I'm posting an entry for Weekend Herb Blogging that I really wasn't pleased with. I know that sounds silly, but I think the concept is good, I just didn't like the procedure.
Last year I made basil, tarragon, and rosemary infused oils using a heat infused method, which you can read about here or here. I kept it stored in my refrigerator and used it all the time. It was great brushed on toasted bread, or grilled chicken, or swirled into mashed potatoes. Really the uses were endless. I will definitely be doing that again this year.
A couple of weeks ago I found, Michael Chiarello's Flavored Oils and Vinegars: 100 Recipes for Cooking with Infused Oils and Vinegars at a discount bookstore, and of course, I had to bring it home. It is filled with wonderful ideas for how to make and use infused oils and vinegars.
The earliest of my spring herbs is my garlic chives. They look wonderful, so I decided to try his method for making chive infused olive oil.
Herb Flavored Oils
Cold Infused Method
2 cups tightly packed soft-leaved herbs (like basil, cilantro, or chives)
1 cup olive oil
Blanch herbs in boiling water for 5 seconds. Drain and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water. Drain well and squeeze out excess moisture. Puree in blender with olive oil.
Strain puree through a fine meshed strainer. Strain again through four layers of cheesecloth and put in a sterilized glass bottle. Refrigerate and use within 1 week for best flavor.
Okay, this was a pain. The whole blanching and shocking was a hassle. By the time I got all of the wayward chives pushed down, I'm sure more than 5 seconds had lapsed. Then trying to strain it was a mess too. It was oil, so everything was slick and greasy. It took forever to strain, and I ended up dirtying several bowls, a strainer, and the blender. The oil was beautiful, a gorgeous bright green, and tasted heavenly, but compared with the heat infused method, which is so much easier, this just doesn't work for me. He does include a heat infused method in this book, and that's what I'll be using from now on.
So, even though I wasn't pleased with how difficult this was, I wanted to share the concept of making infused oils. Infused oils that you buy in the store are so expensive, and it is so easy to make your own (the heat way), and if you grow your own herbs you really have no excuse not to! This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by it's esteemed creator Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen.