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Monday, December 02, 2013

Finishing Oils

There are cooking oils, and then there are finishing oils. Finishing oils are used as a condiment, to finish a dish. They add flavor and texture and generally a little goes a long way. Use finishing oils on salads, pasta, pesto, vegetables and grilled meats. Some finishing oils can also be used in cooking or baking, but that's not their primary use. The less heat they are exposed to, the more nutritional value and the more you will be able to enjoy their flavor.

The roasted nut and seed oils from La Tourangelle are made from local ingredients, pressed in a traditional French oil mill. They are particularly great for salad dressings. If you are using pistachios, hazelnuts or walnuts, adding a splash of these roasted nut oils really intensifies the flavor. Because they are roasted, they have a natural sweetness to them. But they are very delicate and need to be stored in a cool dark place. You can also use them in baked goods, especially nut cakes and tossed with pasta. My favorite is the roasted pistachio. La Tourangelle offers plenty of recipes online.

This past Summer I was sent samples of 
Stoger Oils--tomato seed, chili seed and organic pumpkin seed oil. They are very intense, and really complement the raw or cooked flavors of tomatoes, chili and winter squash. They are not just infused, but made from the actual seeds of the fruits and vegetables. I liked the pumpkin seed oil best (it's also the least expensive), and used it in a butternut squash filling for an appetizer. Stoger recommends using the pumpkin seed oil on ice cream too! It has a rich warm flavor with a hint of sweetness. The tomato oil definitely reminds me of the smell of tomatoes cooked in olive oil.

If you're interested in local oils, you need to check out Round Pond Estate. In addition to making a reasonably priced Rutherford Cabernet, they have a beautiful garden and they not only grow olives, but press them at their own olive oil mill. They offer various opportunities for the public to visit the olive mill and experience fresh olive oil. The next “Fresh Olive Oil Day” is on December 8. Free and open to the public with a reservation (required), Fresh Olive Oil Day gives you the chance to taste different oil varieties both Spanish and Italian, before they are blended and get the freshest, purest oil available. The cost to purchase the fresh pressed oil is 12 cents/ml, with a 250ml minimum. Empty bottles will be provided by Round Pond at $4 per bottle.

Nudo offers the opportunity to "adopt" an olive tree and reap the rewards in olive oil. You choose the orchard and variety of oil tree and receive oil shipments. It's a really unique idea and just reading the different stories behind the different groves transports you. Today only, December 2, 2013, Nudo is offering $20 off your first delivery on all Adopt-an-Olive-Tree personal subscriptions (just use code CYBERNUD69), as well as 20% off their Adopt an Olive Tree gifts (with code CYBERNUD49).

You can also buy extra virgin olive oils from Nudo. I've tried their citrus oils at the Fancy Food Show and recommend them. Today only (December 2, 2013) use the code AMYCITRUS to receive 50% off the Citrus Club Box, which contains a tin each of extra virgin olive oil, zesty lemon oil, and stoneground mandarin oil. Perfect for any dish that needs some brightness.  $19 with discount code.

Or use the code AMYFLAVOR to receive 40% off the Flavor Box Set, which contains 8 tins of Nudo's freshly pressed, beautifully packaged flavored olive oils, including Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lemon, Chili, Mandarin, Thyme, Basil, Garlic, and Mint. $60 with discount code.

Disclaimer: I received some, but not all  of these oils as review samples. I was not paid to write this post and there are no affiliate links.