Wednesday, August 1, 2007

'"Entertaining with Kathi" Food Column ~ August 2, 2007

Here is the original, unedited version of the "Entertaining with Kathi" column for August 2, 2007 by Tallahassee Florida food writer, Kathi Dameron. As is often the case, the newspaper has trimmed bits and pieces of the article. For example they cut the sentence, "For extra pizzazz, flambé the caramelized sauce or simply add a few sparklers."

You can read the article exactly as I wrote it right here at this blog. The newspaper slugged the article with the title, "Dessert that's perfect for a lazy sundae afternoon." While this is not my idea of a great title, it works and at the moment I can't think of anything any better. So I'll just go with that title here, too. If you want to read the edited version, you can find it at the website for the Tallahassee Democrat. Simply click on the Northeast Chronicle link and scroll down. It will only stay active there until it is replaced by the next issue in two weeks. However, it will remain active on the Internet a bit longer. I like to post the articles on this blog, so that they will remain available on the Internet for indefinite viewing. Please feel free to comment. I love hearing from readers with questions, comments and kudos!

Dessert That's Perfect For A Lazy Sundae Afternoon
By Kathi Dameron

“Pack your beach skivvies and sarongs in your skiff and join us on the high seas for a Bound For Ithaka Treasure Hunt / Boating Regatta Party. What could be more fun than a full day of sparkling seaside spontaneity from sunshine to starlight?” The burnished treasure map invitation read.

This rocking revelry on the waves of the Florida Intercoastal Waterway was a party that brought together sailboats, speedboats, a treasure hunt, good friends, fabulous food and million dollar moments.

Part of the inspiration came from the enchanting poem “Ithaka,” written in 1911 by the Greek poet C.P. Cavafy. The other part came from the “just another day in paradise” lifestyle that defined living on Florida’s Hutchinson Island back in the 1980’s – during a time when Mel Fisher’s Treasure Hunt Adventures filled the news and stirred the imagination.

Hidden behind a jumble of prickly purple bougainvillea that separated the vaulted screened-in swimming pool from the sun-bleached arbor-topped dock, sat my Chris Craft speedboat perched high on the hydraulic lift ready to be lowered into the water for fun boating adventures on a moment’s whim.

During carefree days, those whims were many. Picnic baskets, coolers and hidden caches of blue ice with special frozen treats were prepared and packed for nautical noshing. Entertaining on the boat was a favorite year-round tradition- from the big, loud splashy sun-kissed parties with fun-loving friends to romantic evenings for two, toasting and sipping Perrier Jouett Champagne from crystal flutes under a starry sky.

Eclectic Island Cuisine infused with far-away spice and joined with local bounty was standard boat picnic fare during those years. In planning the menu for the Bound For Ithaka Party, my culinary exploration led me to the magical ancient isles of Greece for inspiration and to my memory gardens filled with exquisite reminiscences of vacationing near the Aegean Sea. But the menu didn’t stop there. Creative license took the menu to other exotic ports of call for intriguing flavors.

Planning a perfectly delicious menu, designing treasure maps and coordinating all the details for this fun-filled adventure rocked my boat!

The grand finale of the evening menu was a scrumptious Flaming / Sparkling Brazilian Banana Sunday. This dessert sensation can be grilled right on a Hibachi, for a show-stopping salute to smooth sailing for whatever journey lies ahead.

Whether you are going island hopping in nearby or faraway waters or simply chilling out at home, a Bound For Ithaka Treasure Hunt Party is a grand way to encourage one another in the journey of life- sailboat or speedboat optional.

Flaming or Sparkling Brazilian Banana Sunday

Serves 2

1 or 2 Bananas

1 Teaspoon Butter *

1 Florida Orange, freshly squeezed *

about one quarter stick Butter *

about one quarter Brown Sugar *

a splash of Cachaca (Cachaca is a Brazilian liquor that is infused with the scent of sugar cane and rum.)


Vanilla Ice Cream

Toasted Coconut

Brazil Nut Brittle

Blue Ice (If you are cooking on location, Blue Ice will keep your Ice Cream at the right temperature until dessert.)

Slice bananas lengthwise and crosswise. You will get 4 slices per banana. Brush bananas with melted butter and orange juice. Grill each side of the banana slices on a hibachi grill over medium-hot coals.

In a small skillet melt butter, brown sugar and Cachaca till caramelized.

To serve, scoop ice cream into Sunday boats. Add grilled bananas, caramelized sauce, toasted coconut, a dusting of cinnamon, and the crunch of Brazil Nut Brittle.

For extra pizzazz, flambé the caramelized sauce or simply add a few sparklers.

Special Note: I’m a culinary artist not a mathematician! Intuitive sprinkling, splashing and pouring is my standard method of measurement. So by all means use your own discerning common sense when exact measurements are needed. My culinary philosophy about sharing recipes is not that far different from a poster that was on the door of the assistant principal’s office when I taught school in South Florida. That poster read, “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.” In my opinion, this same wisdom applies to the art of culinary exploration. Recipes can be so much more fun, when the cook allows the recipe to become a treasure map of sorts, leading them onto a delicious and educational journey as a proactive partner, not necessarily following the recipe verbatim, but tweaking it to one’s own unique interpretation and taste sensibilities.

Kathi Dameron cooks up culinary collaborations. She is a Culinary Arts professional, food writer and former caterer.

Photo Credit: Greg Griffin & SXC

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