Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mercdredi: The Art of Giving

For these next few Wednesdays, HQ’s “Art of Beauty” posts will morph into the “Art of Giving”. I’ll post some of my favorite easy to make gifts that you can throw together in a couple of hours (usually) and have ready for the hostess, fellow volunteer or overnight guest. Who doesn’t appreciate a thoughtful, handcrafted gift over something hastily pulled from a store shelf, after all?

Today, herbed oils. Really all you need it good olive oil, a nice cruet or glass bottle (with or without one of those fancy metal tops that pour “just the right amount” Martha Stewart style) and access to herbs. Here are two recipes I’m fond of:

Basil Oil

3 to 5 tbsps basil leaves (depending on the taste of your recipient)
1 cup boiling water
2 cups olive oil

Put the leaves in a glass bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for two minutes and drain. Dry the leaves slightly between two sheets of paper towel. Chop the leaves very fine and then add them to two tablespoons of oil. Mash this mixture with a fork until it achieves the consistency akin to baby food. Alternatively, mix oil and basil in a food processor if you have access to one.

Place the basil mixture along with the remaining olive oil in a jar with a tight fitting lid and store for at least two days or up to a week. Strain the mixture through muslin and then decant your oil into the bottle of your choice.

This oil is insanely good on a tomato and mozzarella salad or in a vinaigrette. Handle your basil with intent to infuse wishes for friendship, prosperity and protection into this gift.

Rosemary and Garlic Oil
4 sprigs of rosemary
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups olive oil

Hit the rosemary and garlic a time or two with the flat of a knife to open them up a little. Put both herbs directly into the bottle you will be using for the gift and pour in the oil

Again, set this a side for a day or two before giving. The longer it sits the more flavorful it becomes.

This is a great blend to brown meats in and is wonderful for dipping bread because it holds its own with balsamic vinegar. Use intent when bruising your rosemary and garlic to impart love and a youthful attitude (rosemary) and protection and health (garlic). Les meilleurs voeux ~

Header: Girl with a Wineglass by Vermeer


Timmy! said...

Those both sound delicious, Pauline. Let's make some!

Pauline said...

I marked my calendar for 12/11 as "kitchen day". We can bake and frost cookies then too.