May 1, 2013

I'm Maria Filosa from WDIY and you are listening to Tasty Seasonal Recipes for the Everyday Chef. Bananas are one of those fruits you either love or hate. When I was younger, I didn't like them much but I have found that lately I am enjoying them more and more. The banana plant is actually a perennial herb and the banana is a berry. Each bunch is called a hand and the single banana is called a finger. They start out green and as they turn yellow, the sugars in the banana intensify. When the skin has turned brown, they are very ripe and slightly mushy. If you are going to bake with them, it is best to use the very ripe bananas for a very intense flavor and sweetness. Bananas are very nutritious containing 6 grams of fiber and about 800 mg of potassium depending on the size.  They also contain tryptophan and B6 which together help your body produce serotonin, a natural 'feel good' chemical. So if you are ever feeling a bit down, eat a banana for a emotional boost.

Many wonderful dishes can be created with this fruit. My favorite is a chocolate almond milk banana smoothie. This is a thick, filling drink that can serve as a snack or even a quick meal. The trick is to start with frozen slices of banana, I use one or two depending on the size. It's a good idea to keep some in your freezer already sliced up so they are ready when you need them. Place them into a blender then add some chocolate almond milk or regular milk if you don't like chocolate. Throw a few ice cubes in and blend until the ice and frozen bananas break up and form a smooth drink.  Add some protein powder if you are using this shake as a meal replacement.

An elegant but simple dessert is fried bananas with coconut and ice cream. You will need 10 small bananas cut in half lengthwise, oil in a deep fry pan at 350 degrees and batter made from 1/2 cup of flour, 1 egg, 1/4 cup of sugar,  1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut, and 1/2 vanilla almond milk or cows milk to make a thin pancake like consistency. Dip the banana halves into the batter then gently place each into the hot oil. Fry on one side until browned then flip them over and fry the other side. Remove pieces from oil with a spatula and drain them on some paper towels. To create this sweet treat, place two or three warm fried bananas in the bottom of a bowl with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Sprinkle with extra unsweetened coconut and a dollop of whipped cream if desired. Lightly drizzle with maple syrup for some extra dazzle. This is one of those desserts that will amaze your friends!

When you don't have much time and are having company, a great easy to make dessert is banana cream pie. You will need a graham cracker crust, a package of instant vanilla pudding, a small container of frozen whipped cream topping that has been thawed, 1 cup of milk, about a cup of mini chocolate chips and 3 to 4 bananas. Slice the bananas and layer them in the bottom of the graham cracker crust. Mix the vanilla pudding with the 1 cup of milk and as soon as you have them thoroughly mixed, fold in the whipped cream topping. Spoon this over the bananas then sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. Place the pie into the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. It can't get much easier than that!

One last taste treat you must try is the chocolate covered frozen banana pop. The chocolate coating on this pop is a homemade crack coating. It is made with 1/2 cup of chocolate chips melted with 1/4 cup of coconut oil. Cut each banana in half and place a pop stick in each. Place on a parchment paper covered tray then put them into the freezer for about a hour. Now comes the fun part, dip each frozen banana into the chocolate mixture and the shell will harden as the banana meets the chocolate coating! Kids will marvel at this. Your treat is ready to eat!

I'm Maria Filosa, thanks for listening to Tasty Seasonal Recipes for the Everyday Chef, have a bountiful day!