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Saturday, January 20, 2018

HOMEMADE (LOW-SATURATED FAT) VEGAN "BACUN GREASE"

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Why am I writing about making vegan "bacun grease" when I advocate eating pretty low-fat?  Well, I do try to use as little fat as I can, but I'm not a totally "no-fat" cook and the tastier the fat, the more flavor you get even in a small amount-- which is why a little good olive oil or roasted sesame oil goes a long way in a simple dish. This fat packs even more of a punch, so you don't need much of it to really satisfy some of your pre-vegan cravings. (No-- I wouldn't spread it on toast, but you might, and I hear that French toast is yummy when browned in this type of cooking fat. )

Uses?? Here are some ideas: Scrambled tofu; as the fat in gravy; in bean dishes and BBQ dishes; rub on the outside of baked potatoes before baking; to cook hash browns and potato pancakes; on steamed or sauteed greens, Brussels sprouts, cabbage; as the oil in fried rice & vegan "warm bacun dressing"; to saute mushrooms and onions; to grease the pan for making cornbread.

You've probably heard of the commercial vegan version of this, and I'm sure that there will be quite a few copycat versions online. However, most, if not all, utilize coconut oil. I have a jar of organic, fair trade coconut oil in my pantry, but it's going to last me a long time because I use it mostly for making my homemade Cake Release.


**Why don't I use coconut oil in this recipe**? Please read this blog post to learn about the dire environmental and animal issues involved in the massive coconut oil production that feeds this relatively new fad of using coconut oil in everything. (I always thought this obsession with coconut oil was too good to be true, and it is, but the environmental and animal issues are so sad and unnecessary.)

And then there are the
 nutritional concerns: If you used coconut oil instead of the cocoa butter and vegetable oil, the fat profile would be high in saturated fat: 1.76 g mono unsaturated fat, 1.54 g polyunsaturated fat, 8.33 g saturated fat  (for 1 tablespoon)
Comparison, per tablespoon, with my version, which is high in the healthier fats:
12.4g total fat, 5.7 g mono unsaturated fat, 3.24 g polyunsaturated fat, 2.7 g saturated fat
 

"But, I thought that coconut was the healthiest fat and has all sorts of healing properties!" you say. Not so fast! 
I know that many vegans check out the videos of health and nutrition by Dr. Michael Greger, author of "How Not to Die", and I'd like to recommend that you check out his videos on coconut oil usage:
https://nutritionfacts.org/video/does-coconut-oil-clog-arteries/
https://nutritionfacts.org/video/coconut-oil-and-the-boost-in-hdl-good-cholesterol/
https://nutritionfacts.org/video/coconut-oil-and-abdominal-fat/
https://nutritionfacts.org/video/does-coconut-oil-cure-alzheimers/
https://nutritionfacts.org/video/what-about-coconuts-coconut-milk-and-coconut-oil-mcts/
(See also his 4-part series on oil-pulling, which starts with this video-- links to the other 3 parts are below the video.)

Anyway, bottom line, this is so easy and inexpensive to make, tastes so delicious that you don't need much of it, and has so many possibilities for flavorful cooking, that I hope you will give it a try!


Printable Copy

BRYANNA'S HOMEMADE LOW-SATURATED FAT VEGAN "BACUN GREASE"
Yield: 18 tablespoons
CAUTION: Don't melt "Bacun Grease" at high temperatures-- it burns easily.  After you add it to the pan, use medium heat at most and don't walk away.  After you add and mix with the food you want to sauté, you can turn the heat up a bit.  It depends on your stove (my large burners are super-hot), so you'll have to use trial and error with your stove.

Oil Mixture:
1/4 cup (2 oz.) melted steam-deodorized cocoa butter, either wafers, or small chunks
 (should be pale or light-beige-y yellow, with no chocolate odor)
1/4 cup toasted Chinese sesame oil
1/2 cup canola oil (you could use high-oleic safflower or sunflower oil instead, if you like)
1 tsp soy or sunflower lecithin
Additions:
1/2 to 1 Tbs your favorite vegan "Bacon Bits" (see below for commercial ones or homemade recipes)
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 Tbs maple syrup
1/2 Tbs dried onion flakes
1/2 to 1 tsp liquid smoke (I used 1/2 tsp., but you might prefer 1 tsp.)
1/2 tsp garlic granules
1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Place the cocoa butter in a microwave-safe 1 qt. pitcher (Pyrex) and microwave on High for about 5 minutes, or until melted. OR place the cocoa butter in the top of a double boiler and place over simmer water until the cocoa butter has melted.

Add the sesame oil, canola oil and lecithin to the melted cocoa butter. Blend the mixture with an immersion blend until a bit foamy. It will not thicken at this stage.

Add the Additional Ingredients and blend with the immersion blender for 30 seconds or so.

Use a spatula to scoop the mixture into a 1 to 2-cup wide-mouth canning jar and place in the freezer. Every 10 minutes or so, stir the mixture to keep the Additional Ingredients suspended in the mixture. You may have to do this 3 or 4 times before it is firmed- up enough so that the "Bacon Bits", etc. stay suspended in the mixture.

Twist on the lid and keep in the refrigerator or freezer, depending on how often you plan to use it.

Nutrition (per tablespoon)-- high in the healthier fats: 114 calories, 109 calories from fat, 12.4g total fat, 5.7 g mono unsaturated fat, 3.24 g polyunsaturated fat, 2.7 g saturated fat,  0mg cholesterol, 29.9mg sodium, 18.7mg potassium, 1.1g carbohydrates, less than 1g fiber, less than 1g sugar, less than 1g protein, 3.3 points.

Copyright: Bryanna Clark Grogan All Rights Reserved 2018

HOMEMADE “BACON BITS" RECIPES ONLINE, AND ONE COMMERCIAL ORGANIC VARIETY :

OR, COMMERCIAL ORGANIC VARIETY
from Vegan Supply in Vancouver, BC  and  in bulk in Canada from amazon.ca; and widely available in the USA (in bulk, as well):


Enjoy!



Friday, January 5, 2018

FRENCH CANADIAN-STYLE VEGAN MAPLE BAKED BEANS

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This is my first blog post in a month!  I've been taking a bit of a rest from blogging in the last few months, but am feeling more inspired since the New Year.

My husband, who was born and raised in Quebec City, has been requesting that I make the sort of French-Canadian baked beans that he was used to back home in Quebec, but vegan, of course.  And no brown sugar or molasses; just real Canadian maple syrup for the sweetener. The Quebec version of this common North American meal is also not quite as sweet as what I grew up with in the USA. 

I hope you'll enjoy this as much as we did! It makes alot, but leftovers can be frozen.

Just in case you wondered:
DIFFERENT WAYS TO SERVE BAKED BEANS: 

1.) We like ours with just a green salad or cooked greens, and crunchy artisan bread or cornbread. Braised cabbage would be a great as a vegetable side dish, too.

2.) Some good vegan sausages or sliced vegan “ham” or vegan “bacon” alongside would be good.  Or seitan “ribs”, perhaps?

3.) Leftovers are great as “beans on toast” or baked bean “Sloppy Joes”.

4.) Try them on top of split baked potatoes, or split baked sweet potatoes.

5.) Coleslaw makes a good side dish with baked beans.

6.) Pickles on the side?

7.) Heat leftover beans with chunks of veggie hotdogs or spicy vegan sausage.

8.) Corn on the cob!

9.) If you like beans for breakfast, serve with some scrambled tofu and hash browns.


Printable Copy (Includes Chili Sauce recipe)

BRYANNA'S FRENCH CANADIAN-STYLE VEGAN MAPLE BAKED BEANS
Serves 10-12

Ingredients:
4 cups (about 2 lbs.) dried small white beans or navy beans (which are also called white pea bean, Boston bean, Yankee bean or fagioli, depending on where you live), 
(Other possibilities are cannellini beans--also called white kidney beans or fazolia)-- OR Great Northern beans OR marrow beans)

1 large onion, chopped

1 cup real maple syrup (preferably the darker kind-- Grade B)

3/4 cup bottled chili sauce (the spicy, sweet-ish sauce-- Heinz makes it), or use a favorite tomatoey BBQ sauce, or the easy homemade recipe* at the end of this recipe)

2 tablespoons Chinese toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon mustard powder (such as Coleman's or Keen's)

1 tablespoon fine salt

OPTIONAL:  1/4 cup of vegan “bacon bits” or 1 cup of chopped vegan “ham” or “bacon” of your choice

Instructions:
Soak the beans in lots of water overnight.  

The next day, drain them in a colander.  Place the soaked beans in a large Dutch oven or oven-proof pot with a fitted lid. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and let stand, covered for 1 hour. After an hour, if there is not about a 1/2-inch of water over the beans, add some to that level

Turn your oven to 300°F.  (I use my counter-top oven for this job-- saves energy.) While it heats up, add the remaining ingredients to the pot of beans and mix gently to distribute evenly.

Cover and bake for 4 hours.  Check after 2 hours and add some water if the mixture looks too dry.  (Do the same when they are fully-cooked.) You don't want the beans swimming in liquid, but you don't want them to be dry either.



*EASY HOMEMADE CHILI SAUCE
Makes about 11/2 cups

This sauce is great baked on top of a vegan meatloaf, and it can also be used in homemade Thousand Island Dressing, on burgers, vegan "ribs" and "hot dogs". 


6 oz. can of good-quality tomato paste (I used Kirkland organic.)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup golden syrup, agave syrup, maple syrup or brown rice syrup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce (here's my homemade recipe)
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. EACH ground cloves, garlic granules or powder, and chili flakes
a few grindings of black pepper

Mix the ingredients together well in a 1-quart saucepan.  Bring to a low boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook until thickened (almost the consistency of ketchup-- it will thicken  a bit more as it cools).  Keep in a jar in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!