Thursday, October 6, 2011

{31 Days} Stocking your Pantry: Lipids & Wines

If you are just joining us today – we are in the first week (day 6!) of a 31-day series on learning to cook from scratch.  The goal of this first part of the series focuses on getting your pantry all set up.  So far, we’ve talked flours, sweeteners, baking essentials, spices, and today we’re looking at cooking lipids and wines.


Cooking Lipids

Our oil collection is quite simple: olive oil.  We do nearly 100% of our cooking & baking using olive oil. 

Olive oil is rich in unsaturated fats, which are easier for your body to break down since the carbon chains are not fully saturated with hydrogen ions.  {just a little biochem… in case you are interested}

The other oil we have in our cupboard is one we use for popcorn.  Yum-o.  Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn Oil. 

Kitchen Tip: Be sure to store oils in a dark cupboard at room temperature.  The longer the oils are exposed to the light the likelihood increases that they can turn rancid. 

What other lipids do we use for baking?  Butter. 

Land-O-Lakes is our favorite; locally produced for us and we know the family who’s grandmother is on the package!  We do use other butters, but continue to come back to this one. 

Why these lipids?

Research indicates that lipids are good for our health!  We need fat in our diet – fats are essential for our cell membranes, absorption of vitamins, etc.  From what we have read about and researched, the two fats we feel most comfortable using are olive oil & butter. 

What about coconut oil or palm oil?  Honestly, we’re not sold on using these fats just yet.  Certainly, there appear to be health benefits from using these oils, but our hesitation is found in the fact that these plant-based lipids are high in saturated fats.  Until we know more, we’re sticking with butter as our saturated fat of choice.  

Did You Know?

You can swap olive oil in a 1:1 ratio for any oil in a recipe you have.  In some cases, you can successfully swap olive oil for melted butter!  We recently tried it out in Chex Mix {in place of the butter} and in a side-by-side comparison, didn’t notice a difference. 

Cooking Wines

Recently, we’ve added white and red cooking wines to our collection. 

While we used to substitute chicken broth in place of wine in recipes, we are appreciating the depth of flavor these cooking wines add to our dishes. 

We use white wine in:

chicken & peppers

vegetable risotto

busy day soup

And, our favorite red wine dishes include:

crockpot boeuf bourguignon

garden minestrone

What kinds of lipids are in your pantry?
Do you cook with cooking wines?  I’d love to know!


  1. Good wines and good fats are definitely key to a good meal! Everything in moderation, right?

  2. I have wondered if I could swap vegetable oil for Olive oil in baking cookies, cakes, etc. I think I'm going to try it now that you suggested it. I would much rather do that!

    I don't use "cooking wine", just regular "drinking" there a difference?

  3. Sesame Oil is a must in my house. I use it to saute asparagus and in most Asian dishes. Just a tiny bit packs a ton of flavor.

  4. We have the exact same lipids and wines in our home too! We love olive oil, and I buy unsalted real butter too. I never knew the science behind olive oil though, so thanks for sharing your wisdom with us!

  5. I just found your blog! I'll be following forsure!! I'm just starting to get into meal planning!!

  6. Coconut oil! It is so healthful and has SUCH a wonderful flavor. I would be very wary of the cooking wines, though. The flavor is not as good as even a cheap wine and they often contain extra salt and additives. Crane Lake is a good, inexpensive wine. The chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon are very good to cook with. (My husband and I used to own a wine shop, so feel free to ask me any questions :-) )

  7. Carrie, vegetable oil is the WORST oil to use ever. I'm still amazed there are people still using it. Loaded w/trans fats! Olive oil or coconut oil is best.

    I heard a long time ago, don't use any wine you wouldn't drink. So we don't use cooking wines. We don't drink so we use homemade stock.

    As far as fats, we use CO,EVOO, Organic Palm shortening in place of Crisco, and organic raw butter (made locally).

  8. Carol~ I am new to cooking with wine so if you have any more suggestions I would love to hear them. I stood in wine aisle in the grocery store and left with nothing because I was so overwhelmed!

    SnowWhite~ I am loving this series, thank you! It's nice to get a refresher on basic pantry supplies and cooking from scratch.

  9. Thank you for sharing about Olive oil. I did not know I could use it in recipes.

  10. definitely coconut oil-love it for my granola recipes, granola bars, etc. I also like sesame oil (just a tsp or so will do the trick for my asian dishes), as well as Organic Palm shortening in place of Crisco. (but this is not used very often. I am not a fan of olive oil for baking so we use butter or coconut oil. I sub it for brownies ones and they were awful. =( probably just my tastebuds working over time. =0) Fan of wines too.

  11. The benefit of the cooking wines is you can just store them in the cabinet. With "regular" wines they will go bad faster, and if you are only using them for cooking, you will probably end up throwing some out.

    That being said, my experience with those cooking wines hasn't been great. I just don't like the flavor. So after using them for awhile, I've gone back to using regular drinking wine for cooking.

    I'd be curious to know if you can get the regular drinking wine and freeze it in small portions? I'm sure Chef Google would have something to say about that....

  12. Oh, also, I've heard extra-virgin olive oil is not great for baking. (And I agree; I used it in brownies once and the olive flavor was WAY too strong.) I see you're using the mildly-flavored "pure olive oil" which is better for baking when you don't want the olive flavor.

  13. evoo for salads, light oo seems less strong flavored. sesame oil very rarely.

    i have a few bottles of wine on the rack, nothing over $10. all good ratings. we don't drink at all, but someone always pops by and appreciates a glass. i'll save the rest for cooking.


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you; especially how you're finding JOY in your kitchen.

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