I stumbled across red palm oil at the co-op recently. I wasn't sure what it was, but it was less expensive than the coconut oil, and it says "organic superfood" right on the label. These days I'm a sucker for anything claiming to be a superfood, so I added it to my cart and when I got home did some hasty research to see what exactly I purchased. Folks on the interweb are saying that is has lots of healthy stuff, like carotene and vitamins, but that the production of palm oil in southeast Asia is killing orangutans. Uh oh, I like orangutans! Fortunately, this brand is from palm trees grown in Ecuador, where there are no orangutans, and the farms are small and managed organically. Whew.
The oil is a beautiful orange color, like pumpkin. I tasted some on a spoon, and it has a earthy carroty flavor. I decided it would be best used in a flavorful dish, where the flavor of the oil wouldn't be too strong. Last Friday was my first opportunity to try cooking with the palm oil, since I've been juice fasting during the weekdays. After I took the photo above and a few others, I was standing by the stove while the skillet heated, sipping my beverage, listening to my tunes, and admiring the orange color of the oil while deciding which photo composition I like the best, like I do, when the oil took on a life of it's own, and tried to run for it. I guess the oil melted from the spatula balanced on the edge of the skillet, and the then unbalanced spatula flipped through the air, in a physics defying arch, splattering oil on the wall, ceiling, down the front of the stove, on the floor, the dog, everywhere! Doh!
I immediately began to examine myself, hoping without hope that I didn't have a big orange stain on my new pajamas. Brandon't mom gave them to me for Christmas, and it would be nice to not stain them immediately, right? I had no idea this oil would be so dangerous. I was lucky this time. Although, in my efforts to clean the orange oil off of everything else, I let the skillet get too hot, and the oil started to smoke, most likely turning it from a healthy superfood into cancer causing vapor. I started to panic, alarming the army of cats who were helping me clean up the oil splatters. Ah! This oil is damaging my calm! I guess when they recommend medium-heat saute, they mean it! As you can see, the oil I wiped from the wall is definitely colorful. Beware the danger.
Now, I should probably remind you that while I was struggling in the oil vapor filled kitchen to simply saute some chopped vegetables, I hadn't eaten any solid food all week, just drank vegetable juice, and I had been looking forward to eating and cooking, and suddenly everything is out of control. I had to take a few deep breaths to keep from feeling like I was taking part in one of these vintage kitchen slapstick routines.
I was hoping the red palm oil would turn the onions bright orange, but they were only subtly different. I found the smell of the palm oil to be very nice. Of course, since I hadn't eaten any fats all week, it may not have been the best time to judge. I'm going to add to the list of juice fast benefits, which includes feeling better, clothes that stop shrinking when washed, and and increased desire to clean my house, the way it also makes getting to cook food seem super special instead of a chore, especially if made with superfoods! dum da dum (super man theme song? No?). Seriously, I was so excited by the sights, sounds, and smells of this food, that I couldn't help but take it's picture. And now, I'm rattling on about cooking like it's the my greatest adventure, and I'm sure it's because I haven't cooked or eaten food since Sunday. I have, however, organized most of my closets and cleaned out all my junk drawers.
But guess what?! It's Friday, which means I'm excited because I'm making dinner again tonight. Maybe I'll bore you with photos of food again next week, because tonight a chicken is on the menu. Not that my carrot/beet/orange/ginger lunch juice wasn't delicious, but it was no chicken! Mmmm... chicken....