Spicy Barbecue Tofu

Tofu tends to get a bad rap. If it's not prepared properly it can feel like eating an old sponge and taste of absolutely nothing. On the other hand, when treated well, tofu can be a scrumptious treat for the senses as well as powerful nourishment for the body.

I first fell in love with tofu through my local Chinese takeout. They have deep fried tofu with sauteed vegetables. Deep fried tofu has the perfect chewy exterior and pillowy soft center. It tastes of all the vegetables, oil and soy sauce from the wok.

I've experimented with cooking tofu at home. I don't really deep fry. But there are other great ways to prepare tofu as a main protein. I like to broil it. I use a classic meat eaters method to give it flavor. I brush it with a glaze before and mid cooking. It works brilliantly both in terms of flavor and texture.

It's totally vegan.

1 package extra firm tofu
4 tbls olive oil
2 tbls hot sauce
2 tbls sriracha
1 tbl apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp…

Northern/Kidney Bean Hummus

I discovered great northern beans quite accidentally. In progresso macaroni and bean vegetarian soup. It was great over salad. It had cheesy overtones and a tomato backbone. The beans really made it filling. Curious, I tasted a few all on their own. They have a soft texture and a buttery taste that instantly made me think they'd make an awesome puree.

I used this puree as one might use any condiment. I spread it on bread for my sandwiches. I also used it as a thick salad dressing which I thinned out with either vinegar or hot sauce. It's similar to hummus, but still stands apart in many ways. It's also easier to make than hummus. As chickpeas are a pain to puree if you don't have a food processor. Which I don't. But you do need either a standard blender or an immersion blender.

1/2 can great northern beans rinsed and drained
1/4 can red kidney beans rinsed and drained
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
6 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp smooth peanut butter
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp super hot sauce or 1 tsp regular hot sauce
Paprika, coriander, cayenne powder, garlic powder, basil, thyme, salt, black pepper
Olive oil

Use your blender to whip up your beans. Once they have been mostly obliterated add your lemon zest, juice, soy sauce, hot sauce, peanut butter and garlic and buzz up again until smooth.

Season generously with paprika, salt and pepper. Taste. Add other seasonings and more salt, paprika and pepper as desired.

Blend in olive oil 1/4 tsp at a time, not exceeding 2 tsps, until your desired textured is achieved. Keeping in mind it will thicken slightly after a stay in the fridge.

Refrigerate at least 3 hours, preferably overnight, before using. This will thicken things slightly and allow all the flavors to come together.

If you love lime, like I do, you might swap the lemon for a lime.