Over the weekend, I stumbled into a conversation about kitchen turn-offs. As far as our discussion went, these are those tasks or ingredients that send you turning the page or clicking on to another recipe. I confessed that I send a dish packing if it required me to fit a large pan or dish into my refrigerator (my fridge is typically full to bursting). Someone else mentioned that they skipped ahead if asked to prepare a double boiler. And finally, my friend Becca disclosed that any time a recipe instructed her to use a vanilla beans, she either subbed in a splash of extract or just moved on.
I was aghast. First, because real vanilla beans are so incredibly flavorful and can add so much baked goods, jams and more. And second, because as you all know, I frequently call for vanilla beans. Hearing Becca mention her discomfort made me worry that there are others out there like her who are skipping the vanilla bean because they just aren’t comfortable with the instructions to “split and scrape.”
So, in order to help Becca (and any others of you out there) conquer those vanilla bean anxieties, on Sunday night, Scott and I made a little video. We shot this sometime after 11 p.m., on day that I spent almost entirely in the kitchen. The reason you don’t see me beyond my hands is that I was wearing my glasses, my hair was pulled into a messy ponytail and there wasn’t a lick of make-up on my face. I was not what they call “camera-ready.”
My hope is to do a few more videos like this one as the summer goes on, so please let me know if there’s a canning or kitchen technique you’d like to see explained. Oh, and if you’re someone who avoids real vanilla beans because of the cost, please look into buying them online in bulk. I’ve happily purchased beans from Vanilla Products USA several times and have also had Beanilla recommended quite highly. Get a couple friends together and go in on a half pound of beans. Purchasing them this way will enable you to use them regularly.