Fearless Fridays: How to Use and Re-Use Your Vanilla Beans

This weekend you may come across a recipe that calls for a vanilla bean. Vanilla beans nowadays seem to be more common in cookbook recipes or as an ingredient in your favourite baked good.

Multiple uses for vanilla beans Using vanilla beans seems to be quite an investment when purchasing them in the grocery store or specialty food store.  So if you want to jump in with your feet first when working with vanilla (other than extract), here are some handy tips to use them and make them go farther than just one recipe!

How to use a vanilla bean:

Using the tip of a knife, slice the vanilla bean lengthwise. Then, using the back of your knife with slight pressure, scrape out the small black seeds. Use for any recipe that you would like to be vanilla flavoured, for example like cookies, custards, ice cream, buttercreams and cakes.

At this point you have many options to use the vanilla bean a second time. You can:

1.)    Infuse a hot liquid with the whole bean. Scrape out the bean as explained above . Then place the whole bean into the liquid. This will give the liquid an intense flavour with all the essence extracted from the bean with no waste. Once it has been in for 5-10 minutes or the duration of the cooking time, you can then strain it out.

Example for use: Ice cream, jam, caramel, simple syrup.

2.)    Dry the vanilla bean at room temperature for 1-2 days after you have scraped out the seeds for any recipe. Leave it on the counter in a cool dry area. Using a food processor or a clean coffee grinder, coarsely grind the dried pod. Keep in an air tight container. At a later use, you can add to any hot liquid to infuse vanilla flavour. Before serving, strain through a fine mesh sieve.

Examples for use: Custard, preserves that need to be strained, milk.

3.)    Make vanilla sugar. This can be made in  two ways; add a whole dried, scraped out pod to a container of granulated sugar or add the coarsely ground bean as explained in example two into a jar of granulated sugar. Using the whole bean will give a beautiful aroma and flavour to your sugar and using the ground bean will give you flecks of vanilla throughout the sugar.

Examples for use: Baked good recipes, in your coffee, rolled cookies, or dust on donuts.

4.)    Make vanilla vodka. Place a vanilla bean inside a vodka bottle and let infuse for one week before use.

Examples for use: Vanilla martinis or in any vodka based drink.

Multiple uses for vanilla beans

Fearless Fridays: Quiche

 Bacon Herb Quiche made in a peanut and fish free environment because I have allergies and have anaphylaxisTwo weeks ago J and I had no ideas for a Saturday lunch because of the lack of groceries in our house.  After opening all cupboards, freezers and the fridge we came to realize that we had enough to make a quiche! We had bacon…and fresh herbs!

Now, hear me out. I KNOW not everyone keeps a ball of pastry dough or a pre shaped crust in their freezer. (Seriously, why wouldn’t you!) But what people do have access to if they do not want to make their own dough is store bought crust.  I have also had success in making quiche that does not have a crust!I have also had success in making quiche that does not have a crust. Pouring directly into a baking dish gave me the same results as using a crust would. What a great gluten-free option! I think everyone should try and make their own crust though, even one time. Maybe a post should come shortly on that about pie dough.

Quiche is a great and easy recipe to make for a breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Quiche is a baked custard dish. It involves a ratio of eggs and dairy (milk or cream) plus any ingredient you choose to add to the recipe. Once you have the liquid proportion down that you enjoy most, the world is yours in your quiche! Just remember some tips about the milk, the higher the fat content…the creamier the consistency in your quiche. So if you are using skim milk the filling would be more watery than if you were to use a half and half cream at 6% which would result in a firmer and more well rounded flavour (fat is flavour!).

Bacon Herb Quiche made in a peanut and fish free environment because I have allergies and have anaphylaxisBacon and Fresh Herb Quiche 

I find a lot of recipes do not call for blind baking (pre-cooking) their crust.  For me personally, the added step of pre-cooking my crust yields a super crunchy crust that is never soggy.

I cup light cream (6%)
3 large eggs
¼  tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper (or fresh cracked black pepper)
4 strips of bacon chopped (cooked until fat is rendered but not yet crisp)
1 tbsp fresh chopped chives (or 1 tsp dried chives)
1 tbsp fresh chopped oregano (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
1 tsp  fresh chopped thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
1/2 cup soft goat cheese

For a pre-baked 9” pie crust or greased baking dish.
If you are not pre baking a pie crust, add an extra 20-30 minutes of baking time to the recipe.

In a bowl, whisk eggs and cream together. Add salt, pepper and herbs.

Sprinkle over the bottom of the pie crust the bacon and half the cheese. Pour the filling over the crust and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until quiche has puffed up and the top is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Bacon Herb Quiche made in a peanut and fish free environment because I have allergies and have anaphylaxisOther flavour combinations!
Broccoli and Cheddar
Asparagus and Spinach with Smoked Gouda
Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese
Caramelized Onions with Thyme and Mozzarella
Mushroom and Bacon