Thursday, April 7, 2011

Vanilla Sugar

Writing this food blog has opened my life in a lot of different directions: my own recipe development, recipe testing for Christy Morgan, planning and hosting Dishcrawls with Tracy Lee, even part-time subtle persuasion at Williams-Sonoma. When Tracy and I met up for the vegan Dishcrawl a couple of weeks ago, she had just come from another event the night before, where Dishcrawlers had visited Xanath Ice Cream in San Francisco. Xanath, while not vegan, is devoted to pure, clean flavors, especially vanilla and saffron. As a parting gift, Xanath gave every visitor a vanilla bean, and Tracy passed one along to me. I confess, I’ve never worked with a real vanilla bean before. I am a devoted user of pure, high quality vanilla extract, but have never had cause to use vanilla bean. A quick google led me to vanilla sugar, which I whipped up in about 5 minutes. It has to “marinate” for a couple of weeks, which will give me time to think of something lovely to use it for.

Vanilla Sugar

1 vanilla bean
2 cups sugar

Using a small, sharp knife, slice the vanilla bean in half, lengthwise. Use the edge of the knife to scrape the seeds out of the pod, then deposit in the sugar. Bury the two halves of the bean in the sugar, and pour the whole thing into an airtight container. Let sit for two to three weeks. Check back to see what happens next!

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