Fancy looking infused oils are a great DIY gift that seem like much more work than they actually are. This is great news for lazy people like myself.
Photo by Peden + Munk.
I swear my intentions are good. Every year I fully intend to make lots of thoughtful, edible gifts, but just existing during the holidays can be exhausting. Do you know how much work jam is? I don't! I always get overwhelmed reading about the canning process and give up before then. This is why tasty infused oils are perfect for a gift giver like myself. They can even be whipped up at the last minute.
There are two ways you can infused: hot and cold. The cold takes less effort, so I'm going to do that one. (You can read about the hot method in the link below.) Infused oils are used for finishing, not cooking, so start with a high quality olive oil that taste good drizzled on things. Cold infusion works best with fresh and tender ingredients like leafy herbs, citrus rinds, and peppers, so pick something along those lines. Pulverize about a cup of loosely packed ingredients in the food processor, and mix it with the oil. Once everything has been fully incorporated, strain out the solids and refrigerate for up to a week. (There's no need to let it sit very long before straining, as residual particles and oils from the flavourings will hang out and impart tasty goodness.)