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…

Creamy Lemon Basil Lentils

I'm on a mushroom binge lately. Totally obsessed with different ways to combine them with other flavors and find all their earthy potential.

It's pretty amazing how something as humble as the mushroom can be the star of so many wildly different dishes.

Chicken piccate was my inspiration, but obviously some tweaks were required to meet my standards. I also played a little fast and loose with the rest of the traditional piccata. Just using the general idea as a jumping off point for something lemony, spicy and a little bit creamy.

1/2 cup dry lentils
1 cup frozen peas
3 cups white mushrooms, sliced
1 cup yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 jalapeno, sliced
1/2 a serrano, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced

3/4 cup white wine
2-4 cups water
1/4-1/2 cup half and half or cream
1 tbl spicy mustard
2 tbls butter
1 tbl olive oil
2 lemons, zest and juice

2 tsps dry basil
2-3 tsp salt
1-2 tsp black pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet with deep sides on medium high. Saute mushrooms with 1 tsp salt until lightly softened and mildly darkened. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic, jalapeno, serrano, 1 more tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper. Cook 3 more minutes. Add wine and mustard. Stir to incorporate. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add lentils and 2 cups water. Cover and simmer until lentils are just about tender. Add more water as needed to cook lentils. When lentils are almost tender add enough water to give a generous amount of sauce in the pan. The sauce/liquid should come about 1/3 up the sides of the pan.

Uncover. Add basil and lemon juice. Cook 2 more minutes.

Lower heat to medium low. Add butter. Stir to melt and combine. Taste. Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Add parsley, peas and half and half. Add 1/4 cup half and half at first. This will yield a light sauce with a touch of creaminess. Add more if a richer sauce is desired.

Raise heat to medium. Simmer 3 minutes stirring to combine.

Turn off heat. Finish with lemon zest and some more uncut parsley leaves.