Gift #1: Rosemary Olive Oil (with Smashed Potatoes)

For the next month, since the holidays (unbelievably) are upon us, I’ll be adding some easy (and not-so-easy-but-worth-it) recipes for gifts from the kitchen. There are few things more personal than receiving a gift that was painstakingly created by someone in their kitchen. It could be something they created themselves, or be a treasured recipe that’s been in the family for 3 generations – either way, it connects people in a very special way. Gifts from the kitchen are great in any season, but I particularly love to make food gifts for the holidays.

A bonus: it’s a wonderful thing to do with your kids, your grandkids, your nieces/nephews or just some kids you know in your neighborhood. It’s a great way to engage children on where our food comes from and remind them that some of the best gifts actually aren’t bought over the internet or at the mall.  And, as a bonus, it makes the child a part of the gift experience; I can guarantee they’ll be excited to be able to say they helped too! (The Shake and Bake commercial from the 60’s where the little girls in the ad say “And we helped!!” is emblazoned on my memory.)

But before I go any further, I should do a shout-out to my husband that this does not mean I want a jar of pickles you made for me for Christmas this year. Not unless there are earrings in that pickle jar.  🙂 OK. ‘Nuff said.

I’ll start this Gifts From The Kitchen series with a nice and easy recipe for an infused olive oil. It’s so easy to infuse olive oils, and they make for such a nice gift any time of year – as a great hostess gift, for example. Infused oils you’ve made in your own kitchen have a freshness to them, and you have ultimate control for how much flavor you want to infuse. Rosemary olive oil is one of the easiest, I think, although I’ve done basil, garlic and hot pepper with great success too.

Keep in mind that the container is part of the gift, so look around for some pretty jars: Cost Plus, The Container Store, Crate and Barrel, Michael’s Arts and Crafts, and Sur La Table are all good places to look.

A nice touch is to tie some ribbon or cord around the jar, laced through a card with an easy recipe on it like the Smashed Potatoes (recipe below).

All set to go!

Rosemary Olive Oil

Cook’s Notes:

  • Use a good olive oil so that the rosemary flavor comes through loud and clear.
  • I don’t recommend leaving the rosemary in the oil for much more than 3 days, as the herb will start to degrade noticeably and affect the flavor.


  • 2 cups very good extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 – 3 very large sprigs of rosemary, well washed

Making It…

  1. Pour the olive oil into a jar.
  2. Break down the rosemary sprigs into several pieces that can easily fit into the jar and be completely submerged in the oil. Don’t include any thick woody stems.
  3. Put a lid on the jar and set in a cool dark place in your kitchen for up to 3 days. Feel free to taste-test the with a small piece of bread after the first day and everyday afterwards until the rosemary infusion reaches the level you prefer.
  4. Strain out the rosemary and discard. Pour the olive oil into a pretty jar.

A little oil bath

Smashed Potatoes

Cook’s Notes:

  • This recipe is a great vehicle for specialty salts as well as the Rosemary Olive Oil! My favorite for this recipe: truffle salt.
  • Finishing the potatoes in the oven gives a crispy edge to the potatoes, making this a stand out dish!
  • I like to finish this dish off with a light sprinkle of Maldon salt flakes as they’re so pretty sitting on the red skin of the potato.


  • Red Potatoes
  • Rosemary olive oil
  • Salt
  • Coarse ground black pepper

Making It…

  1. Place the red potatoes in a pot of water, bring to a boil, and simmer until tender (10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes).
  2. Allow to cool for 15 minutes and smash. If you smash when they’re still very hot, they tend to fall apart.
  3. Turn on the broiler. Drizzle the smashed potatoes with rosemary olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put under the broiler for 2 -3 minutes to crisp them up.
  4. Drizzle with a little more rosemary olive oil, a last sprinkling of salt and pepper and serve hot.

About The Wimpy Vegetarian

I'm a mostly vegetarian married to a Carnivorous Maximus and always looking for a simpler way to make a great dinner for both of us!
This entry was posted in GIFTS FROM THE KITCHEN, Potatoes, Side Dishes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Gift #1: Rosemary Olive Oil (with Smashed Potatoes)

  1. lapadia says:

    Beautiful recipe & photo, CS! I do remember that commercial from the 60’s…yikes, how time flies! 🙂

  2. lizthechef says:

    I want to say I was here from the get-go..One glorious blog with a cookbook in the making. I have a huge rosemary plant and stare at it every year about now. Thanks for the nudge, Susan!!

  3. Nice idea. I think I’m only giving edible gifts this year, and oils are relatively easy. Thanks!

    • Thanks gluttonforlife! Same here, and oils can really be dressed up so nicely for a gift. I’m on the hunt for bottles now. I know I wrote down (somewhere) a great mail order place – I need to find it this week.

  4. Sophia says:

    I love rosemary, but it can be an acquired taste, especially in certain dishes. I was recently developing recipes for an upcoming article in The Herb Companion magazine, and one of them was a dessert using rosemary-infused whipped cream. My husband, as hard as he tried, just couldn’t get past the combination of sweet and piney herb. I, on the other hand, couldn’t stop eating it out of the bowl. Looking forward to future gifts Susan!

    • You’re right Sophia! My mother, for example, hated rosemary. It has such a distinctive flavor that once it’s added to something, you really will notice it. I think your rosemary-infused whipped cream sounds wonderful and would love to try that for a topping for a pear pie I make! I’ll be looking for your article in The Herb Companion!! Will it be in their next issue?

  5. Winnie says:

    I love this, and can’t wait to see more of this series!

  6. boulangere says:

    This looks like lunch this afternoon! I don’t think I could possibly wait any longer than that to try it.

    • They are sooo good, boulangere!! You will love them. But the most important thing is to crisp them at the end. It makes a huge difference! I’m trying to find time this weekend to make some of your bread!!

  7. TasteFood says:

    I love rosemary – this sounds wonderful!

  8. Hannah says:

    Love this! Homemade gifts are just the best, particularly from the kitchen. I’m looking forward to more ideas!

    • Thanks Hannah! I agree – I look forward to this all year, thinking about what I might want to make for friends and family, picking out the bottles, and how I want to wrap them. There’s a group of us cooking teachers here in the Bay Area who get together every November to do a ‘Gifts From the Kitchen’ gift exchange, which is always so much fun and FULL of ideas.

  9. Bevi says:

    “Shike and Bike and I hailped”.. sorry I had to get that off my chest. I have the perfect beautiful bottle for this.

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