Did you know that vanilla extract is super easy to make? Like, super easy. And even with good vanilla beans and decent vodka, it's probably going to be way cheaper to make your own than to buy it at the grocery.
First get some vanilla beans, not those pathetic and ridiculously expensive ones from the grocery though. Instead, may I suggest the internets. I bought mine from Beanilla.com and they arrived quickly and were lovely, plump and fragrant. And in case you are curious, I'm using the Bourbon variety.
Next, get yourself a bottle -- I just used a pint canning jar which I ran through the sanitize cycle in my dishwasher (probably not necessary because of all the alcohol). Then cut your beans to fit. I cut mine in half and sliced them open lengthwise. Use three beans per cup of alcohol. I used absolute vodka because I couldn't imagine using my pricey Ketel One, but I didn't want a half bottle of super cheap stuff getting dusty in the liquor cabinet.
Now I wait. I understand it takes about 6-8 weeks to mature. But look at all those lovely vanilla bean seeds floating around int he vodka! Oh, and if you want vanilla vodka for holiday beverages, just use sooner -- I'm guessing about 2 weeks will get you some lovely vanilla flavor. Oh, and you need to keep it in a dark place -- especially if you are using a clear glass bottle.
Since I was sanitizing jars anyway and had a big bag of lemons in the fridge, I decided to make some lemon curd. I used David Lebovitz's Lemon Curd recipe because it was easy, used one pan and had a lower sugar to lemon ratio -- and I like my curd lemony. From what I have heard (via my Googling) lemon curd freezes well, so the two smaller jars will be saved for future lemon fixes in the deep darkness of winter when they will be much appreciated.