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…

Mexican Barley and Black Beans

Every so often Aldi sells mushrooms for really cheap. 8 ounces of baby bellas were 89 cents. A one pound bag of sweet mini peppers were $1.69. Cilantro bunch for 79 cents. The ingredients spoke to me and the word they said was Mexican. Also this dish was meant to pair nicely with my sweet pepper puree I'd made in the previous post, which it did.

1 cup cremini mushrooms diced
1 cup celery diced
1/2 cup sweet peppers diced
7 cloves minced garlic
3 ounces ice beer
2 ribs/seeds from a jalapeno and 1 from a habernero
1 tbl olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
dried paprika, red pepper flakes, basil, sage

1/2 cup dry pearl barley
1 can rinsed and drained black beans

To make the broth add the mushrooms, celery, peppers, garlic, beer, ribs/seeds, oil and salt and pepper to a large pot. Add enough water to cover by at least an inch.

Bring to a boil and then simmer at least 10 minutes. Taste broth.

Adjust salt and pepper if needed. Add 1 tsp each of paprika, pepper flakes, basil and sage. Add barely.

Cover and simmer. Allowing the barley to absorb the liquid. Add 1.5 cups more water after most has been absorbed.

Add beans.

Simmer again until barley is tender and liquid has thickened. Add cilantro leaves. Stir. Taste. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Let sit covered for 5 minutes before serving.