Vanilla Beans & Mint Leaves


Considering the time needed to kitchen test recipes, re-write the previous book and add new recipes,  I don’t see Recipe Traditions, A New Generation out in time for Christmas 2013. Plus, I keep taking these kitchen side trips.

When placing my Bountiful Basket order for this past Saturday, I ordered the tropical pack, which included fresh mint and two vanilla beans. I knew what I wanted to do with the vanilla beans – make homemade vanilla extract, but I hadn’t considered the mint’s use until it arrived. I figured, why not make mint extract?

Since we wanted to stock our bar for the holidays anyway, we picked up some vodka and bourbon over the weekend.  Bourbon to make vanilla extract and vodka for the mint extract. What’s left over – to help stock our bar.

After cleaning and drying the mint, I separated the leaves from the stems, smashed them a bit before adding them to the jar and covering with vodka.  It won’t be ready for Christmas, so I won’t be adding homemade mint extract to the hot chocolate over the holidays.

With my two vanilla beans, I added not quite half a cup of bourbon. Like the mint extract, it won’t be ready in time for Christmas.  But this morning, I went to shake the jars, and noticed the vanilla beans poking out of the bourbon, so  I fished out the beans, cut them in half, and added them back to the jar.

My fingers, now soaked with the scent of vanilla bourbon, smell wonderful! I was so tempted to reopen the jar and add a splash of the flavored bourbon to my coffee.  I resisted, because that would be so wrong.

Or, would it?