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Cooking with Vanilla Beans

Cooking with vanilla beans instead of the commercial extract adds a profound flavor to many dishes. The difference is well worth the effort. Most supermarkets carry vanilla beans in the spice section. Extracting the pulp from the pod is simple. Using a small knife with a pointed tip, cut the vanilla bean in half length-wise. Scrape out the seeds with the knife blade, or push them out of the vanilla half with your thumbnail.