The holiday season is here. Making gifts for friends and family creates a great experience to go with your good thoughts. It can also add some creativity with the type of bottle or the way that you present it. If you canned jams or sauces this fall, those can make a gift basket. Dried chile and olive oil can be transformed into a good gift from New Mexico.
The oil can be used to spice up dishes, make salad dressings and add a beautiful red color to the tops of dips and dishes. Make an egg scramble with it for breakfast, roast potatoes and vegetables in it for lunch, top hummus with it for a snack and serve it with bread for dinner.
Here are a few simple steps:
1. Select a bottle- Find one with a lid. It can be a recycled bottle from a vinegar or oil. There are bottles in kitchen stores or online. Find an interesting shape that will be enjoyed on the person’s counter this winter.
2. Sterilize the bottle- Wash the bottle. Boil hot water. Insert the bottle in the hot water for at least two minutes and remove with tongs. Let the bottle dry completely before filling with chile oil.
3. Prepare oil- Dried red chile is available now or you may have grown it and dried it yourself this fall. Use three dried chiles per 1/2 cup of olive oil. It will depend on the bottle size for how much you make. Crush the chile with a mortar and pestal (using your fingers can leave you with spicy fingers). Add a little water to rehydrate the chile. Simmer the chile and oil for 15 minutes. Let cool
4. Fill Bottle- Strain through cheese cloth and into the bottle. A funnel is helpful. Collapsable funnels are available at Las Cosas and kitchen shops in Santa Fe.
5. Enjoy!- Tie a big red bow around the bottle as wrapping for the present. This can be stored on the counter or in the refrigerator for a month.