If you’ve missed the previous Vanilla Thursdays, catch up with Vanilla Thursdays I and Vanilla Thursdays II, by clicking on the links! Today we’ll be traveling to Mexico and Tahiti, where our beans are harvested, produced and sent out to companies like Beanilla.
Welcome to Mexico! Did you know that the Vanilla plant actually originated in Mexico and Central America? Although not the most popular Vanilla beans, Mexican beans have been used by Aztecs for hundreds of years for medicinal purposes, as well as flavoring their foods and beverages, specially their drink of the gods made from pure cacao, water and possibly vanilla as well. When the Spanish explorers reached Mexico in the 1500’s, they also started exporting the beans to Spain and the rest of Europe.
When traveling to Mexico (and even here in Dominican Republic), you’ll be tempted by the very inexpensive bottles of “vanilla”. Beware that most of these extracts are not from the vanilla orchid, but from Tonka beans which smell and taste very much like Vanilla beans. What’s the problem? Tonka beans have a compound called coumarin, which the FDA has banned and stated is harmful to humans, causing liver and kidney damage. Make sure you always buy your Mexican Vanilla Extract from a reputable supplier like Beanilla or buy the pure, unadulterated Mexican beans and make your own extract!
Now, that was just a small warning. You have nothing to worry about Mexican beans in their natural state, so let’s head into the kitchen and make an end-of-summer refreshing treat! The Mexican vanilla scrapings added sweetness and visual appeal with the tiny specks and the Papaya-Banana combination makes for a creamy pop!
Paletas de Lechoza y Vainilla
(Papaya and Vanilla Ice Pops)
1 sliced banana, frozen
1/2 small papaya, sliced and frozen
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp honey
1/4 Mexican vanilla bean, scraped (reserve pod)
1/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut, toasted
1/2 tsp chili powder (optional)
- Place all ingredients except the coconut and chili powder into the blender and pulse until smooth.
- Pour into small plastic cups (or if you have a fancy ice pop maker, into one of those).
- Place in freezer for 45 minutes and then insert short lollipop sticks. Freeze until ready to eat!
- To remove from cup, poke a tiny hole at the bottom. This will let air sneak in between the cup and the ice pop, releasing it! Serve with a small bowl of coconut and chili powder to dip in!
After those creamy pops (and I had 2 so I KNOW they’re creamy!), let’s jet-set over to Tahiti! Did you know Tahitian beans only make up 1% of the market? The ever so popular island for its gorgeous beaches and turquoise waters is also home to one of the most popular beans! Beanilla describes these to have a “floral aroma and mellow cherry-chocolate flavor”, making anyone crave these beans even more.
The Tahitian beans are from the “Vanilla Tahitensis” species and out of the four species tasted, they were the shortest in size. Good things come in small packages, right? When thinking of island life, fresh meals come to mind and so decided to make a Tahitian Salad Dressing to go with a tropical salad of your choice!
Tahitian Salad Dressing
juice of 3 limes ( about 1/2 cup)
zest of one lime
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 Tahitian Vanilla bean, scraped (reserve pod)
salt and pepper to taste
- Whisk all the ingredients until an emulsion forms. You can also pour everything into a small mason jar and shake! (Great arm workout as well)
- Store in a sealed jar with vanilla pod inside the dressing to continue infusing with flavor.
This is a great dressing to serve over an Avocado and Orange Salad or drizzle over Roasted Beets for a tropical twist!
|Yes, that’s a vanilla pod in my coconut oil!|
Thanks for stopping by on the third post on Vanilla! Can you believe next week will be the last Vanilla Thursday? Time is flying by, but get ready for next week which is full of surprises! What are you expecting to see on our last Vanilla Thursday? Anything you’d LOVE to see?
Disclaimer: Vanilla samples were sent by Beanilla, free of charge. All opinions are 100% honest, because what would be the point of this then? I was not monetarily compensated for a positive review.