A Couple of Tarts

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink, for dining alone is leading the life of a lion or wolf. ~ Epicurus

Friday, September 01, 2006

la vanille


If you are like me, your introduction to vanilla involved (ahem) imitation vanilla extract. Quelle horreur! I found this ingredient quite curious. How could it taste so awful on its own, but make Toll House Cookies taste so good? In fact, it became my secret ingredient. OK, vanilla extract is hardly a secret, but I thought adding a double amount would provide a personal spin on a ubiquitous recipe. Ahhhh....The beginnings of an illustrious career. Since then, I have graduated to Nielsen-Maasey Madagascar vanilla. The beautiful bottle resembles something you would find in an apothecary containing a sweet elixir.

The simplicity of the flavor can also be celebrated in the vanilla bean. I am lucky to work in a restaurant, where I have access this exotic fruit. The Tahitian variety was en vogue when I began cooking many moons ago and I still favor their ethereal flavor. Because they can be expensive, I'm always trying to find ways to prolong their use. My favorite is to dry the empty gousse for a couple of days and drop them into a canister of sugar. The vanilla will infuse the sugar with its fragrance and create a lovely treat. I also love the flecks of the bean contrasted against the sugar crystals. C'est quelque chose tres recherche.

Overnight, the temperature became cooler and there is a crispness in the air. Very fitting this being the 1st of September. J'attend avec impatience the Labor Day Weekend and puttering around with mon mari and ma fifille. A nice bowl of gnocchi sounds perfect for a Sunday supper...Etre Continuer.

1 Comments:

Anonymous NYC Tart said...

I was just thinking the other day about vanilla beans and where I would even be able to get decent ones.

4:24 PM  

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