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 …

Rustic Lentil and Barley Stew

I love lentils. If there's such a thing as lentil addiction, I may have it. I eat lentils as much as 5 days a week. They're almost a complete protein, so a few more aminos and done. They're also quick cooking compared to their legumey bretheren. 20 minutes and done. Which beautifully syncs up with the cooking times for both rice and pearl barley. Score!

This barley and lentil dish is pretty basic, but very flavorful. It utilizes my go to method for cooking lentils... broth. Broths are the ideal way to incorporate tons of flavor into humble foods like rice, barley, beans and lentils. We use layers of aromatics, vegetation, alcohol, fat and spices to create a complex liquid in which to cook the dry grains and legumes infusing them with all that intense flavor that we developed.

2 1/2 cups chopped celery including leaves
1 cup chopped white onion
2 cups chopped kale
The skin, plus the top and bottom from one medium white onion
5 cloves roasted garlic
ribs with seeds attached from one jalapeno
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbl butter
1 tsp sriracha
2 tsps balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
1 tsp salt, pepper
1/4 tsp paprika, oregano, basil, coriander, cayenne, red pepper flakes
2 cups water, more as needed
1/2 cup pearl barley
2/3 cup lentils

Fill a large pot with all ingredients except 1/2 cup of the celery and all of the kale, vinaigrette, sriracha, lentils and barley. Do not cover pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove onion skins, onion ends, jalapeno ribs.

Add remaining ingredients: reserved 1/2 cup celery and all of the vinaigrette, sriracha, kale, lentils and barley. Cover pot. Continue simmering over low heat for 20 minutes or until barley and lentils are tender. Add additional water as necessary. Add enough water so there is a approximately 1/2 cup of broth still present after the lentils and barley have finished cooking.

Remove from pot to a cool storage container. Taste and add additional seasoning if desired.