Everything's Better with (Mushroom) Bacon

Mushroom Bacon

Mushroom Bacon

After a full day of really hard rain on Saturday, we had a beautiful, sunny 78 degree day on Sunday.  What a nice way to start the Thanksgiving week.  I am on break from school this week and it is so nice not to have homework, to put on a uniform, or get out the door for class!  I took time Sunday morning to go for a walk-run in the neighborhood, still a real challenge because Austin has something that Houston knows nothing about...hills!  Since I haven't run in a long time, these hills are a real killer as I try to get back to running shape.  At least it felt good to get outside.  

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You probably can't tell from that picture, but the hills are huge! Anyway, I came home and decided to make mushroom bacon.  We made this is in school and it was just titled Roasted Mushrooms.  We all decided it tasted like bacon, so that it what I am going with.  Now I will have to admit that it has been probably more than 12 years since I have actually eaten bacon, so I am going on flavor memory and smell.  It does strike all the right notes....salty from soy sauce, sweet from maple syrup, and smokey from smoked paprika. Smoked paprika is probably not in your cabinet but it should be. It is really good in all things that can use a little smoke flavor like baked beans.  Using big portobello mushrooms lets you cut long slices like bacon, and the tough sort of texture of mushroom holds up well.  

Mushrooms are really good for you. I am not a mushroom fan so I am thrilled anytime I can find a recipe that I like.  Mushrooms have protein, vitamin D, a slew of the B vitamins, as well as good minerals like potassium, zinc, selenium, iron, and copper. You can read more here and here.  

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These are pretty easy.  You clean the mushrooms by wiping with a damp towel, snap off the stems, and scrape the gills out with a spoon.   Run them through a mixture of the seasonings and put on a baking sheet.  They cook in a moderately hot oven until they get rather dry.  They get crispy as they cook.  It is definitely best to eat them as soon as they are cooled but they will save.  They lose some of their texture but still have a nice flavor.  I won't go so far as to say this are just like bacon, but I think it is a reasonable substitute.  (Funny story....I used to eat a lot of Morningstar Farms soy sausage patties for breakfast.  I decided years ago they were a fake food and not a good choice, but I used to have them every day.  I told my Dad they tasted "just like sausage."'  I probably said it 4 times over a few months.  One day he finally looked at me and said "You think so?  When was the last time you actually  ate sausage?"  I guess it really wasn't that close!)  So exactly like bacon or not, this is a pretty good substitute and is real food, not some fake meat product with who knows what in it.  I had it for lunch in a lettuce leaf with cheese and avocado.  It would be great on a sandwich, or crumbled into a salad.  Yay for bacon for vegetarians! 

On another note, this afternoon I finally went to hear some music.  Austin is known for its music scene and I haven't heard any. Strange Brew is a really cool place near my apartment.  One side is a large coffee shop and the other side is a music venue.  They have music at night but also all day on the weekends.  My friend Jill from school who lives next door went with me on Sunday afternoon and it was great.  Great music, local brew beer, what more do you need?  It was a great way to spend the afternoon! 

Mushroom Bacon

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: bake vegan vegetarian mushrooms

Ingredients (4 - 6 servings)

  • 1 ib portobello mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350. Line two sheet trays with non-stick aluminum foil.

Prepare the mushrooms by wiping the caps with a damp paper towel to remove any dirt. Cut off the stems. Using a spoon, scrape the gills from the underside of the mushroom caps. Using a large serrated knife, cut the mushrooms into 1/4 inch thick slices.

Mix the olive oil, maple syrup, soy sauce, and smoked paprika in a large bowl. Season with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Using your hands add the mushrooms in batches, tossing to coat them on all sides. It seems like they won't all get covered but they will. Be gentle so the mushrooms don't break. They will absorb some of the marinade. Place the mushrooms on the sheet trays in a single layer. Do not over lap. They need a little space.

Cook for 30 minutes until the mushrooms are sizzling and seem a bit dry. They should be firm to the touch. and lightly browned. Be careful your oven is not too hot as they easily burn. If they seem to be cooking too quickly or you know your oven runs hot, cook them at 325.

Cool and then serve. Excellent as a BLT!

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