Oils and Other Flavor Options Pt II * Meatless Monday Special

 

Fat is the conduit for flavor. Yes, I said it, quote me.  In fact, professor of Foods and nutrition at Purdue University, Richard Mattes has done research that indicates that humans can also taste “fat”.  Which gives credibility to the the suspicion we all feel when a “fat free” version of a packaged food just does’nt taste as good.( *insert the fat free version of FIG NEWTONS)  The idea that humans could taste fat was introduced by French philosopher and physician Jean Fernell.  And so it took many years; plus plenty of research with rats for laymen and scientists to confirm that fat can indeed be detected by the taste buds ( thank God for rats huh? ) A life totally devoid of fat is really.. really a  lame existence.   So as a favor to my good friend  Ceramic Artist -Delores Hayes I will point out some fats that make your taste buds and the rest of your body happy as well.  One of the most basic points that can be made about the difference between plant and animal fats begins with how they look and move at room temperature.  So in other words, however you see olive oil at room temperature is more or less how it will move through your blood stream (now think on that) The same is true for animal fats; butter, lard etc.  Sit it on the counter and leave it there for a few hours.  Walk away, and find something to occupy your time.  When you come back, chances are, your animal fat will look just the same way it did when you walked away.   The vast difference in health benefits are very easy to see.  So lets make the case for plant based fats.  Its a good practice to stock your cabinets with more than one kind of fat/oil , variety is always key.   Melissa Ohlson, MS, RD, LD, a Registered Dietitian with Cleveland Clinic’s Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation Program believes in this very principle. So, let us look at three of the most beneficial, versatile, and wallet friendly.

Olive oil (Virgin, Extra Virgin)  is one of the most flavorful, and versatile oils available.  But truth is for all of its nutritional “goodness” (high in Monounsaturated fats ),  and versatility its price tag reflects its quality, every  single time. Olive oil is mild enough to be used for dressings, roasting, and light sauteing.  Its great for your heart (your skin, and hair also), and if youre reaching for the best, this is it.

Sunflower oil is another beneficial oil (high in Monounsaturated fats ) , that can withstand the high heat (high smoke point) that sauteing, broiling, grilling, and frying (but who’s frying food in 2014?), with a much smaller price tag.  Safflower oil is still mild enough to be used for dressings or for other applications like creating flavored oils, and well suited for the budget friendly.

Grape seed oil is yet another great option for cooking.  This star quality oil has a very mild flavor and can withstand a bit less heat than say, sunflower or canola oil (medium smoke point).  It is ideal for light sauteing, making dressings, grilling, roasting and  making flavored oils. Grape seed oil also boasts high levels of Polyunsaturated fats .  In other words grape seed oil can provide you omega 3 fatty acids which has been found to increase brain power, and reduce brain “aging”.

The take home lesson; keep a variety of fats/oils in your cupboard (a life devoid of fat is a miserable existence) , use them relation to what  and how you’re cooking, and make your mouth happy.  Heres a fab recipe  from the Vegetarian Times to get your week started off right.  Enjoy!

 

Cheers,

 

Chef Will Hall

 

Red Curry Vegetable Soup

Red Curry Vegetable Soup

Serves 6

30 minutes or fewer

Thai red curry paste provides the spicy base for this soup. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you have on hand for the cauliflower and green beans.
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 12 oz. cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (3 cups)
  • 4 large green onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 2 Tbs. Thai red curry paste, such as Thai Kitchen
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 15-oz. can petite diced tomatoes in juice
  • ¾ cup light coconut milk
  • 6 oz. green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (1½ cups)
  • 1 Tbs. lime juice

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and white parts of green onions; sauté 5 minutes, or until vegetables begin to brown. Add curry paste, and sauté 1 minute more.

2. Add broth and tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes.

3. Add coconut milk and green beans, and simmer 5 minutes, or until beans are tender.

4. Stir in lime juice and remaining green onions. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

 

 

 

References:

BAKALAR, N. (2012, 02 12). Nutrition: Brainpower tied to omega-3 levels. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/health/research/omega-3-fatty-acid-levels-linked-to-brain-performance.html?_r=0

Fatty food triggers taste buds, new research finds. (2001, 12 04). Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011204073223.htm

Red curry vegetable soup. (2014, 01). Retrieved from http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/red-curry-vegetable-soup/

Team, T. B. E. (2012, 05 31). Heart-healthy cooking: Oils 101. Retrieved from http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2012/05/heart-healthy-cooking-oils-101/

 

 

 

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