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 …

Panko Tofu and Cous Cous (Vegan)

Panko breadcrumbs were on sale for $1 last week so I decided to try panko crusted fried tofu. The 4C brand was not vegan. It has milk in it. Even the plain. The A&P america's choice brand plain panko does not contain milk. Yay. Why milk in panko? Just because the milk industry is powerful and sneaks it into many foods where it does not belong. All the major brands of pretty much everything seem to have milk as an ingredient 98% of the time.

I begin by draining, then marinating my tofu. To drain tofu wrap in a few paper or clean cloth towels and weight with a heavy object like a can of beans. After it has drained on the counter for 15-20 minutes remove from towelling and marinate it in the fridge for 2-4 hours in 3-4 tbls soy sauce, 3 cloves fresh sliced garlic and some black pepper.

Then dry fry your vegetables. In my case I used some broccoli and carrots. I just cooked the frozen veg in a large fry pan. Nothing else. No oil. No salt. No water. Just stirring ocassinally and making sure to separate the stuck together pieces. When those were thawed I set them aside in a container to hold the heat. I used the same pan to fry my tofu.

To panko your tofu, drain marinade from container and add 2 tsp cornstarch and some garlic powder and chili powder. Reseal container and shake to coat. Pour panko in a shallow bowl or dish and toss your tofu in a few chunks at time to lightly coat it. Gently shaking off any excess.

Pan fry in hot olive or peanut oil until the panko breadcrumbs are golden brown.

I served my panko fried tofu with cous cous. Mediterranean curry cous cous by Near East.

If it were easier to make I'd eat it all the time. But it's definitely worth making ocassionally. The texture and crunch are awesome. The frying process really lets the tofu pick up the garlic and chili flavors. The mild curry cous cous meshes well with spice and the vibrant vegetables add color and crispy snap.

A vegan meal provided you use dairy free panko breadcrumbs.