Homemade Chili Oil
I will often finish a dish with a little drizzle of oil. It adds an additional layer of flavour and a lovely sheen to the food. It's usually something from Liquid Gold's selection of extra virgin olive oils. Located in the Hydrostone Market, they carry a wide variety of premium olive oils imported from around the globe. The shop is complete with a tasting bar, so allow yourself some time to browse when you visit. Hemp oil is also an interesting culinary oil, available at the Seaport Farmers Market from Atlantic Healing Hemp. Hemp oil is rich and nutty, and it's really nice on greens.
There are a few important things to remember when making an oil infusion. Since this will likely be stored for up to a couple of months, there is potential for all kinds of bacteria and other nasties to grow. The oil creates an anaerobic environment where botulism can occur. Heating and holding the oil and chilies to kill any bacteria, sterilizing your container, and using dried flavoring agents, will minimize any potential risks.
Making chili oil is not the time to break out your best quality extra virgin olive oil, choose an oil that is more neutral in flavour and won't be adversely affected by heating to 180F. Canola, sunflower, or peanut oils are all good options.
Add chilies to the oil and heat over a low flame until the mixture reaches 180F, and hold at this temperature for 5 minutes. Then remove from heat, and allow to cool. Once mixture reaches room temperature, decant into the bottle of your choice. The container can be sterilized by either running it thought the dishwater or heating in a 250F oven for 10 minutes. Be sure the container is completely dry before adding the oil.