As a child I can remember waking up to the smell of sizzling bacon on the weekends. The weekdays were too busy with us kids going to school and our parents going to work, so we normally got stuck with cereal or a pop tart. The weekends were the fun breakfast items like pancakes, french toast, waffles, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage. It goes without saying that I haven't had any of these breakfast items in quite a while now, around four years if we are counting. I don't miss them because I have new fun breakfast meals I have replaced them with (smoothies, granola, and fresh fruit to name a few). Although I could easily find similar replacements for some of these with all of the many recipe books out there!
The impulse to try eggplant bacon developed for a few reasons: 1. I have seen pictures of eggplant bacon on blogs and have been curious about it for a while. 2. I have an abundance of eggplant right now as I am working on eating what is in season. 3. It sounded like something fun to make. 4. I have Matthew Kenney's book Everyday Raw and he has a recipe for eggplant bacon.
This week I bought all of the ingredients I would need to make the bacon according to his recipe with some tweaking here and there. When I got to the step of putting the eggplant into the dehydrator and turning the dehydrator on I found that my dehydrator was no longer working! I have a Nesco dehydrator which I bought five years ago from a friend for $25. I have never made the step to buy an Excalibur dehydrator simply because it is more expensive and I do already have one. I have talked about buying one and thought long and hard about buying one but when it came down to it I always decided to wait. With no other options about what to do with my eggplant bacon I improvised and decided to put it in the oven. I set the temperature on 350 degrees and put it in for 20 minutes. It came out well but I am still curious to try it in the dehydrator!
If I can't find a way to fix my Nesco I will buy an Excalibur dehydrator. I am excited by the thought of this as it will open a new world of possibilities in terms of what I can make. Although it has been great for making some items and has served me well, because of the size and shape I have been very limited with what I can do. I would recommend a Nesco for those who are interested in making dried fruits, flax crackers, cookies, breads, etc and do not have the money for an Excalibur. It was around 8 years old when it gave out on me. Do you own a dehydrator and if so what brand is it?
Eggplant Bacon (with my modifications):
Ingredients: 1 large eggplant, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 tbsp sea salt
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp nama shoyu
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
Directions: Place sliced eggplant in a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Allow the eggplant to marinate for 30 - 45 minutes. OVEN: Spread slices on a pan, set the oven at 350 degrees, and when cook the eggplant bacon for 20 minutes. It should be slightly crispy when you remove it. If you leave it in much longer it may burn.
DEHYDRATOR: Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 24 hours until crisp and cut into desired sizes.