I made the mistake had the great pleasure of having the SO accompany me on a journey through Whole Foods Saturday evening. That meant having to go down the refrigerated aisle--one that I rarely go through on my own.
Immediately, his eyes were drawn to the Tofurkey Beer Brats. I'm not a huge fan of fake meats, but I figure that once in a while, I should indulge him. And what better dinner to have on Memorial Day Weekend than some grilled brats?
Not far from the brats was the facon, though. His eyes spied the package of LightLife Smart Bacon and just lit up. Okay, we can have fake bacon, too.
First, the facon. It's been nearly a decade since I've eaten bacon and I really don't remember much about it other than what I didn't like--which was those little cups of fat that would form and hold grease. Disgusting. So in that regard, Smart Bacon is nothing like the real thing. It reminds me a bit more of the turkey bacon my mom microwaved in the 80s just after my stepfather had his first heart attack. Which is to say that it wasn't bad but nothing I'd trip over myself to eat. The SO seemed to like it. It got crispy easily, though I thought it dried out a bit. I may have overcooked it. I think it could stand to have a brushstroke of olive oil on each side next time. And three slices each (plus eggs and toast for him and just toast for me) were enough to keep us fueled for much of the say.
After a day of play, we came back home and fired up the grill (all natural charcoal, by the way) for the brats. We had to stop by the grocery to get buns and a few other things beforehand, though--including slaw. You can't have brats without slaw. But we both like vinegar slaw and the pre-made slaw just did not look appetizing. So I thought, hey I can make slaw, right? After racking our brains a bit, we figured out that it's celery seed in the slaw we like, so we picked up some of that, too.
First, a review of the brats. They were good. Though I say that as a person who's never had a brat in my whole life. I remember seeing kielbasas and such around at various functions pre-vegetarianism, but I have never, ever liked sausages. But, again, the meat expert also agreed they were really good. Though he did admit that if given the choice, he'd go for the real thing.
After grilling them on each side about 10 minutes on a hot grill, they were ready. The outside got a little dry and crispy, but the inside was very tender and moist. And not icky like I remember real sausage. Perhaps it was the comfort of knowing there's nothing utterly disgusting in there. But the taste was very good and had a decent-sized hint of beer. It went nicely on wheat bun with spicy brown mustard. The SO topped his with some local Tennessee Chow-Chow.
And the perfect side dish? Well, aside from the tater tots I heated up...cole slaw! Homemade cole slaw! Okay, I know it isn't hard, but it's just never really occurred to me to make my own, so allow me to pat myself on the back just a bit. I looked up a few recipes and really didn't find a whole lot that really excited me, so as usual, I came up with a Frankenrecipe that--this time--actually turned out pretty well.
Vinegar Cole Slaw
16 ounces of finely chopped cabbage or a package of cole slaw mix
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
A few shakes of celery seed
A few drops of lemon juice
A little ground sea salt and black pepper
Mix all in a bowl and let sit for a little while to marinate.
See? Not much to it, but really, really good. Certainly, you don't have to use four types of vinegar, but I had them on hand, so why not? I do recommend at least using a little apple cider vinegar with the white to give it a little umpf. And it's vegan. In fact, except for a tiny bit of whey in the brat buns, the entire meal was vegan.
We'll not talk about the butter I put on my toast earlier in the day, though. I swear, when it's gone, I'm going to try Earth Balance. I wonder if they make one that tastes like Danish butter...