Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bananas Foster from New Orleans

Mardi Gras mask next to Bananas Foster on homemade vanilla ice cream

The rumbling sounds of the band entered Jackson Square. The familiar notes of "Oh when the saints....go marching in...." reminded all tourists that they were in New Orleans, a city of music. 
When you entered the French Quarter, where lace ironwork adorned with vibrant greenery and delicate flowers framed every balcony, you might spot a tourist seated to observe the crowds below.
The Spanish crown still proudly waves its flag over this area, announcing every street name in its tongue. When you turn onto Royal Street, or Calle Real, your feet and ears will force you to stop and listen to the blues, or rock, or even Led Zeppelin and Michael Jackson being played on a violin and ukulele as the transfixed crowd irepressibly smiles. The only way for you to advance along this street is to tear yourself away from the music to take a break every so often in one of several art galleries, where you will find anything from French art to local artists' clever transformation of recycled material into "canvas" for poignant portraits of people.
If you hurry, you might finally see Brennan's sign, further ahead, where you can try the original bananas foster.

The only deepwater port in the U.S., this city has been key in the entrance of many products in the past to this nation, such as coffee, and bananas in the 1950's. It was created at Brennan's restaurant on Royal Street in the French quarter of New Orleans in 1951 by Chef Paul Blange, and named after one of his best clients, Richard Foster. Often, the lighting of the alcohol, a feat, is done in front of the customer, next to his/her table.
The smooth cinnamon syrup combined with the cooked, soft bananas tastes delicious on vanilla ice cream. 

6 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups brown sugar
6 whole bananas, peeled, halved lengthwise and quartered
1/3 cup dark rum
1/4 cup creme de banana
Vanilla Ice cream
Heat the cinnamon, sugar, butter, brown sugar, and banana slices, cooking for five minutes. Add dark rum, and light it with a match until the alcohol burns off. Add the creme de banana and repeat; this one may be harder to burn, depending on the content of alcohol in the brand you choose. I was successful with the rum on my second try, but my banana creme refused to burn! I was only able to find one brand in the supermarket, so I had no choice.
Serve warm on top of vanilla ice cream. It is best to serve immediately. However, if it is necessary, you can save leftovers and warm in the microwave, then place on top of ice cream once more.


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