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. 

Ingredients
1/2 box pasta, cooked to al dente

2 ounces dried fancy mushroom mix, big pieces broken or diced
1 pint …

Pear and Black Bean Relish

A simple set of ingredients come together to create a complex array of flavors and textures.

The idea of combining sweet fruit with a little heat is a tried an true winner. Autumn fruits like apple and pear have an acidic undertone that add another layer of complexity to the classic sweet/heat pairing. Their crunchy texture also adds another dimension.

Don't take my word for it. Try it and see.

Base
1 pear, peeled and diced
1/2 a medium red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 can black beans, thoroughly rinsed
1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced thinly

Dressing
1 lime, zest and juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbl hot sauce
1 tbl spicy mustard
2 1/2 tsps salt
1 tsps crushed pepper flakes
1 tsp black pepper

Add all dressing ingredients, except the oil to a small mixing bowl. Whisk in oil. Add base components and stir to coat. Let rest a few hours in the fridge.

Rinse the black beans in a wire strainer under cool running water. If you don't get rid of all of it, the black starchy liquid from the can will muddy your dressing.