Monday, May 11, 2009

Raw Style: Bacon, Bacon, Bacon

I grew up on meats and the one that I miss most, only flavor-wise, is bacon. I enjoy creating recipes that taste as close to my old unhealthy loves as much as possible. After researching this recipe and making my own adjustments and additions, I have been able to bring that salty crunch back into my life. My new obsession is the raw BLT, and I do intend to share that recipe with you all soon too, so stay tuned.

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serving size: makes a casserole dish full o’ bacon
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Tools needed:
Mandoline Slicer

What you need:
3/4-1 cup fresh beet juice (2-3 medium beets or 1-2 large beets)
1 large eggplant
2/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp raw honey (can use raw agave nectar instead)
4 tbsp Ume Plum Vinegar
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt (can use regular Sea Salt instead)

Let’s get started:
Wash your eggplant and beets well. Run your beets through the juicer and set the juice aside. Don’t forget to admire the amazing color.

Slice your eggplant lengthwise to create 4 long wedges. Then carefully take those wedges and slice your eggplant into long strips with you Mandoline slicer. Achtung! The Mandoline blade is extremely sharp and wants to eat your fingers. Be very careful.

Let’s create the marinade. Place your fresh beet juice, olive oil, sea salt, vinegar and honey into a casserole dish and stir until completely mixed. Please note that the marinade will not look uniform in color because of the oil. Just mix all of the ingredients until they are blended to the best of your ability. You can always add a step if you wish, and blend your marinade on low speed in the blender too.

Now, I have not tried this yet, but I bet if you add a tsp or two of Liquid Smoke to the marinade, you may get somethin' reeeeal special. Of course, Liquid Smoke is not raw, so if you are super strict with your rawness, skip this suggestion.

Pour a little bit of your marinade into a bowl. Dip a slice of eggplant into this bowl, coating both sides with the marinade, and then place your dipped slice eggplant into the casserole dish. Repeat with all strips of eggplant, creating layers of coated eggplant until all slices are nestling in marinade in your casserole dish. Pour the marinade from your dipping bowl on top of the eggplant. Cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap, or a cloth and place in the fridge. Marinate for 8 hours. Every 2-4 hours re-coat the strips with marinade by spooning the marinade from the bottom of the dish onto your strips. You could also flip the pieces in the dish with a spatula as well. Whatever works. Just coat.

After the slices have marinated, place your “bacon” flat on Teflex sheets on your dehydrator trays.

Dehydrate for 4 hours anywhere from 95-110 degrees. After 4 hours, you will want to transfer your “bacon” from the Teflex sheets to the dehydrator screens so the air can get to both sides of the “bacon”. To do this, simply place a dehydrator tray with the screen (shown bottom left) on top of your “bacon” that is already on the teflex sheet and dehydrator tray. Place one hand underneath the Teflex tray and one on top of the screen tray. Quickly flip (see post-flipped position bottom right). Remove the top tray and then peel back the Teflex and your “bacon” should be resting proudly on the screen. Pop the tray back in the dehydrator for another 4 hours.

Keep checking on your “bacon” and when it is super crispy, you are good to go and you can turn off your dehydrator. If you reach the 8-hour mark and your “bacon” is still not crispy enough, keep dehydrating until you reach the crunch-factor that will make you happy. You can keep your “bacon” in a covered glass dish on the counter or in your pantry since it is dried. You can also keep it in the fridge.

Crumble your “bacon” on salads, spread some almond butter on manna bread and top with “bacon”, munch on it plain, make a BLT with your “bacon” (inspiredbyeverything BLT recipe coming soon)...

Please improvise with this recipe if you wish. Try adding the Liquid Smoke. Try raw maple syrup instead of honey or agave. Use less olive oil. Just have fun with it, make it tasty and share your improvisation findings with me!

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