Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How To Be A Food Hero - Make Vanilla Sugar

Working in the service industry you can't help but to see a lot of waste. With every table I clear I find myself wincing as I scrape unfinished steak, risotto, pasta, pizza and more into the garbage from customers not wanting to bother taking it home (despite my constant encouragement!). Don't get me wrong, the food at the restaurant I work at is absolutely fantastic and certainly not worthy of ending up in the trash, it's simply thoughtlessness on the part of the paying customers that results in such horrific waste. 

Seeing so much waste each time I come into work kills me, so I'm always trying to find ways of rescuing the high quality food at work so that I can sleep a little more soundly at night. Sometimes that means drinking a latte that was made by mistake (despite my minor lactose intolerance), eating the remainder of the chocolate pudding that's stuck to the inside of the piping bag, or taking home the half of baguette that was never sliced up for any diners, it all adds up in my mind! 
Last week while clearing some dishes in the kitchen at work, I saw one of our chefs scraping vanilla beans for our Tiramisu filling. Intrigued, I asked her if she does anything with the pod after scraping out the insides. After learning that they just end up in the trash, I eagerly asked her if she would mind if I took the empty pods home. Being the second most expensive spice next to saffron, I couldn't imagine tossing away those pricey beans, even without their aromatic filling. I immediately thought to make vanilla sugar with the leftover beans. By simply scraping whatever remained from the inside of the beans into some sugar, tossing in the empty pod, sealing in an airtight container, and allowing to sit for a week or two, you have successfully made vanilla sugar, perfect for adding to coffee, topping creme brûlée, or adding to other subtly-flavoured desserts!

Other Ideas:
Toss the pod into hot chocolate, dessert sauces, pastry creams, or simple syrup.

1 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean 

  1. Place sugar in a small mason jar. If using a fresh vanilla bean, slice down the centre of the bean using a pairing knife, being careful not to cut through. Using the tip of the dull end of the knife, scrape your knife along the bean to remove the aromatic filling. Add the filling to the sugar. If using an empty pot, scrape your pairing knife along the inside of the pod to remove any remaining filling and add to sugar.
  2. Add the empty vanilla bean to the sugar and seal. Shake to disperse the sugar. Allow to sit for 1-2 weeks until fragrant and ready to use. 
Listening To:

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