When it comes to cooking, there are only two things I can actually make fairly well: pasta and boneless, skinless chicken breast (yes, specifically boneless, skinless chicken breast, not wings, thighs, or anything else with bones in it). While those are fairly diverse dishes for most people, my recipe book contains maybe three for each that I can actually manage, so they get a little boring. My skills do not really go beyond the use of more than 5 ingredients, and even those ingredients must be something really simple. What’s a girl to do when she can barely handle boiling water, but wants to make something a little different once in a while? Well, this girl turned to culinary oils. Extravagonzo Foods Culinary Oils, to be exact.

I received four different types of Extravagonzo Culinary oils to try out, including Roasted Garlic, Blood Orange, Red Chili, and Meyer Lemon. All of the oils are made using extra virgin olive oil and 20% grapeseed oil along with the highest quality fruits and spices to add flavor. I have no doubt that a culinary genius could do amazing things with these oils. However, you don’t actually have to be a genius, or even a mediocre chef, to use them. In fact, if you completely stink at cooking, like I do, they’ll actually help you look good.

I first tried my oils on frozen pizza night, when I thought “hey, I wonder how this will taste dipped in garlic oil?” Well, it tasted fantastic. But then I thought, that wasn’t really a great way to try out these classy oils, and besides, it’s hard to really get a true sense of the taste when it’s drowned in processed cheese and sauce. So I devised my own taste test. I boiled up some plain old rigatoni and divided between three bowls (I left the blood orange out of this one, as I wasn’t sure it would go well with pasta). I drizzled each oil over a separate batch of pasta, tossed it around (that’s a technical cooking term, right?) and sampled them. Here are my results:

The Roasted Garlic culinary oil was amazing on its own, and even better with Parmesan cheese. The amount of garlic in each bite was just right. I love garlic, but not when it’s completely over-powering (although when I first started using actual garlic, I mistook “clove” for “entire bud,” and I swear I was safe from vampires for a good year after that!). This was one of my favorites of the three.

The Red Chili oil worked best all by itself in this particular taste test, although I think it would be perfect with veggies mixed in. I don’t really do veggies (picky eater, remember?), so I didn’t test that theory. I love how the oil is zingy, but not “run for the water” zingy. The zing is really more of an after effect. It won’t burn your tongue or anything, but when you swallow it, you can feel the tingly spiciness in the back of your throat. Does that make sense? Extravagonzo describes it as a “nice bite at the tail,” which sounds a lot more elegant than my description.

The Meyer Lemon oil was a majorly pleasant surprise, and competes with the Roasted Garlic for first place as my absolute favorite. It made the pasta really refreshing, and the lemony flavor is just awesome. Not too sweet, not to tart. I added Parmesan cheese to it (I put that stuff on just about everything) and WOW, it was extraordinary. I would definitely recommend this oil for a light, chilled pasta salad.

I still have to try out the Blood Orange oil. I’m going to go with the chocolate chip cookies recipe on Extravagonzo’s site. They have a bunch of really cool recipes to give you inspiration on how to use their oils. Apparently, the Blood Orange also goes well with vanilla ice-cream, so I may give that a try too. It definitely smells delicious, and orange is one of my favorite flavors.

GIVEAWAY

Extravagonzo Foods is giving four winners their choice of a 200 mL (6.8oz) bottle of their culinary oils. The giveaway is open to residents of the Continental US (so sorry, Alaska and Hawaii, but the sponsor requested just Continental US due to shipping costs). It runs until 11:59PM on Nov. 26th. Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond.  Fill out the applicable info on the Rafflecopter form to enter.