Invest in your foodie future

In December, I decided to invest in my foodie future and made a few of things that were not for immediate consumption. It was a nice change from all of the holiday cookies I was baking.

Make your own vanilla

vanilla beans in bottles with vodkaFirst off, I made some homemade vanilla. It’s so easy to do and requires only two ingredients! You will need bottles, a funnel, vodka and vanilla beans. Split the beans in half, add the beans to the clean bottle and fill with vodka. In as little as 6 to 8 weeks, you’ll have your own vanilla extract. It will be really good at the 6 month mark. Store in a cool, dark place. I gave away several bottles as gifts, tied with a cute ribbon and a fun label. No cooking skill involved but the payoff is well worth it!

Garlic confit & garlic oil

garlic confit on breadI also made garlic confit for spreading on toast, crackers, a crusty slice of bread or whatever! Confit literally means to poach at a slow simmer in oil. Garlic confit can also be added to soups, vinaigrette, as a sandwich spread or added to mashed potatoes. I like adding it to a charcuterie board for some added flavor.

peeled garlic and thymeThis confit method can be done either stove top or in the oven. I did mine in a pan on the stove so I could watch it carefully. I started with about a pound of pre-peeled garlic cloves (much easier than prepping and peeling tons of garlic). I added enough extra virgin olive oil to cover the cloves and a bunch of thyme. I let it simmer for about 2 hours, until the garlic was roasty toasty brown and beautiful.

garlic confit in food processorAfter it cooled completely, I strained off the oil from the garlic and discarded the thyme. (It’s okay if some of the leaves are in the garlic or the oil.) I then pureed the garlic in the food processor and added a couple of tablespoons of butter. Next I froze the confit in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, I transferred the cubes to a storage bag for the freezer. I kept the flavorful oil of course, storing it in the refrigerator.

Not bad for a couple of hours of kitchen work! It is so nice having 3 homemade products ready at hand if I need them. Give it a try yourself and see what you think!

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I’m a library volunteer and a community volunteer. I share my home with a little dog with a big attitude. I have two grown daughters, one in the food industry and the other is a veterinarian. My two granddaughters are learning to love food adventures with Nana.

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