Monday, June 14, 2010

Banana Whip, Techmunch and a Giveaway

June 2010 193Raise 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?

June 2010 207The event was co-produced by and Cupcakes Take The

June 2010 202   Babette Pepaj of 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.

June 2010 211

Among the panelists were  Jaden Hair of, David Leite of and Cathy Erway, of

June 2010 218

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!

June 2010 201 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.



Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That ice cream looks wonderful! A great event and giveaway!



bellini valli said...

Sounds like the event was so much fun.It is always exciting to meet local bloggers isn't it. Your blog is always so informative and with excellent recipes. What you need is a recipe index to make them easy to locate.

Kristin said...

That does look good! I need to get over to the Bent Spoon! And I second the recipe index. That would be helpful.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

I love that name....Tech munch! I read some of the blogs mentioned, and will check out the others. Now I am off to find you on facebook!

FOODalogue said...

Here's a tech hint...when you want people to follow you, it would be good to link your page in twitter and fb to the address in your post. Just makes it easier for the reader and the potential follower.

♥peachkins♥ said...

The event looks super fun!

blowing peachkisses
The Peach Kitchen
peach and things

Mary said...

The whole thing with bananas has me excited:-). The event sounds really wonderful, but I must admit I'd be the one who have breakfast, a taste of everything on the buffet and then go on to lunch without batting an eye. My bad. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

elra said...

I've never tasted ice cream like this Linda. Sounds pretty tempting really. The event sounds wonderful, and what a great giveaway!

Phyllis said...

Love the banana whip at Bent Spoon but boy is it ever filling! The NYC techmunch conference looked fun, sorry I missed it.
I love your blog the way it is, but it would be great to have all your 'how-to' posts (like your recent one on how to trim an artichoke) listed in one location.
ps. I'm also part of that generation that remembers dial phones!

Mary Ann said...

I enjoy your blog and recipes and love to win your giveaway.

Daniela said...

Un incontro molto interessante, complimenti per il premio. Vaso subito su face book. Buona settimana Daniela.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Val's right, and I'm guilty of this too, you need a recipe index so I could look up all your yummy recipes fast. I was trying to find your sbrisalona recipe a couple of weeks ago, trying to remember where it was. As far as your writing and everything else, DON'T CHANGE A THING! I love you the way you are. Val graciously told me how she did her's, I'll send it to you, maybe us baby boomers can figure it out together!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Ooops, Maybe you're not a baby boomer, I'm speaking for myself of course!

Claudia said...

First - the whipped banana is just dreamy and I have some overripe bananas in my freezer (never throw away those delctable fruits). Adding alittle chocolate canno hurt! So that's a must-try. Next - not here for the giveaway - so it should go to a wishful person. As for the blog - I come here for all - the photos, the social gatherings (I don't social gather well! It's sad.) and your delectable food. I am not one to give advice but more questions. So that your blogging remains uniquely you, ask yourself "Where am I going with this?" "What do I want from my blog?" (It could be money,recognition, networking,a history of your stories, anecdotes combined with recipes in one place and many other personal goals) and then study your blog and ask yourself if what your are providing is leading you on the road you have chosen.
As for the recipe index - always a good idea. Even I started one (by opening a new blog - so am not techie -Marie's index is grand...someday I'll figure it out.) Of course, you have to update it.... you know where that's going.

The Sabbatical Chef said...

I am thrilled to have recently found your blog. You write like a "normal" person and your recipes reflect real eating. Thanks. Here's what I'd like to do with my blog and maybe you can help by figuring it out first!! Especially since you went to a conference. How cool! (I didn't know such things even exist.) I want to get an index of recipes on the blog... Where readers can just click on the link and go to the recipe. Any ideas?

The Sabbatical Chef said...

I didn't read all the other comments before I sent mine. I thought I was being so original. Ha! Silly me.

The Sabbatical Chef said...

I figured it out!! I used the label gadget and I am indexing my recipe alphabetically. I feel so smart.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I have three black bananas in my freezer right now! I was saving them for banana bread but I might try your banana whip!

Thanks for all the info about Techmunch. I might have gone to the conference if I knew about it, even though I am not a food blogger, Linda, as it sounds like an interesting day with nice refreshments :-) I'll join their facebook for next time.

I am now following your at Twitter!

I can get lost reading Twitter feed and facebook feed ... I wish there was more time to do both, blog, live life and read an occasional

You can add a google search box to your sidebar ( it's in google gadgets) and that way visitors can search for a special recipe of yours, as Marie requested.

Jen_from_NJ said...

I love the Bent Spoon and I love your blog even more! I always learn something new when I visit.

Anonymous said...

I live in a rural community and finding alot of your ingredients is I lust after your food and drool at the beautiful food, pictures & trips. I guess what I would like to see is that maybe once a month or once a season, you could make and share a simple ingredient recipe and a recipe that is not time consuming for a farm wife.
Also, I would love to see you give more reviews on wonderful cookbooks and cooking utensils that we can get here in the states. Thank you for all you do and for making one hard working farm wife live a dream of eating such wonderful delicacies as yours!

Barbara said...

Improve your Blog?
Come on, I think you done a wonderful job already--------OH, just a thought,Could you please deliver? The food here in El Paso, Texas, could use some help and I'm starving for first class ingredients too. Keep up the great work! Barbara

Bridgett said...

Wow, that event looks like fun, especially the kitchenaid giveaway they had. The ice cream would be divine right now!
I need to go find you on facebook!

Cathy said...

I never would have believed that freezing plain old bananas would produce a delicious frozen dessert. I'm ready for this after making and indulging in several batches of rich ice cream that I made in my new freezer.

Meeting fellow bloggers is so much fun. I hope an event similar to yours will come to my area someday soon.

Mrs. Confidence said...

You have a knack for making the flavors of the world attainable. Your blog helps me try new things. I would suggest a better indexing system. Archives by dates are great, but so are topics like, "products, recipes, travels, places to visit, etc." Keep up the great blog though!!

Scintilla said...

Now you have me craving icecream and I already had cherries for dessert. You are a prolific source of recipes and I always look forward to your posts. I've starred so many on my reader! Help us look them up with a search button or index!

Janet M said...

I like your blog just the way it is. Every recipe that I have tried has been great. I came to read your blog from Jellypress' blog.

zurin said...

I need ice cream and Im going to make that. no fat is amazing. sounds like u had a great time at teh bloggers meet. nice presents they gave away too :)wish I cld have been there.

Linda said...

Wonderful post Linda...I am so making the banana whip...right up my alley!

Lisa said...

I like your blog just the way it is.

LMC502 said...

That little Quick Chef is cute!
I don't really have any tips for you - you already add a good mix of things I've never heard of/seen and things I have, but might not have tried (yet!).
The event sounds great - glad you were able to attend :)

Anne said...

I love banana whips! I have a friend who makes whips and she made me the first one I ever tried.
The last time she made me a whip she added blueberries with the bananas, also very good. As for your blog, I like it just the way it is. Your blog is very informative, has delicious recipes, and wonderful photos. It sounds like a nice event and that you had a good time. Thanks for the great giveaway!

Anne -

Mimi said...

We love eating banana whip. It a great treat in the hot weather. Your blog is enjoyeable just the way you have it.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Yep. I'm catching up on blogs. I was just staring at some brown bananas, which usually become smoothies. Banana whip is new to me, but I'm totally game! Maybe a little honey to it would be good. Someday, I'll attend a foodie bash like this one. What fun to be around such royalty! How can you improve your blog... (I know, the giveaway has ended). You don't need to, Linda. I love the photos, recipes and the way you write. See ya on FB and Twitter!

Skeptic said...

Peel FIRST, then freeze. It's easier that way.

Susan @ SGCC said...

I love this idea! I keep frozen bananas in the freezer for smoothies, but your way is sooooo much better!