Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Bacon and Spicy Green Beans

Tonight I decided to play around in the kitchen a bit. I've been seeing photos of bacon hearts popping up all over Facebook and the internet, and I had some bacon in the fridge, so I thought: Why not?
Image source
I also have a new recipe for sweet & spicy green beans that I have been wanting to try- and I thought the two of those sounded great together. So, that was dinner. 

Here's a photo of my sweet and spicy string beans (with a bacon heart): 
You can Google for a recipe for the bacon hearts (that's what I did). Basically, you cut a strip of bacon in half, arrange in in a heart shape, and bake at 400 for 25 minutes or so. Pretty easy.

Obviously the bacon is not vegetarian/vegan- although I suppose you could try it with vegan bacon- I don't see why not? The green bean recipe, on its own, is vegan.

Here is the recipe for the green beans, with my adaptations 

Sweet & Spicy String Beans (gluten free, soy free*, vegan)

Fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
2 T brown sugar
2 T tamari  *if you are gluten AND soy free, see note below
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 tsp grapeseed oil

Blanch green beans for one minute
Mix brown sugar, tamari*, and red pepper flakes in small bowl. Set aside.
Heat oil in skillet
Saute green beans over high heat 3-5 minutes or until beans look blistered. Remove from heat.
Toss green beans with tamari, brown sugar, & pepper mixture.

*If you are gluten and soy free, you can try this substitute. I've been using it in raw dishes for a while now, and have been pleased with it. This is the first time I have used it in a cooked dish, and I was skeptical about how it might perform. But I liked the way the beans turned out, so I was happy with this substitute in a cooked dish. 

Soy sauce does add a certain flavor and dimension to a recipe, but if you are limited by allergies/sensitivites, sometimes you can get away with omitting the soy/tamari and adding sea salt. The substitute linked above uses mushrooms, and that gives a little more depth and flavor than just salt. Play around with it, and see what you think. I make a batch, freeze in ice cube trays, and keep the cubes (which are approximately 1Tbsp) in a Ziploc in the freezer- just take one out when you need it.
Sweet & Spicy String Beans, with a bacon heart
Happy Valentine's Day!

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