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wise bites

cooking oil primer Cooking oil tops the list of frequently-used ingredients. For nutritious meals, learn the healthful qualities and best uses of these popular oil varieties. — Jessie Shafer olive oil is made from pressed olives. The highestgrade olive oil, extra-virgin, is the type we use most often at Cuisine because it’s healthier and tastier than lower-grade olive oils. Just like olives, olive oil contains healthful monounsaturated fat, considered good for the heart. Because it can burn at high temperatures, use olive oil for dressings, marinades, drizzling over finished foods, and low-heat cooking.

canola oil is produced from the tiny black seeds of the flowering canola plant. It has the highest percentage of healthful unsaturated fats and the lowest amount of unhealthful saturated fat — just 7%. Canola is a good all-purpose cooking oil. It doesn’t impart flavor to food and has a relatively high smoke point, the point where oil begins to break down.

VEGETABLE oil often is made entirely from soybeans. The oil is refined to remove any impurities and to extend the oil’s shelf life. About half of the fats in 100% soybean oil are linoleic acid, a healthful omega-6 fatty acid. Most vegetable oils have a very high smoke point. They are good, cheap frying oils.

peanut oiL is made from pressed or ground peanuts. It’s often used in Asian cuisine, largely because its higher smoke point makes it popular for stir-frying. While it does make a good frying oil, peanut oil can be costly and it contains almost 20% saturated fat, the highest among commonly-used oils.

Sunflower oil is made by crushing small black sunflower seeds that have a high oil content — the same type of seeds used for bird feed. Sunflower oil labeled “high-heat” contains more linoleic acid and vitamin E (an important antioxidant) than any other oil. Its “good fat” ratio makes sunflower oil a healthful choice for a frying oil, but it can be expensive.

corn oil is a chemically extracted oil with a very high smoke point. Darker yellow corn oils are made from the whole kernel, while lighter versions are pressed from the seed germ. Corn oil contains about 13% saturated fat, and it’s an inexpensive, all-purpose oil.

sesame oil is made from hulled white sesame seeds or dark, toasted sesame seeds. The lighter variety makes a mild cooking or frying oil, while the darker variety has a nutty taste and aroma, making it an excellent flavorenhancing oil for dressings and marinades. Like other nut and seed oils, sesame oil is a good source of vitamin E, which can lower cholesterol.

Homemade Mayonnaise with canola oil & olive oil With just a few ingredients, you can make your own mayonnaise — and you can make it more healthful, too! This version is cholesterol-free, and canola and olive oil introduce good-for-you mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Makes 2 cups; Total time: 10 minutes


Tbsp. pasteurized egg whites or liquid egg substitute such as Just Whites or Eggbeaters 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard 11/4 cups canola oil 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 1/4 tsp. white pepper Combine egg whites, vinegar, and Dijon in a bowl, whisking with a balloon whisk, or in a food processor, pulsing until mixture is slightly foamy. Gradually add canola oil and olive oil in a thin stream, constantly whisking mixture until oil is incorporated and mayonnaise is thick. If using a food processor, drizzle oil through opening in top of processor while pulsing until mayonnaise is thick. Stir in lemon juice. Season mayonnaise with salt and pepper. Refrigerate it until ready to serve. Per Tbsp: 86 cal; 10g total fat (1g sat, 6g mono, 3g poly); 0mg chol; 35mg sodium; 0g carb; 0g fiber; 0g protein


Issue 79 

February 2010


Cooking Oil Primer  
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