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 …

Red Wine Lentil and Barley Stew

When foods are of a similar color it can indicate that they contain similar compounds which account for that color. Foods of a like nature often complement each other when paired in recipes. Celery and parsley for instance. They are from the same family and work well in combination. Also red onion and red wine. Together they amp up each other's flavor potential.

This red wine lentil and barley stew makes use of these nature food pairings to create a lot of flavor without a lot of fuss.

Skins and ends from one medium red onion
Flesh from 1/2 same onion
1/3 cup dry red wine
2/3 cup celery, equal parts flesh and leaves
1/2 cup fresh parsley
7 cloves garlic
1 tbl butter
1/2 cup dry lentils
1/2 cup dry pearl barley
2-3 cups water
Salt and pepper
2 tsps hot sauce
Red pepper flakes, sage, oregano, garlic powder, chili powder

Add water, wine, butter, onions, half the celery, half the garlic, salt and pepper to a large sauce pot. Uncovered bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove onion skins, ends.

Add barley and lentils. Cover and ssimmer until barley and lentils are tender. Stirring occasionally.

Add remaining celery and garlic. Add hot sauce, spices, parsley.

Cover pot and turn off heat. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Remove to a heat safe storage container. Taste. Adjust seasonings as desired.

It's vegetarian, but the butter means it's not vegan. Replace the butter with vegan margarine or olive oil for the vegan version.