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 …

Lentil and Barley Winter Stew

Lentils and barley are a match beyond reproach in my opinion. Throw in some tomato and leafy greens and never look back.

When I was young my mother would make beef stew. I never cared much for it. Chewy cubes of meat swimming in a soupy mess of mushy carrots and potatoes.

This recipe on the other hand, is what stew should be. All the components still have their textural integrity. They are married together in a rich and complex broth.

It takes some time to make, but it's worth it.

2 shallots, sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup spinach
1 cup kale

1/2 cup dry lentils
1/3 cup dry pearl barley

1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup brandy
2 tsps spicy mustard
1 chipotle and 1 tbl adobo sauce
3 tbls olive oil
1 small can low sodium V8 juice
5-6 cups water

1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsps celery seed
2 1/2 tsps paprika
2 tsps thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsps salt

In a large sauce pot or stock pot sweat shallots and bell/poblano peppers in oil with salt and black pepper. About 5 minutes. Until softened. Add garlic and jalapeno and continue sweating for 5 more minutes.

Turn up heat to medium high. Add wine and brandy. Cook off for 5 minutes.

Add 2 cups water, yeast, mustard, chipotle, adobo, remaining spices. Simmer 5 minutes.

Add barley and lentils and 1 cup more water.

Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add 1 cup more water, V8. Cover and continue to simmer 5 more minutes. Add another cup of water. Simmer 5 more minutes. Add another 1/2 cup water and kale. Simmer 5 more minutes. Add spinach and 1/2 cup more water if needed. Simmer 5 more minutes.