Friday, March 27, 2009

CFP: National Soy Foods Month - Beyond the Stirfry

Call for Proposals

April is National Soy Foods Month. Soy products are highly misunderstood by non-vegetarians and non-Asians as flavorless and unimaginative. In April, we intend to celebrate National Soy Foods Month by preparing a dish with soy foods every day of the month. The aim of this event is to stretch the soy beyond the stirfry.

We invite all interested soy fooders to send in proposals for dinner. We would especially welcome proposals that reflect on the challenges of dealing with preconceptions about soy products that incorporate novel ways of preparation, or bring into view the limitations and/or possibilities of moving beyond the stirfry.

Proposals can be rough sketches or detailed recipes. There are thirty days in April, so the deadline for proposals is April 29

National Soy Foods Month follows 2008's National Burger Month wherein we celebrated the month of May with 31 days of burger.


1. Dishes must have at least one ingredient with soy.
2. Soy sauce is a condiment and not considered a main ingredient. It is welcomed, but not required.
3. Any style of cooking is encouraged. Despite the event being called "Beyond the Stirfry," stirfrying is acceptable.
4. Soy does not mean vegetarian. We welcome vegetarian but do not require it.
5. Dishes do not need to be the main course. We welcome amuse bouche or dessert recipes.


As part of National Burger Month 2008, we created our version of the tofu burger which undermined the qualities usually found in tofu burgers, particularly that it contained no beef. The tofu was marinated overnight in rendered beef fat and prepared with a Thai green chili dressing which highlighted the tofu and complemented the beef's robustness.

Tofu burger with Thai green curry sauce, topped with organic bacon

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Triumphant Return (now with more Bacon!)

We have been way to busy to keep up with the blog. But enough is enough.

In December, my friend Jordi was keen enough to post this gem on my Facebook page:
If I Die A Bacon-Related Death, I'd Like It To Be Because Of This

The resulting outburst of chatter was exciting. Clearly, this was a topic dear to everyone's hearts. Excerpts follow:

Me: OMG... Must do tomorrow.
Aileen: here are no words. none. greasy elegance rolled into one. can you weave other designs? do it Mike!! do it Jords (or did you already make this?)
Jordi: i'm gonna weave me a f*ckin' bacon blanket and wrap myself in it!!
Me: This guy's only mistake was that he didn't put chorizo in with the cheese.
Tracy: I may just have to surprise my husband with this one...but yeah, I agree with Mike - sausage and even some hash browns...
Jordi: or wild mushrooms and goat cheese...mmm. it can be the new crust. just add your favorite filling
Ria: But I do agree, it's missing more ingredients. Please update if any of you try it! Very curious....
SooJee: tell us how this comes out Mike and take pics:)
Tracy: Wild mushrooms and goat cheese? Sorry, but there's nothing gourmet about a basket weaved with bacon...
Jordi: not only is it gourmet, woven bacon is couture!
Me: Only bacon can turn gourmet into gourm-yay.

I didn't get to do anything with the idea until Christmas when I was asked to do a little appetizer for Christmas dinner. So here we go. (Yes many of you have seen this already but as I have not cooked anything interesting in the past month, we will do reruns for now)

To address my primary contention in the conversation above that the original blogger didn't do enough with his bacon, I decided to make this a surf and turf. We used some steamed shrimp and some herbed goat cheese instead of the simple shredded cheddar that the original blogger used.

First we weave le bacon. (Jordi said it was couture so we have to use francaise when we can)

Et voila, le bacon mat.

We fry the bacon.

We add the goat cheese and shrimps. (Kosher this is definitely not)

We roll the bacon.

And the finished product!

Which our President-Elect then proceeds to devour, not mindful of the other guests at holiday dinner who wanted in on the bacon fun.

The overall verdict was that it was delicious. It was good. But the preparation left a lot of room for improvement. The bacon fell apart when I attempted to slice it into pinwheels for presentation. Somebody suggested that I perhaps finish it in the oven to seal in the goodness and to firm up the bacon. The surf-and-turf-like combination of pork and shrimp was great and the herbed goat cheese was a good balancing note.

A future possible application, per Paolo, Jordi and Ria: weave the bacon and place it into metal colander with curved bottom to bake-- result would be a bacon bowl! We could then pile on all the toppings our hearts desire.


I was going to do a repeat of the dish on New Year's Eve, substituting scallops for the shrimp. Because we were strapped for time I never go to do this. Instead, I just individually wrapped the scallops in bacon the next day and speared the whole clump of goodness with rosemarry to pin it all together, then grilled the little suckas. While not as aesthetically pleasing as a bacon mat, they were still pretty and were great New Year's amuse bouches.