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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Oil/Vinegar/Dressing

RECIPE: Flavorful Tofu Salad Dressing

Tofu salsa verde makes a delicious salad dressing and all-around condiment. Photo courtesy House Foods.

 

We’re in an Asian state of mind today; in addition to this homemade ramen soup recipe, we whipped up a green salad with a salsa verde tofu dressing.

Tofu is a wonderful ingredient for salad dressing, adding protein and fiber to a condiment that typically has neither.

This recipe was created by Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, stars of Cooking Channel’s show Extra Virgin. They used House Foods Organic Soft Tofu, but you can use any soft/silken tofu.

ABOUT SALSA VERDE

Salsa verde is a cold rustic sauce/dressing that typically includes anchovies, capers, garlic, olive oil, onion, parsley, vinegar and sometimes, mustard. The parsley provides a green tint. Salsa verde is used as a condiment or dipping sauce for meats, fish, poultry, or vegetables.

 

In some regions, cubed bread is soaked in vinegar and then blended with the other ingredients, creating an emulsion somewhat similar to a vinaigrette.

Another variation of the recipe, gremolata, is the traditional accompaniment to osso bucco, the popular braised veal shank dish.

Salsa verde is a great accent to many dishes. And because it’s so flavorful, you can cut back on added salt.

Use it as a condiment with meat (from lamb, pork or rib roast to veal and venison), poultry, pasta, potatoes and other vegetables (we love it with sautéed string beans) or salad.

The salsa verde concept probably originated in the Near East some 2,000 years old. The Roman Legions brought it back home to Italy, from where it traveled to other countries.

In their recipe, Debi and Gabriele substitute tofu for the olive oil.

 

HEARTS OF ROMAINE SALAD WITH TOFU SALSA VERDE (SALAD DRESSING)

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/2 package (14 ounces) soft (silken) tofu
  • 1/3 cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers (packed in vinegar)
  • 2 oil-packed anchovies
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 hearts of romaine, chopped, and any other desired salad ingredients
  •  

    Use soft tofu or silken tofu. Photo courtesy
    HouseFoods.com.

     
     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE tofu, parsley, capers, anchovies, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor and blend until smooth.

    2. PLACE romaine and other salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss with salsa verde. Leftover dressing can be kept refrigerated in a covered container for 2 days.

    VARIATION: To make this recipe vegetarian/vegan, replace the anchovies with 2 more teaspoons of capers.

    Find more delicious recipes with tofu at House-Foods.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pickle Vinaigrette

    Save that brine: It makes great vinaigrette.
    Photo courtesy Rick’s Picks.

     

    Here’s another condiment tip from chef Johnny Gnall:

    PICKLING BRINE + OIL = VINAIGRETTE

    It couldn’t be simpler: The next time you finish a jar of your favorite pickled treat, be it jalapeños, pepperoncinis or good, old-fashioned dill pickles, save the brine for vinaigrettes.

  • Depending on how much flavoring inclusions it contains (peppercorns, garlic cloves and so forth) you may want to strain the brine. Or you may like the rustic texture and the flavor they impart, in which case, keep them.
  • Then, substitute the brine for everyday vinegar and make a salad dressing with a unique and pleasing punch. Standard vinaigrette proportion: 1 tablespoon vinegar or other acid and three tablespoons oil.
  • Bear in mind, you may find more flavorful results with brines from smaller, more artisan brands. Typical supermarket brands use brines that are overly salty and lack the complexity of fresh herbs, peppercorns and other seasonings. I will say, however, that there is nothing wrong with a Vlasic vinaigrette.
  •  

  • Regardless of which you use, taste and/or season your vinaigrette dutifully as you make it: Different brands will have significantly different amounts of salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid to throw in a spoonful of honey, sugar or other sweetener to soften a particularly strong bite.
  •  
    MORE USES FOR PICKLE BRINE

    Here are five more ways to use pickle brine from our favorite artisan pickle-maker, Rick’s Picks.

    MORE CONDIMENT TIPS FROM CHEF JOHNNY

    Chef Johnny Gnall shows how easy it is to combine two ordinary condiments into a “gourmet” condiment.

  • Gourmet Condiments, Part 1
  • Gourmet Condiments, Part 2
  •  

    MORE OF OUR FAVORITE CONDIMENTS & CONDIMENT RECIPES

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pressed Seed Oils


    Chef Johnny Gnall ventured beyond sesame seed oil to try other oils pressed from seeds. He discovered several lines from Austria and Slovenia, and his suggestions follow. If you have questions or suggestions for tips, email Chef Johnny.

    Among the various trending food products at a recent trade show, seeds and oils seemed to be particularly popular items. Both are hailed for their health benefits as well as their versatility; they can be folded into a recipe for a subtle note or used to finish it for a more up-front salutation to flavor.

    Only pumpkin seed oil seems to have created a presence among American foodies. But I had the opportunity to sample a larger selection of gourmet pressed seed oils, from Stoger (pronounced SHTOO-ger), a family farm in Neuruppersdorf, Austria.

    The seeds are slowly roasted and cold pressed in a 100% natural process. There’s no fruit flesh in these oils—just the seeds of the fruit.

    The result is a particularly vibrant color and a distinct flavor that you will not find in infused oils (where the flesh is infused in olive oil to flavor it). As with infused oils, each seed’s oil tastes of the fruit into which it would have grown, but in a way you’ve never experienced before, slick and satisfying as it lingers on your palate.

    Stöger makes four varieties of seed oil: cherry, chile, pumpkin and tomato. They’re a boon to cooks looking for flavorful new ingredients. A few suggestions for each oil follow; you can buy them from Culinary-Imports.com.

     

    Cherry seed oil: a new and exciting ingredient for American cooks. Photo courtesy Culinary imports.

     

    Cherry Seed Oil

    Definitely packing the most flavor of the four oils, the cherry seed oil had me in love before I even tasted it. Its mild, pleasant aroma is floral and beguiling. It smells deliciously “pink,” although I realize how strange that sounds.

    The cherry flavor is round and prominent, but its delivery is different from any cherry product you’ve ever tried. I would recommend this oil on almost anything sweet, from vanilla ice cream, to granola, to a piece of fruit that may need dressing up. You could also add a small amount to a salad dressing (to complement the olive oil or other oil), or to some whipped cream for a bold, sweet take on dessert topping.

    The brilliant red color of the oil adds a visual pop to anything it hits. Drizzle it over cheese, bread or chocolate: It’s a great “secret ingredient.”

     

    Tomato seed oil from Weingut Umathum,
    another Austrian producer. Photo courtesy
    Weingut Umathum.

     

    Chile Seed Oil

    Chile seed oil packs a kick, but in quite a manageable way: The heat from the chile stays on the tip of your tongue, as opposed to taking over your whole mouth, and the fat in the oil helps to tame some of the fire. (The importer wrote that it’s “devilishly hot, but in an angelic way.”)

    If you try it plain, you may think that chile oil tastes distinctly like buffalo wings, but without the saltiness or tanginess. For this reason, I recommend it drizzled over grilled chicken, or any chicken for that matter.

    It’s also a great way to add a controllable heat to dressings and marinades, when adding the entire chile or its seeds might make things a bit too fiery. Add a couple of drops to pasta sauce, appetizer spreads, as a soup garnish or—surprise!—drizzled over chocolate ice cream.

    For a quick snack, you can sprinkle chile seed oil over nuts or popcorn…but make sure to have an ice-cold beer nearby, just in case!

    Pumpkin Seed Oil

    Nutty and earthy, this pumpkin oil delivers subtle flavor notes and hints before the pumpkin flavor sets in. This is the most savory of the oils, and is a hit drizzled over squash risotto or pumpkin soup.

    Using the oil in conjunction with actual pumpkin or other squash will give you a nice contrast of different flavors, depending on how you cook your gourd. The oil is heavy in nuttiness but not really sweet, so try roasting the squash to get some sweet caramelization, then hit it with a few drops of pumpkin oil to bring out the full spectrum of the pumpkin.

    This dark green gourmet oil is also delicious in dressings, over potatoes of any kind and yes, drizzled over vanilla ice cream. Try adding some salt and pepper to the oil as a bread dipper, or drizzle it into an avocado.

    And you thought it was all about the pie!

     

    Tomato Seed Oil

    The mildest of the four oils, delivering a flavor reminiscent of sun-dried tomatoes, surprised me a great deal: Rarely do you experience tomato flavor without a hit of sweetness and/or acidity.

    Try drizzling tomato seed oil over garlic bread for a flavor reminiscent of marinara but still distinctly different from it. Use it in summery vinaigrettes, whether or not the salad you’re dressing has tomatoes. A few drops in a grilled cheese sandwich will add an unexpected but very complimentary a layer of flavor (it’s always fun to class up comfort foods).

    Use this exotic oil for finishing pasta dishes or as a cheese condiment, drizzled over cheese. It makes a delicious bread dipping sauce: Just add cracked pepper and grated Parmesan cheese.
      
    Seed oils are not inexpensive: 100 ml bottles of chile seed, cherry seed and tomato seed oils range from $29 to $39; pumpkin seed oil is $19. But the specialness is worth it, a little goes a long way, and any cook will appreciate a bottle as a gift.

    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE GOURMET OILS & RECIPES.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Roasted Nut Oils For Cooking

    We discovered wonderfully flavorful nut oils as a college student taking culinary trips to France. Our first experience was a mesclun and goat cheese salad with a walnut oil vinaigrette. The flavor was a revelation that inspired us to tote back numerous bottles of walnut oil, not knowing if we’d find it in the U.S.

    Today, fine nut oils are readily available at specialty food stores, waiting for you to discover the glories of almond oil, hazelnut oil, pecan oil, pistachio oil and walnut oil.* There are nut oil recipes galore for appetizers, salads, mains and desserts (here’s a good starter collection of recipes from La Tourangelle, a California producer of the finest nut oils).

    The production and use of nut oils is a time-honored tradition in France. Originally, each village had a mill that roasted and extracted the oil from nuts gathered by the area’s farmers. These exquisite oils were used in both the local, hearty, rustic fare and in the haute cuisine of the finest restaurants of Paris.

     

    Not just for salad: Nut oils add deep flavor to desserts and other courses. Photo courtesy La Tourangelle.

     

    *All nuts contain oil. Almond oil, beech nut oil, cashew oil, hazelnut oil, macadamia oil, pecan oil, pistachio oil and walnut oil are the most popular for culinary use. They are packed with omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids, which significantly reduce the risk of a cardiovascular related disease (olive oil is an excellent source of omega 9 but has no omega 3). Nut oil is also used in cosmetics, and was used by Renaissance painters to make their oil paints.
      

    Following the industrialization of food production, just a handful of mills remain. The roasted artisan oils they make are very different from the far less expensive refined nut oils that are readily available in natural food stores and other markets (more about that below).
      
    ROASTED NUT OILS VS. REFINED NUT OILS

    Think of it as the difference between extra virgin olive oil and refined olive oil:

    Roasted nut oils, which are artisan produced from the best quality nuts available, require much more effort to extract the oil. The nuts are hand roasted in cast iron kettles, then expeller-pressed, lightly filtered and bottled. The result is a rich color, aroma and taste. Roasted nut oil is costly; but you need only a small amount to add flavor.

    Refined nut oils are made from what the industry calls nut oil stock: substandard nuts sold at discounted prices to oil manufacturers. The nuts are expeller-pressed in a screw press and then refined to remove impurities. Many of the antioxidants are removed during the refining process. The result is 100% pure nut oil but with no flavor, no aroma and pale color.
      
    HOW TO STORE NUT OILS

    Nut oils have a short shelf life. Buy a small bottle at a time, unless you find yourself using larger quantities.

    A bottle of nut oil should be stored in a cool, dark place and used within four months. It can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for a year.

    If refrigerated, the oil will become cloudy. This doesn’t affect its taste or use; and left at room temperature for 20 minutes, it will become clear again.

      

    Discover more about nut oils in our review of La Tourangelle nut oils, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

    Find more of our favorite oils and recipes in our Gourmet Oil & Vinegar Section.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Versatile Parsley Vinaigrette

    Mince extra parsley for a vinaigrette and
    sauce. Photo courtesy Andrews McMeel
    Publishing.

     

    Have leftover parsley? Many of us keep unused stalks until they wilt, yellow and lose their flavor.

    Don’t let that happen: Fresh parsley adds punch to a vinaigrette—and not just for salads. Use a parsley vinaigrette with:

  • Bean salad
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Cole slaw
  • Green salad
  • Potato salad
  • Chicken, tuna or seafood salad salad
  • Grilled meat or poultry
  • Grilled or sautéed fish and seafood
  • Cooked vegetables
  •  
    Here’s a recipe from chef Seamus Mullen’s inspired cookbook, Hero Food: How Cooking with Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better.

     

    PARSLEY VINAIGRETTE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1 handful fresh parsley leaves and stems, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tablespoon Champagne vinegar (substitute: white wine vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE. Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and bright green.

    2. WHISK. Add mixture to a bowl and whisk in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
     
     
    PARSLEY VINAIGRETTE VS. CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

    Chimichurri, a spicy vinegar-parsley sauce, is essentially the same recipe without the lemon juice: finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, vinegar (red or white), plus red pepper flakes for heat.

    Chimichurri is the leading condiment in Argentina and Uruguay. It’s the national equivalent of ketchup in the U.S. or salsa in Mexico, served with grilled meat and fish.

    As the story goes, the name evolved from “Jimmy McCurry,” an Irishman who developed the recipe. The sauce was popular but “Jimmy McCurry” was difficult for Argentineans to say, so it became “chimichurri.”

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Nut Vinaigrette

    Some people like to toss nuts atop a salad for taste and protein (toast the nuts first for even better flavor—here’s how).

    So instead of adding a teaspoon of Dijon mustard to flavor your vinagrette, try a ground nuts. Pistachio is delicious, as are pecan and walnut. But play with whatever you have on hand.

    If the recipe below is not nutty enough for you, add more by the teaspoonful until you reach your desired nuttiness (test the vinaigrette by dipping some lettuce into it, rather than tasting off the spoon).

    Use this ratio to start, whisking together:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon wine or sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground nuts
  •  
    Dress your favorite greens or other vegetables. You can still toss some whole or chopped nuts onto the salad for even more flavor and texture.

     

    Pistachio vinaigrette in the blender. Photo and concept courtesy Chef Michael O’Boyle, ChickenFriedGourmet.com.

     

    HOW ABOUT NUT OIL?

    There is nothing more delicious in a vinaigrette than a fine nut oil. Walnut oil is a staple of our vinaigrettes and one of our favorite easy salad courses, mixed baby greens with a circle of goat cheese and a garnish of beets (try matchsticks or whole baby beets—don’t use pickled beets as the pickling liquid will clash with the dressing).

    We typically buy nut oils from La Tourangelle, a California company that is reliably excellent (it was a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week—read the review). Give a can as a gift to a fellow food lover.

  • Roasted Almond Oil
  • Roasted Hazelnut Oil
  • Roasted Pecan Oil
  • Roasted Walnut Oil
  • Roasted Pistachio Oil
  •  

    Once you open the container, keep it in the fridge. You’ll need to let it come to room temperature going forward (quick trick: put the bottle in a container of hot water), but it helps to keep the oil fresh.

    Another suggestion: When you first start to use nut oil, use 2 tablespoons plus one tablespoon olive oil in the vinaigrette ratio. Some people prefer a milder nut taste.

    Salad is about to taste a whole lot better!

    Find more of our favorite oils and salad dressings.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Mother’s Day Gifts

    Looking for something special for Mother’s Day?

    Of the products we’ve tried recently, here’s what we’re selected for our mother, aunt and other special moms:

  • Georgie’s English Scones. The scones arrive frozen, along with delicious lemon curd. You can also send ready-to-bake shortbread in the hard-to-find, festive petticoat tails (triangle) shape.
  • Kimberley Artisan Vinegars. Handcrafted in California, these organic vinegars have a depth of flavor and richness that’s different and delightful.
  • Clase Azul Reposado Tequila. The most exciting Tequila we’ve ever had, in a stunning reusable majolica earthenware carafe.
  • The Corksicle. Forget the ice bucket: This is the best way to keep your wine chilled on the table.
  •  
    See the full review for details.
     
    FOOD FACTS

  • The history of scones
  • The history of shortbread
  • The history of Tequila
  • The history of vinegar
  •  

    Scones, fresh from the oven, are a treat for Mom. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Add Miso To Your Meals

    Genji Miso Dressing. Photo by Elvira Kalviste
    | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Genji Inc. is a purveyor of sushi to 143 Whole Foods Markets and other food stores across the U.S. They supply the sushi bar and the staff who make the sushi.

    Sushi bar customers loved the ginger miso salad dressing so much that the company bottled it. Consumers can purchase it from the sushi case in two versions: regular Ginger Miso dressing and Spicy Ginger Miso dressing, which is pretty spicy (the heat level is like hot salsa—use it to get the heat-lovers in your family to eat more salad).

    The tasty, vegan dressings are made from white miso, canola oil and rice vinegar, flavored with onion, pickled ginger, soy sauce and lemon juice. The miso adds unique flavor not found in Western salad dressings—along with a pile of health benefits (more about them below). A two-tablespoon serving has 80 calories, 7g total fat, 0 cholesterol, 320 mg sodium, 3 total carbs and 1 g protein.

    The dressings are very thick. Some people love thick dressings, but your two-tablespoon portion size doesn’t go too far in coating a bowl of salad greens because it doesn’t “slide.”

     

    So we diluted the miso dressing 1:1 with salad oil to get more coverage without using half the bottle.

    WHAT IS MISO

    Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning made by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans, with salt and koji kin, a natural fungus. The mixture ferments for three months to three years, producing an enzyme-rich food. The longer the fermentation, the higher quality the miso.

    The result is a thick paste used to make sauces and spreads, to pickle vegetables and meats and to mix with dashi, a soup stock, to become miso soup (misoshiru). Westerners can add it to beans, grains, pasta, seafood dishes, spreads and dips, stews and numerous soups beyond misoshiru.

    Here’s an entire book of delicious miso cookery. It also shows you how to make miso paste at home, from scratch.

    The less ambitious among us can buy miso paste in the international section of supermarkets, in Asian markets and in health food stores.

    There are different types of miso paste, based on whether they are made with bean malt, rice malt or wheat malt. Each type of miso paste can be made into either red miso or white miso, and different miso pastes are used in different recipes.

    High in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, miso is widely used in Japan, both in traditional and modern cooking. Different varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity and savory, based on fermentation process, length of fermentation and added ingredients (rice or other grains can be added in addition to barley).

     

    THE ANCIENT HISTORY OF MISO

    While miso is strongly identified with Japan, the predecessor of today’s miso probably originated in China as a salt-fermented food called chiang. It was originally made with animal proteins—meat or fish.

    Over time, soybeans were substituted for the animal proteins. The first written record of this is from Chimin Yaushu, who created what is perhaps the oldest agricultural encyclopedia in the world (written between 535 and 550 C.E.). He indicates that fermented soybean foods had been prepared for centuries.

    Miso probably arrived in Japan with the introduction of Buddhism, in that same century. To use a modern expression, it was a big hit, and quickly became a staple of the Japanese diet.

    All Japanese miso varieties are made with fermented soybeans, but there are broad district and regional differences based on local tradition and preferences.

     

    If you can’t find unpasteurized miso locally, you can buy it online. The South River line makes different varieties of miso (including barley, chickpea and brown rice misos), all of which are certified organic.

     

    THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF MISO

    Miso is a highly nutritious food. It is a “perfect protein,” containing all eight of the essential amino acids.

  • General health. Miso is low in fat and cholesterol-free. It contains three important antioxidant groups: isoflavones, estrogen-based antioxidants that fight hot flashes; saponins, phytochemicals that may reduce elevated cholesterol levels and may fight against breast, colon, prostate and uterine cancers; and phytosterols, which also may be beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels.
  • Protein. The fermented soybeans create a high-quality protein that is easily digested.
  • Digestion. Miso aids in the digestion of other foods. Unpasteurized miso (there is also shelf-stable, pasteurized miso) contains natural digestive enzymes and lactic acid bacteria (the lactobacillus found in yogurt). Since these live organisms die at temperatures higher than 104°F, unpasteurized miso should never be cooked at high heat. For miso soup, the paste is stirred into the dashi toward the conclusion of cooking.
  • Detoxification. Zybicolin, an active ingredient in miso, has been found to be effective in detoxifying elements that are taken into the body through chemicals in the soil and food system, industrial pollution and radioactivity.
  •  
    According to Japanese mythology, miso is a gift to mankind from the gods, to assure lasting happiness, health and longevity. We can’t make any guarantees, but we think you’ll like it.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Your Own Curry Powder & Chile Oil

    Homemade curry powder. Photo by Magda S.
    | Wikimedia.

     

    Today’s tip is a teaching moment from Chef Johnny Gnall. If you have questions or suggestions for tips, email Chef Johnny.

    If you produce your own seasonings, you have the discretion to alter them to fit your preferences, whether they be increasing the heat, decreasing the garlic or making whatever changes suit you.

    Here are two Asian seasonings for you to make, store and use: curry powder and chile oil. They’re easy to make, and you can use them in everything from breakfast eggs and luncheon salads to dinner recipes.

    You can give them as gifts, too: delicious ingredients with a personal touch.

    Make them in small batches at first, until you reach a level of comfort with the process. Once you have it down, you can make quarts or more at a time and have them in your pantry for use in specific recipes, or to experiment with—or that last-minute gift.

     

    MAKE YOUR OWN CURRY POWDER

    This recipe is for a very basic curry powder. Curry powders you buy at the grocery store tend to be pretty generic (especially the domestic products made for the “American palate”), so you really are better off creating your own. It will save you money and enable you to bring out the flavors that you prefer. Throughout India and Asia, each household and restaurant has its proprietary recipe.

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup ground coriander
  • 1/3 cup ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard seed
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  •  
    Preparation

    1. It’s a good idea to toast your spices in a pan over medium high heat, tossing as you do so; it will make your curry powder that much more aromatic and flavorful.

    2. You can use a food processor or blender to combine the spices, or just mix them thoroughly with a wire whisk. Mix thoroughly and store in a tightly-capped jar or bottle.

    VARIATIONS: Turmeric gives curry powder its orange/yellow color; cayenne, ginger and chili powder provide the heat. As you play around with the proportions, add the spices by the teaspoon. These spices are by no means the only acceptable ones for a curry powder. Try asafoetida, black cardamom, black pepper, caraway, cayenne (red pepper), cinnamon, clove, fennel seed, fenugreek, garlic, green cardamom, long pepper, mustard seed and/or nutmeg. If something smells or tastes right to you, give it a try.

    ADDITIONAL TIP: Save empty spice bottles and refill them with our homemade blends.

     

    MAKE YOUR OWN CHILE OIL

    This recipe is for a fermented chile oil—much more complex than a store-bought chile oil.

    I absolutely love oils like this. The fermentation develops the flavor in a unique way and brings out umami, which makes a recipe that much better.

    Drizzle it into soups for a garnish-with-a-kick; add some to salad dressings, sauces and marinades; use as a dipping oil; finish a sauté. It can substitute wherever oil is used as a condiment, alone or in combination with a mild oil.

    Ingredients

  • 1 pint red chile flakes
  • 1/2 cup of fermented black beans (available in Asian markets or online)
  • 1/4 cup sliced ginger
  • 10 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 quart canola oil or rice bran oil
  •  

    Homemade chile oil. Photo courtesy Caviar Russe | New York City.

     

    Preparation

    1. Combine the flavor ingredients in the oil and heat over medium-low heat, to about 150°F (use a kitchen thermometer).

    2. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cool, transfer to a jar or other sealable container and cap tightly.

    3. Let the mixture sit for at least a week, preferably two weeks; then it’s ready to go. It’s interesting to see how the favors develop and change as the fermentation process takes place.

    4. Once you’ve made a successful (to your preferences) batch, you can try versions with other herbs and aromatics. For gifts, tie a ribbon around the neck of a bottle and use your computer printer to create a gift label.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 7 Uses For Flat Olive Oil

    Properly stored, olive oil will keep longer than other edible oils: up to two years. However, once opened, it is best to use the oil within 60 to 90 days. (Some varietals remain fresh much longer due to their acid structure, but this is a good rule of thumb.)

    So, buy the size that you need and use a Sharpie to mark the bottle with the date you opened it. And keep it away from light and heat.

    When oils turn rancid, they take on an unpleasant musty aroma and flavor, and are best poured down the drain. But if you find that the bottle has simply turned flat and you don’t like the taste, here are other uses for it, courtesy of OliveOilShop.com:

    1. Make Homemade “Lemon Pledge.” 
    Combine 2 parts olive oil and 1 part lemon juice in a bowl or a clean spray bottle. Using a circular motion and following the grain of the wood, apply or spray a thin coat onto the wood surface. Let it stand for 5 minutes, then use a clean, dry, soft cloth and buff to a deep shine.

    2. Remove Spots From Wood Floors & Furniture. If you have water or alcohol spots on polished wood or furniture, simply rub a little olive oil on the spot. Let it soak in, then gently rub off any excess oil.

     

    Olive oils from Terra Medi. Read our review.

     

    3. Remove Stuck-On Labels. Sometimes, adhesive-backed labels stick to counters and tabletops. Don’t try to scrape off the paper. Instead, dab a little olive oil on it, let the oil soak in for a few minutes and then remove the paper by rubbing it with your fingers.

    4. Remove Paint From Hair & Skin. If you’ve gotten spattered while painting, moisten a cotton ball some olive oil and gently rub it into skin or hair. It will act as a solvent to remove paint, and it is not harsh like turpentine and other chemical solvents.

    5. Preserve Gardening Tools. Clippers, pruning shears and trowels can benefit from leftover olive oil. Before putting the tools away, clean off any dirt or grime. Then lightly oil the tool with a small amount of olive oil on a cloth. The oil guards against dirt buildup and no rust, so your tools will last longer. Keep the bottle in your garage or tool shed; put it in a spray bottle or mister to prevent glass breakage.

    6. Lubricate Hinges. Before there was WD-50, there was olive oil. To lubricate squeaky hinges on doors, put a small amount of olive oil at the top of the hinge and let the drops of oil run down by moving the hinge back and forth. Wipe off the excess with a cloth. This also works on the oven door, refrigerator doors, tool box latch, plastic coolers and other latches.

    7. Hair Conditioner. Before commercial hair conditioners, women used olive oil. Measure 1/2 cup of olive oil. Wet your hair, then warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil at a time in your palms. Massage it into your scalp in a circular motion. Repeat until the entire scalp has been massaged. Rub the ends of your hair with the remaining oil. Then cover your hair with a plastic bag, secure with hair clip or bobby pins, and allow the oil to remain for 30-60 minutes. (If you have a heat cap, use it). Rinse and shampoo.

    25 More Uses For Olive Oil.

      

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