DIY Infused Olive Oils


DIY Infused Olive Oils


I’m really excited about Christmas this year. We’re going up to see Dan’s family again, which is always fun, but even more exciting — the cousins are doing a Kris Kringle gift swap! The only other time I’ve been part of a gift swap/Secret Santa exchange was freshman year of college, and I remember it being a lot of fun. There’s something really exhilarating about sneaking around behind someone’s back, gathering data and trying to figure out what they want for Christmas…
The only problem with being Secret Santa for Dan’s cousins is that I don’t know all of them that well. Over the years I’ve tended to have more interactions with some than others – nothing personal, just a timing/geography thing. And, wouldn’t you know it, I ended up picking one of the less familiar cousins out of the Kris Kringle hat. Shit. What do I get for someone I’ve met only a handful of times?
Obviously, my first reaction = panic, but after some further thought and a few deep breathing exercises, I realized that this was actually a great chance for me to get to know said cousin better. Plus, like I said: reconnaissance is fun. So, I reached out to Dan’s mom, who poked around for me and came back with a list of possible gifts that told me two important things: (1) the cousin likes to cook; and (2) he/she is into the whole “eco-friendly” thing. Awesome!
The first thing that came to mind was homemade infused olive oils. I’d infused alcohol before, but never cooking oil. Same concept, though. So, I headed to FoodGawker for some ideas, and came away with 4 flavors to try: garlic, rosemary, chili, and lemon. All simple to make, delicious, and incredibly versatile — any of the 4 infused oils can be used for salads, sandwiches or any other kind of cooking. And, the bottles came out really pretty, don’t you think? I can’t wait to see how Dan’s cousin reacts when he/she opens his/her present! Let’s just hope that no one in Dan’s extended family reads this blog.
“On the 8th day of Christmas, my kitchen gives to youuuuuu…”
Lemon-Infused Olive Oil (Adapted from Simply Gluten Free’s recipe)
Ingredients:
- 2 whole lemons
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 4-oz glass bottle with cork
Steps:
(1) Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, carefully strip one lemon of its zest. Try to keep each strip long and wide, and avoid getting any of the bitter white pith underneath. Stuff zest strips into your bottle. Set aside.
(2) Zest your second lemon, and set aside.
** It’s not as important to make the zesting pretty with this lemon. Just make sure you’re only getting the zest, and not the pith.
(3) In a sauce pan, heat olive oil until a few small bubbles start forming .
** If your oil starts smoking, take it off the stove and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
(4) Scoop zest from second lemon into the warm olive oil. Let it steep for about 30 minutes.
(5) Carefully pour the lemony oil into your bottle over the uncooked strips of lemon zest, making sure not to get any of the cooked lemon zest get in. Don’t overfill.
(6) Cork the bottle and store in the refrigerator.
(7) Serve drizzled over salads, or in everyday cooking.
** Use and/or throw out within 10-14 days.
Rosemary-Infused Olive Oil
Ingredients:
- 3-4 sprigs rosemary
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 4-oz glass bottle with cork
Steps:
(1) Stuff rosemary sprigs into your glass bottle. Set aside.
(2) In a sauce pan, heat olive oil until a few small bubbles start forming .
** If your oil starts smoking, take it off the stove and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
(3) Carefully pour warm oil into the bottle over rosemary. Don’t overfill.
(4) Cork the bottle and store in the refrigerator.
(5) Serve with bread, drizzled over salads, or in everyday cooking.
Chili-Infused Olive Oil
Ingredients:
- 1 tbsp red chili flakes
- 1 to 2 whole, dried Thai chilies (Optional — I wanted to add these for additional flavor/visual appeal, but my grocery store was out.)
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 4-oz glass bottle with cork
Steps:
(1) Pour chili flakes into your glass bottle. Set aside.
(2) In a sauce pan, heat olive oil until a few small bubbles start forming .
** If your oil starts smoking, take it off the stove and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
(3) Carefully pour warm oil into the bottle over the chili flakes. Don’t overfill.
(4) Cork the bottle and store in the refrigerator.
(5) Serve with bread, drizzled over salads, or in everyday cooking.
Garlic-Infused Olive Oil (Click here, for the recipe)
** It can be dangerous to infuse oil with raw garlic cloves, so be sure to follow the instructions at the link above and take all the necessary precautions for food safety!

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