Use herb oils for dipping breads and for salad dressings. To make herb oil, usea mild oil such as olive, peanut, safflower, or sunflower oil. Choose fresh herbssuch as basil, thyme, tarragon, sage, oregano, or rosemary. Slightly bruise enoughherb sprigs to fill the bottle about half full. Cover herbs with oil, and seal. Leavefor about 2 weeks in a warm place, shaking once a day. Strain oil through cheese-cloth, pressing the herbs, and taste. If you prefer a stronger flavor, repeat theprocess. When the oil achieves a flavor you like, strain oil, pour into bottles, andseal. Store oils for 2-4 weeks in the refrigerator.
Herb vinegars are great to have on hand for the perfect salad accompaniment.Use white or red vinegar and fresh herbs such as thyme, tarragon, dill, mint,oregano, chives, cilantro, basil, rosemary, or a combination. Chop fresh herbs tofill half of the bottle being used. In a saucepan, warm vinegar, and pour over theherbs. Cover the jar tightly, and place in a sunny window for 2 weeks, shakingdaily. Strain vinegar, and taste. If the flavor is not strong enough, repeat theprocess. If the flavor is too strong, add a little more vinegar. When the desired flavor is achieved, bottle with a sprig of fresh herb, and seal. Herb vinegars keepfor about 6 months.
Herb butter is easy to make and adds a nice touch to any meal. It is deliciouson fish, meat, vegetables, or bread. It may be easily shaped with molds or rolledin plastic wrap and sliced into rounds. To make herb butter, add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs to 1⁄2cup slightlysoftened butter, the zest of 1⁄4lemon, 1⁄2teaspoon lemon juice, and 1⁄4teaspoonTabasco sauce. Pack carefully into rubber butter molds or tiny ice molds, andfreeze for about 10 minutes. Remove from molds, and store in the freezer in asealed container with waxed paper between the layers. Butter may also be rolledinto a log and stored in the freezer, then sliced when needed. Place a small herbleaf flush on top of each slice for a special touch.