QT 72 – Tropical Temptations: Chocolate and Bananas

 QT 72 – Tropical Temptations: Chocolate and Bananas

Why hello there, I didn’t hear you come in.


Oh yeah, this is how today’s post is going.

Allow me to pretend that I wasn’t intentionally playing this slow jazz track, and just sitting semi-motionless in the room, having found the “perfect position that’s like sexy, but also laid-back and not pushy, and kind of cool.” And that’s a position incredibly hard to pull off in a velour bathrobe that looks like I stole it from a boxing match or Hugh Hefner’s storage unit.

Today, as you know, is Valentine’s Day. A day to be with those we love, and to show that love. A day of unbridled passion, though, to be honest, it’s mostly panicked passion, as people realize ‘fuck, why is this one damn holiday not on a weekend or something” and run around trying to find a last minute gift. Since, as we noted Monday, my deepest relationship is with alcohol, I had plenty of time to construct this chintzy porn set, and act like I have the faintest idea of what cool is, before I launch into a thousand words about food history, because…that’s my kink, baby.


There’s a lot of layered jokes in using this specific album after that line.

Today was going to be all about that sultry seductress of the sugary snacks, that dark and saucy stranger in the smore’s…s’more. (Fuck, what the hell do you call a s’more? A cookie? A…dessert sandwich? MOVE ON, KEEP IT TOGETHER) The Chocolat, which is French for…Chocolate. And as we all know, the French know how to make things romantic. The “totally not a big deal, don’t let it kill the mood” problem is that, really, the history of chocolate is, while sexy, also pretty dark. We talked about it, like, two years ago: Chocolate is a lot of fermenting, and roasting, and bloody-Aztec-sacrifice and the Medieval Meso-American equivalent of lighting cigars with $100 bills.  

It’s also a LONG process, making chocolate. I mean, I like to take things slow, baby, but from pod to powder, that little brown delight takes like, a WEEK to get ready. And I can’t keep it going on for that long. I’m not STING.


This is what peak male performance looks like. You may not like it, but this is the ideal male form for boning.

So to sweeten things up a little, and in honor of Monday’s post, I thought we’d put some banana in our ménage assois to spice things up. (which Google translate tells me is an absolute dynamite rhyming joke off of ménage a trois, but I suspect doesn’t ACTUALLY translate as funnily as they claim) So let’s talk Chocolat and go Bananas, just in time for that someone special.


I Once Caught Cao-Cao Cracking Cacao At Krakatoa

Chocolate. It’s long been claimed to have aphrodisiacal properties. Now, science hasn’t found an actual link there, but let’s not forget our good buddy the Placebo effect: just because science doesn’t say chocolate should make you hornier, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t. (Also, and this is a bit of a nitpick, but the study was, as scientific studies are, a little longer term and more clinical than I think would have really worked for the argument being posed. What science ‘proved’ was that those with higher average daily levels of chocolate consumption don’t have notably more arousal or sex than those with lower averages, or no daily consumption.)


That’s right, absurdly tragic child: there are people who don’t eat ANY chocolate.

So sure, the docs proved that eating a bit of chocolate every day isn’t going to get you laid more. But maybe it’s just the wine I’ve definitely been drinking the whole time talking, but I don’t think that’s what people mean when they call it an aphrodisiac. No, they’re referring to the sweet and slightly naughty nature of chocolate as a heightener for already romantic moments, and its ability to make nice moments feel more romantic. Your spouse made dinner, great. Your spouse made dinner, and chocolate-dipped strawberries for dessert: sexy.  Unless you’re diabetic. Or, I guess, still sexy if you’re a diabetic, just, also dangerous.

That’s because what makes it an aphrodisiac, according to a master chocolatier, isn’t any of the chemical compounds involved: it’s the sensual nature of chocolate itself. Chocolate melts at around 90 degrees, so chocolate should always melt in your mouth. It’s a rich, sweet texture that smoothly melts at your touch. It’s a striking, dark color, and it’s a somewhat expensive, somewhat unhealthy indulgence. The trick isn’t “a dose of chocolate makes you more likely to have sex.” It’s “the experience of eating good chocolate is going to make you more sensually hyped up, and therefore will more easily lead to…other sensual matters.”


Like, you know, enjoying flowers, and other innocent things.

Also, chocolate, especially dark chocolate, pairs well with red wines and ports. And a bit of alcohol to help you relax and let your hair down also helps with the whole shebang. (Pun not intended, and slightly worrying.) Especially since red wines and ports tend to be the more sensual wine experiences: a fuller mouthfeel, a sense of sophistication, and all that jazz.

Now, I’d hardly be a good friend to have spent all this time hyping up chocolate without giving you a way to impress with it, now would I? Well, let me give you a pick of quick tricks that’ll make you seem slick, Rick: Chocolate Ganache, and the “Magic Shell”.

Magic shell, as you probably remember from your childhood, is a chocolatey syrup that, when poured over ice cream, hardens into a crisp shell. And it turns out, it’s pretty easy to make. All you need is about a cup of chocolate, and 3 tablespoons of coconut oil.


Which, of course, WE ALL have loads of in our cupboards.
(Joking aside, there actually are a lot of people who keep it. It’s very prominent in Indian cuisine, Vegan food, etc.)

Then you just microwave the two together, stirring every 30 seconds or so, until it’s a glossy liquid. The coconut oil makes the chocolate smoother, and richer, and allows it to stay liquid at about room temperature. But the instant it hits cold ice cream, the mixture sets and hardens into a nice shell.

An additional benefits from this sensual mix is that virgin coconut oil is also great for massages. And since they don’t sell it in 3 tbsp containers, you’ll have plenty left over. Be mindful when rubbing it on faces/ remembering to wash it off eventually: if not thoroughly absorbed, coconut oil is thick enough to block pores, which can cause acne. However, the natural chemicals in the oil have also been shown to help prevent and reduce acne and skin inflammation, so it’s up to your own special body which way it goes. I say rub it on, and take a warm shower later to clean up the excess. (Please remember that I am a food historian and man drinking wine in a bathrobe on a fake porn set, not a masseuse or trained dermatologist, so my advice, like my life choices, may be flawed.)


This is one of my 4-5 bathrobes. That’s…too many bathrobes.

Ganache, on the other hand, is the rich creamy center of chocolate truffles, a luxurious spread just begging for dipped fruits and pretzels, and the basis of many chocolate fondues.  And it’s also stupidly easy to make. It’s just chocolate melted into hot cream and stirred into a thick sauce. The more chocolate you add, the thicker the end product will be. 4 ounces chocolate to 1 cup cream will get you something closer to chocolate fondue, that stays mostly liquid, while 8 ounces chocolate to ½ a cup of cream will get you the solid filling of truffles.

You can make it by whisking cream and chocolate on a double-boiler, or by microwaving it and whisking it.

Both options are quick, easy, and pretty impressive if used correctly. Some smooth moves for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day. So, if that’s what Chocolate can do for you, what can you get from bananas?


Big Ol Banana Boys

Bananas, I have to confess, don’t have the same appeal as chocolate. Or should I say, chocolate doesn’t have the same a-peel as bananas?

curves to the left.png

Thank you, I’ll be here…well, not all week. I just said I can’t stay that long.

Sure, bananas are often sexualized in America, often at least semi-jokingly. But they’re not really considered all that sexy of a food. They are, however, SUPER popular. The average American eats 11 POUNDS of bananas a year. Which…what? I mean, don’t get me wrong, bananas are fine, but ELEVEN POUNDS? My family buys bananas maybe TWICE a year. Which implies that there’s someone out there eating 22 pounds a year to make up for our deficit. Holy crap, what is going on with them?

Anyway, I didn’t want to talk about bananas for any real like, romantic reason. In fact, I really just didn’t want to talk all about roasting cacao beans for today, and wanted to add SOMETHING to add some levity to the proceedings, and then I made that French joke, so now I’ve caught myself between a rock and a hard place: If I take the bananas out of the post, I can’t keep that joke in, and I REALLY liked it. But the more I say about bananas now, the less I can talk about them when/if I revisit them, since they don’t seem very necessary here.

But, lest you think I’m losing my touch just before the finish, I do have one little trick I can do with them that’s a pretty perfect pay-off. See, as I mentioned on Monday, Bananas Foster is often served with ice cream. And just now, I told you all how to make a pair of chocolate sauces that can pretty perfectly be poured on ice cream. So, let me reveal to you an ancient magic, one I used back in 2012, years before the site even existed. (But NOT before the Kitchen Catastrophes had begun, as it turns out.) And that magic is: One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream.


Past me had a lot of beige and tan going on in his kitchen.

In case you’ve never seen this particular trick before, it’s rather simple: banana has enough natural pectin in it that, if you freeze it slightly and then blend it, it’ll create its own ice cream base. The reasons why are complicated, and have to do with the mechanics of how ice cream itself works, so just accept that it does, and maybe we’ll come back and do a deep dive on the dish. For now, here’s the basic recipe:

Take 2 ripe bananas, peeled and frozen (if you slice them up beforehand, they should only need an hour or so to freeze), and throw them in a blender. Blend for 3-5 minutes, until smooth. Pour into a container, and refreeze for a solid ice cream, or serve immediately as a “soft-serve”. If you want to get fancy, you can add other flavorings, fruits, or a little bit of like, coconut milk for creaminess, but the picture above is JUST blended bananas.

And look at those convenient proportions! 2 bananas for Bananas Foster for 2, 2 bananas for Banana Ice Cream, and a couple more for breakfast or whatever. That’s one whole bunch. And since each banana is about 1/5th of a pound, having 3 over the course of 2 days means you’ll be ONE TWENTIETH OF THE WAY TO THE YEARLY AVERAGE, SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?

too many.png


And that’s our post. Some quick little dishes you can whip up for that special someone with just one to two ingredients, meaning you can still get it in time for dinner tonight if you hurry, OR you can claim to have planned a dinner for this WEEKEND to buy yourself some more time, and then you just need to write up and print out a fake-fancy dinner invite to give them today. You still look thoughtful and invested, while having the reasonable and romantic excuse of “I wanted to take more time, because I think you deserve it.”

What? I bought wine, donned a velour bathrobe, and built a fake porn set for the purposes of jokes in a blog. Of COURSE I know how to cover up dumb decisions with flowery bullshit. THAT’S MY JOB. Now get out. I have to take a nap, and I’m going to use the couch to do it, because the bed is just a prop. There’s no support there at all. Have fun and enjoy the day with your loved ones, and we’ll see you all next week.

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