Vanilla extract – that ubiquitous ingredient called for in recipes for cookies, cakes, breads and more. The need to use high quality vanilla extract is stressed upon by many a chef. Given the considerable price difference between a bottle of ‘original’ vanilla extract and supermarket brand bottles, it’s not surprising if you would hesitate to pick up the expensive one. Especially once you know that all it is made of is vanilla pods and alcohol. I have been reading about how easy it is to make your own vanilla extract at home for a while now. It was time to try it out for myself and see if it really was easier than just buying a premium quality bottle of the stuff.
I’m kicking off the new year on my blog on the lighter side with, dare I say it, a healthier than usual recipe for vegetables simmered in Indian spices. This has got nothing to do with new year’s resolutions (I don’t believe in those) or a sudden change in diet. We were at the farmers’ market last Sunday and while there were plenty of winter root vegetables around, what caught my eye was a stand with really cute looking miniature squash called honey nut squash. I’d read about in my latest Saveur edition. So, naturally, I was curious and brought some home.