Tuesday, July 31, 2012

the tryanny of olive oil

Inside this murky jar lurks a fantastic taste sensation, the likes of which the world has never seen.  Lemongrass pickles, the brined kind.  Make by Skipper.  I can't even believe how good these two flavors are together.  As soon as the pickles are gone (they're going quick) I plan to stick some hard boiled egg up in there (the jar).

I've been thinking about this post for a while, mostly because I haven't been able to find any high-quality canola oil for months (I've looked at the Davis co-op and Taylors and Corti bros).  Yeah, I know olive oil has good fat and yadda yadda but it's practically turned into a religion at this point.  There are other oils!
 Here is the calorie breakdown for some oils (per tbsp):

peanut: 119
walnut: 120
olive: 120
canola: 124
sesame oil: 120
grapeseed: 120
avocado oil: 120

It's nice to have a variety oils, since olive oil is not the best for frying (low smoke point) and different oils can allow other flavors to shine through in vinaigrette.  I like canola for a dijon vinaigrette (when I can fucking find it!).  I like walnut oil for a nutty salad dressing or for making granola.  This was a revelation to me, I always had an assumption that sesame oil had crazy high calories and used it super sparingly.  Not anymore!

Break out of the olive oil jail!  It reminds me of people eating margarine (which I grew up with ALWAYS, gross), although it's not the same since olive oil isn't bad for you.  But people just assumed margarine was "better" for you and it turned out to be worse!  Plus, I am lucky enough to have a naturally very healthy heart, so I'm not even gonna worry about it.

That reminds me, I had a delicious snack at a foodtruck in SF, with a burger, in lieu of fries: piping hot, barely blanched big green beans, coated in sesame oil and salt, and some cayenne. 


Anonymous said...

Be sure to store most of that stuff in the fridge. It's totally depressing to find that your $15 tiny bottle of walnut oil or avocado oil is rancid after a couple weeks of summer heat. Olive and canola are sturdy at least.


Caroline said...

I am also a fan of sunflower oil!

beckler said...

yeah, I've had my walnut oil in the fridge and it's going on probably 3 months and is ok

undercover caterer said...

I am partial to grape seed oil for a neutral in dressings and such. I really only use decent olive oil for finishing dishes. I have some generic olive oil (not extra virgin) to use for sautéing.
Sesame oil has a super low smoke point too, mostly use for finishing things or in dressing.

beckler said...

Gotta get some grapeseed oil, or as the rest of the world calls it, rapeseed oil (right?)

Anonymous said...

Grapeseed oil is different from rapeseed oil. Rapeseed oil is what we now call canola oil.

Beth said...

Apparently Canola oil is all controversial now. I've gotten a couple of crazy-sounding e-mails about how it is very bad for you and potentially toxic. They sell a couple of kinds at the Sac Natural Foods Co-Op, though.

Anonymous said...

Rapeseed oil used to be toxic. It was originally used only as a fuel oil and a lubricant. Through selective breeding and other horticulture-y stuff varieties were created that were low in the acid that was the problem. ("Canola" = "Canadian Oil Low Acidity.") I don't know if the current fears are people with incomplete knowledge or if there is some new concern. All fats become mildly semi-toxic when heated, which any raw foodist will be glad to tell you all about at length. But I don't know if canola is any different from other oils in this regard.

Anonymous said...

A quick google search on "rapeseed oil" reveals a pretty good wikipedia article & a Snopes article about the inaccurate fears of canola oil. Rapeseed oil sold for industrial uses is toxic. Canola oil sold for human consumption is not.