Foodie Question of the Day

January 23, 2008 at 6:47 am 15 comments

What’s the most exotic ingredient in your kitchen right now? What do you use it for? and provide a recipe, please…

(Thanks Racheypoo for the question suggestion!)

If you keep up with my blog (or my cuppycakes one) you would know that I ADORE vanilla bean cheesecake from T.G.I.Fridays. I never thought to make it myself esp since vanilla beans are so freaking expensive at the grocery store, like $20 for 1-2!?! Uh, that doesn’t fit in my budget! But my good friend, NB, comes to my rescue (again!) and points me in a cheaper direction…

Ebay has IT.

I bought 1/4 lb (~25 vanilla beans) of grade A madagascar bourbon vanilla beans for $12 (includes shipping). What a deal! I am uber excited to make my own vanilla extract and vanilla sugar (see recipes below).  I am told there’s nothing like baking with homemade vanilla extract.

Stay tuned for a vanilla bean cheesecake/dessert sooooon…

Vanilla Extract
(Recipe from ebay seller: organic-vanilla)


8 oz vodka
6-12* bourbon vanilla beans
distilled water, optional

* Number of vanilla beans varies if you want a weaker or stronger vanilla extract


Cut vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape some of the “caviar” out of the bean pod and put in vodka. Shake well and put in a dark place. Shake every few days. Let sit for 3 months (you can leave beans in or strain) before using. You can dilute with distilled water if you want less alcohol. Replace, as you use, with more vodka so you never run out.


Vanilla Sugar
(Recipe from Alton Brown,


1 vanilla bean, whole or scraped
2 cups granulated sugar


If vanilla bean is whole, slice down side of bean with back of knife and scrape seeds into airtight container with the sugar. Bury bean in sugar and seal tightly with lid. Let sit for 1 to 2 weeks. Use as regular, granulated sugar. Replace sugar as needed. Discard and replace vanilla bean after 1 year.


Entry filed under: Foodie Question of the Day.

Fast Fancy Chicken ala Kat Shrimp & Mushroom w/ Creamy Cheese Herb Sauce

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alanna  |  January 23, 2008 at 9:05 am

    This is too funny, Clara! I read your question, and I instantly had my answer before I read the rest of your post. The most exotic ingredient currently in my kitchen is…a vanilla bean!!! Like you, I have been eyeing them for years, but they were just too expensive. I found them on sale at Von’s though, for $9.99 (for one bean) and I decided to give in. Mike really wants me to make vanilla bean mousse. I have yet to find a good mousse recipe though…got any ideas for me?

  • 2. Racheypoo  |  January 23, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Not exotic exactly but definitely random…

    Liquid Smoke…

    Texas style Beef Brisket:

    4-5 lbs Brisket
    1 1/2 tablespoon salt
    1/2 cup ketchup
    1/4 cup vineger (white)
    1/2 cup or 1/2 medium onion chopped fine
    1 tablespoon worchester sauce
    1 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
    1 bayleaf crushed
    1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

    Wipe beef dry
    Rub with salt
    Combine other ingredients
    Place on double thickness of alum foil
    Pour ingredients over brisket and wrap tight with foil.

    Cook 300 degrees for 4 to 4 1/2 hours

    for over 5lbs or more cook no more than 350 degrees for 5 hours

    Note: Brisket can be placed in pan and covered tightly with foil,
    since there can be a nice amount of juice.

    My moms note: Mix about 2 cups of the juice with BBQ sauce to make your
    own sauce.

    Yum ya’ll!

  • 3. CB  |  January 23, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    ALANNA, thats awesome! I am uber excited to bake with mine! You definitely need to hit up ebay. $10 for 1 bean. Thats freaking ridonkulous!

    here are a couple recipes… –> Vanilla Honey Mascarpone Mousse –> Lime Mousse w/ Lime-Vanilla Syrup –> Vanilla Mousse (scroll down page halfway)

    Let me know you bake any! I wanna see a BU about it! :)

  • 4. CB  |  January 23, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    RACHEYPOO, its the texan in you coming out!! I love it! Ok gonna sound retarded but whats “liquid smoke”? Where do you buy this?

    EDIT: oops my bad. The error has been fixed.

  • 5. Racheypoo  |  January 23, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Um, the name’s RACHEYPOO, tyvm.

    Liquid smoke is a sauce type stuff that you add to things to make them taste smoky. (Like they were in a smoker for hours.)

  • 6. Racheypoo  |  January 23, 2008 at 1:09 pm


  • 7. CB  |  January 23, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    RACHEYPOO, where do you buy it? Any grocery store? What aisle? I am so intrigued!

  • 8. Alanna  |  January 23, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Thank you thank you! You are the best. :)

  • 9. Alanna  |  January 23, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    I have a bottle of liquid smoke in my kitchen. I never use it…maybe I should try RACHEYPOO’s recipe. :)

  • 10. Racheypoo  |  January 23, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    I bought it at the grocery store. One bottle lasts forever since it is super strong.

  • 11. NinaBeth  |  January 23, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    It’s so funny to me that you don’t know what liquid smoke is C. It’s a staple in most kitchens around here… must be all the hilbillies living around here. lol.

    My most exotic item is probably vanilla, but I’m currently out. I <3 Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla.

  • 12. Racheypoo  |  January 23, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Oh, BTW I just bought some vanilla beans on Ebay. :)

  • 13. CB  |  January 23, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    NINA, I think thats what prompted me to buy some vanilla beans from ebay. I was gonna buy a bottle of bourbon vanilla extract but then I got the recipe from the ebay seller to make my own. Sounds easy enough. Not sure my patience can wait though! 3 months! yikes! haha.

    RACHEYPOO, sweet! join the vanilla bean revolution! teehee. Any thoughts about what to make with yours?

  • 14. racheypoo  |  January 23, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    I have a recipe for vanilla bean ice cream. That’s getting made as soon as the beans arrive! I heart ice cream.

  • 15. Diana  |  June 28, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Hey folks… check out the Boston Vanilla Bean Company, Boston Vanilla Bean Company

    They reference Alton Brown, having the foodnetwork logo shown, and indicate that AB obtained his beans from them for his POD show.

    Additionally, they have beans they sell for extract purposes, and they ship really fast, have good prices, and an amazing selection.


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