Saturday, March 28, 2009
A wise man once said, "Everything good is better with bacon." Okay, that was me. But it was true as hell. Think of all things delicious. All of them have bacon on them. In high school, my friend Mary had a dream that an acquaintance of ours was suddenly hugely fat and was begging her to make him a "bacon cake." We then became obsessed with the idea of a chocolate cake wrapped with bacon. To this day, that still sounds delicious (footnote: in high school every so often our group of friends would have a party involving Starmeat, a meatloaf that we covered in sprinkles and colored sugar. You wished on Starmeat like you would a birthday cake. Those wishes always came true. Believe it.) In fact, there even exists a chocolate-covered bacon bar that I would devour if not for the fact that is has to be delivered by mail, and I'm too lazy for that.
There's also the deliciousness of bacon all by itself. Thick, perhaps maple syrup soaked slabs of bacon curling up and leaving a slug-like trail of grease in their wake, the satisfying muted crunch and salty taste. I will say here that the best bacon I have had in a breakfast restaurant was at Elegance in Brownsburg. They know how to do it up right. That place is also reputedly run by the Greek mafia, so give them your business and avoid having your fingers cut off and sent to your family one by one. Opa!
However, bacon is really, really fucking horrible for you. There's no two ways about it. Especially if, like me, you use bacon as a condiment to other really horrible for you things (bacon double cheeseburger, loaded baked potato, PBJ&B, etc.) Also, since I became a sort-of vegetarian (I refuse to call myself a vegetarian until I can resist the siren call of a salmon fillet or crab cake), I no longer can partake of the deliciousness.
Or..... CAN I?!?!
Well, sorta. It all began many years ago when I was a wee child and my sister was a vegan. She came into my room eating something that looked kinda like bacon, smelled kinda like bacon, but was decidedly not bacon. And she was eating it RAW (that was the coolest part at the time, obv.) What the fuck was this meatless wonder? Why, it was Morningstar Farms Bacon Strips!
Morningstar is kind of the bomb. Meatless meat is a tough to do up right. It's kinda of a crap shoot, especially when it comes to specialty things beyond 'meatless crumbles' and 'veggie burgers.' It's all about recreating not only taste, but texture. And for the most part, Morning Star can do that pretty well. I will say that their meatless crumbles aren't worth it. But when it comes to their breakfast options, they discovered the secret ingredient that makes you bound outta bed and come a-runnin' to the table as soon as the rooster crows (I don't know who these people are who have time in the morning during the work week to prepare and eat a feast of waffles, OJ, bacon, and fruit like they suggest on TV, but apparently they exist, so I guess when I say 'you' I mean 'those people.')
Morningstar Farms Bacon Strips
I'll start with the name. They don't even really tell you outright that it's not real bacon. Subliminal. I like it. The box is friendly looking enough; Morningstar Farms! It came from a farm! But this farm doesn't grow animals, it grows vegetables! More accurately, it grows BACON. Wouldn't that be awesome, if bacon were a vegetable? Or a legume? Definitely a legume.
Sadly, facon lacks that thick but crunchy texture of good bacon. However, it has a crispiness to which no real bacon could ever aspire, probably because I would (generously) estimate that these facon strips are a 1/2 millimeter thick. It is also saltier than any real bacon, and if you, like me, would happily purchase a salt lick for home use, that is a good thing. Like most meatless meat, it's not fooling anyone. This isn't bacon. But I do think it could pass as an animal product. It has that meaty essence.
I will warn you to exercise caution when heating these up. While I think it includes directions for stovetop frying and oven baking, I am far too lazy to dream of frying bacon in a pan (also, that sort of defeats the purpose of low fat bacon if you're going to soak it in lard anyway.) I heated them up on a paper plate for the suggested 1 1/2-2 minutes, and the middles were charred and black and stuck to the plate by the time they came out of the microwave. I ate them anyway. But just so you know.
Morningstar Farms Bacon Strips have 60 calories per 2 strip serving, 40 from fat. That's a bajillion times less than regular bacon, I promise.
I'll plug Morningstar's sausage patties while I'm at it. I've always loved these, even when I didn't eschew real sausage. They just taste so damn good. They even have that fatty aftertaste. Last week I used them in a quiche, and you couldn't tell. In a quiche texture is important, and they held up admirably. They have 80 calories per pattie, 25 for fat, which is quite amazing considering how delicious they are.
And for those vegetarians out there who want my opinion on the matter, Boca pales in comparison to the luminious shine of Morningstar Farms meatless meats. Boca is crap. Don't buy it!
That's all I got for today. Comment and tell me what sorts of baked desserts you embellish with bacon! Also, next time I may have a special treat as requested by Carrie... low fat recipes!