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 …

Curryish Barley and Lentils

I've never bought ground turmeric before, but I recently purchased some. I love the flavor. It's the magnificent backbone of all the world's great curries. And it has the awesome power to transform ordinary ingredients into something exciting and exotic.

This isn't a true curry. It's more of a indian inspired minimalist approach. It's got a little heat and a lot of flavor. But it's not quite as assertive as a true curry.

1/2 cup dry pearl barley
1/2 cup dry lentils
12 ounce package frozen broccoli and cauliflower mix
2 cups onion broth (see instructions below)
3 large garlic cloves sliced extra thin
1-2 small jalapenos minced (retain the seeds and ribs)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

To make the broth...
2 cups water
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 green tea bags
Skins, roots and tops from 2 large spanish onions
3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
Ribs and seeds from 2 jalapenos
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
5 dashes hot sauce
1 tbl butter

Bring all ingredients to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags. Simmer 5 more minutes.

This completes your broth.

To your broth add the barley and lentils and simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Check often and add more water as needed to keep cooking the barley and lentils until they are mostly tender.

When the barley and lentils are fairly tender add the sliced garlic, minced jalapeno, the rest of the spices and cook just 2 minutes more over a low flame.

Kill the heat and add the frozen veg mix. Stir to combine. Cover and let sit 3 minutes to heat the veg through.

Serve immediately for a hot dish or let cool and refridgerate for a chilled experience.