Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Vanilla-Inspired Cookbook

Delight cooks on every gift list with the tantalizing new cookbook A Century of Flavor published by family-owned Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, the finest pure vanilla extract producers in the world. From the delicately sweet flavorings in pastries and Crème Brûlée to the essential savory notes in lobster sauce or spicy shrimp, the cookbook celebrates the exciting nuances of one of America's most loved and versatile ingredients – pure vanilla.

Since 1907, family-owned and operated Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has been producing premium pure vanilla products using a proprietary cold process that gently extracts more than 300 complex flavors from the vanilla bean. A Century of Flavor showcases recipes from the Nielsen family collection, as well as recipes from world-renowned chefs attracted to the quality, flavor and varied functionality of pure vanilla.

Americans consume about 1,200 tons of vanilla beans a year. Vanilla is exciting and comforting, sexy and simple all at the same time. But not all vanilla is the same, and it pays to know the different kinds before cooks start their seasonal baking. The flavor is extracted from vanilla beans which are grown in four locations around the world -- Madagascar, Indonesia, Mexico and Tahiti.

One way to expand the holiday recipe list this year is to use vanilla in savory dishes like Creamy Vanilla Sweet Potatoes, in addition to cakes and cookies. Vanilla helps to enhance the inherent flavors of sweet potatoes, rather than concealing their flavor in sweeteners.

Creamy Vanilla Sweet Potatoes
Serves six.
4 medium sweet potatoes
Canola oil
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter softened
1⁄4 cup real maple syrup
1 tablespoon Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
5 strips bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash sweet potatoes and lightly coat skins with canola oil. Pierce each potato several times with a fork, place the potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for one hour or until fork-tender.
Cut the hot potatoes into halves. Scoop the pulp into a mixing bowl, discarding the skins. Beat at medium speed for one minute using an electric mixer. Add cream cheese, butter, syrup, vanilla extract, salt and pepper. Whip until creamy.
Spoon whipped potatoes into six ramekins coated with nonstick cooking spray and top with the bacon. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 375-degree F oven for five to eight minutes or until heated through. Alternatively, they may be reheated in a microwave.

A Century of Flavor is filled with 50 of the most tantalizing recipes, highlighting the intricate, yet delicate flavors of pure vanilla and is written for the novice cook as well as the seasoned chef.

No comments: