I love bananas, they are the most practical fruit that exist: they come with packaging! They are native to the tropical region of Southeast Asia, the Malay Archipelago, and Australia. Banana is mentioned in Buddhists texts from 600 B and probably was spread throughout the African continent by the Arabs. Then the Portuguese started cultivating it in Central America and Brazil. Today, bananas are cultivated throughout the Tropics in 130 countries and are the forth food product most produced in the world. Besides the fruit you can also use the banana flowers and leaves. The banana flower (also known as banana blossom or banana heart) is used in Southeast Asian, Bengali and India cuisine, either served raw with dips or cooked in soups and curries. The leaves are large, flexible, and waterproof; they are used in many ways, including as umbrellas and to wrap food for cooking, carrying and packing cooked foods. The banana plant has long been a source of fiber for high quality textiles. In Japan, the cultivation of banana for clothing and household use dates back to at least the 13th century. Banana fiber is also used in the production of banana paper.
Unripe or green bananas are basically just water and amid and are the staple starch of many tropical populations. As they ripe the amid turns into sugar giving them the sweet flavor, making they delicious and highly energetic. Bananas have 75% of water and are a good source of vitamin A, B6 and C, fibers, potassium and tryptophan. When consumed this substance increases the serotonin levels in the body, as a natural Prozac! It has been said that eating 2 bananas a day during 3 days increases serotonin in the blood in 16%! Isn’t it great? Eat bananas and be happy! Hey, now I get what happened to me when I was a kid… My older cousin Muti created a game I loved so much people though it was very funny. The game was simply to search for bananas in a tent in the dark and he called it “banana tent”. After finding them I could eat or use the bananas to prepare some dessert. Now I know if it was “apple tent” the effect would be totally different! But thinking about it I realized that in fact this story shows I was born to be a cook and him a great designer!(check it out: Muti´s website)

Banana Walnut Tart:
12 ounces pate sucree
2 pounds bananas
12 ounces walnut frangipane
4 ounces walnut pieces, chopped

Roll dough into a 14 inch disk and line a 10-inch tart pan. Chill for several hours. Peel and slice the bananas, arrange then in a layer in botton of the tart shell. Spread frangipane evenly to cover the bananas. Strew with walnut pieces. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until set. Cool and serve.

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