Double Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Here’s some free life advice: if you ever see two vanilla beans on sale for $8, buy them.

That’s literally what happened to me last week at Cookbook in Echo Park. They’re selling vanilla beans in little packets of two for eight bucks. Here’s the thing: if you’ve never worked with a vanilla bean before, you should treat yourself, at least once, to the experience… especially if you like vanilla. A fresh vanilla bean is intensely fragrant in the most natural way — the total opposite of a vanilla-scented candle — and scraping the little black seeds out with a sharp knife is the closest many of us will ever get to buying caviar.

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A Funny Thing I Do (A Tip & A Recipe for Vanilla Bean Pudding)

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What you see here is documentation of a very strange practice, a funny thing I do each time I pull a recipe from the internet. What I do is: instead of printing the recipe out with my printer (which is totally hooked up and ready to use), I grab a piece of paper and write the recipe down off the screen. It occurs to me now that the reason I do this is so that I’m aware of all the steps of the recipe before I go into the kitchen to see the recipe through. Writing it down allows me to synthesize everything–the ingredients I need, the prep I need to do, the oven temp (if the oven has to go on)–and I think that this funny thing I do accounts for the frequent success I have with recipes. By the time I begin the actual cooking, I’m well aware of all the steps and what has to happen to make it all come together. That’s way better than printing the recipe and winging the recipe step by step only to hit a wall when you realize you have no smoked paprika.

The recipe you see above is a New York Times recipe for vanilla bean pudding which you can read by clicking here. The pudding came out great, though the picture didn’t:

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Trust me, though, it’s one of the simplest most rewarding things you can do with a vanilla bean. It takes just minutes and after an hour or so in the fridge, dessert is done. So do what I do: click the recipe, write it down off the screen and get to it. You may want to buy a vanilla bean first, though that’ll occur to you once you’re writing it down. You’ll never print a recipe from your printer again.

…and for your entertainment, while you’re eating, a pudding video I suddenly remembered from the TV show The State: