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All We Can Eat
Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 09/28/2011

Chat Leftovers: Infusing olive oil

Something for everyone in today’s Food section: Meat lovers will get a kick out of Jim Shahin’s encounter with Texas smoked pork chops. World travelers and Asian food fans will enjoy reading about local chef Scott Drewno’s trip to China. Wine and spirits lovers will get their fix, too. And folks who love desserts — here’s where I come in, big-time — will be excited about Lisa Yockelson’s new baking book, which Bonnie Benwick reviews. (She likes it.)

Any or all of those topics will make great fodder for questions in today’s Free Range chat, which starts at noon and ends a mere 60 minutes later. As we are reminded week after week, an hour just isn’t enough time to handle all the great questions we get. Here’s a worthy leftover from last week’s chat:

I recently went to Greece and brought several good-quality bottles of olive oil. I would like to infuse a portion of the oil but don’t know how to do it. I’m thinking herbs or garlic or some spicy peppers. What is the proper way to do this?

As it happens, one of our guest chatters last week, local cookbook writer (and All We Can Eat blogger) Domenica Marchetti, picked up that question near the end of the chat and wrote an answer, but time ran out. So I’m going to let Domenica do my work for me this week. Why waste a perfectly good chat response? Here’s what she said:

“I recommend reading up on this before trying it, as bacteria growth/botulism can be a concern when infusing oil. Garlic in particular is a magnet for bacteria. One way to infuse oil is to gently heat the oil with the herbs (fresh or dried) or spices that you want to use. Then, skim out the solids and pour the olive oil into a jar and let it cool. You can also bruise the herbs or crush the spices and put them in a jar and fill it with oil. Seal and let it sit in a cool, dark place for a week or two to infuse. Here’s some additional information I found on the Kitchn, a good place to start.”

Domenica is absolutely right about garlic; the risk of botulism is too high. And even with herbs, bacteria is a concern. So do as she says, read up, and you should have some nice bottles to give as gifts by the time the holiday season rolls around.

By Jane Touzalin  |  10:00 AM ET, 09/28/2011

Categories:  Chat Leftovers | Tags:  chat leftovers, free range, jane touzalin

 
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