Cooking with olive oil will give certain foods a superior flavor and it is also healthy. Olive oil contains antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids that provide health benefits such as controlling the level of bad cholesterol and increasing the amount of good cholesterol in the body. Extra virgin olive oil is the purest form of olive oil and should be used to make aromatic cooking oils. These oils will add a bold flavor to pastas, meats, vegetables, salad dressings, and marinades because they bring out the flavor of spices.
Before making your aromatic cooking oil, have the best ingredients ready such as extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs (to start, just gather rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, and bay leaves). Growing your own herbs saves money and you will always have fresh herbs ready so consider growing an herb garden indoors. To do this, buy several pots with good drainage and at least six inches in diameter and height, a good type of indoor potting soil (an even amount of vermiculite, and brown rice flower can provide nutrients without the worry of outdoor soil contaminants that could ruin your garden), and several herbs. Pick a spot in your house that can provide several hours of direct sunlight, very little temperature changes during the day, and some ventilation. Put your plants inside your pots with about two inches of potting soil at the bottom. Water twice a week give or take, but do not allow the soil to always stay moist. Keep in mind that some plants require different amounts of light and water, and remember to fertilize your indoor garden once a month.
Different Types of Aromatic Cooking Oils:
For a spicy oil, get a bottle of olive oil and a few hot peppers (banana peppers, red peppers or jalapenos for instance). You won’t need much unless you love spicy foods so don’t overdo it. Place the peppers in your oil, preferably halved, and allow it steep for at least two weeks. The longer the oil sits, the more flavor seeps into the oil so this recipe will gain heat as time goes on. This method is also used in southern American states only using apple vinegar instead of olive oil. It makes for an excellent rib marinade and looks great just sitting in the kitchen. Spicy foods are not just great but they are also said to speed up the metabolism so eat up.
If you don’t like spices, there are a few other great oils you can make. Try adding basil, oregano, marjoram, and bay leaf into a jar of olive oil. Another possible combination is garlic, savory, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Maybe for you first try, just use basil and garlic. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your oils. If you see certain herbs used in a recipe for a marinade or a salad dressing, try using those herbs in your oil and you will find out that using an aromatic cooking oil brings out a robust flavor that just adding the spices in last minute could never do.
While olive oil can help blood cholesterol levels, herbs also provide some great health benefits as well. Garlic aids in digestion and lowers blood pressure, rosemary improves blood circulation, digestion, and concentration, and thyme can be used to aid respiratory illness.
These oils don’t just add flavor to recipes and provide health benefits, but they also look good standing on a kitchen counter top. You can use old wine bottles with the labels taken off or store bought ones and even layer the peppers and spices in an eye catching way.