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It's Christmas time in NYC...

Special to AmNews | , Kysha Harris | 10/12/2012, 4:29 p.m.
Christmastime "drugstore desert" (Kysha Harris photo)

Mom's cooking gumbo and string beans,

Ham and a capon and mac-n-cheese.

This is my tribute to the infamous Run-DMC's "Christmas in Hollis" (for those who don't know). My mother did make all of what I mentioned, and it was good!

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope Santa surprised you with everything on your list...world peace, heath care for everyone and a new flat-screen television. No?! Well, soon to come. I am sure Santa's pockets are not recession-proof, either, but he is good for it!

Just relax and settle into your family dinner that starts at 2 p.m. (why is that, exactly?!). Were you supposed to bring something? Or make something? Eeek, you forgot?! Never fear! I have put together some last-minute dessert ideas for you with ingredients you can find in those chain drugstores, bodegas and, of course, any grocery store that is open.

Why dessert? Everyone loves dessert. And the host will forget they are mad at you if you have concocted something sweet to end a great meal.

One of my favorite desserts is bananas foster. It's not a complicated dessert, but once when a friend called from the Vineyard asking how to make it when she had only bananas, I came up with a plan that worked.

You will need:

bananas--there are always bananas at a bodega

white sugar

cinnamon (optional)--I am sure you, your host, or your mama has it, especially around the holidays

good vanilla ice cream--Hagen Daaz is my favorite

chocolate sauce--this is optional, but personally, I will do ANYTHING for a banana and chocolate combo

Now, traditional bananas foster calls for caramelizing the bananas in a pan with butter, brown sugar and two types of liquor; too much for the unwilling. My recipe is made under the broiler.

Place the rack as close to broiler as possible, at most 4 inches. Preheat broiler. Your ice cream should be out to thaw, if not portioned out in serving bowls.

Peel the bananas, cut them lengthwise and lay them cut-side-up on a lined sheet pan. If you are using cinnamon, in a bowl, mix a cup of sugar with 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon or as much as you like. Liberally sprinkle sugar/mixture over the cut bananas.

Place the sheet pan under the broiler, leaving the door open. Watch it and do not leave...I repeat...DO NOT LEAVE! It doesn't take long. My friend didn't heed my warning. Thank goodness, she had more bananas.

Watch as the sugar melts and begins caramelizing by turning brown. Though, you want to catch it before it turns too brown, also known as black, burnt, incinerated.

Remove the pan when done. With a spatula, place one or two pieces of caramelized banana over the ice cream and finish with a squeeze of chocolate sauce. Nirvana! The hard sugar is like a brulee topping, giving that candy crunch texture to an otherwise creamy dish.

Some other makeshift drugstore desserts include your favorite ice cream topped with seasonal candies and holiday s'mores with seasonal chocolate. I live for Ghirardelli's peppermint bark. Only comes out for the holidays. That over good chocolate ice cream is talking to me. They also make an eggnog white chocolate that would be cheerful in a s'more.

Well, hop to it if you haven't already. Enjoy the day and start gearing up to celebrate the end of the year. 2010 is going to be great!

Next week's Talking SCHOP! will be the year-end wrap up and the "Best of the Year" list. I would love to hear your thoughts on the best eatery, recipe, food happening of the year and why. Please e-mail me at the address below with your thoughts.

Merry Christmas again! Enjoy, get cooking and thanks for reading!

Questions at dinnertime? Chat with me at AskSCHOP, Monday through Friday, 6-8 p.m.

Kysha Harris is owner of SCHOP! SCHOP! is available for weekly service or for home entertaining. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? E-mail kysha@iSCHOP.com.