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!

2 comments:

Jackie said...

Since you're being so creative... why not try making some lovely vanilla scented soap. I'm sure you won't do any damage with the lye, at least hopefully not to anything too important.

Kathryn said...

WOW! I can't wait to see how they turn out as well! TOO FUNNY about the vodka vanilla in the olive oil bottle and the rum vanilla in the vodka bottle. That's MY kind of poor planning and I'd get 'em totally mixed up. You, of course...labeled them, right? I'm sure you'll find LOTS of vanilla goodies online. Can't wait to hear the results. No wonder vanilla extract is so expensive!