Today on Whirled Peas Kitchen we're making bacon -- out of eggplant.
This does not look like bacon...
but this does.
How to go from this,
to this [crunch].
Raw vegan eggplant bacon, that's what we're makin' today on Whirled Peas Kitchen.
Let’s be clear. It does not matter whether this tastes exactly like cured meat bacon.
It only matters that it is crispy, salty, a little sweet, and spicy.
If you agree that bacon is delicious, but it's not worth killing for (or dying for),
then this snack is for you.
Here is the fast-forward version of what we are planning to do:
We slice the eggplant into very thin strips.
Salt them and let them sit to get the water out.
Then we marinade them in a flavorful blend of veggies and spices. And dehydrate the strips
using a dehydrator or an oven.
The result is crispy and delicious, nearly fat free, raw vegan yumminess.
Plus as a special breakfast bonus we'll show you how we make our quick and easy scrambled tofu.
But first let's get started makin' bacon.
To do this we are going to need some really thin slices of this eggplant.
Now it’s possible to do that with your chef’s knife if you are really skillful at using it.
It’s not too difficult to do it with this peeler, but my favorite tool by far is this
ceramic mandolin which you can find on-line for less than 20 dollars.
To get started we're going to cut off the end of the eggplant, both ends.
And then cut it in half.
And then we start slicing about a thousand little strips of eggplant.
Now Sheri saw this part of the video and she said, "Are you crazy? Are you showing them
how to use the mandolin without using the protective glove?"
And of course she's right.
If you go shopping for the mandolin on line you'll also see opportunities to buy protective
cut resistant gloves.
It's probably a good idea.
I've been using the mandolin for a long time and feel safe using it without the gloves.
But the mandolin blade is very sharp, probably sharper than your chef's knife, so it is important
to use it very carefully.
The trick is to stop when your vegetable gets pretty small. And I may go a little longer
than you should.
When the piece of eggplant gets too small to mandolin safely,
and you may decide you've reached that point a little sooner than I did here,
just pull out your chef's knife and cut strips as thin as you can.
Slightly thicker strips just add welcome variety.
As you get further into the eggplant you get to the part with the seeds.
And fortunately this adds the marbling that is expected in a piece of bacon.
When you finish slicing the eggplant the next step is to lay the slices out in the bottom
of any cooking pan.
Then you are going to cover every strip with a little pinch of salt.
Drop the salt from fairly high up so a little bit spreads out a lot on the way down.
Then place another layer of egg plant and another layer of salt and continue until there
is a little bit of salt on piece of eggplant.
This will bring the water out of the eggplant and that's important to getting a nice crispy
piece of bacon.
The next step is to brew a pot of lapsang souchong tea, the smoky tea that adds smoky
flavor to lots of recipes here on Whirled Peas Kitchen,
but it was this bacon recipe where we first started using this trick.
We use one measured cup of strongly brewed lapsang souchong tea to rehydrate the sun-dried tomato.
and we are going to throw in one dried chipotle pepper.
You could also use chipotle powder or any chili powder.
The recipe calls for turmeric powder for its flavor, color, and health benefits,
but our grocer had fresh turmeric root this week so we are happy to substitute the fresh
for the powdered product.
Now we are going to use a shallot which is preferred in raw vegan cuisine because it
has less of a sharp taste than onion.
If you do use about a quarter of an onion make sure you slice it thinly and then soak
it in water for at least a half hour to remove some of that sharpness.
Then today we are getting our sweetness from medjool dates
and you have to remove the pits from those.
If you don't want to use the medjool dates you can use agave syrup or maple syrup.
Now lets put things in the high speed mixer.
We'll start with the sun-dried tomatoes and the chipotle pepper which has been in the
lapsang souchong tea.
Then the medjool dates,
and the shallot,
and one clove of garlic.
Add the turmeric.
And then we 're going to add apple cider vinegar,
a little bit of olive oil,
paprika and cumin.
Put it in the high speed blender and get it up to high.
[Sound of blender blending].
After it is completely blended... Wow, that smells like bacon.
Here's what it looks like.
Before we put the marinade on the eggplant, we want to get
as much water out of the eggplant as possible.
We are going to invest a fair amount of time and a couple of clean dish towels toward that goal.
We want to find a few different angles to get the towel near the eggplant and squeeze.
We are going to get the eggplant out of the pan it's in because then we are going to put
it back in there with the marinade.
We'll take one more opportunity to try to squeeze the water out.
Don't worry about harming the eggplant. It's tougher than it looks.
Now we put some of the marinade in the bottom of the pan.
And then one by one separate each strip and place it into the marinade.
You've been treating that eggplant fairly roughly with squishing and squeezing but if
you use a little bit of care it's possible to separate out each piece of eggplant.
We'll fast-forward here because there is so much to do.
Place one layer of marinade, one layer of eggplant, one layer of marinade, one layer
of eggplant, over and over again until every little piece of eggplant is swimming in marinade.
Now we are going to let that sit for several hours.
After the eggplant has had a chance to soak up all of that marinade, we are going to transfer
each strip one by one onto the oven rack.
We're also show you how to do this in the dehydrator which is how we would usually do
this here in Whirled Peas Kitchen.
To dehydrate in oven the set the oven setting to as low as it can go.
Whether that is 150, in this case 170 degrees, for some it's 200 degrees.
And then we dehydrate it with the door open.
We are trying to get a temperature, ideally around 115 degrees but it will be a little
warmer than that.
But we don't want to cook the bacon so keep an eye on it and turn the oven off if you
need to keep the temperature low enough for proper dehydration.
The dehydrator is an essential tool for raw vegan cuisine. We have the Excalibur 9-tray
dehydrator which is considered the best dehydrator for the type of not-cooking we're trying to
do here in Whirled Peas Kitchen.
Again we're going to transfer each strip one by one.
It is possible here to make longer strips of bacon by putting two pieces end to end.
The bacon is going to go in the dehydrator for an entire 24-hour day,
but the bacon strips we have been dehydrating in the oven are already ready.
We transfer them one by one off the oven rack after t has had a chance to cool, onto a plate
and take them up to Sheri for a little bit of breakfast in bed.
Now it's the next day and the dehydrator strips are ready.
We transfer them one by one into a nice bowl. And now we have bacon to last all week.
But you can't have bacon by itself so as a special Breakfast Bonus we're going to show you how
we make our scrambled tofu.
It's simple and quick and made with just four ingredients and it's fantastic with breakfast burritos.
All you need is one diced onion, a package of extra firm tofu, some prepared salsa, and turmeric.
Then you just mash the tofu down and cut it with your spatula into small bite-sized pieces.
And there you have it scrambled tofu, for a nice "bacon" and "egg" breakfast tacos brunch.
You gotta love that bacon crunch.
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