Raise your right arm if you love creamy, luscious ice cream. OK, now lower that arm quickly if there’s too much jiggle from all those fat-rich desserts. Don’t despair though. I’ve got an alternative that could have you perusing the bikini aisles once more. I first ate this Banana Whip at the Bent Spoon, Princeton, New Jersey’s much lauded ice cream/gelato store run by an adorable couple, Matt Errico and Gabriel Carbone. They bought a special machine from Italy to turn bananas into a concoction that has all the consistency and flavor of ice cream but with none of the fat. It’s made from bananas – only bananas. No sugar, no flavorings, no guar gum or whatever that disgusting additive is. But you don’t need an expensive machine from Italy. All you need is a freezer and a food processor. Take three or four really ripe bananas – like totally-brown-on-the-outside bananas. You know the kind you get all squeamish about eating and are ready to toss into the trash. They’re the ones. Now freeze them. Freeze them good and hard overnight if possible. Then peel them, by hand or with a knife if need be. Cut the bananas into chunks and whir the chunks in the food processor for a few minutes. Hopefully your food processor is sturdy and won’t want to start prancing across the counter. After a few minutes, the bananas should turn into a luscious creamy dessert. It’s not likely to be as scoopable (is that a word?) as the photo above, but pop it in a plastic container, put it in the freezer a few more hours, and you’ll be scooping with the big boys. If you have an ice cream machine (even one that you hand-crank like my old Donvier) you can plop the banana mixture in there and give it a few turns and scoop away immediately. I took things a step further and crumpled in two chocolate cookies that were looking forlorn. It raises the calorie count, but heck, it’s minimal compared to a scoop of your favorite premium brand ice cream. I’ve been feasting a little too much lately, including at last week’s TECHmunch one-day food bloggers’ conference in New York City, where the food was bountiful as you might have guessed. We had already been served breakfast – these were just some of the mid-morning snacks. Who could eat lunch an hour and a half later after all this? OK, guilty as charged. I indulged in a heaping bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwich and a lemon bar with a crispy, flaky bottom that beats out any I’d eaten before. How can I get that lemon bar recipe? The event was co-produced by Bakespace.com and Cupcakes Take The Cake.com. Babette Pepaj of BakeSpace.com and Nichelle Stephens of Cupcakes Take The Cake I met lots of nice people with blogs I was already familiar with – and some that were new to me. It was great to put faces to blog names and to discover some tips for improving your blog. The day was filled with back-to-back panels on everything from food trends to how to leverage traditional media. Among the panelists were Jaden Hair of SteamyKitchen.com, David Leite of LeitesCulinaria.com and Cathy Erway, of NotEatingOutInNY.com. There were lots of great tips given by many of the panelists. Here are just a few on how to build blog traffic:
- invite some guest bloggers or write a guest post for another blogger
- reach out to do interviews
- use social media, like Facebook and Twitter
- tell good stories
- write clear, consistent recipes that work. Place ingredients in the order they are used.
- be topical. For example, if the World Cup is taking place, figure out how to incorporate something about it in your blog
There were lots of giveaways too, with KitchenAid sponsoring the event. Look at this booty! I won a prize early on and got to choose from among this grouping (except for the big anniversary edition of the KitchenAid stand mixer). I really needed a new toaster, so this couldn’t have been more timely. If there’s ever a TechMunch conference in your area, it’s well worth your time and money. There were even goody bags to take home, which included this nifty gadget from Tupperware. It’s Tupperware’s Quick Chef – a hand-operated alternative to an electric food processor and it retails for $52.50 on Tupperware’s website. But it can be yours if you want. I’m offering it to any reader of this blog, chosen at random, who leaves a comment by midnight Eastern time, Wednesday, June 16. Just let me know what you think I can do to improve this blog – layout-wise, recipe-wise, frequency of posts, whatever comes to mind. You don’t have to have a blog to win, but if you don’t, please leave an email address or some way for me to reach you. For those of you who receive updates in email format, please leave your comment on the blog, not in email. One more thing before I leave you and go make a cup of tea. Ciao Chow Linda has been on Facebook for a couple of months. Connect with me there if you haven’t already. Now I’m on Twitter too, so if you’ve got a Twitter account, follow me @ciaochowlinda. I’m still figuring this whole technology thing out, so bear with me if I stumble here or there. I’m of the generation that still remembers dial phones.