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 Inspired Spicy Lentil and Barley Soup

It's filling and light at the same time. A spicy broth filled with a kaleidoscope of textures and flavors. I wasn't sure where I wanted to go with this. I started out with some mushrooms and roasted peppers. Then I remembered I had some ginger and that became my inspiration.

I borrowed a little from several cuisines, but used classic combinations to keep it harmonious.

8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup broccoli stalk, chopped
1 poblano pepper, roasted and diced
1 jalapeno pepper, roasted and diced
1/2 a habernero pepper, roasted and diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 inch ginger root minced

1/3 cup red wine
1 tbl canola oil

4-5 cups water
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup dry lentils

2 tsps paprika
2 tsps cumin
1 tsp cayenne
2 tsps thyme
2 tsps salt
2 tsps black pepper

Roast the peppers in a 450 F oven for 10 minutes.

Add the first two sets of ingredients to a large pot, plus 3 cups of the water and the salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, uncovered and simmer for about 12 minutes. Until liquid had reduced by 1/3 and the broth is dark color and rich in taste.

Add remaining spices, barley and lentils and another cup of water. Simmer covered for 10 minutes. Remove cover and continue simmering until barley and lentils are al dente, about 7 more minutes. Add additional water as needed to keep the contents of the pot at a soup consistency.

When barley and lentils are al dente, turn off heat. Cover the pot again, leave on the warm burner and allow to sit for 10 more minutes.