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…

Vegan Garlic Herb Flatbread

I'm into yeast based breads now. Years ago I tried my hand at it and quite enjoyed it. I've since revisited the process and it's just as enjoyable as it ever was. There's something very satisfying about kneading dough, then allowing it to rise. You set it aside as something small and incomplete and an hour later it's grown twofold and is fortified and ready to become something real that can nourish you and your loved ones.

I really prefer adding seasoning to the dough itself. I like the way the flavorings enhance the bread as it cooks. They marry during the cooking process. I think it really strengthens the flavor profile.

Make a basic bread dough.

3/4 cup almond milk warmed to 100 F
1 packet yeast
2 tsps salt
1 tbl sugar

In a large bowl dissolve yeast in the warm milk. Add the salt and sugar. Stir to combine. Let sit 5 minutes to activate the yeast.

5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed pepper flakes
1 tsps dry basil
1 tbl vegetable shortening, melted
2 cups all purpose flour

Add remaining ingredients to yeast mixture and stir to form a dough ball. Add more flour a tbl at a time to create a nice dough.

Knead on a floured surface for 3 minutes. Form into a ball.

Add a tsp of oil to original bowl. Put dough ball into the bowl and roll around to coat in the oil.

Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled.

Punch down dough and work into thin flattened disks. Let rest 5 minutes. Flatten a little more.

Brush with olive oil on the top sides.

Heat a skillet with oil. Add bread dry side down, one at a time to the hot skillet. Cook until golden and bubbly on one side, then flip and repeat.

Fresh bread makes life worth living.