Tag Archives: Vegetarian Tips

Using Nut Oil

There are many varieties of nut oils available in stores today and each one offers a unique and different flavor and aroma. There are a few things to note when buying, storing and using nut oils. Most good quality nut oils are produced in France and California. The best way to discern the difference in quality is by taste. A high quality nut oil should taste like the nut it comes from, yielding a toasty well rounded full flavor.

Nut oils are not suitable for cooking at high temperatures. They are wonderful drizzled on foods straight from the bottle right before serving or added to a batter before baking. A light sauté won’t do any harm, but there will be a noticeable loss of flavor.

Another difference between nut oils and olive or vegetable oil, is that nut oils are best stored in the refrigerator after opening. There is a tendency for these oils to become rancid quickly. This is why we often see nut oils sold in smaller quantities. Refrigeration will congeal the oil, so bringing it back to room temperature will be necessary.

Another tip if you are using nut oil along with nuts, try to avoid mixing and matching. There is nothing more delicious that adding walnut oil to a salad topped with walnuts. Avoid combining with balsamic vinegar because its strong sweet flavor can overpower the delicate nut oil. Use a good quality apple cider vinegar instead.

Vegetarian Island Dining

For a vegetarian, one of the major challenges of vacationing is dining out, and of course where you go in your travels can make all the difference. Recently my journeys took me to Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean, south of Cuba. My prior experience of island dining was less than impressive. However, this experience was different. I found the local grocery stores stocked with non-meat alternatives and there are vegetarian choices on every dinner menu. There are also exclusively vegetarian places offering lots of salads and fresh produce.

Grand Cayman boasts an eclectic blend of excellent ethnic restaurants – from Thai, Indian, and Italian to authentic island fare, all beautifully prepared and presented. One dish I had that I really enjoyed because it was spicy, tasty, local, and different was Tofu Jerk on a bed a vegetables.

Jerk is a spice mixture usually used to prepare pork and chicken, so this was a nice surprise that allowed me to sample local cuisine. There really wasn’t much to it – the recipe relies on the famous Jerk spice or marinade which has, as its key ingredient, fiery hot peppers along with allspice and cane sugar.

Try my version different ways with either tofu, tempeh, or vegetables. It really is worth trying, especially if you like heat and spice. There are many authentic jerk seasonings (available even at your local grocery store) and each is unique. Here is what I had and am passing on to you:

Jerk Tofu

Ingredients:

1 lb. pressed tofu slices, cubed or cut into strips (or tempeh)
2 T. vegetable oil
1-2 t. Jerk marinade

Carefully toss tofu with jerk spice and oil. Let the tofu marinate for at least an hour, or overnight for more intensity. After the flavor is infused, grill over high heat in a grill pan, or any heavy cast iron skillet.

Grilling implies that the pan is fairly dry but brushed with a little oil – since neither tofu or tempeh contain much fat, it requires a little help. You also have the option of grilling the tofu outside, just brush the slabs with oil and marinade mixture and grill slowly, until the tofu is a rich golden brown.

Serve this spicy boost of protein on a bed of julienne stir-fried yellow summer squash and carrots. Make sure your squash and carrots are still firm yet tender. Lightly fried plantain on the side is a great idea, as it adds a sweet, savory flavor to the menu.

I might prepare this on a future program, but for now it is a exclusive sneak peek. Enjoy it with your favorite Island cocktail.