Why Elvis?

“The first time my family attended a music festival was in Memphis the weekend of the Great Nashville Flood,” says Chef Parker. “Originally we’d planned to visit both Graceland and attend a service at the Reverend Al Green’s church. The flood pre-empted our visit with the good Reverend, but we were able to visit the Arcade, the oldest restaurant in Memphis, said to have been a favorite of The King’s.”

This dessert is inspired in equal measure by the Arcade’s famed peanut butter, bacon and banana sandwich (“The Elvis”) and the ubiquitous air brushed paintings on velvet one finds at flea markets throughout The South. You’ve seen them; the reoccurring motifs- hands clasped in prayer, The Last Supper, bullfighters, dogs playing poker and of course, The King! The Vendue is, after all, Charleston’s Art Hotel!

For the Presentation

Salted caramel or chocolate sauce

Mixed berries, lightly bruised and tossed with powdered sugar

Mint leaves

Cut red velvet cake into the same shape and diameter of the molds in which the banana semifreddo is frozen. Place center on the plate, top with the unmolded semifreddo. Drizzle with caramel, chocolate or both. Lay the brittle next to the plated dessert or crumble on top, add bruised berries around the plate and accent with mint.

Friday, December 1, 5-8 p.m.  experience the Charleston Gallery Association Artwalk with over 40 Art Galleries participating.  The event is free of charge.  For more information go to www.charlestongalleryassociation.com

Red Velvet Cake

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

2 tablespoons red liquid food coloring

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 (8-oz.) container sour cream

2 1/2 cups all-purpose soft-wheat flour (such as White Lily)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon table salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream together the softened butter, granulated and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, then add red food coloring and vanilla, beating until blended.

Stir together sour cream and 1/2 cup water until blended. Sift together White Lily flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, then add the sour cream mixture. Pour batter onto a well greased half sheet tray or cookie sheet lined with parchment.

Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool on trays completely.

Roasted Banana Semifreddo

1 lb. ripe bananas, peeled and sliced

1/4 C. firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 Tbs. dark rum

2 tsp. lime juice

1 C. heavy cream

1 Tbs. granulated sugar

1 pinch salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast bananas until soft and black, about 15 minutes. Peel and combine bananas, brown sugar, rum and lime juice in food processor. Puree, then transfer puree to large bowl. Beat cream in small bowl until frothy. Gradually beat in granulated sugar and salt until soft peaks form. Gently fold cream into banana mixture. Spoon into 8 individual ramekins or dessert molds. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze 1 1/2 hours or longer.

Carolina Runner Peanut & Benton’s Bacon Brittle

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1⁄3 cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups unsalted Carolina Runner peanuts

3 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ pound of par cooked Benton’s bacon, julienned

Line a ½ sheet tray or cookie pan with a non-stick silpat or parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, bring sugar, water, corn syrup and salt to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring just until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking.

When mixture reaches 250° on a candy thermometer, stir in peanuts. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 300°. Stir in Benton’s bacon.

Immediately remove from heat, and stir in butter, baking soda, and vanilla. Pour onto prepared pan, and spread to an even thickness. Let cool completely before breaking into pieces.

Note: alternately, the brittle may be made without the bacon, and the bacon seasoned with salt and pepper, rubbed liberally with brown sugar and cooked to a “candied” crisp consistency.

After the Artwalk enjoy the Rooftop Bar at the Vendue.  It’s hard to feel more festive than sitting at the top of the city, letting the peninsula’s breezes riffle your cocktail napkin as you take in the view.