Each week I look forward to the “dining” section in Wednesday’s NY Times Newspaper. Its a terrific way of keeping on top of the NYC dining scene, gather some great recipes, check out some new ideas and spark up some creativity and inspiration. Recently, an article was featured on how plant based diets are becoming more mainstream in California restaurants which is “Making Vegan A New Normal”. Not surprising for the left coast and in many progressive U.S. cities for that matter. Perhaps many years ago a plant based diet didn’t seem so “cool” and forget about trying to find a decent vegan dish in a mainstream restaurant (I’m not talking a baked potato here) but times are-a- changin! The surging popularity of plant based diets is definitely changing the dining landscape. Now there is something for everyone – from omnivore, to vegan, to gluten free and everything in between….under one roof. Looks like we all can get along!
I am an omnivore kind of girl and have studied plant based and healing cooking; so I like to think of myself as pretty well rounded. I kind of go with the flow, the season or the mood when it comes to making choices about the food I consume. Reading this article got me thinking about some of my favorite vegan foods. One thing I have never been a huge proponent of are the “fake” meats or processed soy products that act as meat substitutes. To each his own, but personally not my cup of tea. However, what I want to share with you here is perhaps my favorite “real food” meat substitute. Drum roll please…….introducing SHIITAKE BACON! My chef friend Patty (thanks girl 🙂 ) shared this recipe with me a few years ago and I have to say it is pretty wonderful. I have whipped this little trick out at many cooking classes and everyone is amazed at the taste, smell and texture of this mushroom and how it magically transforms into the likeness of delicious smoky bacon! You gotta try it.
Here is the VERY simple recipe:
Place thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms on sheet tray lined with parchment paper and coat with olive oil and sea salt (mix with hands until nice and coated). Bake in oven at 375 ~20 -30 minutes or until crisp. Turn and mix the mushrooms while a few times while baking. Cooking time will depend on your oven.
WHAT DO I DO WITH IT?????
Use it wherever you would bacon…..
BLTA (bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado)
sprinkle over salads
with brussel sprouts or other veggies
wherever is clever!
WHAT IS SO GREAT ABOUT SHIITAKE???
These mushrooms are viewed as a symbol to longevity and considered quite medicinal in Asian culture because of their health promoting properties. These range from immune health support, protection against cardiovascular disease, they are an excellent source of B vitamins, iron, minerals, magnesium, dietary fiber and vitamin D. They also provide a wide variety of unique phytonutrients.
Sorry folks, but you can’t say these things about real bacon 😦