The summer heat here is killing and we were showered with a bit of rain due to the Jimena hurricane hitting Arizona and New Mexico. Its hard for me to step into the kitchen , especially when its raining . I dont want to miss even a teensy weensy bit as rain is a rarity in this part of the world. However , the rumbling in my stomach reminded me that I had to make a meal for us. I set about throwing almost everything I had in the pantry as we are going away for the long weekend and I want to empty the crisper. I dislike coming back from a vacation , just to realize the stale veggies in the crisper. I threw in whatever I could find , the end result was a beautiful spicy faux grain and veggie salad. Quinoa is actually a fruit seed.
1 and 1/2 cups of quinoa cooked , I cook it in the pressure cooker with 2 and 1/4 of water for 2 whistles , cool and fluff with a fork.
2 cups of veggies like , broccoli , avocado , bell peppers
A handful of pan seared tempeh and onions in the chili garlic oil
If you are not a fan of tofu or tempeh , you can substitute with almonds , hazelnuts or cooked legumes of your choice .
Add a teaspoon of cumin powder
Toss all the above gently and serve at room temperature.
Garlic Chili Oil
The preparation of this particular Oil is pretty simple. However , one has to remember that flavored oils whose recipes include any ingriedents that contain water , tend to become rancid in a week’s time. I make small batches , maybe 15 tablespoons at a time and plan my meals ahead . As much as they make great gifts ,remember that we are not preparing them commercially.
When such stuff is prepared commercially , they dehydrate the ingredients completely by soak them in vinegar or just leaving them in the sun and then add to the oil. While researching on the net , I read that the vinegar they use is 3-4 times potent than the one we buy off the supermarket shelves. I love the idea of having parmesan and chili together or fresh herbs as the labels indicate , however they are a waste if you make them at home and dont use them within the stipulated time and might be a health hazard due to the bacterial growth that occurs by using ingredients containing water, in this case.
If you are a sucker for flavored oils like me , use dry herbs instead of fresh , if using fresh herbs or garlic or ginger , make them and use them within a week.
There are different ways to make use of it , marinate your favorite veggies , tofu , tempeh , meat with it . Drizzle some on your salads or sides or beans. Use it as a dipping oil for some crusty bread with a pinch of salt , I drizzle it especially on a baby spring mix , if I’m in no mood to make a nice vinaigrette from scratch . I also make a quick salsa with this oil as the base and then I also dip my finger and lick it to satiate my taste buds ! I also love it to drizzle sweet cherry tomatoes with it .. or char them on the skillet with this oil. I also pan sear tofu and tempeh using this oil
So now you know what was on the menu since a week !
Lastly , store in a sterilized jar and refrigerate the oil without fail , else you are helping the bacteria to grow.
Here are some sterilization links
to sterlilize in the microwave : I pour a little water say about half fill the jar and microwave it for about 3-5 minutes . Then I pour the water out and invert them to dry off and I wash the lids quickly under the hot water and dry them off thoroughly and then store the Oil , preserves etc and screw the lid tightly.
My process to make this oil is very simple. In India once we peel large amounts of garlic , especially for use in mango pickles , we leave the garlic in the sun for a day or two and then add them to the mango pickle . I did the same thing here , My measurement is 1 :1 i.e add 1 garlic pods per tablespoon , so I peeled 15 garlic pods and left them in the phoenix heat for a day ( note that the temperatures hit 109 F last week) you might need another day extra if you live in a cooler place.
Then the next day , I heated up good quality olive oil , I did not boil it or wait until it turned acrid or rancid , I just warmed it up a bit more than luke warm , switched off the heat and added the garlic pods and 1 teaspoon of chipotle chilli powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt . , if you dont have this on hand , you can use any chili powder/flakes of your choice. I added salt because this helps to keep the oil from not turning rancid. I do not chop the garlic as I like the flavor to be mild , but I do use the garlic from the oil , if the recipe calls for a bit more than the flavor in the oil.
All in all , I enjoy the process and love drizzling it on every possible dish I can think of .
What is your favorite flavored Oil ? Do let me know !
On another note , I won the No croutons required for August ‘o9. Thanks to all those who voted and congratulations to all the participants !
Have a great weekend everyone ! See you guys next week !