Monday, October 1, 2007


My friend Jackie is a vegan. That means she doesn't eat any kind of animal products--no dairy, no eggs, nothing. I think it's a really admirable thing to do, so I'm always keeping an eye out for tasty vegan recipes I can tell her about.

You can imagine my excitement upon discovering this:

Banana "Ice Cream"

several ripe [slightly brown] bananas
any other fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, etc. [optional]

Chop bananas into chunks, cover, and freeze. Once completely frozen, toss bananas and whatever else into the blender. Blend. Look! The banana will EXPAND just like magic! Scoop out the airy, ice cream-like treat and eat before someone else comes and takes it all.

Sounds great, right? Yeah well, you know me, I can't leave well enough alone. This magical banana expansion made me think of the way egg whites expand when you whip them, which then reminded me that bananas can usually be used as an egg replacement in baking.

What could possibly make a banana and an egg so similar? I mean really, bananas and eggs? What the hell?

This one, dear readers, was tricky. Apparently, people don't like to talk about the actual makeup and physical properties of food; they'd rather just tell you to shut up and eat. But I persevered and, in the end, I was victorious. The thing bananas and eggs have in common that makes them behave so similarly is... protein.

Okay, so it's not earth-shattering, but it is interesting. See, protein molecules are flexible and exist in a natural folded state, but the stress of being beaten up causes the protein to unfold. Air is dragged through and the unfolded proteins start hooking up, trapping the air bubbles between them. Foam! This trapping of air is also what helps make cakes and other baked goods get all light and fluffy and awesome.

Protein based foams, however, are not just for eating. They're also used in fire extinguishers to put out fires started by flammable liquids, and to annoy the hell out of me if you're this guy from Bravo's "Top Chef."

that hair makes me homicidal.

Bonus! Not only are bananas high in protein, they contain tryptophan, which raises seratonin levels in the brain, helping reduce the effects of nasty things like depression, PMS, and seasonal effective disorder. Yay! So this Thursday, when the temperature hits the 80s, whip up some frozen banana fake ice cream; you'll be getting a good dose of protein, improving your mood, and giving the poor little dairy cows a day off!


Miss Lady said...

The guy in the picture is Marcel Vigneron, a competitor from Season 2 of "Top Chef," who frequently used protein foams in his dishes. He was also annoying and a jerk and I was really glad he didn't win.

Anonymous said...

great writing


Jackie said...

I am admirable haha. =]
we still need to make this amazing banana ice cream, kate!

CREEN said...

Hi, it's Creen. As someone who currently is living in DEPRESSION, I feel it necessary to say that you are a really good writer, but you have strongly missed the target on your comment on depression. It's a wonderful, lovely, fulfilling part of me that I hope never goes away. I'm kidding. You should make me that banana thing sometime. Ciao!