Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bananas Foster

After our impressive Bananas Foster experience at Tony's BBQ Bistro, my family and I decided to reinvent the dessert in our home. Of course all good things start with butter...

Add some brown sugar and cinnamon...

We melted the butter in a skillet, added the cinnamon mixture and combined.

Next we added the sliced bananas to the mix and sloshed them around to combine.

Then came the fun part. Bring on the rum. I think these two tiny bottles of rum are the first hard liquor this house has ever seen.

In the restaurant, the owner just threw the rum in the pan and the whole mess exploded. So, we prepared ourselves for the worst. My younger brother manned the fire extinguisher.

Unfortunately, our flaming expectations weren't met. We threw in the rum and nothing happened. We're not certain what went wrong. We speculate that the pan wasn't hot enough or we didn't buy a high enough proof rum. We needed more alcohol. So we dumped in some more rum and lit the pan with a long-stem lighter. This method rewarded us with a meager combustion.

After the small fire died down, we spooned the mixture over vanilla ice cream.

We concluded that our recreation of Bananas Foster was not quite as tasty as the restaurant version. In the restaurant the sugar crystallized giving the cinnamon mixture a delightful crunchy texture. Our formula was not crunchy. Next time, we'll buy rum with a higher alcohol content and really get the fire started.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

BBQ & Windmills

To make up for my lack of pork consumption Thursday night, my parents and I went to eat at a nearby barbeque restaurant. Tony's BBQ Bistro is located in a small town about 20 minutes away. The drive to dinner was very scenic and full of windmills. These windmills started sprouting up in southwest Iowa farm fields a couple years ago.

They almost look as though they don't belong on earth and are the creation of some space-age society. At night, every windmill simultanously blinks a red-light. It's a rather mesmerizing sight.

Tony's BBQ Bistro is located in Walnut, IA, a small town widely known for its antique shops.

Brick roads!

Here you see a blurry picture of pork ribs. The pictures may be horrible, but the ribs were phenomenal. They were coated with a dry rub and served with barbque sauce. The meat cleanly pulled off the bones and was very succulent.

Although the ribs are fantastic, my favorite item on the menu are the baked beans. These are hands-down the best baked beans I've ever tasted. They are slightly sweet, riddled with bacon and hunks of pork and flavored with spices I couldn't quite recognize. I would buy these beans by the 5-gallon bucket. I almost wish I'd never been introduced to these legumes because now I constantly daydream about them.


Complimentary napkin wipes. They were needed.

After we gorged ourselves on pork slabs, our waitress pursuaded us into ordering Bananas Foster for dessert. We were told it would be an "experience". The owner of the restaurant came out with a single-burner stovetop and whipped the concoction up right in front of our table. He melted butter, added a cinnamon/brown sugar mixture, then stirred in the bananas. After the bananas were coated, he "flambed" the mixture by tossing a little rum into the pan causing it to burst into flames. Once the flame died out, he poured the blend over a bowl of vanilla ice cream. The glaze became crunchy, the ice cream began to melt, and the bananas were warm. A rather delightful combination of flavors and textures.

Stay tuned...tomorrow we try to recreate Bananas Foster at home...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Food From the Homeland

I am back in Iowa for the week- hanging out with my parents, annoying my little brother and enjoying my academic freedom. Dinner last night was quite delicious and beautiful. A lovely Iowa farm-friendly meal of mashed/smashed/whipped potatoes, an assortment of vegetables, and pork chops. Of course I had to go and ruin the farm-friendliness with my catfish filet.

1. Boiled potato cubes

2. Mashed potato cubes

3. Whipped potatoes


George-Formaned pork chops. It was raining outside. Not good grilling weather.

My catfish.
Now that I think about it more, farms have ponds right? Some catfish live in ponds. Maybe catfish could be farm-friendly. Never-the-less, I still recieved some slight oxtracization from my family for choosing fish over pig. They just don't know what they're missing...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

College Student No More

As of May 15th, 2010, I am no longer a student at Kansas State University.

Goodbye college, hello real world.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Lucky Gnocchi

I seem to be eating with Cyndi a lot lately. A couple Thursday's ago she invited some friends over for a traditional Argentinian gnocchi dinner. After doing some reading up on the topic, I found out that when people got paid on the first of every month in South America so money was always tight by the end of the month. Since there was little funds available, Gnocchi became a good way to enjoy a hearty, inexpensive meal on a meager budget. Gnocchi are cheap since all you really need are potatoes and flour and hence a way of dealing with low funds to eat at the end of every month became a tradition. People all over certain parts of South America get together on the same day every month (29th) just to eat Gnocchi. To partake, you simply slide some money under your plate and eat Gnocchi.

Whole-Wheat Gnocchi

To top off the Gnocchi, Cyndi made a Cannellini, spinach, tomato mixture. It was quite delicious.

After dinner we had Yerba maté tea. Mate tea is another Argentina tradition. The infusion called mate is prepared by steeping dry leaves of yerba mate in hot water. Drinking mate with friends from a shared hollow gourd with a metal straw is a common social practice in Argentina. I blieve Yerba mate tea is an acquired taste. While some may find it enjoyable, I found it extremely bitter. Probably more bitter than anything I've ever tasted- and I love unsweetened coffee. It tastes similar to what I imagine drinking grass would taste like. Supposedly,the health benefits of drinking this beverage are huge though. Go figure.