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. 

Ingredients
1/2 box pasta, cooked to al dente

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

Red Wine Braised Lentils and Barley

You can never go wrong with lentils. At least that's my thinking. Lentils are always tasty and satisfying. They also are a blank canvas upon which you can layer any flavors you desire. They will readily soak them up and reward you with superb taste and texture.

Try cooking your lentils in a onion/garlic broth that utilizes what we would normally discard. Save your onion skins and garlic clove skins. Simmer then for at least 15 minutes in 2 cups of water and 1 tsp of salt. Simmer longer if necessary. Until the broth smells quite oniony.

Ingredients
1/4 cup dry lentils
1/4 cup dry pearl barley
1/3 cup red wine
7 cloves minced garlic
1/2 medium onion minced
1 medium tomato diced
1/3 cup three color frozen bell pepper with onions
2 tsp Ms. Dash salt free chipotle seasoning
Salt, pepper to taste

Add your barley to the broth, ms. dash and another tsp of salt. Also add several good grinds of black pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes. Then add your lentils.

Cook 5 more minutes and then add your wine.

Continue cooking for 10 minutes longer. Then add onion, tomato, frozen pepper mixture and garlic.

Simmer for 2-3 more minutes until the onions are tender and the frozen stuff is warmed through.

Remove from heat and finish with fresh parsley or cilantro. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.