Thursday, November 11, 2010

planes, trains, automobiles and banana fritters ....


It's just so interesting how Thanksgiving feels as if it is the most anticipated home cooked meal in America. Yes, there are regional differences . . . maybe you must have that potato stuffing your ancestors brought from Ireland, maybe it's oyster stuffing or cornbread stuffing. No matter. We wait for this day and we delight in the most favorite of favorite home cooked meals.

In New England there were often Thanksgiving morning football games, local rivalries looking for a holiday victory to make their day just that much better. It would be freezing and there would be plenty of hot chocolate in heavy coats and gloves and scarves. It seemed right. It's what you did Thanksgiving morning.

There was the dining room table with the very best linens on it, some with hand cutwork and embroidery. The buffet in the dining room had those silver candy dishes on them, just polished with that new silvery shine. One dish would have chocolates in it, more than likely Fanny Farmer, the other silver dish full of assorted fancy nuts. The relish dishes were on the table full of sweet pickles, the mixed kind that had pearl onions in them, and that pickled cauliflower. And olives. Delicious olives. Some things just were, and these are the things my holiday memories are made of. Crudites on the table with my sister sneaking those olives. I'm smiling.

We had banana fritters. They went with Thanksgiving dinner like our potato stuffing and cranberry and mashed turnip. A side dish with claret sauce in a tiny gravy boat. It wouldn't have been Thanksgiving without those banana fritters.

What is your must have?

If you are so inclined, here's the recipe for a good banana fritter. They are just so good with turkey and stuffing. Really.

Banana Fritters

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup water
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying 5 firm bananas

In a large bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, beat the egg, vanilla and water and pour into the dry ingredients; whisk until combined. The batter should be thick enough to coat a spoon; add more water if it’s too thick.

In a wok, heat about 1-1/2 inches of oil (about 4 cups) to 350°. Line a plate with paper towels.

Peel the bananas; slice them in half crosswise, then cut each piece in half lengthwise. When the oil is hot, dip the banana slices in the batter and slip them into the hot oil, frying 5 or 6 at a time. Fry, turning occasionally, until the fritters are golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

Drain the fritters on paper towel–lined plates and repeat with the remaining bananas. Serve with (or without) claret sauce.

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