Friday, January 2, 2009

Flavored Oils

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...


  1. I'm sure the recipients loved them no matter the cost. :)

  2. Having received these oils (thanks, Mark) and used them, I can attest that they are quite tasty. I used the Italian one to spice up a pasta sauce, the chili-onion oil to cook quesadias, and the cinnamon-nutmeg oil to top popcorn (that one was interesting).

  3. Glad you liked them! Popcorn is not one use I had thought of!

  4. Mark,
    Do be careful. Botulism toxin can be produced by the spore in anerobic environments, such as, under oil. A better idea for your flavored oils is to warm the oils to infuse the flavors then strain out the vegetable material and use just the oil. Check with your Ag extension office about this. Flavored vinegars with the flavorings still in it is no problem as the Botulism won't grow in the acid.
    Ran across your blog as I just picked up a DO to feed my "No Knead Bread" habit. I used DO's long ago in the Scouts and have fond memories. The frontier left PA long ago but for you folks west of the Mississippi R, it's just like yesterday. Be well, have fun. Brian Patterson



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