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…

Thai Curry with a Mexican Twist

Taking a break from my mushroom obession, I was actually inspired by my lack of turmeric.Normally that's my go to spice when I want curry.

I was craving a coconut milk and tomato based curry sauce, but without that key spice I was forced to innovate. I've done asian/mexican fusions before, so I decided to try another variation on that theme.

Coconut milk based curries are one of my favorites. They're both light and rich at the same time. Perfect for summer. Thai and Mexican cuisines share a lot of similar components and flavors. Which is what inspired this spicy, yet cooling warm weather fusion.

1 lb. plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup scallions sliced on the bias, a little more for garnish
1/4 cup carrots, sliced on the bias
1 cup spinach
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 habernero pepper, minced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 lime, zest and juice
1/4 cup clinatro, chopped
1 small heel from a loaf of rye bread, crumbled

1 can coconut milk (13-14 ounces)
1/3 cup tequila
1/2 cup noodle cooking liquid, see below for clarification

2 1/2 tsps salt
1 1/2 tsps black pepper
2 tsps oregano
2 tsps crushed red pepper flakes
1 large or 2 small bay leaves

8 ounces egg noodles, cooked and 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid reserved
Canned or cooked black beans

I cooked my egg noodles in the same pot that I then used to make the sauce. The residual starch from cooking the pasta helps thicken the sauce. And less to clean afterwards is always good. First I cooked the noodles. Set them and the cooking water I wanted aside in a container.

Then I put that pot right back on the stove. Added to it the tomtaotes, coconut milk, tequila, noodle water, rye bread, carrots, scallions, poblano, jalapeno, habernero, garlic, cilantro, salt and black pepper.

Bring to a boil uncovered and then simmer for 10 minutes.

Add bay leaf, oregano, pepepr flakes. Continue to simmer covered for 10 more minutes.

Remove bay leaf. Add spinach. Simmer 5 more minutes uncovered. Or until spinach is wilted and sauce is pale orange.

Turn off heat. Use an immersion blender to lightly puree the sauce. I like to leave it slightly chunky. But you want to get those tomatoes and carrots buzzed and incorporated into the sauce for a nice bright orange color and mostly smooth texture.

Add lime zest and juice. Let sit 2 more minutes.

Serve over the prepared noodles. Garnish with reserved scallions and black beans.

To tone down the heat simply forgo the haberno in the recipe or use less. To make it vegan just use non egg based curly noodles.