Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Striking Oil!

We already covered flavored vinegars...now we are going to cover oils to put in your pantry.
These oils are good for many uses....vinegarettes, grilling, frying, etc. Anywhere you would use a non-flavored oil.

I normally only use three types of oil in cooking, baking, etc.
Olive Oil (usually extra-virgin olive oil)
Sunflower seed oil
Coconut Oil

Now, Coconut oil deserves it own entire post, so we'll ignore that wonderful product of nature right now and concentrate on the other two.

You can also use canola oil (aka rapeseed oil...they use the name *canola* to make it sound more consumer friendly!)

I usually use the Extra Virgin Olive Oil for those flavored oils intended for salad dressings and grilling. If I plan on frying food in the oil, I use the sunflower seed oil (or canola oil).

What you'll need:
Pint jars (or go whole hog and buy pretty bottles if you like)
Oils of choice.
Herbs, fruit, nuts, etc. for oil flavorings.

You can use a food processor to finely mince or dice your herbs, but I generally just chop my herbs and such rather coarsely.

Here are some great combos:
basil, oregano, onion, garlic
sage, dill, coriander
sun dried tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic
lemon rind, dill, fennel
rosemary, thyme, garlic
pine nut, basil, garlic
garlic, onion, hot peppers

I also like simple *one note* oils.
Sun-dried tomatoes are a great *one note* oil.

Basic recipe for that:
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup olive oil

Heat the olive oil until hot, but not simmering or boiling.
Put tomatoes in bottom of pint canning jar. Pour warm oil over tomatoes. Tightly cap.
Let rest in back of pantry three days, gently shaking jar once a day.
Drain oil through fine cheesecloth or a fine sieve (you do NOT want any *particulate* matter in the finished oil). Can or bottle strained oil. I generally use the oily tomatoes for cooking or put them in the compost heap.
Tomato oil is excellent for making an oil and vinegar drizzle on a summer salad or for brushing on steaks on the grill. Also good on fish!

Hot Cha Cha Oil
2 Habanero Peppers
1 Jalapeno Pepper
1 and 1/2 cups Olive Oil
WEAR GLOVES! You WILL need a pair of latex /rubber gloves to make this oil!

Carefully remove stem and seeds from peppers. Slice all three peppers into thin strips. Heat olive oil to very warm (no simmering/boiling). Put pepper strips into pint canning jar, pour oil over and cap tightly. Let set in back of pantry for 2 days, strain, discard pepper strips.
This oil is to be used sparingly. (Unless you are into very hot foods!)
Brush onto shrimp on the grill. Or fish or steak and chops. Add a few drops to pan when you are frying chicken to give it a spicy POP!

Citrus and Spice Oil
1/2 a lemon peel, cut in strips
1/2 a lime peel, cut in strips
1/4 orange peel, cut in strips
With ALL citrus peels, try to have as little of the white inner peel as possible, you want the yellow, green or orange skin, so to speak.
1 One inch piece of cinnamon stick
2 cloves
2 cups sunflower (my preference) or olive oil
Put the peels and the cinnamon and cloves in a quart canning jar. Warm the oil and pour over the peels and spices. Tightly cap. Set in pantry for 3 to 4 days, mix by turning gently.
This oil is lovely to use for salad dressings. Also good for frying bananas, apples and other fruit.
For cake recipes that use oil try substituting this oil (if you made it with sunflower oil) for the oil called for. Brush on chicken on the grill or that you bake/roast.

You make the other oils in the same manner.
Some folks also make their oils by putting the vegetable matter in the jar, filling the jar with oil, tightly capping the jar and them setting the jar outside in the sunshine for 3 days to a week, inverting the jar once a day.

Remember to label all oils with the type, date made and type of oil used.

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