Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Vocabulary of Cooking....V

V follows U and that's where we are in our culinary vocabulary this week.  The V's offer us some unusual possibities and today's recipe is easy and will add great flavor to your baking.

Here we go.......

Vanilla  - is an essential flavoring that comes from the pod of a tropical vine, an orchid that climbs. It is commonly used in the United States as vanilla extract; it is also sold powdered or by the whole pod. In Europe, the pod is used to flavor sugar which is then used in baking.

Vanilla Beans
Vanilla extract - is an alcoholic solution that is intensely vanilla flavored.

Homemade Vanilla Extract
Did you know you can make your own vanilla extract?  Here's how!

What you will need:
 9 medium vanilla beans
3 cups vodka or rum
Glass Jar or Bottle with tight fitting lid 

What you will need to do:

Using a sharp knife, slice the beans open lengthwise to expose the seeds. Tuck the beans in the jar and fill with liquor. Close the jar, shake it a few times, and place it in a cool, dark cabinet.

Let the jar rest in there for 8 weeks, shaking it again once or twice a week, or whenever you remember to. The mixture will get darker and darker over time.

You can start using your extract by the end of the eighth week. Use however much you need, and when you notice that you're running a little low -- that you've used, say, 20% of the extract -- top it off with more liquor (preferably of the same type) and shake again.
And every once in a while, when you're using a fresh bean in a recipe, you can add the empty pod.

If you continue to "feed" it this way, the extract will keep forever; just remove some of the older beans if the jar becomes too crowded.

Vanilla Sugar - is sugar flavored by vanilla beans. To make vanilla sugar, fill a large jar with sugar, break a vanilla bean in three pieces, press it into the sugar and leave for several weeks.
Vanilla Sugar

Veal - is meat  from calves slaughtered when younger than 9 months (usually at 8 to 16 weeks); has a lean, light pink flesh, delicate flavor and tender, firm texture.

Veloute - is a stock based white sauce that combines a roux with veal or chicken stock to thicken. 
Veloute made with chicken stock

Venison - is deer  meat, wild or farm raised.

Verjus - is a sour grape juice used in cooking.

Grape for Verjus
Vermicelli - is long, fine rods of pasta similar to spaghetti, but thinner.


Vermouth  - is a white apéritif wine of France, sweet or dry.
Glass of Vermouth

Veronique  - means to  garnished with white grapes.
Roasted chicken with roasted white grapes
Vichyssoise - is a cream of potato soup that is served cold.
Leek and Potatoes for Vichyssoise

Vidallia onion - is a sweet, white onion, usually large.

Vidallia onions
Vindaloo - is a highly spiced hot Indian curry made with meat or fish, distinctively a vindaloo has vinegar.
Pork Vindaloo
Vinaigrette - is the general term referring to any sauce made with vinegar, oil, and seasonings.

Vine tomatoes - are tomatoes picked before they are ripe and will continue to ripen at room temperature.
Vine Tomatoes

So there you have the "V's."  Remember, don't reach for the imitation vanilla flavoring.  Try making your own natural vanilla extract.  We think you will love the new flavors and possibilities.

Now, go out and make something good.  Don't forget to use your new terminology and impress your friends!

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