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 …

Beef Bourguignon (Vegan)

When I was a child my mother used to make beef bourguignon. It was full of big chunks of tomato, garlic and lots of red wine. It was a comforting stew that warmed you from the inside out.

I hadn't thought about that meal in many years. But then as I was eating my latest vegan concoction it suddenly all came flooding back to me. Cold winters eating warm and hearty stew. The aroma of long simmering wine, garlic tomato permeating the whole house. I hadn't begun cooking with the intent to recreate that long forgotten childhood memory, but apparently my subconscious had grander plans. With just a few bites I was transported back into the cozy bosom of my youth.

I began with a package of lightlife smart ground meatless ground beef. Not exactly big chunks of beef, but it really does have that ground beef texture and tastes frighteningly close to the real thing. It's a little more mild than actual beef, but very satisfyingly similar.

1 package Lightlife Smart Ground
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
5 cloves garlics sliced
1 green bell pepper diced
1/3 cup cheap red wine
1 cup brown rice
2 cups water
1 tsp olive oil
Non-stick cooking spray
1/2 tsp McCormick Montreal chicken seasoning
Salt and pepper

Begin by cooking your brown rice. Add water and rice to a pot, cover and set on high to bring to a boil. Brown rice takes a while to cook. About 40 minutes, but there's no real work, it's just a lot of waiting around.

In the meanwhile you can dice your pepper and peel and slice your garlic.

When your rice comes to a boil lower heat, add olive oil and montreal seasoning. and let simmer. When there's only a little water left in the rice add the juice only from your can of tomatoes. Reserving the drained tomatoes in their can for later. Continue cooking on low heat until almost no liquid remains.

Spray a large fry pan with non-stick spray and heat on medium. When pan is hot add your smart ground. Add a little salt and pepper. Stir often to brown evenly and gently break up the clumps.

After 3 minutes add your bell peppers. Continue cooking on medium and stirring a little. After 3 more minutes add garlic.

After 2 more minutes add your tomatoes. Raise heat a little. Continue stirring. Taste. Add a little more salt and pepper if desired. Cook down tomatoes for 2 more minutes and then add your wine. Let wine simmer off for about 3 minutes. Taste. Add more pepper if needed. Don't add any more salt. There's plenty already in the tomatoes, smart ground and with our small additions.

If it still tastes to winey, continue simmering 1-2 minutes longer. Until only very little liquid remains.

Serve your smart ground mix over your tomato brown rice.

Sprinkle with shredded cheese if desired. But it won't be vegan anymore unless you use vegan cheese.

Simple flavors that will wow your taste buds and fill your belly.

This would also be great with a taco flavor spice packet or Italian sauce spice packet added. They're usually in the gravy aisle. There are all kinds of flavors. Mexican or Italian would probably work best.

This smart ground mix minus the rice, is also great as a sandwich. I had some on a sesame seed bun with hummus and nutritional yeast. Dy-no-mite!