food for thought

If you have ever thought you suffered from a case of mistaken identity, you and Brassica Napus Oil have something in common.

Most encounters with the term “rapeseed oil” lead cooks to think of Canola, however its history tells a much more complicated story. In its traditional form, rapeseed oil was actually banned from human consumption in the 1950’s and branded “toxic.” In the 1970’s, Canadian scientists set out to naturally breed members of the rapeseed family so that, when harvested and pressed, they could create an oil that was low in erucic acid and glucosinolate. The result was Canola, the name itself an abbreviation of the term “Canadian Oil, Low Acid.” Rapeseed, along with cabbage, mustard greens, turnips, and many others, are members of the Brassica family.

Swedish Gold brand offers an amazing Extra Virgin Brassica Napus oil, found here at The Curious Fork, which continues a well hidden tradition (to consumers in the U.S., anyway) of processing and pressing Brassica in Scandinavia. Rich in Omega 3, 6, and 9, and packed full of Vitamin E, Napus oil is a Non GMO, non trans or hydrogenate fat, with a forgivingly-high smoke point of 460 degrees F.

What’s a smoke point, and why do you care about it? Well, when oil is heated to its smoke point, volatile compounds and oxidation form in the oil, causing a usually intensely bitter flavor, as well as burning off all the health benefits of an unrefined oil. The higher the smoke point of the oil, the more likely the oil is to retain its healthful components, and the more versatile it will be in your kitchen.

As cooks, we want to be able to produce the healthiest, most delicious food we can for our families, friends, and ourselves. With most home pantries dominated by Olive Oil’s typically bitter, spicy, and grassy palate, Swedish Gold’s Extra Virgin Brassica Napus oil provides a delicate and adaptable flavor profile, with pleasant sunflower, asparagus, and broccoli notes. The oil sports a vibrant golden hue, which is derived from the Napus plant’s brilliant yellow flowers. Its mild flavor, light mouthfeel, and vivid color make it a perfect candidate for dipping, salad dressings, and as a finishing touch for light, flakey fish and pasta. Its higher smoke point makes it a fantastic solution for sautéing, pan- frying, and deep-frying.

Barbara McQuiston | Posted in News

Almond Orange Cake



2 cara cara oranges or other naval oranges

Unsalted butter for greasing the pan

2 cups (10 ounces) packed ground almond meal

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups cups sugar

6 eggs



Place oranges in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer gently until oranges are very soft, about 1 1/2 hours. Drain and set oranges aside to cool. When cool, cut into quarters and remove any seeds if necessary.


Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan. Pulse oranges in food processor until pureed but still slightly chunky and set aside.


In a small bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, baking powder and salt; set aside. Whisk sugar and eggs together in a large mixing bowl until combined, about 1 minute. Stir in orange puree and almond mixture and pour batter into prepared pan.


Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake has browned evenly on the surface, about 60 minutes. 


Transfer pan to a wire rack. After 15 minutes, run a small spatula or paring knife around edge to loosen cake; let cool completely

Barbara McQuiston | Posted in News