I thought I’d tell you about which vanilla I’m using right now, since it can be hard to find good quality vanilla at affordable prices. In Montreal, I had been using vanilla extract that I got at Costco, of all places, and vanilla beans from La Dépense (both of which I still recommend for locals). Here, though, I think I’ve finally found something worth talking about. It’s Nielsen-Massey’s vanilla extract. It’s quality stuff, even though the vanilla isn’t first on the ingredient list. It’s also very affordable, at about half the price of Morton & Basset vanilla, for example. I’ve got the 8-oz bottle right now and I’m loving it. Incidentally, they also make the vanilla bean paste I use, as well as various extracts like almond and coconut. If you live in the States, try to find it at your local grocery store, or order it online.
(I no longer feel weird about ordering ingredients online. I’d never done it in Canada, probably because of shipping costs, but I’ve done it a few times now. I read an interview with a chef from Momofuku who says that she orders ingredients online all the time. She lives in New York City, where one would think there are brick-and-mortar stores that sell anything you would want, but she explained that she had no interest in going to three or four different places to risk coming back empty-handed. Ordering online saved her a lot of trouble, even in NYC, so there’s no reason I shouldn’t take advantage of it now in San Antonio.)