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As I mentioned in my last post, the HH and I munched on some eggplant “bacon” with our Christmas Day brunch pancakes. Yep, another veggie-based faux meat from DDD! First it was beet pepperoni (or, as River dubbed it, “beetaroni”); then cauliflower meat crumbles, and now, bacon. What’s up with that?
I suppose it’s kind of ironic that the daughter of a butcher doesn’t eat meat. And isn’t it ironic that, considering I don’t eat meat, I have so many faux meats on this blog? It’s like I’m destined to create vegan counterparts to the items my dad sold in his work life. Ironic! It’s like my genetic makeup has preordained that my kitchen adventures would be intertwined with meats of some sort or another. It’s like–
It’s like rain, on your wedding day. A free ride, when you’ve already paid. It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take. . . and who would’ve thought–
(Oh, sorry, a different kind of irony, there. And hey, congrats on the new arrival, Ms. M)–
Maybe it’s the fact that at almost every meal, the HH whines about the lack of meat. Maybe it’s that our society has ingrained the concept of a savory, smoky, succulent serving of food alongside every grain, breakfast item or mashed tuber. Maybe it’s my competitive streak and I’m attempting to out-Bourdain Bourdain.
Or, maybe, I just like playing with my veggies.
Whatever the reason, I knew I had to try this as soon as I read about eggplant bacon in my new cookbook, Raw Food for Everyone by Alissa Cohen. Cohen’s version adds but 3 ingredients to the eggplant (liquid aminos, agave and cayenne) and is dehydrated for 12-15 hours. I wanted more complexity to enhance the naturally meaty taste and texture of eggplant. I knew I’d be too impatient to wait the full dehydrator time (even though my oven has a digital display that can be set at 115F) and so I just baked the strips in the oven at 325F. It took a while but in the end, I had crispy, crunchy “bacon.”
These strips were a perfect accompaniment to the light, fluffy pancakes and sweet plum sauce at our brunch. The HH enjoyed them just as much as I did, in fact, and ended up eating more than half the batch. Rather ironic, I’d say.
And in the “I-Am-So-Excited-I-Am-Doing-a-Happy-Dance-Right-Here-at-My-Computer” Department: DDD has just been named a finalist in the Canadian Food Blog Awards! You can check out all the finalists here. And thank you, all, once again for nominating my blog for the award, and for reading! You are the BEST! :D
Eggplant “Bacon” (suitable for ACD Stage 1 and beyond)
Diet, Dessert and Dogs (http://rickiheller.com)
These strips would work really well on a pizza or other savory dish (such as an “ELT” sandwich–yum!). The slow-cook method allows the strips to dry out just enough that they retain a bit of chewiness in the center and crisp up on the edges. If you’ve got more time, try cooking them longer, but at an even lower temperature to maintain an even crispness throughout.
1 medium eggplant, peeled and then cut in rectangular strips about 1/8″ (3 mm) thick (cut them the full length of the eggplant)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) Bragg’s liquid aminos, tamari soy sauce, or soy sauce
1/4 tsp (1 ml) smoked paprika
1/4 tsp (1 ml) garlic powder (be sure it’s not garlic salt, or the strips will be mega-salty!)
5-10 drops stevia liquid, to your taste
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1 Tbsp (15 ml) minced red onion (or grate it on the smallest holes of a box grater)
Preheat oven to 325F (165C). Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment.
In a square glass pan, mix together the Bragg’s, paprika, garlic powder, stevia, oil, water and onion; whisk well to create a marinade. Lay the strips in the marinade, turning each one over once to coat on both sides. Allow to sit at least 20 minutes or up to an hour, turning the stips over once or twice.
Remove the strips from the marinade (you will have some liquid left in the pan–hold on to it for later) and lay them in a single layer on the parchment. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from pan and brush with any extra marinade. Return to the oven for another 25 minutes; remove from the pan, turn the strips over, and brush with any leftover marinade (you will have enough marinade for 3-4 brushings).
Repeat the cycle once more (a total of 25-50 more minutes), watching the strips carefully so that they become crisp and browned without burning. If some of the strips begin to brown too much, remove them from the cookie sheet and continue to bake the others until they are all ready. (Note: the crinkly appearance of the “bacon” in my photo is the result of baking on the parchment after it became wet from the marinade and crinkled that way–it was just lucky those ridges happen to resemble actual bacon!). Makes 2-3 servings. Best eaten immediately.
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