Many years ago I posted about my default herb oil procedure, which I learned from The French Laundry Cookbook. In a nutshell:
- blanche herbs,
- shock in ice water,
- ring out as much moisture as possible,
- purée in a powerful blender with oil,
- let stand overnight (optional, but recommended),
- strain through a coffee filter.
Most of the herb oil recipes in The French Laundry Cookbook call for 4 cups of fresh herbs and 3/4 cup oil to yield only 1/3 cup herb oil.
I have sworn by this procedure for years. However recently I was reading the “Oils and Dressings” section at the back of the Eleven Madison Park cookbook, and while the Tarragon Oil follows the same … Continue reading.
I am very interested in foods that I only knew in their industrial form for decades before I understood what they actually were. Mayonnaise may be the supreme example. It was a ubiquitous component of my childhood. I’ve written about this before, but I sat at many family suppers that featured three different mayo-based salads side by side by side, what I call the holy trinity of Ontarian side dishes: cabbage salad, macaroni salad, and potato salad.
Mayonnaise was such a ubiquitous part of my youth it wasn’t until my mid twenties that it even occurred to me that mayonnaise must be made out of components.
So, what is mayonnaise? Mayonnaise is a sauce, an emulsion of oil and … Continue reading.
Styrian pumpkin seed oil (Steirisches Kürbiskernöl in German) is a remarkable artisan product.
Styria (Steiermarck in German) is a province in the southeastern part of Austria. Here and in parts of adjacent Slovenia they grow pumpkins that produce hull-less seeds. These seeds are roasted and pressed to produce a fabulous oil that puts all other pumpkin seed oils to shame. Whereas most North American versions are a yellow-brown colour, Styrian pumpkin seed oil is deep forest green, and powerfully redolent of roasted nuts.
Unfortunately I have not been able to find a high-quality Styrian pumpkin seed oil at any of the continental import shops in Edmonton like K & K. To get my fix I purchase online from … Continue reading.
Take a midsummer drive away from Edmonton in any direction and soon you will find fields of yellow flowers in radiant bloom. This is canola, and the oil pressed from its seeds is as common in Albertan pantries as the plants are to Albertan landscapes.
Canola is a Canadian invention. In fact, its name is an amalgam of the words “Canada oil low acid”. Canola is a type of rapeseed that has been bred to have a low erucic acid content.
What’s rapeseed, you ask? It’s a plant with an unfortunate name, ultimately derived from the Latin word for turnip, rapum, to which it is a close relative.
Allow me to expedite this explanation by quoting from the … Continue reading.
There are many compelling reasons to never buy salad dressings from the grocery store:
- You almost certainly already have the ingredients in your pantry to make a good dressing.
- A good dressing can be made in less than 90 seconds. Actually you can make enough dressing for a few weeks in 90 seconds.
- There are weird things in store-bought dressings, like calcium disodium EDTA and acetylated monoglycerides. They also usually contain a good deal of sugar or glucose-fructose; not necessarily a bad thing, but a fact of which many people are unaware.
Invest is some quality oil and vinegar, then never buy a Kraft dressing again.
The simplest dressing to make at home is vinaigrette, which is a French diminutive … Continue reading.