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I'm amazed at how superior your vanilla is!
- Des, The Grommet

Bourbon Vanilla Macadamia Nut Tart

Courtesy of Carole Bloom: www.carolebloom.com

Pure vanilla is used in three forms – beans, extract, and and ground vanilla bean powder – to contribute its rich, full-bodied flavor to this yummy tart. The filling is soft and chewy yet crunchy with the texture of tropical macadamia nuts.

Makes one 11-inch round tart, 14 to 16 servings.

The Perfect Angel Food Cake

Angelfood cake

Courtesy of Flo Braker

Flo Braker is a very talented baker, specializing in desserts. The author of “The Simple Art of Perfect Baking,” and one of the original members of The Baker’s Dozen, a national group of culinary professionals, Flo has assisted thousands of bakers with simple secrets that bring spectacular results. Her angel food cake has been featured in culinary magazines and newspapers as the definitive recipe. Need I say more?

Roasted Mushroom Salad

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Research has shown that mushrooms contain components that help to prevent cancer and stimulate the immune system. At first it was believed that only Asian mushrooms such as shitake and maitake contained cancer-preventing ingredients, but it appears that even domestic mushrooms are powerful healers. Combined with other healthy ingredients and a bit of vanilla, this is a Power combination that tastes delicious!

Yeasted Buttermilk Vanilla Waffles

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Courtesy of  Beth Hensperger

Yeast adds a dimension of flavor and texture by allowing the batter to develop overnight before baking. Remember that a high temperature, in either a regular grid or Belgium-style waffle maker, tends to make a crisp waffle, while a lower temperature produces a waffle that is moist and tender. Serve with your choice of a dazzling array of accompaniments: raspberry puree and crème fraîche, a fruit butter, sliced bananas or fresh berries and vanilla yogurt, sautéed apples, or lots of pure maple syrup and sweet butter.

Vanilla Coconut Quick Bread

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 Courtesy of  Beth Hensperger

Coconut and vanilla are toothsome combos in this luscious quick bread. Be sure to use unsweetened coconut rather than sweetened, as the sweetened is too moist for this recipe. Serve alongside fruit or poultry salads, or toast and top with ice cream and chocolate sauce for dessert.

Fresh Berry Coffee Cake

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 Living on the Central California Coast I almost feel guilty because of  the magnificent produce we have year ’round. This is especially true when the artichokes,  asparagus and fresh garlic start appearing in the markets in late March — the harbingers of spring. The strawberries aren’t quite ready but they’ll follow soon; by May the farmer’s markets are

A User’s Guide to Great Coffee

Winter or summer, boom or bust times, coffee drinkers aren’t going to give up coffee. However, when times are tight, people are more likely to make coffee at home, so it’s helpful to have a guide to great coffee.

By making a shift in marketing techniques, some of America’s top specialty coffee purveyors are offering workshops on how to create the best home-brewed coffee, coffee drinks and coffee and cheese pairings.  It isn’t just about providing information or selling products; it’s also about pride in their profession.  Here are their thoughts on how

Vanilla Horchata

Horchata

Rice and milk are  not indigenous to Mexico and Central America despite being drunk throughout Latin America as well as  its popularity in Mexican restaurants in the US. It originated in Valencia and was made with chufa or tiger nuts. It was brought to the New World by the Spaniards during the colonial period. It is a delicious beverage, one I love as long as it isn’t too sweet. This is a Mexican version of Horchata.

Strawberry Smoothie

 Smoothies are a perfect breakfast food, and they’re also a fabulous addendum to a book and a hammock or any other slow-food activity. Use whole or 1% milk if you prefer, soy milk or fruit juice, and choose your favorite fruits. The second best thing to being a healthy fast food is that they’re very adaptable. Here’s one version. Make up your own – just be sure to perk it up with vanilla!

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