Eggplant bacon

I’ve had a lot of bacon incidents recently. A coworker asked what I thought about bacon (nothing) and if I miss it (I don’t). I wasn’t a huge fan to begin with, but there is no denying it is very popular in everything right now and is a comfort food for many. I even have a vegetarian friend who is a big fan of bacon flavoring (most bacon flavoring is mostly soy). I think what I like most about it, if anything, is the saltiness. So when I saw the recipe to make fake bacon out of marinated eggplant, I was intrigued and gave it a shot.

This recipe is raw, vegan and gluten-free, super easy, has the umami flavor I crave and makes a ton of bacon (but it won’t last long!).

All it takes is slicing the eggplant, marinating it and dehydrating (or baking it in the oven, though it wouldn’t be raw). It couldn’t be simpler or tastier. Even if you aren’t vegetarian, it’s a way to add depth of flavor and veggies to a sandwich, salad or whatever.

And here are a few more tricks to add bacon’s smoky flavor to vegan, vegetarian and kosher dishes.

Eggplant bacon

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise into thin (1/4 inch thick or less) slices
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 3-5 drops liquid smoke
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (or 1 tsp regular)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Optional add-ins: garlic, tomato sauce, cumin, cayenne pepper, mesquite powder

Directions

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients (tamari through pepper) together. Submerge eggplant slices well, and let marinade for at least an hour.
  2. Place slices in a dehydrator and dehydrate at 115 degrees till totally dry: this should take about 12 hours. For crisper bacon, dehydrate longer.

Friday links

This week is an abbreviated Friday links. I’ve had guests in town and have been getting away to the beach in between rain (ugh, it’s that time of year in South Florida). But here are a few cool links I spotted:

  • The Ben & Jerry’s ice cream truck arrived in Miami this week to hand out free treats until June 15. Follow them on Twitter to see where they are and ask them to swing by where you are!
  • If that’s not enough truck for you, figure out which food truck is right for you from a diagram of the major food truck food groups.
  • The best bars of 2012, according to Esquire magazine. Lou’s Beer Garden in Miami Beach made the list. Have you been? I’ve been wanting to check it out. And they named Milwaukee as Bar City of the Year. (Actually, it’s pronounced “mill-e-wah-que” which is Algonquin for “the good land.”)
  • My friend Sharon passed this link with spicy snacks along, knowing how much I love spice. These might be good Memorial Day treats for the spice lover. I’m intrigued and might try the first recipe, Hot Guinness Brownies.

What will you be eating and drinking this Memorial Day weekend?

Restaurants list expanded

I have been working on improving the Restaurants and Travel tab at the top of this page.

I’ve added restaurants I enjoy, both in cities I’ve been to and chain restaurants that are very accommodating to vegetarians and people with food-restrictive diets. There are also a few websites at the bottom that I use while traveling.

Please take a look, let me know what you think or if any link is broken, and what you might add or subtract. Either click on the tab at the top or click here to go directly to the Restaurants and Travel page.

Enjoy!

Portobello “pizza”

I love portobello mushrooms. Besides being one of my favorite foods and full of rich meatiness, portobello caps are the perfect serving size for one person. They are versatile and easy to prepare.

As I was looking through recipes and what food I had, it dawned on me: I’ll make portobello “pizzas”! I love things like this because they are customizable so it works well with what food is on hand and each person can make it they way he or she wants. One of my favorite meals as a child was when my mom would set out pita bread and pizza toppings and everyone could make an individual pizza. Somehow my brother and I always seemed to make designs with our toppings. My mom would put them into the oven, turn on the light, and my brother and I would stare as our food was being cooked. It was fun to “help cook” our own food.

For my pizza, I put some oil on the mushroom caps and put them in the toaster oven to bake at 350° for a little less than 10 minutes, just to get it cooked through a little.

While that was going, I cut some white onion into strips and sautéed it in olive oil on medium-low heat until it was done to my liking, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, I made arugula pesto in my food processor.

When everything was ready, I topped the mushroom caps with some pesto and onions, then placed a slice of smoked Gouda cheese on top and broiled it in my toaster oven for about ten minutes.

With some apple slices on the side, I had a really easy single-portion meal.

Any of these toppings could be substituted as desired. Don’t like arugula pesto? Use basil pesto or tomato sauce. Also good would be sun-dried tomatoes, olives, roasted red pepper or artichokes, to name a few things.

Friday links

How to ask for a beer in different languages. Spotted at Due South Brewery.

This week’s list is a bit drink-heavy, but it’s American Craft Beer Week (How have you been celebrating?) so I guess I have beverages on my mind. I checked out a new local brewery that just opened near my house, Due South Brewing; it’s good stuff! It’s nice to see people going for it, and I wish them well.

This week’s links:

A little slow at first, this is a fun video showing popcorn popping in slow motion. All I know is it takes longer to pop than for me to eat it! ;)