Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mmmmmmmm Vanilla

Ok, for my very first Blog entry I'm going to talk about vanilla.  Making homemade vanilla to be exact!  For whatever reason I get all Martha Stewarty thinking I can do all these fancy homemade things.  Unfortunately, I'm not really all that good at being Martha Stewarty!  But, in this case - fortunately for me, homemade vanilla is an easy one!  (I once had a fleeting thought of making my own soap, but wisely figured that using the lye would be MUCH too dangerous for someone like me...so I gave up on that idea rather quickly with a hint of disappointment!)  There are various recipes out there, but basically it is a whole complicated process of sticking a few vanilla beans into some of your favorite liquor, shaking it daily (or whenever you remember is more likely for me!) & waiting for a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks before you can try it.  Vodka, rum & bourbon seem to be the liquors of choice.  For my first attempt I tried Vodka.  I started this about 2-3 weeks ago.  Once I get something in my head I need to do it "right away".  Soooo...off I went in search of vanilla beans, having no idea where one buys vanilla beans?  I looked online for some sort of clue as to where I might find them locally...no luck!  One day shortly after I was walking through Sobeys & lo & behold there are vanilla beans - $6.95 for two!  Wow...but being the patient person that I am, I bought them so I could get started with my little project.  Of course when I got home & checked the recipes, I needed more vanilla beans...oh well, I'll add more later (thinking hopefully I'd be able to find them a little cheaper).  So I searched out some vodka...found a bottle with about 250 ml or so left...don't I have more Vodka around than that?????  Where did it all go??  Caesar's maybe?  Anyways, so I sliced the vanilla beans & scraped out the little seeds & plopped the beans & seeds into the Vodka.....better to get it started now as recipes suggest that you let it sit for a MIMIMUM of 6 to 8 weeks before use!  So, I got it all started with the supplies that I had....then went online to search out some more (hopefully cheaper) vanilla beans.  That's when I found the "Vanilla Food Company" - and they are in CANADA!  Yay!!  I had seen them recommended on a few of the things I had read, so I thought I would give them a try.  So, I placed my order for 1/2 lb of vanilla beans (go big or go home!).  Well, it was only a few days before my vanilla scented package arrived!  Impressive!!  Unfortunately, it arrived just before I went away on vacation.  So, before I left, I cut up a few beans, scraped out the seeds, plopped it in the vodka with the other ones, shook it & stored it away in a dark place as recommended.  I was going to ask my hubby to shake it for me while I was gone...but figured he would only think I'm crazier than he already thinks I am ...so I whispered a few words of reassurance to my bottle of budding vanilla that I'd be back in a week or so to visit & give it a good shake, closed the door & left.

Now, about 2 1/2 weeks later, home from vacation, visited my vanilla & gave it a good shake, & caught up on a few things...well...not really.  But figuring I should try making more vanilla with Rum to see the difference.  So home I go, search out some empty bottles...where are they when you need them?  Ok...so I found an empty Vodka bottle...so I'll make my Rum vanilla in a Vodka bottle & my Vodka vanilla was made in a Olive Oil bottle...makes sense to me?!  I cut up my vanilla beans & plopped them into the Rum & gave it a good shake.  Put him in the cubby hole next his Vodka buddy & left them alone to bond.   Now to remember to shake 'em!!  Although that shouldn't be a problem because I can't resist looking at them at least every few days?  They are so cute together!

Sooooo, I still have tons of vanilla beans left...1/2 lb is a LOT of vanilla beans!!  Next on the list - vanilla sugar...again extremely easy...but sounds kinda fancy doesn't it?!  Cut up the vanilla beans, scape the seeds out, throw it all in with some sugar, stir it around, cover tightly & shake.  Store it in a dark place & shake!  (Gonna be a full time job shaking vanilla stuff!).  I decided to be really fancy & try it with both Raw Sugar & regular Granulated Sugar...maybe I am kinda Martha Stewarty....or not!

Hmmmm...what to do with all those other vanilla beans???  I guess I'll have to do some research on that!  Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated!

Can't wait to see how it all turns out!