I have been trying to visit the new artisan oil and vinegar boutique in Pittsford, Tasteful Additions. It was well worth the trip. The owner educated us about how to pair flavors and some creative uses for flavored salts, oils and vinegars. Did you know you can use orange oil with brownies? Balsamic vinegar on brie cheese?
I use flavored oils as my secret ingredient to get a homemade dinner on the table in minutes. As a working mother, I have to put a delicious and nutritious meal on the table after I arrive home from work. A weeknight “cheat” is to skip the fancy herbs and sauces and sautee in a flavored oil. All the flavor without all the extra work. This works with vegetables, tofu, seafood, chicken, beef and pork. Since fats are what carry flavor, flavored oil is a great way to overcome that “fishy” flavor of stronger seafood varieties. Flavored oil is also a flavorful addition to rices, pastas and more exotic whole grains like couscous, barley and quinoa. Adding familiar flavors to unfamiliar grains is a way to get more whole grains into our diet.
Want another secret? I don’t always have fresh aromatic ingredients. Flavored oils are a great substitute. Lemon oil, basil oil or garlic oil gets me through when I don’t have fresh lemons, garlic or basil or they are out of season.
If you experiment as much as I do with food, share some of your own tips for using flavored oils, salts and balsamic vinegars.