Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Yes, it's true. This cupcake is poisonous. It was supposed to be a vanilla cupcake with a caramel chocolate frosting with a little Himalayan salt halo. That is what it looks like in this picture. However, upon biting into this very cupcake pictured, I had to spit it out into the garbage. The frosting was superb, the salt, a savory flirt of crunch. The cake tasted like old fish oil.
Thankfully I only frosted two before I tried one. At first I was so startled I had no idea what happened then I remembered finishing off the last bit of Canola oil left in the bottle. That had been sitting. Next to my oven. In my greenhouse of a loft. A loft so blazing during the day, that it sucks the moisture from my plants within a 12 hour period if I do not intervene. How did I think for a second that this oil would be OK to use for these cupcakes. I did not think, I just poured. I have been warned by serious foodies to store my cooking oils in the fridge, and even now as I type, I know my oils are still shelved but two feet from my oven, out in the open, going rancid.... RIGHT NOW! This public admission is my hope to inform, but also force myself to change my ways and get those bottles in the fridge! I have included an excerpt from the Whole Foods website on storing oils, in case any of you are as dopey as me:

Storing and Utilizing Oils

Oils, unlike wine, do not improve with age. Heat and light are especially harmful, so most oils, particularly polyunsaturated oils, should be kept in the refrigerator. Never store cooking oils by the stove. Highly saturated oils, which include most tropical oils, are quite stable and may be kept at room temperature, though refrigeration certainly won't harm them and will extend their useful life. Some oils, olive oil among them, become cloudy and may solidify when refrigerated but this does not affect quality. Usually, just a few minutes at room temperature will restore oils to their liquid state.

If improperly stored (exposed to excessive heat, light or air) or kept too long, oils eventually become rancid, with a characteristic bad taste and smell. Discard rancid oils immediately, since they are the worst kinds of fat you can consume. Heating oils beyond their smoke point is also undesirable. The smoke point is the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke, generating toxic fumes and harmful free radicals. Always discard oil that has reached its smoke point, along with any food in contact with it. Read the label of a particular oil to determine its smoke point, and never heat the oil higher than this temperature. In general, refined oils will have a higher smoke point than unrefined oils.

Shopping tip: Purchase cooking oils in small quantities, especially the more fragile polyunsaturated oils.

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