Happy Mardi Gras!
I'm sure many of you are wishing right along with me that we could be in New Orleans (or some other festival-celebrating place) today: the parades and parties, the mythical Southern Gothic mystery exuding from its bayou shores, the unbreakable spirit of a place so rich with history and magic.
And of course, the FOOD! Several of my family members have lived in Louisiana at some point, and unique New Orleans flavors often seep into their cooking. I love gumbo, red beans and rice, beignets, King Cake...
....and of course, one of my favorite desserts of all time: bananas foster.
Ripe bananas sizzled in a pan with melted butter, cinnamon, brown sugar and rum, then flambéed until the warm sauce is ready to pour all over creamy vanilla ice cream? Oh yes, I can't get enough.
I actually tried my hand at making bananas foster banana bread last week (oooh two of my favorite foods rolled into one!). Sadly, I'll have to wait until I get my pictures developed to share it with you....but in the meantime, here are some drool-worthy confections to pique your imagination.
BANANAS FOSTER CINNAMON BUNS?! (Just so you know, cinnamon rolls are my favorite sweet. The very favorite forcing bananas foster to take second place.)
Some steadfast research also turned up recipes for bananas foster cupcakes, ice cream, bread pudding, DONUTS, waffles, french toast, truffles, and on and on....
Guess I'm going to be frying up lots of bananas in the weeks to come. My Puerto Rican grandmama would be proud!
(Image sources: vintage postcard; king cake; bananas foster; sticky buns; cupcakes; ice cream; bread pudding; donut)
Edit:: I was thrilled to learn about other Fat Tuesday traditions around the world, from pre-Lent carnivals in Europe (did you know "carna vale" means "goodbye to meat" in Latin?!) to Polish pączki pastries (read more about the donut-esque noms here and here)! Note to self: start studying (and celebrating -- what better excuse could there be for baking?) more international festivals!