Putting Bananas In Center Stage

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - May 21, 2008
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The Hawaii Young Actors’ Ensemble did its first Shakespeare production last year when it presented A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The company, comprised of students ages 14-18 from various Oahu schools and those who are home-schooled, comes together again under the direction of the multi-talented Hester Kamin to present The Tempest - the Bard’s stormy play set on an island after a shipwreck - May 30-31 at the sponsoring Hawaii Theatre; tickets are only $9 and $12.

Among the cast will be the amazing Caprice Avis, who is taking on the major role of Prospero. Normally portrayed by a man, this central character puts Caprice in the middle of all the action and gives her the lion’s share of the dialogue. Kamin describes Caprice as “extremely shy offstage, but an extraordinarily talented actress onstage.

“She can sing, dance, likes to shop at thrift stores, loves Shakespeare and has a cat that lives in her room,” says Kamin.


Caprice was home-schooled until the eighth grade and is now a 14-year-old student at Island Pacific Academy. A West Oahu resident, she is the daughter of KSSK executive James Avis and wife Lani, who can be found helping out backstage and cheering on the actors.

I would like to salute these young actors and dedicate this column to them!

The banana is often used as a dietary food for intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smooth consistency. In many cases, it is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress to chronic ulcers. It also neutralizes acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Because bananas darken when exposed to air, it is best to cut them just before eating, or sprinkle with lemon or orange juice to prevent discoloring.

As the banana ripens, the sugars convert from hard-to-digest starch to easily digested sugars.

Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6 and potassium. They are also a source of vitamin C, riboflavin, folic acid and magnesium.


ORANGE CRANBERRY BANANA PECAN BREAD

* 2 cups unbleached flour
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 2/3 cup orange-flavored (or plain) dried cranberries
* 2 egg whites (beaten until frothy)
* 2/3 cup skim milk
* 2 medium ripe yellow bananas (pureed)
* 4 tablespoons canola oil
* 1 teaspoon orange extract
* 1 tablespoon chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder. Stir cranberries into flour mixture and set aside. In medium bowl or food processor, blend egg whites, skim milk, bananas (if using a food processor, you can cut the bananas in pieces and puree them with the egg whites and milk), canola oil and orange extract. Add wet ingredients to flour-cranberry mixture and mix until all flour is moistened. Pour into pan and sprinkle top with pecans.

Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Makes one large loaf (about 10 slices).

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Slice:

Calories: 245
Fat: 7 grams
Cholesterol: 2 milligrams
Sodium: 140 milligram

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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