Sunday, July 25, 2010

Foodbuzz 24x24: Oil Done Right...


A How-To On Creating Your Very Own Flavored Oils
(oh, and a tasting too!)




This month's Foodbuzz 24x24 theme is 'gulf inspired'. Normally participants receive $250 to execute their meal; this time, instead of receiving $250, Foodbuzz is going to donate it to the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF) to assist with the devastation that is affecting the gulf so terribly.
We spent Saturday out in the sun testing out our amateur mixology skills with a variety of ingredients, the base being olive oil, of course. The oil creating was laid out like this: there were four stations representing the four main areas affected by the oil spill. Each of those stations had their containers, mixing utencils and olive oil; from there they wandered through the plethera of ingredients that were provided, choosing ingredients that they wanted to use in an oil that would best 'fit' their state 'theme'.


Loosely, the state themes were:
Louisiana - Cajun
Mississippi - Barbecue
Alabama - Tomato... green or sundried
Florida -  Tropical

We started in the morning, so the oil would have time to infuse. Then when each 'state' was finished with their oil, they brainstormed what type of dipping aparatus they would like to have to go along. Originally I was going to have everyone make something but then I decided to let them choose whether or not they would make something or buy it.


So off we all set to either make our starch from scratch or go buy it... we made and bought and, ahem... went out for mimosas while our oil infused! Later that evening, we all came back and made a lovely 'spread' of everyone's oils and starches. Some teams decided to make more than one oil because they are over achievers who were so into it they just couldn't stop. Good job guys!

As we tasted each oil, we had the team member(s) describe what was in it, their inspiration/why they chose to do the oil(s) that they did, etc...

Louisiana
Sassy Spicy Cajun Infused Oil AND 'Sausage' Infused Oil

Sassy Spicy Cajun Infused Oil
Need:
1 clove garlic
1 small onion round
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper corns
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon smoky salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Do:
Combine everything but the extra virgin olive oil in a sealed container. Add olive oil, mix lightly and let sit for at least six hours. You can let this one infuse for a few days if you want the flavor really bold.

Serve:
Use for dipping, cooking or finishing a spicy meal. Would be great with fish or vegetables or used to finish pasta. Enjoy!

'Sausage' Infused Oil
Need:
1/8 teaspoon fennel
1/8 teaspoon sage
1/8 teaspoon rosemary
1/8 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
Pinch sea salt
1/4 teaspoon peppercorns
1/2 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Do:
Combine all dry ingredients in a sealed container. Add olive oil, give it a light stir and seal. Let infuse for at least six hours before serving. This one can infuse for up to a week if you like.

Serve:
Dipping, cooking, finishing... it was quite flavorful and great with crostini. This would also be a great oil to use in a pizza dough or other bread recipe. It will have your 'eaters' saying... what IS that? In a good way, of course.

Mississippi
Smoky Spicy BBQ Infused Oil

Need:
1 Tablespoon smoky salt (salt infused with liquid smoke)
1 whole serrano pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Do:
Combine salt and serrano in a sealed container. Add extra virgin olive oil, seal and let sit for at least six hours. Again, you can let it go for a few days to make the flavor really bold.

Serve:
Dipping, cooking, finishing! It's spicy yet smoky so you can use it on items you will be grilling to deepen the smoky flavor.


Alabama
Roasted Tomatillo Infused Oil AND Spicy Jalapeno Infused Oil


Roasted Tomatillo Infused Oil
Need:
1 tomatillo, roasted (see below)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Do:
Clean your tomatillo and then roast it on the grill with the shell on. Continue turning the tomatillo so it doesn't get too 'roasted' on one side. When done (about 10-12 minutes) remove and let cool.

Put tomatillo in sealed container and add extra virgin olive oil. Let infuse for at least six hours before serving.

Serve:
Dipping, cooking finishing! This one is pretty light but would be great over veggies or rice.


Spicy Jalapeno Infused Oil
Need:
1 serrano pepper, whole
1 habanero pepper, whole
1 jalapeno (pref. red), whole
1/2 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Do:
Combine all peppers and oil in a sealed container. Cover and let infuse for at least six hours.

Serve:
This one is particularly good for dipping; especially with bread. It would be fun to try dipping a 'sweet' bread into it, to cut the spice. It is also great for cooking, especially for sauteeing brussel sprouts...mmmm

Florida
Orange Citrus Infused Oil AND Cuban Infused Oil


Orange Citrus Infused Oil
Need:
3-4 fresh orange peels
1-2 fresh lime peels
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Do:
Combine orange peels, lime peels and olive oil in a sealed container. Let infuse for at least six hours before serving.

Serve:
Dipping, cooking, finishing! This one is also great drizzled over a light pasta dish or even a yummy citrus dessert, such as a lemon bar.


Cuban Infused Oil
Need:
1/8 teaspoon clove
1/8 teaspoon dry ginger
1/8 teaspoon coriander
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon pequin chiles
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon garlic
1/8 teaspoon fenugreek
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Do:
Combine all dry ingredients in a sealable container. Add olive oil, give it a light stir and let infuse for at least six hours. This one can also go up to a week if you choose.

Serve:
It's great for dipping or sauteeing vegetables. The spice and flavor lend really well to zucchini or even fried green tomatoes. It's a simple way to add flavor to whatever you are cooking.



In keeping with the 24x24 meal theme, I created a little booklet for everyone that had some information on the situation in the gulf, rescue efforts and additional resources they could easily find and pass on.

Originally I was going to have the oil recipes pre-decided and printed in the booklet; but then I thought it would be more fun to have each state team come up with their own so I provided little note cards for them to list their ingredients so each person could take one home along with their notebook.

While we tasted, socialized and discussed, we were also able to enjoy some delicious 'themed' beverages including sweet tea and mint juleps (recipes coming soon).


At the end of the day, it was a fun and educational event. Being Northwesterners, we are not affected by the tragic oil spill in the gulf; however that doesn't mean that we should not be educated and I am the first to admit that I did not know much more than generalities coming into this project. Making the booklet and sharing what I learned with my friends and family was a huge eye opener to me and them. I encourage everyone to do a little research and become educated on what is happening down there.


Foodbuzz, thank you again, for the opportunity to be a part of this event!



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