Suzi's Blog

Brian’s Banana Sauce for Cake, Ice Cream or Midnight Refrigerator Runs

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The secret to a long marriage is to avoid confrontation. That takes time. And in the course of that time, the marriage can be strained or flail or fail.

I’m in the safe zone with Suzen. At least five days a week.

She is very sensitive to her cooking. It’s almost, always good to great. But even good things have aspects that deserve comment. Not criticism. Just a word or two. A suggestion. Some loving help.

Very thin ice with Suzen. Very thin.

She was serving banana cake last night for dessert. Suzen has a few favorite dessert recipes and they happen to be plain cakes. Plain, single layer, made in quantity, frozen in advance and readily defrosted for a wonderful ending to a dinner. Last night’s banana cake was ready to eat and delicious sitting there. One layer, no frosting. [You can find the recipe on the blog by searching for Banana Cake from Sweet Chick].

But, I consider plain cake to be plain and sometimes, okay all the time, I want some glamour at the end. It’s dessert, not some religious observance.

So, I searched and found a banana sauce that could be made in less than 10 minutes. It’s really good. My recipe below is an amendment of a sauce from My changes involve a bit more maple syrup and using port instead of rum extract. Extract? Please. I understand the need to avoid alcohol at times, but using rum — or even better port — makes for a far better flavor.

Here’s the thing about banana cake. The layers tend to be dry. Although made with buttermilk or sour cream, those banana cake layers are rarely moist, the way say a chocolate layer can be. While the bananas are largely liquid like any fruit, there is enough “mass” there to sop up the liquid ingredients. By the time you are done and baked, the banana layer may be packed with taste, but your mouth would appreciate some frosting. Or this sauce.

Here you go.

Oh, Suzen’s opinion: “This is really good.”

The defense rests.

Brian’s Banana Sauce

Yield: 2 cups including the bananas


  • ¾ cups packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter cut into small cubes
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 bananas, peeled and cut into ¼ inch slices
  • 2-4 tablespoons of port, depending on your flavor preference
  • Something to put the sauce on: cake, ice cream, a spoon, your finger [let it cool first]



In a medium sauce pan [not small because you will be adding over a cup of bananas], place the brown sugar, butter, cream and maple syrup. Stir to mix. Turn the heat on to medium-high and bring to just a simmer. Cook while stirring for 4-5 minutes. If you desire, cook longer to reduce the sauce and thicken it.

Stir in the bananas. Remove from the heat. Stir in the port.

Serve over cake, ice cream, …


Source: Brian O’Rourke


Chef Daniel O’Rourke’s 45 Minute Strawberry Banana Smoothie



My twin grandsons are mirror twins. That’s like being a SUPERTWIN. They look alike, but they “mirror” certain things. One is right handed, and his mirror brother is left-handed. One is artsy, and one is analytical. One is destined to be a chef and the other will be his lawyer.

That’s Chef Daniel in the picture. His brother, Reid, is on the sofa to the right, out of sight. Reid is watching TV. Actually, so is Daniel, which helps explain why this smoothie took 45 minutes to make.

Reid had asked his mother, Michele, for a smoothie. She made him one. Reid, who may turn out to be a food critic and a lawyer, said he did not like it.

“I’ll do it,” said Daniel. That’s when the clock started. Like his father, Daniel is a natural cook but a very meticulous one. He did not use a cookbook here, he did survey every shelf in the refrigerator and freezer and pantry for ingredients, and he was taste testing along the way.

He created the smoothie below. Because Daniel is already preparing his own private collection of recipes, I cannot reveal here the exact proportions of ingredients, but Daniel did agree to share the ingredient list. With Suzen, we have guestimated the ingredient amounts shown below. Daniel may, in the future, choose to share some of his other recipes. Suzen and I will strive for full disclosure.

Oh, Reid tasted this new smoothie and still was a tad dissatisfied. “Too cold,” he commented.

These guys may be mirror twins, but they do share one characteristic: they are total perfectionists. Twenty years from now, you really will be astonished at the food in Daniel’s restaurant while you sit with Reid going over every detail of the contract he has drawn up for you.

As their grandfather, all I can do is hope for a discount.


Daniel’s 45 Minute Banana Strawberry Smoothie

Yield: 1 drink


  • 1 banana, peeled of course
  • 1 cup of fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 small container of strawberry yogurt
  • 1 cup of ice



Place the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Adjust the ice as necessary to attain the texture you desire. Add more yogurt to increase fluidity.

Source: Chef Daniel Scott O’Rourke, Austin, Texas