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Let's Chew The Fat


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I was thinking about my studies in culinary school last night and how different regions of Italy (and France etc.) use different fats in their cooking. Of course, this all came about from what was available in that area...olive oil vs. butter and lard, etc. What is your cooking fat of choice? I use EVOO almost always. I don't bake, so I never buy butter for myself. My clients (for those who don't know..I am a Personal Chef) chose butter and EVOO over margarine 6 to 1.

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What is your cooking fat of choice? I use EVOO almost always. I don't bake, so I never buy butter for myself. My clients (for those who don't know..I am a Personal Chef) chose butter and EVOO over margarine 6 to 1.

For Baking - Butter

For Sautee - Butter or Olive Oil (save the EV for salads)

For Frying - Canola or Peanut Oil, or Crisco

BTW, how many food substances vary in taste according to their temperature as butter does?

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For baking - butter

For frying/sauteeing - bacon greese or peanut oil

For drizzling over steamed veggies - sesame oil

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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Butter – always unsalted.

Oil – as neutral as possible. Grapeseed oil when I can find it. Call my a wierdo, but I find EVOO too strong for anything but dipping bread. And I'd prefer butter on my bread anyway.

Duck fat when it's around for sautéing potatoes.

Lard for making tamales and refried beans.

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I'm pretty strictly olive oil. My wife went to the Dr. last year for her checkup and he said she's had the highest "good" cholesterol he's ever seen!

I recently tried using olive oil in place of butter in a dessert recipe (the recipe said to do this) and it worked out quite well.

In the winter I mix it up a bit and use bacon fat when doing stews and braises.

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Butter butter butter butter butter butter butter butter

I currently have 3 types in my freezer: Plugra, President (from Normandy), and regular unsalted from Trader Joe's.

Oh, did I mention I like butter? :biggrin:

Actually, it's because I do a lot of baking (gearing up for pastry school in the fall). I would only admit this here because you folks are probably the ones who could comprehend it, but I like it when my hands smell like butter (sometimes even after washing).

I mostly use olive oil for other stuff, peanut oil for wok cooking, safflower oil for "neutral" oil needs, EVOO for salads or garlic bread.

Edited to fix typo

Edited by jgarner53 (log)

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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Butter, Olive Oil, and Duck Fat are my faves

The canola comes out for deep frying. And because of kashrut I use non-hydrogenated margerine for desserts eaten with meat meals.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Butter or Lard for baking.

Butter for frying at low temps, olive oil for medium temps, peanut oil for high temps.

Peanut oil exclusively for deep frying.

I just personally enjoy the taste of butter, margarine is icky to me (not to mention how bad trans-fats are for you).

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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Olive oil for stir-frying most things.

Butter (unsalted always) for baking, sauteeing mushrooms, fiddlehead ferns, and throwing on steak.

Sesame oil for stir-frying asparagus, drizzling on boiled watercress, and sundry Asian dishes.

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I am lining up with the butter contingent. My absolute favorite. I have never intentionally eaten margarine by choice. I never, ever trusted those chemical formulas.

When I lived in Wisconsin (briefly, in the 50s) you still could not buy colored margarine in the state. People had to drive across state lines to buy it. They did sell the white stuff with the color bubble in it but we never had it in the house.

At the bakery we got butter in 30 pound tins, both salted and unsalted. I was not quite to the point where I would eat it with a spoon, but many a loaf of bread, fresh from the oven, was split lengthways and slathered with the stuff. I never did believe that hogwash that you shouldn't eat bread fresh out of the oven. As soon as it was cool enough to not burn my hands it was okay to eat, as far as I was concerned.

Next in order is very good, very frest extra virgin olive oil.

For medium heat cooking I like a combination of butter and avocado oil. Probably easier to get in California than anywhere else. Grapeseed oil also. I buy it at the middle eastern market where it is much cheaper and comes in big bottles. I was buying and using rapeseed oil long before it converted to canola.

I don't use peanut oil very much because I have friends who have severe allergies.

I just checked in the pantry and I have, besides the ones listed above, flaxseed oil, walnut oil, corn oil, coconut oil, safflower oil, palm kernel oil and sesame oil.

There is also some regular palm oil which is going to be dumped because it has gone off - changed color and I am not even going to open the jar. This stuff does not keep well and has a horrible smell when it gets past a certain point. Rancid does not even begin to describe the smell.......

I am so glad you started this thread which prompted me to look at the oil supply.

I just recently got the coconut oil. A friend mentioned it and referred me to this site.

I am usually somewhat skeptical about "miracle" claims for things such as this but I decided to give it a try. My friend is every enthusiastic about it.

It is expensive but the few things for which I have used it have turned out very nice.

I used it to saute veal medallions, which can go from lovely to awful in a matter of seconds, and they were just perfect. I also paired it with butter to saute some lobster chunks and it was delicious.

I have yet to use it as an ingredient in a smoothie (something my friend swears by) but am thinking of trying it soon.

I do want to try it in some of the quick bread recipes I have that call for liquid oil instead of butter. I will report my results.

By the way, I am unabashadely fat (or morbidly obese as my doctor terms it). However my cholesterol has never been over 140 and my HDL (the good one) is very high compared to the LDL(bad one) a ratio of 84:16. In spite of my eating a lot of high cholesterol foods. It has to be genetic, probably the reason that so many in my family live to a very great age.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I buy Parachute brand coconut oil at an Asian store. It smells wonderful, the price is excellent, and it is food grade. It has cosmetic uses (both skin and hair, pm me if you're interested), but it makes marvelous fried plantains or curry. Yes, you can melt it into your scrambled eggs, if you're trying to increase your intake of coconut oil. I too am a person whose cholesterol level is consistently lower than 140.

When it comes to premium butter, I'll make my own from glass-bottled heavy cream. But sadly, I eat very little bread nowadays, due to questions about wheat sensitivities. :sad:

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I buy Parachute brand coconut oil at an Asian store. It smells wonderful, the price is excellent, and it is food grade. It has cosmetic uses (both skin and hair, pm me if you're interested), but it makes marvelous fried plantains or curry. Yes, you can melt it into your scrambled eggs, if you're trying to increase your intake of coconut oil. I too am a person whose cholesterol level is consistently lower than 140.

When it comes to premium butter, I'll make my own from glass-bottled heavy cream. But sadly, I eat very little bread nowadays, due to questions about wheat sensitivities. :sad:

I don't eat a lot of seafood, I have an allergy to some types (shrimp and others that concentrate iodine). However I do cook it for friends and can eat limited amounts of lobster and crab, scallops.

One of the friends who turned me on to the coconut oil lives in Rhode Island and cooks a lot of seafood. She said that the scallops she has made with the coconut oil are extraordinary, it seems to be a fortunate paring.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I don't eat a lot of seafood, I have an allergy to some types (shrimp and others that concentrate iodine). However I do cook it for friends and can eat limited amounts of lobster and crab, scallops.

One of the friends who turned me on to the coconut oil lives in Rhode Island and cooks a lot of seafood. She said that the scallops she has made with the coconut oil are extraordinary, it seems to be a fortunate paring.

Shrimp made with coconut oil is good, shrimp made with coconut oil and coconut milk is exquisite.

Chicken made that way is pretty damn good, too.

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Just a word on Plugra, BTW. I don't actually use it. I used to, and I know it's all the rage.

Organic Valley has 2% higher butterfat and it's $1 cheaper where I am.

I switched from using Plugra to Organic Valley after the price of Plugra, at least where I was buying it, practically doubled. I actually like the taste of Organic Valley better. Unlike Plugra (and a lot of other butters) it doesn't have any added flavorings.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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My fat of choice depends on what I'm cooking.

While I love butter, I use it sparingly unless I'm baking.

I go through a lot of olive oil and peanut oil in my general cooking.

Chile oil is also popular in my kitchen

I also use a fair amount of black sesame oil, but generally add that after cooking.

I've got some beef fat frozen, waste not want not and all that.

But my absolutely favorite fat of all, regardless of how often I use it, which isn't terribly often, is smoked pork fat. I'll eat it on just about anything. Bacon grease is manna from heaven. Who am I kidding, I like all fats. Every lucious last one of them. My next one to try is mustard oil.

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Saute - EVOO or EVOO + Butter

Searing - 75/25 Canola EVOO

Pan Fry - 75/25

Deep Fry - Peanut

EVOO - With basil or oregano etc. for sauces

Salads - Mainly Walnut or Sesame

Baking - Not that's an interesting one. I did use Plugra until about a year ago on my first really big order of cookies, and with the particular customer trying to get me to drop my prices, I switched to ah.. Sams "Mid America Farms" butter.

The funny thing is that I had my trustied taste testers tell me that they liked it better than the Plugra cookies. So ever since I am "Plugra Free" ok accept in pie dough .

Lard for Gnocci Fritto and meat based savory pies.

Read my lips no margine .. The closest I get is butter mixed with EVOO for bread.

Never trust a skinny chef

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For searing meats and so forth, grapeseed or canola oil for their high smoke points; usually finished in the oven with butter. EVOO for some things, nut oils for vinaigrettes, duck fat for confit (I make a lot of confit - lamb shoulder, rabbit, duck).

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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I've been using canola for years, as it is far less expensive than the others here in Canada (40-60% the price of any other vegetable oil); has a high smoke point; and is relatively neutral.

Then in school, I had to taste and describe ten different kinds of oil. What a revalation! Canola tastes like window putty (or at least, like window putty smells). It's detestable. I also tried the cold-pressed-organic-extra-virgin canola oil that some of the local companies are pushing as a premium product. It has a lovely, deep green-gold colour...and tastes *POWERFULLY* of window putty. <sigh>

So I've gradually migrating back to olive/EV olive; with hopefully a small bottle of grapeseed oil soon (when budget permits) for deep frying etc. I also have a small bottle of sesame oil in my cupboard, primarily as a flavouring agent. My mustard oil got old and rancid, so I chucked it out.

I save my baconfat, always, and rendered pork fat. I haven't saved any chicken fat, but Edna Staebler says in "Food that Really Schmecks" that older Mennonite cooks of her acquaintance reserve rendered chicken fat for making the best cookies. Go figure.

BTW, I highly recommend the exercise of tasting your ingredients and comparing them. We did ten oils, ten vinegars, ten cheeses; but you could set up comparisons for yourself on any ingredient you consider important. Butter (to judge from the foregoing) would be an easy choice.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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