Although I have a few favorite flavored oils and vinegars that I make every year, like Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar with Vanilla Bean and Garlic Scape ( GArlic Flower) oil, I am always experimenting and concocting new combinations. I also encourage you to use your local harvest of fruits, herbs, spices, edible flowers, nuts, and more to create your own tasty flavored oils and vinegars. Start with one spice like a chili pepper or garlic scape or one herb like basil and then let that be a springboard for your imagination. You can combine several spices and herbs together: one of my favorites is cilantro, basil and chilies.
To show you how simple it is, I have a whole chapter on Making Your own Flavored oil and Vinegars in my cookbook, Going Wild in the Kitchen. Here is the recipe from Going Wild in the Kitchen for Garlic Flower Oil. It is easy to make and very tasty and keeps well for months, too.
Capture summer in a bottle with the mild garlicky flavor of garlic scapes. Use this oil to add the essence of garlic to marinated sun-dried tomatoes, roasted vegetables, pizza, pasta, eggs, sauces, soups, and dressings—on anything you would use fresh garlic and olive oil.
Yield: About 1 cup
- 2 cups coarsely chopped garlic scapes (stems and blossoms)
- 1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
- Loosely pack the scapes in a clean pint jar, leaving about an inch of space at the top. Add enough oil to cover (still leaving an inch of space). Using a butter knife, gently press down the scapes to eliminate any air pockets.
- Put the cap on the jar, and add a label that includes the contents, date prepared, and approximate date the oil will be ready (2 to 6 weeks from the preparation date).
- Place the jar on a small plate and set on a windowsill. After 2 weeks, taste the oil. If stronger flavor is desired, let it continue to steep. Continue to check once a week.
- When the oil is ready, pour it through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a bowl, wide-mouth jar, or measuring cup. Before discarding the strained scapes, either squeeze them with your hands with and without the cheesecloth or press them against the strainer with the back of a spoon to get every last drop of oil.
- Transfer the oil to a clean clear or dark bottle or jar with a lid or cork, and label it with the type of oil and date. Store in a cool dry place, where it will keep for at least a year.