It’s hot outside, you don’t really feel like cooking but you want something with flavor.  Or, it’s hot outside, you’re tired and dinner needs to be quick and easy.  Around here, the best way for me to perk up a single dish or meal is with infused oils, you know, oil with something special.  They are easy to make, can help you stretch a dollar and can really kick up the flavor of an ordinary dish. My guys love to have the garlic oil, add a few flakes of red pepper, salt and Parmesan cheese with a big hunk of crunchy bread, yes ma’am!  I mix it up and have it out on the counter for them to snack on while I cook dinner.  I love to serve the Chipotle oil (this stuff is wicked good) with roasted chicken.  Of course, the basil oil is awesome with fish.

The thing is….these oils can be used on just about anything!  I’ve used them as a base for salad dressing and also put them on sandwiches.  All you need to do is set aside a little time, gather your ingredients and have fun with your food.  Probably my biggest challenge with these oils is remembering all of the ways I have used them and new recipes I want to try….duh – maybe a notebook in the kitchen would help?  That suggestion came from my Sweetie because he was tired of hearing me stomp around the kitchen talking to myself about dishes that I couldn’t remember.  Oh well, I’ll think about that tomorrow… So, back to the oils….give them a try!
You don’t need any special equipment, just a standard blender or a handheld “boat motor” and a few mason jars for storage.  Once you’ve made them, just seal ’em up and store in the fridge for about a week but I’m not sure they’ll last that long.  Here they are, three of my fav’s…

Chipotle Oil
*this recipe is from George, the Chef at 1618 Seafood Grill. I’ve loved this infused oil, the restaurant and George’s dishes for years and so has Picky Sweetie!!

  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 1Tbs salt – make sure to taste, you might want to add more
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs fresh garlic
  • 6 canned chipotle peppers soaked in adobe sauce. Put all ingredients in a tall metal or glass container and process with hand blender until smooth.  You can also use a standard blender.

Basil Oil

  • 2 ounces fresh basil – abut 2 cups packed
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/8 tsp. of salt
  • In a small bowl, prepare an ice bath – water and ice cubes.  Bring about 2 cups of water to boil in a small sauce pan.  Add the basil leaves and make sure they are all submerged.  Cook for about 10-12 seconds.  Immediately scoop out with a slotted spoon and transfer to the ice bath.  Once they have cooled, remove to paper towels to drain.  Gently squeeze the paper towels to remove as much of the liquid as possible.  Pour oil into large metal or glass container add salt and mix with hand blender.  Add 1/2 of the basil leaved and process briefly.  Add the remaining leaves and blend until all leaves are pureed.  Add a few fresh basil leaves, blend well.  This will brighten the flavor to total freshness.

Garlic Oil

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • In a small saucepan, gently heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant but not colored, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Cover and let steep for 1 hour. Strain into a bottle or jar and discard the garlic. FYI – this stuff disappears right before my eyes….not quite sure what these boys use it for but everyone seems quite happy…along with their friends!
I hope you make at least one of these recipes and find new ways to enjoy them.  Be bold and go for it or just sneak them into dishes….you’ll be amazed at the outcome.  Have a great weekend!
Counting my blessings,