Saturday, February 23, 2013

Keep On Crunkin': Life Without Bacon Fat

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts for my cookbook's social media campaign, cleverly titled "Keep On Crunkin'." My publisher, Book Publishing Company, and Vegan Mainstream have joined forces for this seven-day promotion filled with giveaways, contests, etc. I'm inviting you to get crunk with me! Every day, I'll share recipes, giveaways, and tips, and there will be a social media action that you can take on the 7-day Vegan Crunk Challenge for a chance to win a copy of my cookbook, another BPC cookbook, or a Cookin' Crunk apron!

All taking the challenge means is that you'll read along and cook along with me. If you don't have my cookbook yet, pick one up! You can even buy one right here on my site using the Paypal button on the right side of the blog.

Yes, there is life without bacon fat. Of course, all my vegan readers already know that. But I do have some omni readers who enjoy a good vegan meal but also can't seem to let go of that smoky, greasy bacon. Today, I'm gonna share my not-so-dirty little secret for achieving that bacon flavor without harming any cute little pigs (because pigs are truly adorable, people).

How can anyone eat something so CUTE?!

When I gave up meat in 1994, I'll admit that I had the hardest time parting with bacon (and roast beef). When I was really little, I would ask my family to pick the fat off of their bacon (or any other meat) so I could eat it. That was my favorite part. Of course, that was long before I understood what bacon was. Shortly after making the meat-animal connection, I could no longer stomach the fat or the lean.

That being said, I still — even 18 years later —love the flavor of bacon. But it's not the meat I crave. It's the smokiness, the greasiness. Enter my favorite condiment (well, favorite right after sriracha ... let's be honest), Liquid Smoke.

Liquid Smoke imparts that magical smoky flavor into vegan food without the bacon. I've heard some folks question its naturalness, but it's simply made by pushing smoke through a tube from a combustion chamber filled with wood chips. Basically, it's the flavor of wood. Sounds natural enough for me.

You can add Liquid Smoke to BBQ sauce, tofu marinade (to make smoked tofu without a smoker), cashew cheese (for smoked cheese), homemade Worcestershire sauce, to okra and tomatoes, to soups, chilis, on a veggie burger. The possibilities are endless.

To really master both the smokiness and fattiness factor that bacon imparts, add a touch of olive oil to your recipe as well. Not just when you saute, but drizzle some oil over the final product. Just a tad. Let's not get crazy.

To give you an example of what I mean, I'm sharing the recipe for Mess O' Greens with Turnips from Cookin' Crunk. This is based on my Granny's slow-simmered greens and it is to die for! If you don't have turnips on hand, the dish is still tasty using just greens.

Today's social media giveaway action: Make a recipe (this one or your own) with Liquid Smoke, snap a picture, and put it on the Keep On Crunkin' Pinterest board (you'll have to request permission if you haven't already...instructions for that are in the link). OR post it on Instagram and use the hashtag #keeponcrunkin. If you have an old pic of something you've made with Liquid Smoke in the past, that counts too. We'll select a winner later tonight for a Cookin' Crunk apron. Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. CST.

Also, just so you know, the winner of Day Three's Twitter contest was Amanda Renee! Congrats!

Mess O’ Greens with Turnips

Yields 2 to 4 servings

1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh collard, turnip, or mustard greens, stems removed and torn into small pieces
2 small turnips, peeled and diced
Hot sauce, to taste

Stir together the vegetable broth, sugar, olive oil, Liquid Smoke, salt, and pepper in a large soup pot with a lid.

Add the torn greens and turnips. Bring the pot to medium heat. Cover and simmer for about 40 to 45 minutes or until greens lose their bitter flavor and turnips are very tender.

Season with plenty of hot sauce.


charj said...

I don't know why I never thought of getting turnips to cook with all types of greens. I've only had turnips with turnip greens when I could find them still attached; which has not been often.

Eileen said...

So glad to see this--I just bought a big bag of turnips, and was trying to figure out what to do with them. This is obviously what I should do. :) Hot sauce and liquid smoke for the win!

Stephanie said...

Just found your blog - I'm in South LA so I can relate! :)

Lizzie Bordello said...

I wanna squeeze that little piggie so hard!!!!

Sheridan said...

That pig is so stinkin' cuuuuute!!! Also, I want to eat turnips and greens right now. Going on my grocery list!!

Anonymous said...

I am so making these greens! I love smoked paprika so I know this will be so good. I Bought some lovely collars and turnips but then when I went to buy the liquid smoke I was confronted with a choice: mesquite or hickory? Dang I had no clue. so I grabbed the hickory. Which is your fave? Does it matter?