|The Double-Decker Melt.|
Last week, I had an intense craving for a bacon mushroom melt. Cravings are odd things. I have never in my life eaten a bacon mushroom melt. As I mentioned in the manifesto, (aside from two small transgressions) I haven't even eaten mammal in 16 years. Hell, until recently, I haven't even craved meat.
I know that there are some pretty good meat analogues out there, so on my way home from class, I snagged the makings for a vegetarian bacon mushroom melt.
Here are the fixins:
Mushrooms, onion, Cheese Whiz, Boca Burgers, Morningstar Bacon Strips, Pepperidge Farm Deli Flats thin rolls, tomato, and lettuce
The mushrooms and onions were sautéed, the Boca burgers were cooked in a George Foreman grill, and the veggie bacon was crisped up in a frying pan. When the mushrooms and onions were cooked, I mixed them with my Cheez Whiz to keep everything from sliding around too much. The first time I assembled this monstrosity, I went overboard and made a double decker. It was awesome, but a little bit too much. Three pieces of bread with veggie burger, bacon, and the Cheez/mushroom mixture in between. When I sat down to eat, I found that the Cheez Whiz had eaten through the bread, and by halfway through my meal, I was left with a delicious, but soggy, lump in my hands.
Aside from the bizarre chemical reaction between Cheez and bread, the Whiz had a very odd texture that I'm not used to. It started to congeal and coated my mouth in an unpleasant way. The ersatz bacon, on the other hand, was surprisingly not terrible. The flavor was not wholly unlike bacon, and it crisped up nicely in the frying pan. Even on its own, it wasn't all that bad. Yes, it isn't bacon, but if you're a vegetarian craving a salted piece pork belly, it isn't a bad approximation of the flavor and texture.
While I'm still on the topic of veggie bacon, I do want to mention that a few days later I made a lovely paella with Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo. It was missing something, so I put some of the bacon in the left over paella the next day. It was perfect and really pulled the recipe together. I won't be eating it every day, but with 18 slices per container, I'm finding that it's nice to have a package in my freezer.
Back to the bacon mushroom melt... In general, I like veggie burgers. I'm a little picky because so many of the brands lack the structural integrity to hold together in a sandwich situation, but Boca's All-American Grillers do not have that problem. They are nicely dense and have a good flavor. A little time in the George Foreman Grill and they're ready to eat in a jiff.
For the first incarnation of the melt, I only took pictures with my phone and not my camera, so I wasn't able to initially post the pictures; however, it was an experiment that I was more than willing to recreate (on a slightly smaller scale) today. The first picture shows the bacon before the final assemblage. The second is the finished meal. The picture at the top of the page is the double decker.