When Experience Life magazine’s Community Engagement Specialist, Heidi Wachter, approached me with a cookbook, Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes That Respect the Whole Hog, she received in the mail by Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry, I got very excited. Why? Because I love food. And cooking. And trying new recipes. And bacon. BACON!
This gorgeous book is filled with paleo recipes that use the entire hog. Yes, even desserts. (Caramel Praline Lard Fudge, Maple Pecan Lard Scones, The Best Brownies, Salted Mocha Biscotti and Chocolate “Butter” Cream Frosting to name a few) As I browsed through the recipes, I was impressed with the overall layout of the book. The presentation makes it easy to follow and provides great images of the food. (And here’s the moment I cast fear aside to sound like a major nerd…I love the typeface throughout the book. Love it.) Scrumptious recipes like Maple Sage Roasted Butternut Squash, Sauteed Green Beans, Cuban Spiced Plantains fill over 300 pages.
This past weekend, my roommate and I decided to try the Zucchini Pasta with Avocado, Roasted Tomato & Bacon for a small group dinner. We paired it with a simple salad and homemade balsamic vinegar dressing. The most time consuming part of this is cutting the zucchini into 1/8 inch pieces. Our dinner guests experimented with us a bit. We cut some with knives, used a peeler and tried a mandolin. Overall, our favorite texture and width was using the peeler. It also took longer than 20 minutes to bake the tomatoes, bacon and basil. I may consider starting the bacon alone, and halfway through adding in the tomatoes and basil. I also was too lazy to dry the zucchini “noodles” which created a little thinner sauce, but was still fantastic. Overall, this was an easy, fun, tasty dinner that I will definitely make again. Everyone especially loved the added avocado. I did add some parmesan cheese to the top of the pasta, which was not included in the recipe.
Close-up of the zucchini “pasta”
For dessert we made the Salted Caramel Bacon Sauce and drizzled it over organic vanilla bean ice cream. The recipes were a hit!
The ice cream drizzle was a tad too bacon-y for me. Next time I plan to try the tip the authors provide: “If you prefer a less overwhelming bacon taste, don’t return the bacon to the pan until the end.” They also suggest if you don’t like little bacon pieces to puree the mixture. I think I will just skip the last step of adding the bacon pieces into the mixture at the end. This would ideally lighten the bacon taste and I would be able to use the bacon pieces for something else, like in an omelette the next day or tossed with roasted brussel-sprouts and walnuts. I send a big kudos out to all those involved in Beyond Bacon and look forward to making more of your recipes.
Beyond Bacon book cover image is from Paleo Parents. Delicious food images courtesy of my dinner guests.
Casie Lukes is the editorial intern at Experience Life.