Summer. My favorite season of the year. It does get hot here in Lauderdale, darn hot. I can’t imagine putting on long pants. Even linen sounds stifling. Shorts and little cotton dresses are the order of the day. Hot shower? No, thanks. I’ll just take a dip in the pool and the chlorine will take care of the rest. For some reason when we were kids the heat didn’t bother us. Heck, we didn’t even notice it. The days we weren’t at camp or running to and fro from tennis lessons to sailing lessons our mothers would kick us out of the house early in the morning. No sleeping in for us. No. A soft-boiled egg and a bowl of Cheerios later and we were on the street, running and playing, racing each other on our bikes or messing around in our forts. It was a different time. None of us went home until lunchtime and we all ended up at one house and the mother in that house would put out a platter of sandwiches, some apples or grapes, a pitcher of ice-cold tea which we all scarfed down in a matter of minutes. Then she’d kick us all out and off we’d go for more adventures. It was a coed crowd of the neighborhood boys and girls ranging in age from 6-12. We all got along well and, in retrospect, it was probably too hot to fuss with each other. Often we would all ride our bikes to the very end of our street, Sea Island Drive. It’s a dead-end street and at the very point stood an enormous house owned by an oil and gasoline corporation. It was one of their luxury houses used to wine and dine important clients. The house was on a kind of “hill” with an enormous circular driveway in front, perfect to pick up speed and fly down the slope to the bottom of the hill on a bike. And fly we did. Round and round we’d all go, every now and again someone would drop out and take it easy in the shade…chat with whomever was sitting in the grass. We’d whoop and holler as if the house was abandoned. And it wasn’t. The staff of maids and a butler was always there. They never said a word to us; never told us to quiet down or get the hell off the property. They were practically invisible. Except one day every summer the butler, formally dressed, would walk outside, all stiff and nose in the air, and ask no one in particular, “Would you children like some ice cream?” Brakes shuddered to a stop, any conversations were cut short. “Ice cream?”, we all thought. Then came the exclamations, “Yeah!”, “Awright! Ice cream!”, “Wow! Ice cream!”, and “You mean it, mister?”. You’d have thought we had never had it the way we carried on. But we never had it during the day and in our house we rarely had sweets at all! He always replied, “One moment, please.” and disappeared back into the house. Minutes later he and several maids returned each balancing a tray with small, silver cups of ice cream, every cup holding three perfect balls of the cold, creamy stuff, a small silver spoon jutting out to one side. Vanilla, chocolate and peppermint were typically offered. No one pushed or shoved, big brothers and sisters made certain the little ones all got their servings, probably so they wouldn’t get in trouble later on. Taking our bowls to whatever shade we could find, we sat down on the street or on people’s lawns to enjoy this unexpected treat. Ten minutes later the same staff returned and stood in the driveway while we stacked the little bowls on their trays and collected all the little spoons and any stray napkins. We thanked them profusely in our little squeaky voices, “Gee, thanks, mister!” as they turned and vanished into the huge, silent house. We, on the other hand, returned to our hooting and hollering, “Bet I can pop a wheelie at the bottom of the driveway!” Sweet sounds of summer, people.
Chocolate covered frozen bananas are an easy but fantastic treat for kids and adults. They’re great for a party or just to have on hand when you want to offer your people a li’l special something.
Chocolate Dipped Frozen Bananas
- 3 large bananas, yellow with a little green in the tips of the peel
- 2 cups dark chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or canola oil
- 1 cup each of any of the following, sprinkles, chopped peanuts, toasted chopped almonds, coconut flakes, chocolate cookie crumbles, crushed peppermint candies.
- 9 popsicle sticks
- Peel the bananas and cut off the pointy tips. Eat the tips, give them to the dog or discard.
- Cut each banana in thirds, each piece ends up being about 2″-3″ inches long.
- Insert a popsicle stick into each banana and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or wax paper.
- Place in freezer overnight or until frozen.
- When ready to assemble place chocolate in a bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.
- Add the oil and stir briskly until completely incorporated.
- Remove one banana from freezer, dip until covered in chocolate, quickly roll in topping of choice and place on another baking sheet covered with parchment or wax paper.
- Continue until all bananas are covered with chocolate. If chocolate in bowl begins to harden, microwave for 15 seconds to soften.
- Place tray with covered bananas in freezer for 2 hours or until ready to serve.