Thursday, October 29, 2009


I don’t tend to think of myself as a nostalgic person, especially when it comes to food. The things I like to cook are certainly not the things that I could see my grandmother making. That’s not to say that I don’t like eating warm homey chicken’n’dumplings or rich delicious sugar cookies. It’s just that, when I think about cooking for the restaurant, the food that I get excited about is usually something more modern. So I was surprised when I found myself begging my mom for her Banana Bread recipe, which she got from my grandmother.

Banana bread is one of those foods that I grew up on. Bananas, being cheap and relatively nutritious (for a fruit), were something that was always around the house; and when there’s bananas aplenty, one can be sure that there will eventually be over ripe bananas. Banana bread is an ingenious use of a product that is past its prime.

I have tried this recipe many times, and many ways, but came to one conclusion. The bananas MUST be overripe. Anything less results in a final product ranging from “just alright” to “absolutely foul.” You could add nuts, raisins, or chocolate to the batter, but why mess with perfection? Here is your basic banana bread recipe:

4oz butter

8oz sugar

2ea eggs

10oz Banana purée

11oz flour

1t. baking soda

1/4t. salt

1) Cream butter and sugar until lightened in color and texture

2) Add in eggs one at a time to ensure a smooth emulsion

3) Add bananas and mix to incorporate. Be sure to scrape the bowl well!

4) Mix in the dry until just smooth. Over-mixing will result in a tough bread.

5) Bake at 375° in a 9x5 loaf pan for about 45 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out cleanly

Thinking more about the plate as a whole, I like my banana bread toasted with butter, so warming it in a buttered sauté pan is a must. There is a dark rum caramel sauce to counter some of the sweeter elements. Also on the plate, I’ve added some toffee bits for texture and to anchor the caramel ice cream, which was sprinkled with a little Murray River salt. To finish, a fired plantain chip tossed in sugar, because it looks an awful lot like a banana and it got adds some nice height to the plate, along with a nice crunch. I think it came out very well. My only fear is that there isn’t enough to counteract the potential dryness of the banana bread. Something to think about…

The Beginning

This is a first for me in a lot of ways. I’m not the kind of person who is good at keeping up with personal projects, especially those involving chronicling my experiences. Somehow I always feel like something gets lost in the telling. With any luck, though, this will be different.

I have to admit that two weeks ago I would have not thought that I could be at all interested in blogging. It wasn’t until I started reading a few choice food blogs in search of new recipes that I realized what I was missing. There is a wealth of knowledge out there, and while I love my cookbooks, they aren’t very dynamic. With the leaps and bounds in point and shoot camera quality, and of course the fact that the web is mostly free, making a half decent post or illustrated recipe is very possible.

As the title implies, these are experiments. I tend to think that everything I make ends up being a little experiment. Having still less than 5 years spent in the industry, its really hard for me to say that I'm an authority on anything.

My goal with this blog is to post weekly about a dessert from the restaurant. Hopefully it will include some of my process and brainstorming, along with background information and recipes. I haven’t decided whether I will post all recipes required to make the whole plate, or just a few components. I’m always tweaking my recipes, and I feel that once something is published, its much harder to edit and revise, so I think that I will most likely only post recipes that I am very satisfied with.

I think that’s all for now. There will be more posts on my methods for measuring and finding ingredients and such, but those are for another time. Soon I will actually have a real recipe to share with you all, but until then, thanks for reading!