Are there more to banana's than breakfast and lunch? DOLE is on a nationwide tour to prove that there is. On May 26th I was invited to participate in a dinner put on by DOLE, Caribe Bistro and Food Blogger Shaina from Food For My Family.
Whatever my expectations were for something labeled #bigbanannight on Twitter, I was absolutely blown away by what I experienced. Tony and Heidi from Caribe Bistro took the challenge to create a four course meal that highlighted the potential of banana's and delivered one amazing dish after an another.
On arrival we were presented with a grilling demo out on the patio. Ole was grilling some banana's in a maple glaze and I even got a glass of cold banana soda.
Once inside, Chef Tony presented us with an amazing array of banana inspired courses:
Chickpea curry over fried bread. Topped with a banana ketchup
Crab cake topped with grilled banana aioli
Grilled 5-spice rubbed Frenched lamb chops topped with banana-mango chutney.
Served with coconut curry bananas and jasmine rice
Banana coconut rum creme brulee
The thing I loved about the night was that afterwards I didn't feel like I'd just eaten banana's four different ways. Tony showed us that you can use the banana to enhance and add flavor without overwhelming pretty much any dish. Overall it was an amazing experience and I was glad to be able to participate.
This about sums up how we all felt:
More pictures of the event are available here.
About halfway through the night I noticed this bottle sitting in the middle of the table:
I thought I could see some pineapple in it as well as other peppers and spices. When Tony walked by later in the night I had to ask him what it was and what was in it. He explained to me what Pique was, since I hadn't heard of it before. It's a Puerto Rican condiment that is used to enhance any number of dishes, hence why it is place on the table. It includes any number of peppers, spices, fruits and herbs and results in a wonderful spicy sauce that I knew I wanted to recreate. Tony graciously listed all the ingredients he uses and I went to work to to try and create my own. You can make any adjustments you want to create your own version.
4 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
Sliced Pineapple rind
4 cloves garlic
4 small sweet peppers
1 habenero pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons whole allspice
1 tsp chopped cilantro
Thinly slice the garlic, shallots and peppers. Starting with the pineapple rind, fill the bottle with the ingredients, layering however you would like. Pour the vinegar in and then let set for at least 24 hours before using.
Tony also told me you can simply refill the bottle with more vinegar after the first use, although tiu won't be as strong the second time around.