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 …

Vegan Chick and Beer Soup

A great bowl of soup is a cold weather essential. The inspiration for this one is childhood and snow. My mom used to serve Campbell's chicken noodle soup when it was cold outside or I was not feeling well. My mom was a lousy cook. That's what inspired me to become a good one. Thanks Mom!

This is a vegan faux chicken soup made with chick peas. It's complex and full of depth thanks to many fresh vegetables and some help from beer and wine. This is the kind of soup where you gobble up all the chunks and then you pick up the bowl and drink the leftover broth like it's your first cup of coffee in the morning.

It's kind of a long list of ingredients, but nothing fancy. All the cooking takes place in one pot. So it's actually very simple.

If you love soup, this is the recipe for you. If you don't, this soup will change your mind.

1/2 pint favorite mushrooms
1/4 lb chopped baby carrots
1/4 small red onion, diced
1/4 lb chopped celery
1 poblano, diced
1 jalapeno, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced

2-3 cups water
1/3 cup beer
1/3 cup white wine
2 tbls olive oil
2 tbls white vinegar
1 can chick peas, plus 1/2 the can brine

2 tsps paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne powder
2 tsps basil
1 tsps dill weed
2 tsps salt
2 tsps black pepper

Saute vegetables in olive oil and salt in a large pot. Cook over medium heat until slightly softened. Add beer. Cover and steam for 5 minutes.  Add wine and 1 cup water. Add spices. Remove cover. simmer 5 more minutes. Add chick peas/can brine, vinegar, spices and 1 cup more water. Bring back to a simmer and let go uncovered for 10-15 more minutes.

Add water 1/4 cup at a time during simmering to keep it at a chunky soup consistency if too much liquid evaporates. You want to reduce it to concentrate the flavors, but not too much so that it's no longer soup.

Taste the finished soup. Add a little more salt and pepper if needed.