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 …

Northern/Kidney Bean Hummus

I discovered great northern beans quite accidentally. In progresso macaroni and bean vegetarian soup. It was great over salad. It had cheesy overtones and a tomato backbone. The beans really made it filling. Curious, I tasted a few all on their own. They have a soft texture and a buttery taste that instantly made me think they'd make an awesome puree.

I used this puree as one might use any condiment. I spread it on bread for my sandwiches. I also used it as a thick salad dressing which I thinned out with either vinegar or hot sauce. It's similar to hummus, but still stands apart in many ways. It's also easier to make than hummus. As chickpeas are a pain to puree if you don't have a food processor. Which I don't. But you do need either a standard blender or an immersion blender.

1/2 can great northern beans rinsed and drained
1/4 can red kidney beans rinsed and drained
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
6 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp smooth peanut butter
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp super hot sauce or 1 tsp regular hot sauce
Paprika, coriander, cayenne powder, garlic powder, basil, thyme, salt, black pepper
Olive oil

Use your blender to whip up your beans. Once they have been mostly obliterated add your lemon zest, juice, soy sauce, hot sauce, peanut butter and garlic and buzz up again until smooth.

Season generously with paprika, salt and pepper. Taste. Add other seasonings and more salt, paprika and pepper as desired.

Blend in olive oil 1/4 tsp at a time, not exceeding 2 tsps, until your desired textured is achieved. Keeping in mind it will thicken slightly after a stay in the fridge.

Refrigerate at least 3 hours, preferably overnight, before using. This will thicken things slightly and allow all the flavors to come together.

If you love lime, like I do, you might swap the lemon for a lime.