I just made the most delicious Roasted Banana Paletas with Mexican Chocolate! I am so excited about these. I'm (hopefully) serving a mini version of this, minus the chocolate, with my Caramel Croissant Bread Pudding at Iris in October. The mixture was good just as a smoothie and almost didn't make it to the popsicle mold. Our next attempt is spicy watermelon and an apple pie a la mode.

Here's the menu I'm going to present to Chef Kelley at Iris. Of course I haven't spoken to him, so this is premature, but I've been dying to let everybody see it and give me their feedback.

  • pimento cheese croquettes with red pepper jelly vinaigrette, crumbled bacon, and toasted pecans on mixed greens OR pimento cheese crostini with all the other stuff on top.

  • roasted butternut squash bisque with a cinnamon creme fraiche and a hidden surprise of olive & sinclair chili chocolate on the bottom

  • roasted gorgonzola stuffed & prosciutto wrapped mission figs (if in season) with balsamic reduction drizzle

  • tennessee white cheddar hoe cakes with sweet & sour collards, a poached egg, grilled shrimp, and brown butter hollandaise with a tempura fried black-eyed pea garnish

  • classic monte cristo with raspberry jam for dipping and french fries

  • sage seared pork tenderloin sliced and served with either a sweet potato mash with diced apple or a roasted sweet potato wedge, green veggie (haricovert?), and a dried berry demi.

  • caramel croissant bread pudding with miniature roasted banana paleta

  • peanut butter cake with Iris ice cream choice (vanilla, chocolate, or roasted banana paleta)

  • featured cocktail: sassy lady (cuz i am)- st. germain, vodka, soda water, lemon juice, agave syrup, and a squeezed clementine wedge.

  • table bread: miniature muffin or parker house rolls

I wanted to do all of my favorite things that I love to eat and cook (brown butter, balsamic reduction, collards, hoe cakes, pimento cheese, bacon and all things pork, paletas, anything cheese, and anything fried) using my favorite TN ingredients (Olive & Sinclair Chocolate, Sweetwater cheddar, Benton's bacon, etc.). This menu is composed of dishes or components of dishes that people always ask me about for their cooking class. I will be providing the recipes on this blog on 10/10/11.

Roasted Banana & Mexican Chocolate Paletas
Yield: 12 paletas

3 large bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup half and half
1 cup skim milk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. crushed mexican chocolate, optional

Preheat the oven to 375. Slit the skin of the banana from end to end and place onto a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool enough to handle, pour off the liquid, and remove the peeling. In a blender place the roasted banana flesh, brown sugar, half and half, milk, and vanilla. Puree until smooth. Distribute the crushed chocolate evenly into the paleta molds and pour in the roasted banana puree; cover with the slotted paleta mold's lid. Freeze for 2 hours and then insert the popsicle sticks 1/2 way in and freeze for another 4-6 hours, preferably overnight.

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