Monday, June 11, 2012

Banana Pecan Bread - Act II

Come Together by Aerosmith
It took awhile for me to decide whether or not I was going to put the Aerosmith credit up there or The Beatles.  Two factors came in on Aerosmith's behalf, though, that tipped it in their favor.  The first factor being that they are the first ones I remember hearing play the song.  As much into music as I have been my whole life, I don't quite know where I was in 1969 when The Beatles' initial recording was being played.  It just somehow escaped me.  The second factor is that the Aerosmith version is what instantly came to mind with the story today - a story about my Dear Old Dad.

I shared breakfast with my father every morning before school - until I hit high school.  It seems I was always running late.  It probably had nothing to do with the fact that I was now wearing makeup and "doing" my hair.  But it was the 70s!  The look was supposedly that minimal "natural" look.  To my mother's dismay, I would have nothing to do with her constant tip that I should be wearing her bright red shade of lipstick.  No way, man!  It was long, straight hair parted down the middle and possible feathered sides.  Maybe a light dust of blue eye shadow would grace my eyelid, and, if there was anything on my lips it was going to be the palest of pinks lip gloss.  Surprisingly, though, it took a LONG time to get that minimalist look just right!  Hence, the last minute running down the stairs as my father was finishing his breakfast and asking, "Hey, Dad, could I get a ride down to the bus stop?  I'm running late!"

Every high school morning this happened.  And, although he would occasionally put up a mild argument against it, he always relented.  As he grabbed his coat and briefcase, I'd wrangle into my coat, grab my stack of books, and meet him out in our sweet, red and white VW van.  I automatically got shotgun because nobody else was around.  He'd drive me down to the end of the street to Bleech's gas station where I caught the bus.  Nearly every time we'd discover that the bus had already been there.  I'd pretend to act surprised and dismayed, he'd pretend to act annoyed, and then we'd head into town where he'd drop me off at the bottom of the hill and then putt-putt off to work.  I know he probably thought that one day I'd get so tired of that trek up the hill to my school that I'd get myself out the door on time to catch the bus in the mornings.  Not a chance.  

Those rides in to town together were some of the few moments I had alone with him.  As I've said before, I have quite a few siblings.  One-on-one time with the parents was rare.  I cherished this time together with him and he with me.  We'd listen to the morning radio show on the way in and, my senior year, Come Together by Aerosmith, was almost always playing.  Dad loved this song!  He'd sit there and chuckle himself silly over the lyrics.  His chuckle involved his whole face and upper torso as his shoulders would bounce up and down.  He wasn't a loud laugher but I could tell he was in full delight mode.  He'd look over at me and tell me, "This song is brilliant!"  He'd told me that The Beatles had done it first but we both agreed that Aerosmith had done a respectful copy.  The phrases that induced the biggest chuckles were "Got to be good looking 'cause he's so hard to see" and "toe jam football."  

My dad passed away in 1995 due to injuries from a fall.  It still pains me to say or even write that but I guess that's a testimony to a great father/daughter relationship.  He was my biggest fan and I idolized him. Still do.  

If he were here for Father's Day breakfast this Sunday, I would make him this Banana Bread French Toast for sure.  He would absolutely adore it.  It's one of the culinary treasures I came home with from Atlanta, Georgia - along with those Bacon Cheeseburger Hand Pies.  A few weeks ago I gave you a recipe for Banana Pecan Bread.  This is the recipe for which that recipe was preparing you.  If you did as I suggested and made a loaf and froze it, now is the time to take it from the freezer and put it in the fridge.  If not, go ahead and make up a loaf now!  You're gonna knock Dad's socks off when you place this in front of him - be it for breakfast or dinner!
Banana Bread French Toast
inspired by a memorable breakfast at West Egg Cafe
makes 4 - 6 servings
2 eggs
2/3 c. milk (I used skim)
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 banana, sliced into coins
Maple or Pecan syrup, heated

Slice the Banana Pecan Bread in 3/4 - 1" slices.  Reserve the streusel that falls off the top as you cut.
In a shallow dish such as a pie plate, beat the two eggs until loosened.  Add the cinnamon, vanilla, and milk and whisk until well combined.  
Add slices of the banana bread and let soak for about 30 seconds each side. 

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Grease the surface with a light skim of butter.  Add the dipped banana bread slices and cook on each side until browned and a slight crust forms.  

Serve by buttering each slice and topping with some banana slices.  Drizzle with the heated syrup and sprinkle those loose streusel crumbs across the top to garnish.  

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