It’s been one year since we met again, and this time I finally fell in love. Yes, I’m talking to you, bananas.
Ever since I can remember, I desperately tried to like bananas. Once or twice a year, I would open one up and take a bite in hopes that I would finally accept it. Now it’s important to note that for me texture is incredibly important in liking a food. As much as I wanted to enjoy the banana, I found the combination of the internal sliminess and exterior of the edible portion’s dry-and-near-fuzziness repulsive (and if you viewed bananas in those terms, you would likely agree). I’d try banana chunks on cereal, a whole fruit straight up, chocolate-covered bananas or a piece blended in a smoothie. (Ok, so texture was not an issue in the smoothie as much as the overwhelming flavor – I could taste even 1/10th of a banana in my icy treat.) But no matter what I tried, it was the same story: Bananas are yucky.
About a year ago, Mike was buying bananas at the supermarket weekly and never finishing the bunch. After the third time a banana wound up in the garbage, I knew I had to take action. It was high time for another Banana Trial, and this time I needed to be strategic with a different plan of attack. Plain bananas just wouldn’t work. What could I pair it with that has an equally strong flavor that would be complementary to the sweet produce?
Ah, yes. Peanut butter! Slathered on a dense bakery bread with some thinly sliced banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon, toasted with some butter on a hot skillet… oh my. I finally did it. I found a banana style I actually enjoyed.
I remember the day clearly, because after my tasty breakfast, I made another sandwich to bring with me to the 2010 Chocolate Show here in NYC. I ended up smothering my lunch with melted chocolate borrowed from my volunteer station. Heaven.
For our one year celebration, dear Banana, I decided to do it up a new way. We have Peanut Butter & Co. Mighty Maple PB picked up yesterday from the 2011 Chocolate Show, along with our thinly sliced banana on cinnamon raisin bread. I heated my new sammy up with a pat of salted whipped butter on a pan and then sliced it in half.
A sandwich with crisp, savory outside and a creamy, sweet center. The maple adds a rich sweetness unlike my 100% peanut natural peanut butter, and the cinnamon raisin adds even more flavors to the mix in a very simple way. On a day when leaves are blowing off the trees, it feels perfect.
It’s not exactly low-calorie, but it’s a full meal: 390 calories and 10g of protein for the sandwich, and only 70 calories for all the berries. If you’re counting calories, you might want to share the sandwich with a friend as a tasty snack.
Our story began with a sandwich, but out of sheer necessity I eventually needed to branch out into other banana ventures. When Mike and I signed up for a CSA last year, we were inundated with a variety of fruits and veggies each week. While there were many lessons learned from jumping into community supported agriculture, one of them was that an organic foods winter-share CSA will include plenty of bananas and plantains in your weekly haul. With Mike’s track record, too many would have wound up in the garbage bin if I hadn’t learned to swoop in and use ‘em up on their way out.
Good thing we became friends, Banana.