Now that Christmas is over, I can write about one of the things I did.
I got this idea that it would be cool to make some flavored olive oils and give them to some of my cookin' friends as Christmas gifts. I did a bit of research and found some cool flavor combinations, and I settled on three: Cinnamon and nutmeg, Italian seasonings, and Chili and onions.
I had a very difficult time finding bottles for the whole adventure. I wanted the ones that have the little metal spouts. The ones I found had a hard time gripping once the bottle neck got oily. But I eventually discovered that once you've poured in the oil, if you dry of the inside of the neck really thoroughly with a paper towel, the rubber in the stoppers sticks again. So, I was good to go. I got the bottles at a dollar store, so I the biggest expense really was the oil.
Those that got them for Christmas are probably reading this.
I mean... I spent hundreds of dollars each on those antique hand-crafted crystal masterpieces. And I grew the olives myself and pressed the oil in my back yard. Yeah, that's the ticket...
I made three sets of the three oils, so that I could give one to John, of Mormon Foodie fame, one to my sister (who gave me the sourdough start I mentioned last time), and keep one for myself. I started off with the cinnamon one. I simply put about 2 teaspoons of nutmeg in the bottom of the bottle, and then dropped in a couple of sticks of cinnamon bark. Then I poured in the oil. Finally, I wiped dry the inside of the neck and put on the cap. It was that simple.
For the italian style oil, I got some sprigs of fresh herbs (basil, thyme, and oregano), and then bruised them up a little bit. I'd read that allows for more infusion of flavor. I put them into the bottle. I sliced up a couple of cloves of fresh garlic for each bottle, and put in some dried tomatoes. Then those got filled up with oil, cleaned and capped.
The chili one was also very easy to make. I'd bought some thin red chilis (dried) in the mexican section of the supermarket. I also sliced up some pearl onions and added those in. Then, in went the oil.
I'd read that you want to wait at least three weeks for the flavors to infuse before you use the oils. I made them the week before Christmas, so that means at least one more week before using them. I may go longer, though. It was a lot of fun to make! And I think they looked really classy, even if they were dollar store bottles. I mean--priceless antiques...