Burnt Mushroom and Artichoke Succotash

10 ounces button mushrooms. minced
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
2 tbls capers and brine
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tbls hot sauce
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 serrano, minced
1 habanero, minced
1 poblano, diced
1 large shallot, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 can red beans, rinsed
2 tsps basil
1 tbl salt
2 tsps black pepper2 tsps garlic powder

This dish uses the char of the mushrooms to add umami. When you char mushrooms, it's almost as if they are transformed into an entirely different product. Those bland, little sponges are miraculously turned into a rich, meaty, flavor bomb. They become like vegan bacon lardons. They elevate all the other ingredients with which you combine them and make everything come alive. 

The key is to take the mushrooms all the way to the edge of being burnt. 

Cook the mushrooms heavily salted in a dry fry pan over medium high heat. They will release their liquid. Let that evaporate. Deglaze with the wine. Let that…

Whole Grain Pasta Confessions

I recently tried whole grain pasta for the first time. I was definitely one of those skeptics who looked at the brown color of it and thought it would be gross.

I was totally wrong.

It tasted the same as regular pasta, with just the slightest hint of that nutty wheat flavor.

Had some with a cream of celery soup sauce, which was great. Had some more with a mushroom based sauce. Also very good.

the slight hint of wheat actually paired really well with the mushroom flavors.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised. I expected wheat bread flavor, but it wasn't like that at all.

Although, I have to confess it did not keep me full any longer than ordinary pasta. Not sure what that's all about.

The ultimate conclusion: whole grain pasta looks strange, but is actually quite good.