Thursday, November 18, 2010

VANILLA CRUSH.......once upon atime,der lived a Vanilla Bean ,dat now lives happily ever after! evergreen , ever romantic scent ...a fragrance that send u in in a tizzy, knees week , where its the 3rd note of ur fav p'fume or in the pantry of ur baking goodies....

And this post is extremely specially coz it is with my most adorable ,very beautiful n cute, mom i worked this beautiful sunday noon , we chose from the 100+ pics i shot and collaged it together.

I would love for my mom to enter the blogging world too and she sure would do extremely well, but for now she decided to let me hog all the limelight ,lol ,and will blog thru me!!!

And it also makes me think Twinkles and twinkling stories ....whats in a Hostess Twinkie...well completing its 80th birthday...has loads to say about the beloved cream-filled cake snack with a seemingly indefinite shelf life (actually, it's about a month). 

But the main thing i wanna share with u is the blogomania happening sooonnnnn.....
There'll be loads of giveaways and more....
and whats new...well TWITTER IS...yeah guys i love twitter and am as @TWINKLING SUMMER and @7sugarplumfairy..ha ha ..and am almost a step ahead of being addicted too:-)))
Actually , am babrely there....
I love FAceBook a little more maybe ,[where aint v active either]
I love to catch the mansoons in Goa, catch the raindrops sliding from the flowers to the leaves, nature so stunning , u wanna stare all day long...
Its a warm.almost summer day all day today ,but thru the aircond home ,which usually has lods of sun streaming in ,minus the heat ,it aint sunny a bit today :-)))
Well if its the rains coming ,as the cloudy skies say,welcome the respite form the[slight] heat ...sipping a hot espresso....

As garlic sizzles in olive oil and butter for the garlic base to brown the chicken ,for a baked roast tonight :-)))A super moist one at that...

Ok lets talk cookies and cakes and all things sweet, coz we are all about vanilla here ,arent we....
With a Unique and unmatched flavour and aroma,there are a few things dat would delight an enthusiastic baker more than Premium Gourmet vanilla beans!
The visible specs, create a natural gourmet vanilla look , sure a winner all the way thru! I loved them in these S'mores as muc as i did on the cream cheese frosting of my shortcake cakes.

Whether its a tired wedding cookie 
 or raisin pocket cookie with home dried [thank u mom] raisins ,Vanilla wont let ya down, pairs beautifully with cinnamon or all spice and holds high on its own as well.
Mango cakes to Lemon bars to Fresh strawberry preserve, oh they all love vanilla too:-)
The visible vanilla seed specks create a natural gourmet vanilla look, sure a winner all the way thru . 
I didn know much about vanilla and the bush vanilla so considered the best here is not real vanilla,but thats what i thought& why shouldn it be, till one fine day when browsing through recipes on some site somebody spoke. . .   
....Sorry wrote...
...very fondly about something prepared with real bourbon vanilla n that description was enough or rather just the words"real bourbon vanilla" sufficed enugh to send across a message of how excellent & priceless comodity that was.

The flavour stuck to me n i had to get to bottom of this n lay my hands on bourbon vanilla.

Researchin& digging around (i didn have a comp in may'09) with my limited resources with living in a state where selected few stores would even know what you are  talking about, i managed to learn enough to start looking to buy my very own vanilla beans.

To get them cheap i had to find a vanilla processor and one that would be ready to courier them to my sleepy village!

So then begun my search for growers and sellers and exporters and in the bargain learnt some more about vanilla.

Then finally things worked with a grower in the south of india n now i have a kg or 2 from a grower in the south of india.

This time round i got to ordering from a new supplier ,Orchids-Asia, excellent vanilla, super moist but it was majorly disappointing in the area of size.
I had specifically asked for 21cms and was promised jus that but when the parcel arrived wasnt to happy to see these 15-16 cms beans.

The supplier though graciously accepted and agreed to a refund , but i found it to much of a hassle to send it back and .honestly they are super moist and absolutely high on flavor...
 And i loved the sample of vanilla absolute they send out too:-)

A processor ,curer n exporter, a rare combi , maybe the only one in india would make me happier and my concotions n love potions yumier!
But haven yet worked anything with that grower in the mountains of another state.
This grower has since stopped supplying or  growing:-(

Ok ,now the main supplier, and i love his vanilla is ECOSPICE  farms, in the South of India.
Supple ,moist and very plump with beans between 17 to 21 cms , love them good!

Besides ECOSPICE have these very pretty gift boxes with gourmet premium vanilla beans and below will talk about giveaways and more:-)

U can call  on 09447330803, and contact Mr.Joseph , who owns this business , for an excellent deal in vanilla beans.

Maybe he'll need u to pick a minimum quantity ,but its so worth it or u can share with ur pals!
Makes an excellent gift too, though!!

Well would love to share with you the few things i learnt about beans and yes i can now make my own extract n in different forms!

I love those tiny little seeds all over my fairy cakes or butter cream, the sight of them excites me more than the first bite really !!!

 Everybody who knows vanilla would know how important it is for the beans to be plump and moist and a dark brown almost black and i too do so now.

If you can tie and untie a bean smoothly into a knot without it breaking off you know you have a great beans with excellent vanillin flavour   

As far as my knowledge goes, best you can get is the premium gourmet bourbon vanilla beans ie vanillina planifolia.
Gourmet would mean they are super plump and super long ie  inches or more.
It goes something like this:-
premium gourmet are 18-21cms

gourmet are 15-17 cms

Then in each category there are classification based on plump/thin,moisture content et all.

 I did pick up a kg of grade b beans too simply coz more vanillinin is extracted here coz of their low moisture content but i still use more of the premium ones.

 Good vanilla with high content of vanillinin sometimes crystalizes on the outside of the bean,i have yet to see one as this.

Gourmet Vanilla would be oily with supple soft skin.
 Even the caviar is oily with big yield of seeds.
With a unique and un matched flavour and aroma , there are a few things that would delight an enthusiastic baker more than premium gourmet vanilla   

Storing vanilla      
Wax paper is the best option, if you find some.Even after a series of calls here & there I still have not.
But a plastic bag or zip lock rolled tightly around and in a seald jar works pretty fine too but never ever in the refrigerator [big no no] or u'll be left with mouldy vanilla beans.
In a cool dark place ur treasure would be the happiest.     

EXTRACT.....A fun,D-I-Y, FANTABOULOUS project.
Enjoy every moment, its more than just worth it.

Every home baker knows the vanilla is as important as have all purpose flour,and we are talking good pure vanilla here .

This can actually be you starting a family kitchendom heirlon and legacy, a bottle could last you forever wit top up 's both ways.

 ANd  acknowleged  the world over for its exoticscent and flavour in culinary delights.....need any more convincing .....................

I chose vodka coz of its nuetral flavour and 42% ethanol.
If you can buy 50% ethanol then great too, thats what am going to use next. and i read somewhere and a seller and curer confirmed this that more vanillin is extracted at around 50% then 99% ethanol.
The fda regulates the extract at 35% or abv alchl.
And is the only flavour to get US fda  standard of identification.

At 13.35 ounces per gallon of 25 % moisture  so for 3 fold ie  3 times stronger extract you will need 40.05 ounces.  

But honestly i jus kept adding the vanilla , as muc as i could, infact in one bottle i had more vanilla than vodka and what i got was a really thick vanilla extract or rather crush , that had thousands of those vanilla seeds.....
And i used vodka in which i had soaked all the vanilla beans after i used the caviar !!

And instead of using gourmet grade a beans you could get more vanillin extracted with grade B ie extraction beans ie low moisture  content enables more extraction and you buy them cheaper too, your gain both ways.

Vanilla extract continue to build body and depth over years.

Infact ,after almost a year, i have transferred my excellent extract to a little jar and a canning jar, and added some more vanilla caviar to the super vanilla extract:-)
But dont forget to keep it away from sunlight, heat and your cooking range with oven .

You can potion extract upto 20 fold, wow now that would be very potent and its so much economical and you will never ever run out of expensive extract again.

And pure vanilla extract is what it is pure vanilla.

Add some more caviar, something i love doing , infact i have a little wooden board just for that!!!

Indian beans are similiar and india is fast emerging as a major vanilla produces and the vanilla grown here in some parts are the worlds best.

And now for the GIveaway here [and one coming on 15th too.]

THis is an International giveaway , ie for US, Canada and Asia ,which includes India and Goa.Yeah its world wide!

Now the main giveaway for some super gourmet vanilla beans and gift boxes would be on 15th and 16th , so be here.

For now , am giving one of my readers , a little bundle of the Ecospice beans and a little one of the Orchid beans.

TO ENTER U MUST BE A FOLLOWER ON GOOGLE  CONNECT ,so thats u mandatory entry, where followers can leave a comment and share with us something about this post and their experience with Vanilla Beans.

For more ways to enter ,and increase ur chance ,here goes:-)
~~~Follow BrightMorningStar on Blog loving to the right on top or here and add 2 entries.

~~~ Follow BSM on Facebook   or at the box to d right and add 2 entries.

~~~2 ENTRIES if u have a confirmed email subscription to this blogs posts.

~~~Follow BSM on NEtworked Blogs HERE or click the Follow Button ,in the column to the right at Networked blogs.2 entries

~~~Blog about this Giveaway/add it clearly to ur side bar ,for added 2 entries.

~~~Add this giveaway to a linky or forum and leave me a link (2 entries)

~~~Tweet about this Giveaway, and get 2 entries daily.

 ~~~follow BSM's twitter HERE for added 2 entries

For each Entry u have to leave a separate comment, ur are eligible only after the Completion of the Mandatory entry above.



  1. Wonderful post. Vanilla is one of my absolute favorite ingredients.

    Best of luck with your giveaway.

  2. Querida Mia,
    adorei o teu post muito completo e esclarecedor sobra as vagens de baunilha e a sua qualidade. De facto, estas são uma preciosidade!
    Deixo-te também um grande beijinho com votos de uma excelente semana!

  3. A delightful post! I love vanilla bean :-)

  4. The scent of vanilla is probably my very favorite it! I also love the pretty flecks of vanilla bean in baked goods. Everything you made looks incredible! Thanks for hosting this great giveaway...I'm a follower on Google Connect. :)

  5. I follow you on Facebook. :)

  6. Hello Mia, dear friend! Wow, more giveaways! You made the vanilla sounds super awesome. I wish I have a bunch with me right now. =o( However, have fun and enjoy your day.
    Cheers, Kristy

  7. I love that you put this post together with your mom! How very sweet.

    Vanilla is far and above my favorite dessert flavor! I love all the tips and information you give on it well as all of the fabulous things you made with it. Eye candy.

  8. I am a new follower of yours!

    My fav. thing about your post is the yummy pictures... :D .... I honestly have never used vanilla beans. So I would look forward to this giveaway.

    See you on the 15th and 16th :D
    misavings @ymail. com

  9. i LOVE vanilla. true vanilla, i should say. yum.

    i'm your newest GFC follower


  10. Love the photos and although I can't say I've had real vanilla beans before...I LOVE vanilla extract in so many things. And I love the scent of vanilla too.

    Follow you on GFC. :)
    Mother of Pearl It Is

  11. Following you on Facebook... Tree Lindsay
    Mother of Pearl It Is

  12. Following you on Networked Blogs... Tree Lindsay (Mother of Pearl It Is)
    Mother of Pearl It Is

  13. Follow you on Twitter @amotherofpearl
    Mother of Pearl It Is

  14. I'm a new follower on GFC
    You take wonderful photos! Makes me hungry to look at your pictures.

  15. I follow you on twitter
    bmcbroom at gmail dot com

  16. I am a new follower.
    My experience with Vanilla Beans, is I got to see how they are made in Tahiti. It was so neat and interesting. I LOVE VANILLA> YUM

    itzacin at aol dot com

  17. I love this giveaway! It's been manyyears since I've used whole vanilla beans, but using them in puddings and custards makes them so much better than if you use just extract!

    I'm a new follower on GFC!
    (I saw your post on the Blogmania group!)

    Crazy Cat Lady

  18. I follow on Blog Loving!

    Crazy Cat Lady

  19. I follow on Blog Loving!

    Crazy Cat Lady

  20. I like you on facebook @Crazycatlady Kelly!

    Crazy Cat Lady

  21. I like you on facebook @Crazycatlady Kelly!

    Crazy Cat Lady

  22. I follow on Networkblogs @Crazycatlady!

    Crazy Cat Lady

  23. I follow on Networkblogs @Crazycatlady!

    Crazy Cat Lady

  24. I follow on twitter @CrzyCatLdysLibr!

    Crazy Cat Lady

  25. I follow on twitter @CrzyCatLdysLibr!

    Crazy Cat Lady

  26. Awesome info gal..thanks for writing in personally! thanks a ton for the contact..cant wait to get my own vanilla beans!

  27. What wonderful looking vanilla beans!
    I'm a new follower, will you follow me?

  28. I am following you now thanks to Wobble Over Wednesday! It would be nice if you could share the love back on my blog;)
    And don't forget, for more easy HTML tutorials, or help increasing your blog's traffic, you know where to come!
    Plus today we talk about another set of amazing blog tips so make sure you don't miss any of it! Happy Wednesday!

  29. Wow, looks heavenly - no preference on giveaways you've shown, they all look fab.

    I am a gfc follower

  30. I like you (a lot) on fb!

  31. I like you (a lot) on fb!

  32. Andrea D. Jackson
    Following VIA GFC! w/twitter profile @promonetid

  33. debbie

  34. OK, I love vanilla. You got me.

    I follow you on Google Connect

  35. WOW thank you for that wonderful info on the Wonderful vanilla waiting to get hold of some so that I too can make the extract :-)

  36. "LIKE" you on Facebook.

  37. following you on twitter

  38. Hi Mia, hope i got the right one this time around.
    I'm from Mumbai, India

  39. What a wonderful giveaway. I lovee vanilla. WOuld love to win some :)

  40. I subscribe to your blog

  41. I subscribe to your blog 2

  42. I'm a follower.

    I've always wanted to make my own brown sugar. :)

  43. My gosh! So much vanilla, I'm almost overwhelmed with joy! All of these treats look so decadent and delicious!

  44. Mia Mia Mia...I am so GLAD we met...we share passions which are so similar - vanilla, baking, fruit...and of course endless banter! I wanna fill my jar with caviar. I love the Ecospice vanilla beans. They are extra special bourbon! NICE!

  45. Isn't vanilla glorious...This is such a great post, loaded with wonderful pictures and fantastic information :)

  46. @Magic of Spice, yeah it is:-)and thannk u :-)

  47. Bravo, outstanding work.
    Vanilla beans are highly versatile and add a gourmet touch to the simplest dessert.
    Great to dropped into alcoholic liqueurs to add new flavour to the drink.
    Loved your clicks ♥

  48. You have the best giveaways.

    Follow Google Connect

  49. Wow, Mia, this vanilla extract looks amazing and all your information about vanilla is so useful. I'm envious of your access to good vanilla pods there - here we pay about $3 per pod, and by the time they get to New Zealand they never seem to be as fresh as they could be. Thanks so much for sharing this with "Make it with ... Mondays" challenge vanilla - off to check out the rest of your vanilla posts now :-)
    Sue xo

  50. Wow. I must try to make my own vanilla extract now. Thanks for the wonderful insight.


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Do leave ur blog link so i can visit u too....
And have a cheerfully rocking happy day♥Sparkling with the joys of SPRINGTIME and warmth of SUMMER..