The CookingBites Spice Challenge - Spice of the Month (November 2017): Vanilla

Morning Glory

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Each month we showcase a different spice. I'll be writing up some information about the spice and its over to you to come up with your tips, tricks or recipes using the spice. There is a prize for the most interesting idea or recipe (to be posted anywhere in the world, customs permitting). Just add your ideas to this thread or if you have a recipe, then post it as a new thread and tag it ‘vanilla' and 'spice challenge'. So, as you already realised, this month, the featured spice is vanilla! Deadline for entries midday 1st Dec. 2017 (GMT)

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Vanilla - the Info:

Cultivation
Vanilla (from the Spanish vaina, meaning "little pod") is one of the most expensive spices in the world. Vanilla comes from orchids of the genus Vanilla. While the major species of vanilla orchids are now grown around the world, they originally came from Mesoamerica, including parts of modern day Mexico and Guatemala.

Real vanilla is expensive as each plant must be pollinated individually by hand. Then the green pods are cured in the sun over several days, raised to high temperatures and 'sweated' in cloth to achieve the complex balance of sugars and aromatics, then dried and straightened out for several weeks. This process also transforms the green seed pods into the characteristic wrinkly, dark-brown pods.

Aroma and flavour

Vanilla Beans have a sweet, perfumed aroma with a woody or smoky flavour. Pure Vanilla Extract has a similar aroma.

Culinary use

Vanilla is most commonly used in cakes and desserts and boosts sweet, fruity, or rich flavours. In fact it can also work very well in savoury dishes, particularly with fish and shellfish. It is also used in drinks and was originally used by the Aztecs to accent the flavour of chocolate drinks. The sweet liqueur Galliano is flavoured with vanilla and for vodka lovers Smirnoff produces a vanilla vodka. In fact, vanilla does contain alcohol and the FDA requires that pure extract must contain 35% alcohol.

Now its over to you. How do you use vanilla? Tell us your ideas, tips and recipes for using vanilla. Deadline for entries is midday 1st December. 2017 (GMT).

Sources:
http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/ingredients/vanilla-recipes
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/vanilla-comes-from_n_5021060#gallery/342550/10

Cooking with Herbs and Spices, Hermes House
 
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ElizabethB

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I see that there has been some discussion on the number of recipe submissions. What is the final word? How many recipes per member?

My head is swimming with ideas.
 

Morning Glory

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7
I see that there has been some discussion on the number of recipe submissions. What is the final word? How many recipes per member?

My head is swimming with ideas.
No limit for either of the challenges. The discussion was about whether recipes posted in the past could be entered into the recipe challenge. At the moment you can post as many recipes as you like for the spice challenge. For the recipe challenge it is currently only recipes not posted here before.
 

GadgetGuy

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cinnamon.jpg



This one also is a very good spice that makes Thanksgiving pop & dance; Cinnamon!! It truly smells up the house like nothing else & makes people's mouths water!!!

Used mostly in deserts, it is a true holiday spice!!:wink::hungry:
 

ElizabethB

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@Elawin

I have used pure vanilla extract but never the whole bean and never in a savory dish. My personal challenge will be to use vanilla bean in savory applications.

Thanks Giving is at the end of the month with Christmas not far behind. Both are extended family holidays. It is also football season so that means recliner tale gating. I have been thinking about dishes I usually prepare and considering how to incorporate vanilla bean. I have been jotting down "notes to self".

This will take me out of my comfort zone and really make me think about flavors and how to combine them properly.
 

The Late Night Gourmet

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I've used pure vanilla extract many times, and I've used the whole bean when making ice cream. But, I've also never used it for anything savory, and that will be the challenge. Fortunately, other people on the internet have posted some interesting savory applications that use vanilla. My biggest issue here is finding something where I don't ultimately say, "It's good, and it would have been great if not for the vanilla". :eek:
 

Morning Glory

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I've used pure vanilla extract many times, and I've used the whole bean when making ice cream. But, I've also never used it for anything savory, and that will be the challenge. Fortunately, other people on the internet have posted some interesting savory applications that use vanilla. My biggest issue here is finding something where I don't ultimately say, "It's good, and it would have been great if not for the vanilla". :eek:

I know - I have the same problem. I once cooked vanilla in a fish dish - I can no longer remember the recipe as it was long ago. I thought exactly that - better minus the vanilla! I think the secret is to add very little...
 
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