I received a bottle of Pompeian Grape Seed Oil in order to test it in my own kitchen and gather information for this post.  My recipes, below, are entered in a contest and I could win an all-expense paid trip to BlogHer Food ’13.  No monetary compensation was received for this post and a positive review was not required.  As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.

I’ve apparently been living under a rock somewhere, with no access to the most vital outside information.  How could I have missed this?  Do you know about grape seed oil?  I’m ashamed to admit, until last week, I had never heard of it.  So, I did a little online investigating and was shocked to see that, apparently, EVERYONE except me already knows about it and is excited about the potential health benefits, as well as using it to replace butter in their favorite recipes.

Pompeian Grape Seed Oil

Pompeian Grape Seed Oil – I substituted this for butter in two of my recipes, one savory, one sweet. The results were quite surprising.

Grape seed oil is made by pressing the discarded seeds of grapes, left after wine making.  Some of the articles I read, suggest that grape seed oil has some pretty impressive health benefits since it is rich in Vitamin E, flavonoids, Vitamin C, antioxidants and beta carotene.  It may be helpful in regulating blood sugar and protecting the body from health problems caused by free radicals.  Because grape seed oil can suppress the production of histamine, there are even studies being conducted to see if it might be helpful in reducing the effects of allergies and asthma.  It is also used in many skin care products, since it has astringent properties that help to tighten skin.  Some people have found it helpful in treating acne and that it may protect skin from the sun.  It’s easily absorbed by the skin, since it is so light and many believe it is particularly good for skin around the eyes.

When it comes to cooking, I had no difficulty discerning grape seed oil’s benefits, on my own.  It’s a very light oil and I found that whether I was making sweet or savory dishes, the oil did not overpower or change the flavor in my recipes, at all.  It has a very high smoke point, higher than butter or olive oil, and that means it may also work as an alternative to butter for frying, stir frying and even deep-fat frying.  I haven’t had a chance to use it in any dressings or vinaigrettes, yet, but because it is such a light oil, without any overpowering flavors to compete with other ingredients, I think it would be a delicious complement in most salad dressing recipes.

I’m not going to lie.  When it comes to replacing butter in my recipes, I’m a hard sell.  I love what butter does for flavor and texture, when I’m cooking or baking.  And if you’ve been around the blog for very long, you know that from my recipes.  So, to really put Pompeian Grape Seed Oil to the test, I decided it was not going to be enough to try it in just one recipe.  I wanted to replace butter in both a savory and a sweet recipe, to see the results.  My two recipes that I believe are most dependent on the butter for the reasons, mentioned above, are Chocolate Butter Cake and my Better than Cream of Chicken Sauce.  I altered both recipes to substitute grape seed oil for the butter.  No one was more surprised than me!  Texture and flavor were virtually unchanged in both recipes.  The cake was not quite as moist as when we make it with butter, but the flavor was spot on and the whole family loved it.  There was no detectable difference in the sauce.  It was absolutely perfect.  I think you will love BOTH these recipes; and when it comes to savings, ounce for ounce, grape seed oil is slightly less expensive than butter.  Money savings AND good for both baking and stove-top cooking –it’s hard to argue with success! :)  Enjoy!

TIP: When substituting oils for butter, in baking, I use a ratio of ¾:1.  For example, if your recipe calls for 1 cup of softened butter, substitute 3/4 cup of oil.  Otherwise your baked goods may be too “soupy” and not set up correctly.  For stove top cooking, I use a 1:1 ratio (equal amounts of oil substituted for butter).

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Pompeian Grape Seed Oil
  • 2 cups Morena sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • your favorite Chocolate Buttercream Icing

Instructions

  1. Blend oil and sugar.
  2. (You can use any sugar that you prefer. I find Morena sugar in the ethnic food aisle at Walmart. It is with the Mexican foods. It is 100% pure cane sugar, non-GMO, and it doesn't go through the bleaching and chemical processing that white sugar does. You use it cup for cup just like white sugar. The only difference we have found is that you can't get pure white coloring in your baked goods. They have more of a caramely color. For us, that's a non-issue. Morena sugar is also less expensive than the heavily processed white sugar you will find in the baking aisle.)
  3. Mix in the eggs.
  4. Add the milk and mix well. (We use raw, whole milk. Use the type you are most comfortable with.)
  5. Add the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  6. Mix in the boiling water.
  7. Pour cake batter into a greased 9x13 cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. The toothpick test will not work for testing doneness on this cake. Center will be set, but soft and the edges of the cake will be pulling away from the pan, when it is done.
  8. Remove from oven and cool in pan, on a cooling rack. Center will sink somewhat as it cools. This is normal and happens even if I use butter, instead of oil.
  9. Frost with your favorite icing when cake has completely cooled.
  10. This delicious cake is best served ice cold from the fridge. It is moist, dense and delicious!
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Better Than Cream of Chicken

Better Than Cream of Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Pompeian Grape Seed Oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups sour cream

Instructions

  1. Mix oil and flour in a saucepan. Cook for about one minute on medium-high heat.
  2. The mixture will bubble and start to get "dry" around the edges of the pan.
  3. Add the chicken stock and whisk it into your oil and flour roux. Lower heat to med and allow to cook until it thickens. Continue stirring constantly. (I use homemade chicken stock. You can use canned or cartons if you like. We like ours to have lots of good chicken flavor, so I taste as I go and will add a tub of Knorr Stock concentrate or bouillon if I feel like the sauce needs a boost of flavor.)
  4. When sauce has thickened, remove from heat and stir in sour cream.
  5. This sauce is fantastic as a gravy or as the creamy base for a casserole. It's perfect for creamy chicken enchiladas, too. You can use it as is, or add flavors that will complement the dish you are making.
  6. I add jalapeno and cheese to create my Southwest Chicken Meatball Casserole. Be sure to check out that tasty recipe, too!
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This post is linked up with Tasty Tuesday and the Make, Bake, Create Party #5.

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