Rosemary-Thyme Flavoured Oil: Something New...Yet Something Handmade
Welcome back to the blog!! Yours truly took a month off to work on some personal projects as mentioned. Everything turned out quite well thankfully. It was an interesting challenge to be silently focused and to create from my own being. That is a priceless experience that we all need to have once in a while. Owning your thoughts, actions and the future you desire is the greatest gift you've ever been given. Your destiny is really shaped by what you think and do.
With Christmas approaching, I have taken the time to start getting ready since the week of Black Friday. I stocked up on a few things and made my annual family gift basket. This basket is the communal basket...and later on...I'll get the individual presents. I started making gift baskets as a teenager. at the point at which I had about ten people to gift every Christmas. Once the numbers grow...you start getting more creative with the budget in order to accomplish the relevant courtesy tasks of being friend, daughter, sister and colleague. Making gifts myself was not only an economical option, but it also turned out to be one that enabled me to master the art of personalizing gifts to suit the recipients. For this year's gift...the handmade portion involved making my own flavoured rosemary-thyme oil...so let's delve into how exactly I managed to accomplish this objective. For those chefs out there...these are divine. For those crafters out there...I found yet another use for my growing rum bottle collection. Essentially...from our favourite line of rums by Appleton, there is the Signature line with the corks...and this makes the bottle perfect for storing oils in a bottle with a nice...airtight seal.
ROSEMARY-THYME FLAVOURED OIL
To make this Rosemary-Thyme flavoured oil...you will need:
1) A clean, dry bottle. As mentioned, I went through the process of soaking my rum bottle ( don't soak the cork, just wash it and set it aside) for a few hours in some hot soapy water. The label should then easily come off. If you want to sanitize the bottle, you can do this with a few drops of bleach, and then you allow the bottle to completely dry. I did this by placing the bottle in a drain board upside down, so that all the water could drain. If you don't have any bottles, you can always purchase a glass bottle from various craft shops, and even in places like Walmart, Megamart , Tesco or any large supermarket chain, in the home section.
2) Herbs of your choice. There are many recipes on flavoured oils...and I chose to utilize rosemary, thyme, garlic (5 cloves...just to line the base of the bottle as a garnish) and some pepper corns. My bottle is a 75o ml bottle, so I used about half a pound of herbs in all. The measurement is something that I just measured by eye. It doesn't have to be perfect. The other half of your herbs will be for your garnish.
Wash...and completely dry the herbs. I initially dried mine with a paper towel, and then let them air dry on the kitchen table for about two hours. The aim here is to have everything clean and dry so that you only have the oils interacting with the herbs...and not have any water present. Because you'll be heating herbs in oil, you want to minimize the presence of water for a safer reaction.
3) 1 Liter of Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil or oil of your choice. Many people opt for olive oil, though you can use the oils that you have on hand.
4) A large saucepan for heating your oil
5) A cheese cloth or fine strainer and large pitcher or container for the transferred oil.
6) A funnel, for controlling the decanting of your oil into your bottle.
1) Determine the size of your bottle, and ensure that you pour that volume of oil into your saucepan. Eg, if you have a 750 ml bottle, measure 750 ml of oil into your sauce pan. You will use slightly less oil than the volume of the bottle, because you'll have the volume of your herbs to incorporate into the final presentation. To your cold oil, add half of your herbs. This process is the beginning of a hot extraction. Turn on your flame to medium-high and heat the oil to 200 -250 C. Use a thermometer as your guide. Once the oil reaches the desired temperature range, the herbs should start to fry, or the oil will start bubbling around them. Let this bubbling process progress for 2-3 minutes, then remove your herbs and set aside. Let the oil cool to room temperature for about an hour to an hour and a half.
2) While your oil is cooling, prepare your clean and dry storage bottle. Mine is a recycled rum bottle as mentioned, and I'm really happy with how it turned out. At the base of the bottle, I placed the pepper corns, then topped those off with the garlic, and finished garnishing the bottle with the rosemary and thyme.
3) Filter your cooled oil, into the pitcher. Place your funnel into your herb filled bottle, and decant the oil from the pitcher into your bottle. Once you've filled it to your desired level, just below where the cork will stop, stopper the bottle and set it aside in a cool, dark place such as a kitchen cupboard.
For best use, this oil is best utilized after it has cured for about a week or two, though it can be utilized after a few days. Like wine...the extraction of the flavours from the herbs to the oils...are best optimized after a few days or weeks of allowing the herbs to fully marinate into the oils.
* The process above is described as a hot oil extraction. There are two extractions taking place...the first initial hot oil extraction, and the secondary extraction taking place as the oil is incorporated into the bottle with the fresh herbs and allowed to cure. The flavours from the fresh herbs will transfer to the oil as the mixture cures.
* If you don't want to do a hot extraction, you can just place your fresh herbs into a clean dry bottle, funnel your oil into the bottle, seal, and let the extraction process take place over a few days and weeks in a cool, dark place.
*Flavoured oils are great for a multitude of recipes. Once you make your oils, take the time to investigate what meals you'll be able to incorporate them with. Toast some bread, and you'll be able to have a great dip with your oil. Additionally, if you're a pasta enthusiast, the oil is a great way to enhance the flavor of your pasta. Love salads? You can use your oils to make a vinaigrette, and pour that onto your salad as a dressing.
I love you for reading!! I hope you enjoyed this recipe!!
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