“Put your face up to the window”

Banana is good food.  If it’s made with bananas, odds are I will like it.  You name it: banana cream-pie, banana pudding (with vanilla wafers), frozen banana (chocolate-covered), banana splits, banana bread, banana pancakes, bananas on corn flakes, Bananarama; I could go all day.  When we go to the Spectrum for a movie, I often get a slice of banana bread and a coffee (btw, I recommend No Country For Old Men; it’s a fine film). 

A few nights back, I took another stab at Pad Thai, it came out meh (and that’s using meh loosely).  We were both underwhelmed with my attempt.  I was lacking some key ingredients and made some substitutions that didn’t work out so well.  I went too heavy on the dehydrated shrimp and the whole dish smelled like those dry fish flakes that you sprinkle in your aquarium; yeah, not good.  Anyway, I had to recover for my foible, so we threw caution to the wind and made Bananas Foster for dessert.  Yeah, it’s a bit indulgent, but you know, “practice all things in moderation; including moderation.” 

Find my personalized recipe below:

  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar (somewhat packed) 
  • 3-4 bananas (depending on their sizes) 
  • 1 oz. Coffee liqueur (e.g. Kahlua)
  • 2 oz. Rum (I used Bacardi 151). 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon  (a big pinch)
  • Vanilla ice cream

The only thing unique here is the Kahlua.  It gives the dish a deeper flavor that goes well with the bananas and ice cream without interferring with the spicy rum flavor. 

Prep. first:  Prepare everything first so you aren’t running around the kitchen while making this time-sensitive dessert.  Peel and cut the bananas into quarters (half them in the middle, and then lengthwise).  In advance, pour a 1/2 shot-glass full of the coffee liqueur and a shot-glass full of rum and set them aside.  Be sure to put away the bottles; you don’t want to make a molotov cocktail out of the rum bottle, right?  Unless you’re protesting a G8 summit in your kitchen.  Scoop the ice cream into serving bowls and return them to the freezer.   

Now, on to the cooking:  Melt the butter in a frying pan using med heat (butter burns, so take it easy).  Once the butter is melted, add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and Kahlua.  Mix well.  The brown sugar will caramelize and you should have a nice thick sauce that is simmering.  Add the bananas flat side down and let cook for about 1 min.  Use tongs to gently roll the bananas over and let cook for another minute.  Or, you could just keep spooning the sauce over the bananas for ~2 min.  Cooking too long will turn the bananas into mush. 

Now, you’ll want to call your dinner guests into the kitchen for the show (and confirm the location of your fire extinguisher).  With the burner still on med, add the shot of 151 and carefully light with a match.  You’ll want to touch the match to the edge of the frying pan keeping your fingers out of the leaping flame; and leap it will.  Ideally this should be done at the table, but I don’t have a hot plate and can’t be bothered to set up a heatsource, etc.  For added flash (literally), throw the dash of cinnamon into the flame and watch the *poof* of light.  When the flame dies down completely, use a large spoon to scoop the bananas and sauce onto the vanilla ice cream and serve immediately.  It is so good. 

Please be careful if/when you try this dish.  It’s good, but it’s not THAT good; safety first, folks.  Always follow directions, er, starting tomorrow.  See below for some photos of the process:

The gear

Sweet mana from the gods

See, told you I liked butter.

You like-a the sauce?

Bananas cook for one minute.

Bananas cook for another minute.

Lights off.  Porno for pyros indeed.

The payoff.

What better music group to accompany this blog post than The Flaming Lips?  Get it?  Because the dessert is flami… ah nevermind, here’s the song (best results at max. volume): 


Also, for those of you considering sponsoring me for the upcoming marathon with Team In Training, but can’t decide on how much to give, here are some helpful suggestions:

$26 –    A dollar per mile.
$62 –    A euro per kilometer (I’m an equal opportunity donation-acceptor).   
$100 –  Send a Ben Franklin to help out.  I’m sure he’d want you to. 
$210 –  A dollar per minute of race time (if I meet my goal).  That’s less than a plumber’s rate. 
$500 –  Someone’s been reading about the virtue of charity…YOU! 
Other – Don’t let these guidelines hold you back.  

Please donate here

5 Responses to ““Put your face up to the window””

  1. jess says:

    When I was in college, my roommate briefly dated a guy who was going to the CIA. One night he came over for other roommate’s birthday party and preceded to wow us with his flambe skills. We were broke college students so he made use of what we had, and concocted a delicious version of Bananas Foster using Jim Beam, butter bananas, brown sugar and cinnamon. Over vanilla ice cream, it was sublime. He also sauteed plums in butter and balsamic vinegar – it was astoundingly good.

    (Incidentally, he finished second place on season two of Bravo’s Top Chef. )

  2. Lydia says:

    How come you never make this when we come over? It looks absolutely scrumptious. I’m placing an order as of today.

  3. Congrats on doing Team in Training!! I’ve been following this blog for about as long as you’ve had it running (linked from Albany Eats)–I’m a former restaurant “lifer” and a foodie—but I’m also a TNT alumni (three half marathons up in Lake Placid….fourth coming up this June) and I’m also on the Board of Trustees for LLS.
    Hope to see you at the Spring Teams kickoff up in Saratoga…and here’s a huge pat on the back for doing this—it ain’t easy, but if it was, everyone would be doing it.

  4. Kerosena says:

    As I began reading this entry, I had to contain myself. You were describing your favorite banana applications, and I was nearly shouting “foster! FOSTER!!!” A lovely entry about a lovely dessert. Bananas are great, but cooked bananas with vanilla ice cream are divine.

  5. Albany Jane says:

    You see, I am not a big banana fan (that’s what SHE said!), but when I see rum – I’m totally in.