Thursday, January 03, 2008

Vodka and vanilla: two tastes that go great together!

Oh those long vacations in the Netherlands…which allow people like this guy Ian to whittle away at his spare time with the joys of making…his own vanilla extract!?

There are so many things that benefit from vanilla, it’s just an amazing, weird little substance. As much as I like the stuff, I don’t know that making a quart of it would help matters much (vanilla vodka, anyone?). Ian from the Netherlands who is getting his PhD (in something not food science, but obviously something else that requires a technical mind), gathered a good bit of helpful info on vanilla, and there is much to be learned about the mighty bean (he even includes a link to the FDA standard for heaven’s sake).

For the rest of us, Trader Joe’s makes an excellent vanilla using bourbon and no other additives, which is why I’ll fork over the $4 it costs me to buy it instead of trying to buy vanilla beans and make it. Be sure to see Ian's sources for vanilla in case you should ever need some, however: at Whole Foods a single bean can cost $4-6!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Get properly blasted!

No, seriously. We're only 1 day into the new year, and lookie: One of the most wonderful-weird convenience foods ever to hit the refrigerator case: Batter Blaster. Steven clued me into this as he's a fervent reader of boing-boing.
Batter you shake and squirt, Reddi-Whip style, into the pan. Hilarious. Clever. Organic. Bizarre. I'm slightly horrified that our culinary prowess has come to this, yet I'm drawn to it like a moth to flame.

Whether it actually makes a good pancake is almost immaterial because if you're the sort of person looking to squirt pancake batter into a pan your expectations could really only be one very small stumble above stopping at McDonald's, or microwaving a pre-frozen breakfast. You're just willing to wash a pan (gasp!) and possibly a plate. And/or you're me, followed by a prancing child who in the morning expresses interest in ONE pancake, preferably from McDonald's because that's where the kids at school get their pancakes and it's so unfair because she's never gotten to go that magical place and anyway, she just needs something, just about anything in the house we can find, that can be dipped into that liquid gold, that passageway to childhood wakefulness that is real maple syrup. Must. Try. Cannot. Resist.