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Posts posted by Pattyberry

  1. Oh yeah! I use vanilla with fresh herbs a lot! I rarely cook with plain vegetable oil anymore. I make my own vanilla-herbed infused oil and I can smell the herbs when I'm eating my dishes. Stir fries and eggs go very well with the vanilla-herbed infused oil too!

    I think the "sweetness" of vanila's flavor works in a similar way to the sweetness of anise flavors: tarragon, fennel, star anise.  I'm not saying vanilla is a substitute for those flavors, but I find that savory foods that go well with those anise-y ingredients stand a good chance of working with vanilla as well.  So, it's no surprise that lobster works well with vanilla as well as with tarragon.  I wouldn't be surprised if vanilla goes well with duck.

    I recently added finely ground vanilla pod , which had gotten too brittle to do anything else with, to some herbs de provence ( without Lavender ) and used it as a spice rub on some duck breasts ..

    definitely took it to another level !!! and went nicely with a side of Brussels Sprouts and some celery root puree´

    The recipe for Saffron Vanilla sauce on Black Sea Bass in French Laundry Cookbook was my introduction to vanilla in a savory dish, and a tremendous hit with all who've tried it.

    Although whenever Ive mentioned it to non Foodie fiends, I inevitablly get the "Oh Icky~Poo " reaction as they imagine a slab of fish with a gob of vanilla ice cream on it. I cant wait to try the asparagus though...

  2. Glad you mentioned that peas go specially well with vanilla! Two days ago, my last TV show was broadcasted in a local channel and I am blenching peas on vanilla water. Checkout a short version of the video....


    Tahitian vanilla has more aroma than taste, bourbon vanilla has a more pronounced taste.  I cut vanilla pods into 1/2 inch sections and simmer them in butter if I'm making a savory vanilla dish.  Using the vanilla butter to cook eggs will give you much better results than scraping the pods and expecting to extract much flavor.  Peas are especially good with vanilla.

  3. I cannot thank you enough. This is awesome. I've always wanted to make vanilla but I've never known the proper quantities and what strength I would have at the end. Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool.

    Love your site! Can't wait to get enough time to peruse it completely. All that vanilla spread out in the little boxes looks intoxicatingly wonderful.

    A dollar a piece for vanilla???!!! Get out of here!!! I'm fainting.

    Vanilla takes a long time to grow and cure. The entire process from flowering to completely cured vanilla bean takes about 1 year. This process is done completely by hand, therefore, the cost is reflective of the process.

  4. The other day I was starting to question my decision to rely on Tahitian vanilla for my own in-home experiment. I bought them without a lot of consideration, and now I wish I'd purchased half Tahitian and half Madagascar.

    I'll be curious to hear about the differences. I remember you talking about industrial odors coming from the tahitian extract in the early days. I've smelled nothing but vanilla deliciousness coming from the all-madagascar brew.

    Curious, because everyone talks about Tahitian beans as being the aroma champions ...

    At least in theory, a mix of the two seems like a great idea.

    Tahitian beans have less vanillin (the vanilla smelling compound) than Madagascar. They also have a very heady floral, fruity aroma and flavor. You will not get that buttery creamy texture and taste from Tahitian beans or extracts.

  5. "Thoughts on the difference betwence between fewer beans/more time and more beans/less time?"

    Soaking the beans longer will not make a better extract. There is only so much of the flavor compounds in a vanilla beans and once it has been extracted, keeping the been in the alcohol longer won't make any difference, except maybe making the beans smile a whole lot more :blink:

  6. Patrick,

    The reason for the difference you noticed in flavor is because tahitian beans have less vanillin content in them. There are two species of vanilla: Planifolia and Tahitinses. Planifolia has more vanillin content than Tahitinses. Planifolia beans are Mexican, Madagascar, and Bourbon. Tahitian beans are a totally different species. It is believed that it was a mutation from the planifolia species in the wild but no one knows for sure where they came from.

    quote=sote23,May 12 2007, 12:35 AM]

    I've recently had Vanilla from  the Tongan island of Vava'u-ambrosial product and not expensive-and have seen Vanilla from Uganda for a very decent price.


    No Idea they grew Vanilla in Uganda. where do you get either of those two vanillas?


  7. Dear Echilon,

    Vanilla is a fantastic ingredient! You can do a lot of things other than baking.

    I'll give you two choices:

    1. Go to www.arizonavanilla.com and click on the "Recipes" link. You'll see some ideas on how to use vanilla in salad dressings, and even rubs for your pork chops!

    2. For additional uses of vanilla, I would recommend the "Simply Vanilla, Recipes for Every Day Use." This book will tell you how to make extract, vanilla oil, salads, savory dishes, side dishes, and desserts using your vanilla.

    You can find it in the Arizona Vanilla website too.

    Hope this helps. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I can be reached at (480) 396-4552.

  8. Hi!

    A lot of people make their own vanilla extract. However, they do not know the right proportions of beans to alcohol.

    The type of alcohol used does not matter as it is used to extract the flavor compounds from the beans. Even if you used "el chepo" vodka, you will have a good extract with the right amount of beans. For extract purposes, you can buy grade B or extraction grade beans.

    According to the FDA regulations, a 1-fold extract should have 13.2 oz of vanilla beans to 1 gallon of alcohol.

    Chop the beans in about 1" and put them in a glass, air-tight container for about 4-5 weeks. Shake them every day (if possible). This process is called "cold masseration." It is my experience that this is the best process to make extract because it does not has a bitter aftertaste like the warm percolation process does.

    For more information, please be welcome to visit my website www.arizonavanilla.com. We also have a recipe section to use vanilla in savory dishes as well as in desserts.

    You're also welcome to check out my cookbook, "Simply Vanilla...Recipes for Every Day Use"

    Please let me know if I can be of help if you have any questions.

    Have a great day! :biggrin:

  9. Matt,

    Nice explanation.


    Good try! Vanilla will enhance the natural sugars in some fruits and veggies. That is one of the reasons why it worked well with your grape.

    I must admit that I would never try vanilla by itself but we have customers who buy it, grind it, and eat it raw.

    What makes a good recipe is the combination of the right ingredients. If you try vanilla with butter, you might be disappointed. However, try the "Easy Sweet Orange-Vanilla Butter" on page 62 of my cookbook (Simply Vanilla); or you could make a vanilla-ginger butter to pan sear a piece of salmon (season the salmon with salt and pepper).

    Also, the dish we make will determine what kind of vanilla we will use. For example, you are using Tahitian vanilla for your dishes. Tahitian vanilla has less vanillin content than the Madagascar or Mexican will have.

    Mexican vanilla beans have a "chocolaty" undertone.

    Madagascar vanilla beans have a "creamy/earthy" aroma.

    Tahitian vanilla beans have a "fruity" aroma.

    I hope this helps for your next vanilla experiment.

    Keep up the good work! :biggrin:

    Basic vanilla tasting

    It occurred to me this morning that I've never actually tasted vanilla straight from the pod. I've tasted vanilla extract, but I imagine that flavor is heavily influenced by the alcohol and the process.

    So, I split one of my Tahitian vanilla pods and scraped the little seeds into a small bowl. I then took a dab of the seeds on my finger and tasted them.

    I was surprised to taste almost nothing. The vanilla had a decidedly recognizable vanilla aroma, but on the palate there wasn't much. A few seconds later, I got a tingling sensation on the tongue and a little almost black-pepper-like heat.

    Trying to increase my chances of tasting something, I stuck a half of the pod in my mouth and sucked on it. Pretty much the same experience as before, but more tongue tingling and more of the vanilla floral aromas came up the mouth-nose conduit.

    I then picked a few items from around the kitchen, split them in half, garnished one half with vanilla seeds and did a side-by-side tasting:


    That would be a slice of buttered toast, a red globe grape, a piece of Cheddar cheese (double Gloucester, actually), some leftover Vietnamese noodles from Saigon Grill, and a meatball.

    The only place where the vanilla made an unequivocally positive contribution -- one I'd expect everybody to notice and approve of -- was on the red globe grape. It very much enhanced and deepened the flavor and sweetness of the grape, and added its own floral aromas.

    The toast was also a little better with the vanilla, in that the vanilla had almost an MSG-like umami-enhancing influence on the butter. I think I might at some point try making a vanilla compound butter.

    I couldn't even detect the vanilla on the cheese or the meatball. It might have done something with the noodles, but I wouldn't offer to prove that observation in a controlled blind tasting.

  10. Hey Matt! Good to see you! :biggrin:

    I like to keep it simple when trying to determine the difference between sweet and savory.  I know this is not a text book deffinition nor the way most look at it, but put simply if a dish is for dessert, a sweet breakfast item (i.e. french toast, waffles, etc.) or is just a traditionally sweet dish then it is "sweet".  Anything for lunch, dinner, aps, salads, soups, etc. are "savory".  Of course any of these dishes main contain one or more sweet elements (such as vanilla) but are traditionally not sweet items.

  11. Anny,

    I understand your dislike about using vanilla for savory dishes. However, you start knowing the properties of vanilla, then is when you start thinking the best way to use it.

    I have not tried vanilla hollandaise yet. However, I have sauteed asparragus in vanilla oil or infused vanilla oil, for just about 3-5 minutes at medium-high temperature and they are great!

    There are two things that would extract the flavor compounds of vanilla:

    1. Heat

    2. Alcohol (like in the extract)

    One of the properties of vanilla, as stated in my cookbook, "Simply Vanilla" is to enhance the natural flavors of some fruits and vegetables. Sparragus is one of those vegetables that has natural sugars. When you sautee them, the heat helps open up those flavor and enhancer compounds to complement your dish.

    I hope this helps.

    i've always been confused by the concept of what savory is and what it tastes like. taste sensations like sweet or salty are pretty obvious, but i've yet to read a really good explanation of what savory is.

    In my frame of refrence, savory is sort of that sensation you get when your mouth waters for real, nourishing food.

    The dictionary definition is:

    1.  Appetizing to the taste or smell: a savory stew.

    2. Piquant, pungent, or salty to the taste; not sweet.

    I am having trouble myself wrapping my mind around savory vanilla, as well. After the discussion on this thread, and after reading about the allegory to tarragon, I am suspecting that a hollandaise with vanilla substituded for tarragon (ala bernaise) and dumped over a nice fist full of asparagus just might work.

    I need to look into this book.

  12. An upgraded option of infused vanilla oil, is to mix the seeds with the oil and the fresh herbs. Let them cook for about 10 minutes until the herbs start to look light golden brown. Remove from heat and let it cool for about 20-30 minutes.

    Strain the oil and pour it in an air-tight container.


    This infused oil will give you the opportunity to add the garlic if you need it.

    I use this oil A LOT in my dishes.

    I want to make vanilla vinaigrette. I'm thinking it can't be too hard -- just add some scraped vanilla to a basic vinaigrette? I had an unforgettable dish at our county's best restaurant last spring: smoked salmon with orange vanilla vinaigrette and fried oysters on the side.

  13. Steve,

    You can also get the Simply Vanilla cookbook from our website, www.arizonavanilla.com for a better price than Amazon as we need to pay them commission.

    Thanks for your sweet comments about the book. I'm sure you will have a lot of fun cooking with those recipes as much as Matt and I did.

    I just received a copy of the book "Simply Vanilla: Recipes for Everyday Use," by Patty Elsberry and Matt Bolus. Patty Elsberry is the owner of the Arizona Vanilla Company and Matt Bolus is a Cordon Bleu-trained chef currently working at the Sanctuary Hotel on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. He also happens to be eGullet Society member "dmbolus," who has been posting recently on the "make-your-own vanilla extract experiment" topic, which is how he and I connected.

    I've been enjoying the book so far, particularly the introductory material that covers everything from the mythology of vanilla to basic instructions on how to make your own extract. And of course it's nice that we have access to chef Matt -- I'm sure he'd be happy to chime in and address any and all vanilla-related inquiries.

    The most interesting aspect of the book to me, however, is the section of savory recipes that utilize vanilla. While I've long been aware of the lobster-with-vanilla combination pioneered (I think) by Alain Senderens at Lucas Carton, I've never given really serious consideration to vanilla as a versatile savory ingredient.

    "Simply Vanilla," however, has all sorts of interesting recipes, and as with most books of recipes I think more in terms of idea-generation than actually following the specific recipes. For example, there are recipes for a spinach-and-mushroom pizza seasoned with a vanilla-and-herb infused oil and for "vanilla seared tilapia with shiitake infused basmati rice and sauteed Thai vegetables." This gets me thinking that the vanilla-mushroom combination is something I'd like to explore.

    The book isn't from a major publisher, so I doubt you'll find it in a bookstore, but it is available from Amazon.

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