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Homemade Chili Oil - Using Citric Acid

I have read lots of articles and posts on various sites saying that the home cook shouldn't make certain infused oils (particularly garlic) due to the risk of botulism toxins forming in the oil.

Every article says that commercial production of these types of infused oils is safe, because they always use some form of acid like "citric acid" and then goes on to say, "Because these inhibitors are not generally available in home kitchens or convenient for home cooks, the US Food & Drug Administration suggests that such oils be made in small quantity and refrigerated."

Well - WHAT IF the average home cook has citric acid? I do. I purchased some at an Indian food store some time ago, made by SWAD.

The recipes I find for homemade infused oils never involve adding the citric acid, I guess "because these inhibitors are generally not available".

I would like to make chili-infused oil, with the citric acid to make it more safe. But how much to add and when to add it to the cooking process?

Any help or information would be MOST appreciated. Thanks!!

Jan 02, 2009
diertac in Home Cooking

The Hickory Tavern - Charlotte

I agree with the other posters about the oysters. HT is a sports bar primarily. Being as we're landlocked, I don't expect a sports bar to do oysters right. (In Key West or along the coast, sure. Here? Not so much.)

I was very surprised when I finally noticed the "raw bar" on their sign.

Nov 19, 2008
diertac in General South Archive

Great Mediterranean Grocer in So. Charlotte - Sahara

I recently posted about Sahara Market in Charlotte on another forum and I wanted to share it here as well. I figure that in this economy, with our tendency to go to big chain supermarkets, when an independent store owner gets it right, I just have to share.

This is a little tucked-away store in Stonecrest (South Charlotte off Rea Road) that I would have never discovered if we hadn't had to stay in the Residence Inn there two weeks ago.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with this store in any way, except for having bought their stuff!

It's called "Sahara". They have a few signs pointing the way to their location. They are across from the Stonecrest shopping area, in the section next to Applebees and the Auto Bell (and Residence Inn).

It's a store selling Mediterranean/middle eastern style food staples. I have been there twice and while it's a small store, it's got fantastic foods and I'm very impressed with the place.

Their unbranded frozen naan is amazing, and it reheats so well. Unlike naan that you buy from major brands, their naan is actually made for them by Cafe Nirvana, the Indian restaurant off Lancaster Highway. They make the naan at the restaurant, then freeze it and sell it at Sahara. The result is that you can finally buy restaurant-style naan, frozen, in Charlotte. The problem I have with the "brand" naan you buy in stores is that it's all so flavorless and so uniformly cooked. This naan has darker sections, some crispier, and is much more flavorful.

There are many other goodies there, ranging from all sorts of grains, lentils, flours, fantastic fresh hummus - not a major brand, canned goods to hookas and turkish/greek coffee pots.

Their prices are reasonable. Their hours are good (they are open on Sunday) and the best thing is that the guy who runs (owns?) the store is incredibly nice. I am your average, caucasian southern woman who loves ethnic foods. When I go to our local ethnic grocers and stores, I often feel completely intimidated and out of place.

Not here.

Both times when I've walked in, the guy running the store has said upfront that if I have any questions, to please let him know. (This, vs. the no eye contact at many other places.) When I was there last, I asked him about the naan and he told me about how they get it from Cafe Nirvana.

And as an added bonus, this last time when I bought the naan he told me about a wonderful preparation I could make with chicken tenders, onions, sumac, some olive oil, etc. He took me back to show me the spices, and I bought those as well. He's very interested in sharing the cuisine and recipes and such. I have never been to an ethnic grocer where I've felt like they were willing to share their history and food information with me, and I loved that.

2 thumbs up for this place. If you like mediterranean and middle eastern food, check it out!

Nov 19, 2008
diertac in General South Archive

Recommendations for 3 Days in Walnut Creek & Pleasant Hill

So I'm spending 3 nights in Walnut Creek just off Treat Boulevard, for work. I am looking for good non-chain eats in the area. So far I've found it tough to find much interesting, but I'm sure I'm not looking in the right places.

Any recommendations for good restaurants? Especially good Mexican or Indian restaurants? I'm from North Carolina, where neither exist, currently. Thanks!!!