Back in college, I would often carry a banana in the front pocket of my pea coat, like a yellow edible pocket square. This was back before energy bars were all the rage, and my banana was not only all-natural but also quirky and cute and totally college (trust me). I was always prepared with a snack on hand, should I have to miss lunch for a study date (or a nap in the student center). To this day, I still open my banana from the bottom (the end without the stem), just like my mom.
Try it. Thank me later.
Obviously, we said yes.
Take note of the SPF 80 sunscreen on the table. It was a scorcher in Charlotte, and I’m not sure what melted faster–me or the cheese.
Not that I’m complaining, melted cheese is friggin delicious.
Of all our guests, Amber got the award for Most Adventurous because she was the only one to bring a savory banana dish. We were admittedly apprehensive, but her rendition of this Curried Chicken and Banana Stew recipe was so good several of us went back for seconds.
Given the heat, a frozen cocktail was in order, and Dole came to the rescue with this fabulous recipe for Banana Pina Coladas. Frozen bananas and a little extra rum made these cocktails extra refreshing and extra smooth.
Paula brought homemade banana bread, still warm from the oven. I stole a piece for breakfast the next morning and ate it warm with a slathering of peanut butter. Divine!
Joanna made a gorgeous Banana Pudding Cheesecake complete with a scrumptious pecan and Nilla wafer crust.
After much brainstorming, deliberation, and subsequent scouring of the Dole recipe website, Grayson decided to make these banana caramel bars, and Amy, a fellow Charlotte Food Blogger, brought banana pudding, a staple down here in the south.
Vanessa had a great idea – grilled bananas stuffed with chocolate and marshmallows and a few dabs of peanut butter (at my request… ok, demand). By this course, we’d relocated the party to the refuge of my air-conditioned condo, so we opted to cook the bananas in the oven (350 degrees for about 20 minutes–until all the toppings were melty). It only took one bite for them to get my audible “WOW” of approval. Topped with a bit of vanilla ice cream, they’d be a serious show stopper.
All in all, it was a great time, and I think the excessive amount of sweating we did together has forged some sort of eternal friendship bond between us.
What party is complete without some swag?
Dole sent us lots of goodies, including bread pans, water bottles, and these awesome contraptions:
Say buh-bye to bruised bananas my friends!
Thanks a bunch to Dole for giving us this fun day, and to our friends for joining us at the banana party!