Banana Bread With Dessert Wine

A good banana bread recipe is something which will serve you well in many ways over many years and for many different people in your life.  When my youngest daughter was little she could hardly wait for me to miscalculate (sometimes on purpose!) the amount of bananas which would be eaten in our house  that week because this meant 2 or 3 overripe, mushy bananas which could be turned into banana bread!   She loved having a warm slice with a little butter or cream cheese on it for breakfast.

The Late Harvest Grand Cru 2009 Pinot Gris from the Alsacian producer Francois Baur was the perfect accompaniment to a warm slice of Banana Bread heaven!

The Late Harvest Grand Cru 2009 Pinot Gris from the Alsacian producer Francois Baur was the perfect accompaniment to a warm slice of Banana Bread heaven!

A friend's mother once sent him a loaf of banana bread when he was in college to help get him through some long nights studying in the library.  Little did she know, on the way to the library he ran into a buddy who happened to be sitting on a bench with a full pitcher of beer (don’t ask!) to which my friend quickly offered up a barter and the two of them then sat there in the warm Autumn sun devouring both the banana bread and the beer!

Most recently, I discovered the delights of drinking wine with banana bread, specifically a Vendange Tardive (which means late harvest) from Alsace in France.  The grapes used for this type of dessert wine are left to hang on the vine until they start to dehydrate and shrivel up.  The sugar in the juice of these grapes becomes very concentrated and the flavors become more intense.  Serving the banana bread with a late harvest pinot gris makes it more like a dessert rather than a breakfast item or an afternoon snack.  You could even toast a slice of it and serve it with vanilla ice cream alongside any type of dessert wine, such as port, sauternes or a cream sherry. 

No matter how you eat it, what you will be left with is a big smile on your face and a glow left over from the love which was put into the baking of it!

 

MY FAVORITE BANANA BREAD RECIPE

I discovered this recipe several years ago in Martha Stewart's Entertaining Cookbook.  Over the years, I have adapted it and made it my own.

Makes one loaf

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 medium sized bananas, mashed with a potato masher

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

 

1) While preheating oven to 350 degrees, cream butter, sugar and eggs.

2) In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix together well with butter, sugar and egg mixture.  Stir in bananas, sour cream, vanilla and walnuts.  

3) Pour into a buttered 9x4x3 inch loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes.  Test for doneness by inserting a bamboo skewer or wooden toothpick and checking that it comes out clean.  You may need to bake an additional 10-15 minutes.  The loaf should be lightly browned.  

4) Turn out onto a wire rack.

 

Wine Pairings:

In additon to the Francois Baur late harvest Pinot Gris, following are a few other suggestions for sweet wines to go with the banana bread:

Lustau "Solera Reserve" East India Sherry - $27

Fonseca 10 year tawny Port - $30

Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes - $75

Graham'sVintage Port 2000 - $125

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons to Love La Sirena at the Maritime Hotel

The latest NYC hotspot from Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, La Sirena, is located in the heart of Chelsea at 88 9th Avenue between 16th and 17th Streets.  The restaurant will be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The Wine Chef is giving this restaurant a BIG 👍!

 

#1) THE BAR -  A big, long (38 feet!!), beautiful white marble bar with friendly and knowledgeable bartenders who were happy to give little tastes of wines by the glass.  I had a wonderful conversation about wine, sherry and whiskies with one barman..... so much fun!!  Their cocktail list was quite extensive with unique offerings such as the "Siren Song" made from anejo tequila, St George spiced pear, walnut and cinnamon smoke!  The bar stools are as plush and comfortable as any dining room chair.  I could have easily stayed there for the whole evening!

 

Sampling a delicious Teroldego wine from the Trentino-Alto Adige region of Italy. 

Sampling a delicious Teroldego wine from the Trentino-Alto Adige region of Italy. 

#2) THE FOOD  -  Everything my daughter and I ordered was tasty and beautifully presented.     Don't miss either the homemade buratta with chunks of deliciously sweet butternut squash with a pesto pantesco or the fresh crudo preparation of the day.  We also enjoyed grilled, meaty sardines and a braised veal brisket dish with olive oil potatoes and salsa verde.  The portions are quite hearty so we could only fit in one dessert to share 😩 but it sure was good!  😋.   The light and pillowy doughnuts were served with roasted pineapple and vanilla gelato….yum!

Creamy, homemade buratta.  

Creamy, homemade buratta.  

Beautifully presented Crudo of the Day with 

Beautifully presented Crudo of the Day with 

Fresh, plump, grilled sardines served with a tangy coleslaw.

Fresh, plump, grilled sardines served with a tangy coleslaw.

Who doesn't like doughnuts, especially when they are as light and fluffy as these?!

Who doesn't like doughnuts, especially when they are as light and fluffy as these?!

#3). THE SERVICE -  Excellent service for such a new restaurant.  The wait staff anticipated all of our needs and the timing between courses was just right, not too fast nor too slow.  There are two dining rooms and the night we were there only the one to the left of the bar was open and it was completely full by the time we were leaving around 11:00 pm.

 

#4). THE VIBE -  The decor is a beautiful, 1960s "mod" design with a casually elegant feel to it.  There are striking Portuguese tiles for the flooring with a matching motif found in the tableware .  The lighting was just right, neither too dim nor too bright.  The acoustics were loud but not overly so.  Overall, a great vibe!  

 

#5). THE LOCATION -  You're in Chelsea!  One of the most "happening" parts of NYC.  Just walking to and from La Sirena you can feel a party spirit from the people you pass on the street.  I'm looking forward to warmer weather and being able to sit outside on the large, elevated patio overlooking Ninth Avenue.  I think I will start off that evening with a Spicy Little Number as I watch the sun set over the Hudson River!