Wild Mushroom Pasta

I'm a big fan of Good Eats and Alton Brown. I've learned a lot from him. So when he suggested that dried exotic mushrooms were an umani flavor bomb I took to amazon to procure some. 

When you only cook with and eat plants, sources of deep and real flavor are important. 

His advice was spot on. I got a dried exotic mushroom mix and used it in my pressure cooker to create a sauce/broth for pasta and even though I forgot to add olive oil, it still had tons of flavor. 
After the pressure cook was finished I added the oil I forgot and cooked it off for a  few minutes. I then stirred it into my precooked pasta. Let it rest 5 minutes to tighten up. It was a perfect sauce to enrobe my pasta. . 

Dried exotic mushrooms are not cheap. But if you don't eat/cook with animal products, they feel like a bargain. There's so much flavor to be had. It's worth it and then some. 

1/2 box pasta, cooked to al dente

2 ounces dried fancy mushroom mix, big pieces broken or diced
1 pint …

Mashed Potatoes as a Meal (Vegan or Veggie)

I love potatoes. Chips. Baked. Roasted. Mashed. Potatoes are always delicious. Especially when they are on sale for $2.50 for a 5 lb. bag. But what to do with all those potatoes?

The really cheap potatoes are not good for baking. They are too small and they don't get tender enough inside with that cooking method.

Roasted potatoes are great. And even cheap potatoes come out great. Just use a liberal amount of olive oil and salt to make sure.

But the best course of action for cheap potatoes is mashing. We've all had scrumptious mashed potatoes in our life. Some with heavy cream. Some with mounds of butter. But what about olive oil? Have you tried this? Because if you never have, then you need to do so.

They will not taste like the potatoes you recall from childhood thanksgivings or Christmases with grandma. But they will taste really good and unique. They possess a flavor profile all their own. Very eastern European. Spicy, but no heat.

6-8 small - medium eastern russet potatoes
3-5 tbls olive oil
2-4 tbls soy or animal friendly milk
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup dry white wine
salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika to season

Wash your potatoes thoroughly, but do not peel. Cut into small cubes, about 1/2 inch. Add diced potatoes to salted, boiling water and cook for 10 minutes.

Strain potatoes (reserving some of the cooking liquid) and add to large cook top safe vessel. Place potato vessel on warm burner, but do not turn the burner back on.

Add 2 tbls of olive oil, 2 tbls of milk, 1 tbl of cooking liquid and wine. Mash and mix with a large fork until only 10% lumps remain.

Add spices, garlic, peas, peppers. Stir lightly. Let sit a few minutes covered while vegetables thaw. Turn on very low heat if neccesary to warm veg. Monitor closely, stirring often.

Taste. Add more oil, cooking liquid, milk or spices if needed to achieve desired taste and consistency. Add in very small increments. You can always add more, but you cannot take out what you've already put in.

Eat as a hearty side dish or add chick peas to make a vegan shepherd's pie. I also like to sprinkle each serving with nutritional yeast. It adds that cheese like dimension that really takes mashed potatoes to another level.