With the leaves outside turning brown, I just want to curl up inside and drink more coffee than is good for me, all while listening to the radio (or simply replaying this song).
Dieting trees (for context, this article made me giggle) bring up the urge to stock up my kitchen pantries for the upcoming winter. I am aware of the fact that I sound like an upright hamster, but spending time inside a warm kitchen to make dishes that make the place smell of woody herbs is just incredibly satisfying.
Two years ago I first experimented with making herbed olive oil. The brilliant idea behind it is, that a good flavored olive oil already tastes good in itself so your meal has a head start to begin with.
The woody herbs and peppers slowly infuse the olive oil with their aromatics and the taste of the oil improves with time. I would advise to give the oil two weeks to absorb the flavors of the dry ingredients.
Most important is to work safe and to make sure all ingredients added to the oil are thoroughly dried. Botulism is really scary but a major thing to be aware of when making any preserves, this is a good read.
What I add to the oil depends on what is available and what I feel like. Previously I have added dried sage and thyme as well as oregano, or loads of dried garlic. Dried garlic is really suitable to infuse oil as it is safe and gives off a really mild taste. The only downside in my opinion is purely optical as the garlic flakes crowd the bottom of the jar and make it look semi-messy.
This batch is made with only two ingredients, rosemary and chili peppers. These little peppers are not excruciating hot but do give off a little warmth, especially because they are kept whole.
The olive oil I use is generally tasteful but not unnecessarily expensive as it will take on all these extra flavors and will be used to cook with. Previously I have warmed both the herbs and the oil, which ended up being pretty messy (super soft hands though), and I now only warm up the oil itself slightly and I then pour it on top of the herbs in the bottle. It saves a lot of work and keeps the herbs look pretty (never a bad thing).
I really adore how this looks next to a stove and I am amazed of how long a batch lasts (my last batch lasted a year(!)). Considering the holiday season, I can imagine how (smaller) bottles make beautiful gifts.
Herbed Olive Oil
- 1 liter of olive oil
- 20 – 30 dried chilis, whole
- 5-8 long stalks of dried rosemary
Plop the dried chilis into the bottle and carefully lift the rosemary stalks into the bottle (the dried needles brake of easily). Slowly warm the olive oil over a medium heat until you can smell a little of its aroma without it being hot and carefully pour this into the bottle.