Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spoonful of Heaven

Well, it took longer that I thought to give strep the almighty boot from my home, but rolling up the kids like tubes of toothpaste seems to have finally squeezed it out of them. So what good could come from such misery? Not much so far, but none the less I still have something awesome to share.

Look in your cupboards. I'm willing to bet somewhere in there you have a sad little bottle of brown glass. Maybe the label is a faded, peeling, or even stained with a few buttery finger prints. Yes, that's right vanilla. Once believed to have sprouted from the blood of an immortal Totonac princess this divine spice has become the
workhorse of the confection world. Like the mothers of the world washing a collective Everest of laundry, we have come to take dear vanilla for granted. We, in our degenerate state, have come to use vanilla as a synonym for plain, ordinary! This, my friends, is a crime!

Fortunately we do not have to remain in this depraved state. Look above and behold vanilla in full glory.  It's a simple procedure to split a whole bean and scrape about the tiny specks of seed in the interior pulp. Dump these opened beans into some choice vodka and you are six weeks away from ambrosia. Which beans though, you ask?

Taste, of course is entirely personal, and I encourage everyone to let your own mouth make the journey around the world with vanilla one bite at a time. However, for expedience sake, a simple guide: Mexico is the home of vanilla and good beans have a complex spicy flavor, Tahitian is more floral, and Madagascar has the rich creamy flavor most of think of when we remember our best à la mode. The flask and the vinegar pot in the picture are the home to Mexican beans below. The jar to the left is Tahitian, and the jar on the right is a real beauty of a Madagascar variety called Uganda Gold.

Fat oily moist beans, a small tanker of vodka and you will be well on your way the truly sublime experience of vanilla custard, crème brûlée, or a divine soufflé, best enjoyed on a rainy day. *hiccup*

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