Monday, July 12, 2010

Bacon, bacon, bacon....

I'll admit it, I love it. It's a tasty, crispy, salty, smoky treat. It's inspired MANY crazy things: Bacon Maple Bar, Bacon Salt and Baconnaise, weird bacon goods, bacon chocolate bar, ummmm Bacon Explosion anyone? Sure, I've tried a few, and even liked them (bacon maple bar...mmmmm). However, I also like veggie substitutes, and am always looking for ways to create them at home. Tofu, tempeh, even this...but, none of them quite capture it. I have never found a sub for bacon that I could really get behind. Now, that's all changed. See that picture up there, well, that's not bacon, it's COCONUT! Yeah seriously, and it's DELICIOUS! I found many recipes online for this, but none that I found used thick strips of I corrected that problem. Vegans and vegetarians, (and even omnivores!) you can thank me later.

1 coconut, brown "skin" on, sliced with a mandolin on 2mm & 3mm - It's what I used to get those nice thick strips, I liked having some thicker, and some thinner and crispier. You can also slice it pretty thin with a sharp kitchen knife. I looked on youtube to see how to crack one open, it's way easier than I expected! Be adventurous, you'll feel like you live in the tropics! If you just want "bacon bits", or can't get a fresh coconut, see the easy alternative below.
OR 3 large handfuls of bulk coconut- large unsweetened looks like flakes, not shredded)

1 tsp liquid smoke- I start with less, like 1/2 tsp, and add more after tasting. Depending on how smoky you like it, add more
2T soy sauce or tamari, I threw some Braggs aminos in as well - start with less, adding more to taste
1/2 tsp olive oil - Only necessary if you use the dried flakes, the fresh is oily enough
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder - You don't want it to really taste garlicky, just adds a savory element
Salt and pepper to taste
a little water if needed

Mix together all the ingredients then toss with the coconut. This should just coat the coconut, not be liquidy at all, but you might need to add a little water if it's too dry. Taste the coconut to make sure it's salty and smoky enough, adjust it accordingly.

Marinate coconut for 1/2 hr to 1 hr. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment in a preheated 350 degree oven until crispy. Watch it carefully, stirring it around every few minutes to make sure it doesn't burn. It should be a darker brown. The fresh takes longer to brown and crisp up than the flakes do. Keeps in a ziplock baggie, tupperware, or a jar for later use.

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