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 Thai Tomato Salad

A refreshing tomato salad is a wonderful thing in and of itself. I wanted to try something different by incorporating the flavors of Thailand into the mix. Typically when you think of tomato salad your mind automatically goes to Italy.

Italian flavors are a great way to go with a tomato salad, but I was looking to pair my tomato salad with a Thai green curry chickpea dish that I was making.  So I took this approach instead.

The flavors of lemongrass, kaffir lime and galangal make for a unique variation on this classic summer salad. The Thai flavors in the dressing are mild. Just a hint to give it a different kind of depth. The fresh tomatoes, peppers and onions still have center stage. The juice from the tomatoes slowly mixes into the sauce as it chills in the fridge. So be sure to rest it a while and give it a good stir before enjoying it.

1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1 poblano, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 serrano, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, plus 1/4 of the can liquid

1 1/2 tbls hot sauce
2 tbls olive oil
1 tbl thai green curry paste
2 handfuls basil, minced
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients. Chill for several hours. Stir well after chilling.