Streaky Vegan Bacon!!

Late December/early January is going to be a busy time for us because we’ll be having two batches of guests! First off, Annie and Jamie are coming up for New Year’s Eve and then the minute they leave, Em is coming up with a bunch of friends…including a BIG dog and a GIANT baby!!

Emily with super-cute giant baby, Alex!!

In anticipation of our visitors, I’m making a few seitan loaves. First off, I’ll be making Gaz Oakley’s roast, so we can have faux beef dip sammies and perhaps a Guinness Stew. We’ll also be making the stuffed seitan turkey for New Year’s Eve.

But this afternoon and evening, I’ve been making Gaz Oakley’s streaky bacon because my darling Em has always had a weakness for vegan bacon!

In truth, the recipe is a bit labour intensive, but it’s not at all tricky. And the recipe does produce QUITE a lot of vegan bac’n, so it should be worth the effort!

Here is the process, which I stuck to (for the most part). I did add some Better Than Bouillon vegetable base, however, for a deeper umami taste!

I made the seitan bac’n yesterday and let it sit in the fridge overnight. James bought me a “meat” slicer a couple of days ago, so we were able to try it with the bac’n this morning. The funniest part of it is that James won’t actually let me use “my” new slicer because….well, let’s just say because he knows me well and doesn’t want me to lose a finger! The music in the background on the video is James’ choice (obviously–haha!). He discovered this morning that he can get old Flanders and Swann music on Google Home, so he’s been playing it all day. I’m waiting until he goes outside to bring in the wood to change it!

James still won’t let me use the slicer!!

Now Gaz says he gets about forty slices from his recipe, but I actually was able to get 55 slices! I froze four ten-packs of it to pull out when we have guests and the rest is for us!

I made James a couple of BLTs and he gave the bacon a huge thumbs up! I later had an bac’n-avo-lettuce sammie and it was delicious! I give this recipe a 12/10–will definitely make again–likely on the regular!

Fifty-five slices of seitan bacon!

Gaz smashes his layers together with vigour! I apparently did not apply enough because the layers separated on some of my slices in the frying process.
Seitan BLTs with a nice pint of Guinness!

And the song of the day is a poem, not a song. Today, I came across this Elizabeth Bishop poem that I used to teach twenty-odd years ago. I love the image of the ancient fish with his quiet dignity….and the final few lines, “…until everything / was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!” And it’s an entirely appropriate poem for a vegan blog since the speaker of the poem ends up letting the fish go!

The Fish

by Elizabeth Bishop

I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of his mouth.
He didn’t fight.
He hadn’t fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age.
He was speckled with barnacles,
fine rosettes of lime,
and infested
with tiny white sea-lice,
and underneath two or three
rags of green weed hung down.
While his gills were breathing in
the terrible oxygen
— the frightening gills,
fresh and crisp with blood,
that can cut so badly —
I thought of the coarse white flesh
packed in like feathers,
the big bones and the little bones,
the dramatic reds and blacks
of his shiny entrails,
and the pink swim-bladder
like a big peony.
I looked into his eyes
which were far larger than mine
but shallower, and yellowed,
the irises backed and packed
with tarnished tinfoil
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
— It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face,
the mechanism of his jaw,
and then I saw
that from his lower lip
— if you could call it a lip
grim, wet, and weaponlike,
hung five old pieces of fish-line,
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still attached,
with all their five big hooks
grown firmly in his mouth.
A green line, frayed at the end
where he broke it, two heavier lines,
and a fine black thread
still crimped from the strain and snap
when it broke and he got away.
Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom
trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared
and victory filled up
the little rented boat,
from the pool of bilge
where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine
to the bailer rusted orange,
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels — until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And I let the fish go.

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