Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Vanilla Bean Convert

Here's my epiphany for the season: vanilla beans are marvelous. I know, I'm 31 years old and love to cook, but I had never, ever used a real vanilla bean. (If it's any excuse, I don't bake much.) "They're too expensive," I thought. "If vanilla extract works for my mother and grandmother, then vanilla extract is fine." Plus I wasn't quite sure how to get the innards out of the bean. If a recipe called for a vanilla bean, I just substituted extract.

But since Tara gave us a gorgeous spice assortment, including vanilla beans, for our wedding, I had no excuse not to try them out! So as I picked out a recipe to serve for Christmas Eve dessert tonight--Epicurious' Ginger Creme Brulee ( --I decided that I'd break out the vanilla bean as the recipe ordered.

Oh my.

I have seen the light.

I have never licked the bowl the way I did today!

How amazing that such rich, warm, sexy flavor is hiding in that creepy, brown, withered, cut-off flower part. I now regret the previous 30 years spent without vanilla beans! I even regretted washing out the pot today and watching the last few fragrant flecks swirl down the drain.


Blogger lis said...

mmm, the vanilla bean is a thing of beauty. and since I got creme brulee dishes and a kitchen torch for christmas, I think i'll try that ginger recipe. sounds perfect.

7:16 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

For the readers who don't have creme brulee dishes yet: Target has Christmas-shaped ramekins (stocking, tree, etc) on sale for 50 cents (in the "bargin bin" section).

8:03 AM  

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