Saturday, December 24, 2011

Pantry Staples - Cooking Oils

I now proudly present to you the second in this exciting series of essential cooking ingredients.

Yes, it's yet another riveting installation of pantry staples.

No.  Not those kind of staples.
Who writes these scripts?
Have you been typing on my computer again?

Cooking oils? Er, these are not cooking oils. 
Please, do not attempt to cook with these oils.

Next slide, please...

There, that's much more like it. 
Here we have unsalted butter, margarine and bacon joos 
(or bacon fat for those of you who don't watch Sandra Lee). 

Unsalted butter is the butter of choice.  This way you can control the amount of salt in the recipe.  You don't know how much salt the butter company has added.  But you know how much you put into the recipe.  Capice? 

Tub margarine is only used at our house for buttering bread.  And for the oddball recipe that insists that butter will not work in it.  Otherwise I only use butter in recipes.

Bacon joos (blame Sandra Lee for that moniker) is kept in the fridge until needed and then brought out and used in recipes that benefit from the richness of that bacon goodness.  Usually only a tablespoon or so is needed.  I use this for potatoes, pot roasts, macaroni and cheese, etc.

And here we have the rest of the cooking oils 
and fats that I keep on hand. 
Clockwise from the back left: 

Canola oil, use for shallow frying
Used vegetable oil for deep frying
Extra virgin olive oil, use for sauteing
Extra virgin olive oil that is kept out on the counter in an old green wine bottle that has been    fitted with a pour spout.  The dark green bottle is necessary to keep the light from breaking down the oil.
White truffle oil, use for finishing a dish.  This imparts a slightly earthy, mushroom flavor.
Sesame oil, used sparingly in Asian dishes.  This is a strongly flavored oil. Keep this in the fridge.
Olive oil in an aerosol spritzer 
Spray flour and oil in a can for the odd time I bake and need to grease and flour a pan.
Spray oil for coating pans
Mineral oil for sealing cutting boards*
Shortening, used in baking

*Okay, technically this is not a cooking oil.  But I do keep this in my kitchen, so I am including it.

In addition to these,
one can also find various flavored oils
in the store.

 Or you can make your own
at home.
For instance,
if you want herbed oil,
then heat extra virgin olive oil
over medium heat and add the herbs.
Heat for 3 to 5 minutes,
making sure that the herbs
have not browned.
Take off the heat and

Be very careful if you want to make
garlic oil, however,
as there is the threat of botulism involved.
Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!

Each of these cooking oils has its place in 
the kitchen.
Knowing when to use each in the kitchen
is half the battle and half the fun.

The one I use the most in my kitchen is 
the extra virgin olive oil.
I don't bother with having different grades
of olive oils on hand as I think that is 
a waste of my time and a waste of 
valuable kitchen space.
Instead, I buy the good stuff
at a warehouse club so I can save money.

If I need to deep fry, 
I use vegetable oil
as I have found that canola oil 
will never give you that lovely 
dark brown color that you want
from deep frying.

So there you have a brief tour into the
world of cooking oils.


Anonymous said...

Hey, I have that same huge jug of Bertolli in my pantry! Great minds think alike.

Funny story - last week a coworker brought brownies in that she had made from a mix and she used sesame oil, since that's what she had on hand. I couldn't bring myself to taste them because the smell was enough to knock your socks off. I heard that they tasted even worse than they smelled.

Merry Christmas, Marilyn! from your friend Vera Charles

Marilyn said...

Oh my. That sounds like a Sandra Lee arrusipee. You were very wise to not try a piece.

Merry Christmas to you and yours as well, Vera Charles!