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 Pea and Tofu Puree

Who doesn't love a good puree. They're so versatile. Spread them on bread. Dip your chips in them. Use them as a sauce. The best part is they're really easy to make.

If you're looking for ways to incorporate tofu into your meals without actually feeling like you're eating tofu, you'll love this.

I was going for a hummus type feel, but a little bit different. I kept that middle eastern style spice palette.

It's designed less as a dip and more as a sauce or spread component.

1 can chick peas, plus 1/3 the can brine
6 ounces silken firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup yellow onion
1/4 cup white mushrooms
3 cloves garlic
2 tbls olive oil
1 1/2 tbls white vinegar
2 tsps coriander seed
2 tsps cumin seed
2 tsps crushed pepper flakes
2-3 tsps sea salt
2 tsps black pepper

Puree all ingredients in your food processor until smooth. Let rest for a few hours in the fridge to firm things up.

That's it. Tons of flavor, minimal effort.

Experiment with different kinds of mushrooms to create interesting variations on this theme.

Pictured above accompanied by sauteed spinach and homemade french bread topped with french/middle eastern rice and beans.

1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 pint white mushrooms, sliced
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 serrano, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 cup beer
1/4 cup vodka
2 tbls red wine vinegar
2 tbls olive oil
1 tbl sriracha
1 tsps habernero hot sauce
1 can red, pinto or kidney beans
1/2 can whole kernel corn, drained
2 tsps paprika
2 tsps turmeric
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp savory
1 tsp herbs de provence
2 tsps salt
2 tsps black pepper
1/2 cup dry white rice/water as needed to cook the rice

Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer onion, mushrooms, beer, vodka, sriracha, hot sauce, jalapeno, serrano, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Add beans, corn, spices, rice and 1/2 cup water. Cover and continue summering to cook the rice. Add additional water as needed to cook the rice until tender and keep a saucy liquid in the pot.

The spice combos are unusual, but they work surprisingly well.