. see, I never knew so much about oils. I usually have only two kinds: vegetable for baking and olive for sauteing (is that spelled right???). Can you use cocnut oil in place of vegetable in dessert recipes? Or would it give it too much of a cocunut flavor? Sadly, my moms are the cooks, not me.

    1. Vegetable for baking is fine, but yes you can sub coconut oil in dessert recipes. The flavor isn't really an issue because of the way you're using the oil and the type (liquid vs solid...there is solid coconut 'fat' that's used for stuff). And just having olive oil for sauteing is perfectly acceptable. :) If you do different TYPES of sautes like thai or chinese...try using a sesame oil. It's amazing the difference this little change will make in the flavor of your dish!

  3. wow--lots of good info here! saying hi from the az challenge!


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