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 …

Southern Lentils and Rice

Onion broth is one of the cheapest and tastiest ways you can make meat free food. It utilizes what we might otherwise throw in the trash and turns it into something more delicious because of it.

Making onion broth is so easy that I don't know why I didn't hear of this sooner. Save your onion skins, any greenish pieces you don't want and the root end too. Add these to a pot of plain tap water. Use about 1 cup of water per 1 medium onion discards. To this add 1/4 teaspoon salt.

That's it. Simmer uncovered for at least 15 minutes. Longer if you like.

The water will darken and become quite fragrant.

You can also use garlic in the same way. Add the shells of cloves to the cooking water. If there are any puny cloves I'll just crush them and add to the pot with the shell still on.

When you're broth is done cooking just remove the skins and waste pieces. I usually use a pair of tongs to do this. But a strainer can also be used.

You should wind up with about 3/4 cup broth by the time you're finished.

My favorite thing to cook in my onion/garlic broth is rice and lentils. Both these foods benefit immensely from the flavor the broth brings to the party. They soak it all up and happily deliver it to your taste buds.

Southern Rice and Lentils
3/4 cup onion/garlic broth as outlined above.
1/4 cup dry lentils
1/2 cup dry white rice (sorry I like white rice, even though brown is healthier)
You could use brown rice, but you'd have to par cook it for about 20 minutes
1 cup frozen bell peppers/onions
5 cloves minced garlic
2 tsps soy sauce
2 tbls Cajun seasoning
1 tsp crushed cumin seed
1 cup frozen broccoli/cauliflower mix
1 cup pan fried potatoes (optional)
1 tbl butter

Cook lentils and rice in the broth until it has mostly been absorbed. Add butter, cumin, Cajun seasoning, soy sauce and 1/2 cup water.

Continue cooking again until most of the liquid is absorbed. Check rice and lentil to determine doneness.

Continuing adding water and cooking until not quite done.

Add garlic, peppers and broccoli/cauliflower. and 1/4 cup more water if needed. Turn off the heat. Cover and leave pot on warm burner.

Let sit for 5 minutes then taste and add more Cajun seasoning if desired.

Garnish with potatoes if desired.