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…

Rustic Lentil and Barley Stew

I love lentils. If there's such a thing as lentil addiction, I may have it. I eat lentils as much as 5 days a week. They're almost a complete protein, so a few more aminos and done. They're also quick cooking compared to their legumey bretheren. 20 minutes and done. Which beautifully syncs up with the cooking times for both rice and pearl barley. Score!

This barley and lentil dish is pretty basic, but very flavorful. It utilizes my go to method for cooking lentils... broth. Broths are the ideal way to incorporate tons of flavor into humble foods like rice, barley, beans and lentils. We use layers of aromatics, vegetation, alcohol, fat and spices to create a complex liquid in which to cook the dry grains and legumes infusing them with all that intense flavor that we developed.

2 1/2 cups chopped celery including leaves
1 cup chopped white onion
2 cups chopped kale
The skin, plus the top and bottom from one medium white onion
5 cloves roasted garlic
ribs with seeds attached from one jalapeno
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbl butter
1 tsp sriracha
2 tsps balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
1 tsp salt, pepper
1/4 tsp paprika, oregano, basil, coriander, cayenne, red pepper flakes
2 cups water, more as needed
1/2 cup pearl barley
2/3 cup lentils

Fill a large pot with all ingredients except 1/2 cup of the celery and all of the kale, vinaigrette, sriracha, lentils and barley. Do not cover pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove onion skins, onion ends, jalapeno ribs.

Add remaining ingredients: reserved 1/2 cup celery and all of the vinaigrette, sriracha, kale, lentils and barley. Cover pot. Continue simmering over low heat for 20 minutes or until barley and lentils are tender. Add additional water as necessary. Add enough water so there is a approximately 1/2 cup of broth still present after the lentils and barley have finished cooking.

Remove from pot to a cool storage container. Taste and add additional seasoning if desired.