Friday, February 08, 2008

Bacon: An Honorary Vegetable

We are a mostly meatless household. Its something that evolved over time. It started with experimenting with turkey substitute products to cut some of the fat out of our menus, and through that realizing that, with a little ingenuity, you don't really need the meat at all. As I've learned more about how animals that are used for consumption are typically raised, slaughtered, and packaged I am all the more convinced that our diets are better off without it most of the time. I rarely refuse meat when its served to me at someone else's table (including when Pat cooks), but, generally, I don't cook with it and/or order it at restaurants with only a few exceptions.

With that said, I must confess that because our cuisine is almost always vegetarian and typically pretty healthy, I don't feel terribly guilty about the fact that on any given day there is almost always a package of bacon in my refrigerator. To me, bacon is an honorary vegetable. The fatty, greasy distant cousin to the carrots I keep in the crisper. We don't even cook with it weekly, but, on occasion, a recipe just demands that a few slices of bacon be thrown into the skillet before anything else takes place. I'm actually not even huge on bacon by itself other than a few late summer BLT's with tomatoes still warm from the late afternoon sun, but something about the fat that bacon renders in a pan gives other food a flavor that is not easy to duplicate. The following recipe fits into that category.

When Pat cooked this up for the first time, I was skeptical at best. Just beans, in a pan, with some bacon, onion and garlic. And Parmesan cheese...on beans?? Really? REALLY! Tonight I threw in some carrot and celery because we had some, so it took a bit longer to cook. But, without them, this dinner, even with kids under foot, takes less than 10 minutes.

Bodega Beans!

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