(adapted from Gerard Vives)
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- 3 whole vanilla beans, or to taste
- 1 cup grape seed oil, unflavored
- With the tip of a sharp knife, make a slit down the length of each vanilla bean. Spread them open and use the knife to scrape the moist seeds into a small bowl. Reserve the pods.
- Pour the oil into a small saucepan and warm it gently over low heat for a few minutes. Do not let the oil get too hot-it should be quite warm, but not so hot that you can't dip your finger into the pot. Add the vanilla seeds and reserved pods, remove from the heat, and allow it to cool to room temperature. Loosely cover the pot with aluminum foil-do not seal tightly-and let the oil steep for about 8 hours, until it is lightly infused with the flavor of vanilla.
- Remove the pods and discard. Briskly whisk the oil and seeds together to emulsify and break up any clumps of seeds. Decant into a jar, seal and refrigerate until needed.
- To use the vanilla oil, first shake the jar vigorously to distribute the seeds. Then measure the amount you need.
Make this Vanilla Oil, photograph it for our contest and qualify to win a copy of Vanilla: The Cultural History of the World’s Favorite Flavor and Fragrance
Patricia Rain is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (www.vanillaqueen.com), a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. She also does culinary presentations for food professionals, cooking schools, trade shows, food fairs, and private groups, and is a regular radio and TV guest.
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