An Edible Gift: Flavored and Dipping Oils

Every year, when Christmas approaches, I am the only person I know who does not worry one bit about christmas gifts.

I am of the very strong opinion that Christmas presents are either something you really care about, or something that can be skipped altogether.
I see a countless number of people fretting over what to get for their friends, and inevitably end up getting the first cheap thing they can lay their hands on and that makes some sense. I hate formalities, and applying such a formality on your friends I would almost interpret as an offense.

This year, like every other year, I want the gift of time, or nothing at all.

We can barely find time for what matters the most to us. We have no time to go for a run, we have no time to cook, we have no time for our kids, we have no time for a book. We have no time.

That is why I want something that can show me that a person can spend at least 5 minutes of their time on. No useless junk, no material things.
A meal together. Something handmade – even just a card. A chat.
I want your company. I want your presence.
I need nothing more, and nobody should demand for more at this time of year.

Like these biscotti, that you can make for someone and actually put some love in it, these flavored oils are a quick to put together, yet they can be considered something useful that you actually spent some time on planning. They do take a little time to make as they need to infuse, but if you make them now they will be more than ready fro Christmas. They should infuse for at least a week. If it’s 2, even better!

They are gorgeous for dressing salads, flavoring meats, or just plain dipping bread with some balsamic vinegar. Use a good olive oil, possibly extra virgin, possibly delicate. Make them considering that the person you’ll be gifting them to likes best, and you’ll be good to go!

Making flavored olive oil

A FEW POINTERS BEFORE YOU START

  • Needless to say, clean your bottles or jars thoroughly before using.
  • If using fresh herbs, make sure they are perfectly washed and dried before putting them in the bottles, and make sure to completely cover them with oil.
  • Using dried herbs and dried everything is better for this purpose. These oils will keep developing flavor over time. and I find that fresh garlic gets a bit overpowering over the course of 2 weeks, so remove it after it has been steeping for 3 days. f making chilli oil, dried chillies are best, in my opinion.
  • You can get creative, really. Here are just a few ideas, but possibilities are endless: you can flavor oils with spices, citrus, all the herbs you like best, anything, really! You can check the taste after 10 days or so and see if it’s strong enough. If not, add more.
  • If making a dipping oil, shake the bottle before using, so you get to dip your bread in the goodness at the bottom as well. Flavored oils can be made with just whole herbs and flavorings.
  • Warming up the oil will help it absorb the flavors. All you have to do is heat it up to a little more than lukewarm. I’d do this in a pot, as to have complete control over it. You can also bottle the oils and heat them up afterwards, in a pot of hot water.

Herbs Dipping Oil
(Makes 1 cup / 250ml)

1/2 tsp Dried Garlic (mine was really strong)
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
2-3 Peppercorns
1 tsp Coarse Salt
A sprig of Rosemary
2-3 Sage leaves
1 tsp Dried Tarragon
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp Dried Parsley
1 cup Extra virgin olive oil

Put all the dried ingredients in a pestle and crush everything a bit, so that the peppercorns, salt and mustard can release their flavors and mix well with the herbs. Put them in a clean small bottle, along with the well washed and well dried rosemary and sage. Make sure the herbs are all covered up.

Warm up the oil in a pot and, once it’s a little over lukewarm, pour it over the herbs. Leave your oils to infuse for at least a week before using. then, add a nice ribbon to the bottle and pack up you gifts!

Making flavored olive oil

Making flavored oils with herbs
Dried Tomato Dipping Oil
(Makes 1 cup / 250ml)
Dried Tomatoes preserved in olive oil
A couple tablespoons of the tomatoes preserving oil
Capers
Dried Basil
Dried Oregano
Almonds
The zest of a small lemon
Coarse Salt
A few olives (optional)
1 scant cup Extra virgin olive oil
Process all the ingredients in a food processor or make a paste out of them with a mortar and pestle. Spoon into a jar and top with the olive oil. Once again, let it infuse at least a week before using. This one is delicious just on its own, with some good crunchy bread or on top of bruschetta. great for parties, too!
Chilli, Garlic and other Flavored Oils
Whatever flavor you want to add to your oil, just add a few garlic cloves or chillies to a clean jar and top with oil. Fresh chillies and garlic will be very flavorful after just a day, but, from my experience, become overpowering if they sit around for too long.You can flavor your oils with things like truffle, basil, lemon, saffron, and pretty much everything you like!You know what chilli garlic is really great on?
Pizza.
Oh yes.I think I’ll go for a walk with my dad this Sunday. We hardly get quality time together anymore.

Take some time and make something handmade this year. Spend time with your family. Spend real time with real people.
And wish you’ll always be able to.

Making flavored olive oil - Packaged gift
  1. Such prettiness! I would love to receive one of these as a Christmas gift. And I would definitely add the chilli oil to homemade pizza :-)

    • Chilli and truffle oil are the best on top of pizza!
      Too bad truffle oil could be a little expensive to make…well, if you have a whole truffle it becomes a good way to preserve it.

      Potato and truffle pizza seems to be a classic around here. CARB ON CARB OVERKILL!
      Thank you for stopping by <3

  2. What a great post, Valentina! Flavored oils are so good and easy to make at home. I use to give homemade gifts made with love and passion like granola, homemade booze, or cookies. Homemade gifts are the best, right? I’m really intrigued by the idea of adding a few bottles or flavored oil to the gift baskets.

  3. These are so cute! A perfect gift idea. I couldn’t agree with you more about Christmas presents, too. I wish everyone felt this way!

  4. I completely agree with you about Christmas. I prefer to give something useful that someone will really enjoy and homemade gifts really fit the bill. These flavored dipping oils sound perfect and I love the pretty bottle and ribbon you used, too. Beautiful.

    • Glad other people like to give useful gifts, too! :) There are evenprettier bottles around, or ones you can save from things like balsamic vinegar…but, packaging aside, these are really tasty! I love to use the dried tomato one to brush phyllo pastry!