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 …

Sweet Heat Fusion Salad

When the weather warms up, which it finally did, I'm a big fan of fresh, unadulterated flavors. Simple, natural  ingredients that are allowed to shine really are a pleasure to eat. Light, fresh flavors that are refreshing and nourishing. Minimal cooking for maximum satisfaction.

Sweet and spicy peppers, zesty citrus and crunchy apples make up this summery salad that's rounded out with hearty chick peas.

This is a fusion of so many cuisines. It's a global blend that borrows from many cultures. Small influences from many places work together in harmony. Food and flavor have and always will be universal.

I just recently started whipping up my own salad dresings. The fresh taste is so much more satisfying than store bought. It's easy too. Shockingly easy.

That's the one danger of cooking for yourself with fresh ingredients... Convenience foods I once found perfectly adequate now taste bland and salty.

It's a fair trade off though, for the brilliant variety of flavors and textures that have become available to me.

2 granny smith apples, peeled, diced
1 can chick peas, drained, unrinsed
1/2 cup white or red onion, diced
1 large red pepper, diced
1 large poblano pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 serrano, minced
3 large cloves garlic, sliced very thinly
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, stems removed

1 lime, zest and juice
1 tsp sriracha
2 tsps soy sauce
2  tbl hot sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
2 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper

Add lime zest and juice to a medium sized work bowl. Add sriracha, soy sauce, hot sauce, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, Whisk in oil.

Add remaining ingredients. Stir to coat in the prepared dressing.

When you drain your chick peas save the liquid. It's a great way to flavor other dishes. I used mine in my vegan mushroom risotto preparation. That salty brine they pack the beans in is a flavor powerhouse you don't want to waste.