Saturday, July 18, 2009

Who Says You Can't Cook With Olive Oil?

Yes! Yes You Can Cook
(and Bake) with Olive Oil!

By Cal Orey

"Honor to a Spaniard, no matter how dishonest,
is as real a thing as water,
wine, or olive oil."

-- Ernest Hemingway

It's cooler today at Lake Tahoe but I'm feeling hot-tempered just thinking about a recent article which the author claimed you can't cook with olive oil because it's "toxic" for you... Oh really. So not true. I'm sensing this "author" desired a mass readership and sensationalized the headline. Or, if this is a new factoid, was a gigantic double-blind study conducted to prove cooking with olive oil is unhealthy for you? Hmm. My sixth sense and common sense says nope. If so, however, we better spread the word around the globe asap. I'm 99% sure the TV celeb chefs, Europeans, olive oil producers, and my dear friend Gemma Sciabica (who uses a variety of olive oil(s) in her cooking/baking found in her five cookbooks: ) would love to hear this absurd myth. NOT. BTW: She and her husband are octogenarians. Go figure.

In my book The Healing Powers of Olive Oil -- I discuss cooking and baking with oils and include recipes from renowned chefs who indeed do use olive oil in their recipes. Personally, I have baked with extra virgin olive oil (remember, I'm the snobbish Writing Gourmet who is learning to cook and hates to do it), but in my book I note which oils to use for best results.

What's more, in the book I include recipes, such as Cioppino, Herbed Roast Turkey, Angel Hair Pasta and Diced Tomatoes, Edamame Beans, Basil, and Virgin Olive Oil, The Olive Press Citrus Cake, and Holiday Carrot Cake. Gee, all of these recipes and the others all call for olive oil in one form or another. Yeah, olive oil is used for more than drizzling on bread and salads. Here, take a look.

Extra virgin olive oil: drizzing, salads, marinades, sauces, stews, soups
Virgin olive oil: grilling, sauteing, drizzling, salad dressings, marinades, stews, soups
Olive oil: baking, frying, grilling, sauteing
Light olive oil: baking, frying, grilling, sauteing

So, in my next post I'll list all the ways you can use herbal and fruit-flavored oils in cooking. And to the person who says you can't do olive oil in the kitchen? Oils (including canola oil) have heart and soul and I, as well as real cooks around the world would beg to differ with you. I will bet my beloved two pooches and cat on it.

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