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…

Hot Yellow Curry with Pinto Beans

It's time for another curry. Because there's always room for another curry. This one is hot and herbaceous and filled with meaty mushrooms and rich coconut milk. I keep it vegan. I also use nooch to add that umami quality that makes things cravable.

I used canned pinto beans for protein, for salt and also for the starch to thicken the sauce. I let Mexico, India and Thailand inspire me in the flavor combinations.

Here's the trick with curry... do not use curry powder. You simply don't know how much of anything is in there. Make your own. It's easy and you control the flavor. As Alton Brown will be quick to tell you, there's no such thing as curry powder in India.

Curry is in its most basic form a blend of spices. There are definitely certain spices that usually appear in the blend. And it's almost always very spicy and carries some heat. But curry is very subjective. If you're into Indian and Thai flavors you should be experimenting with your own spice combinations and ratios to create your personalized favorite.

Still, numerous recipes, including this one, can give you a jumping off point

1 pint white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1/2 cup white onion, diced
1 poblano, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, grated

1/2 cup tequila
1 can coconut milk
1 tbl canola oil
1 lime, zest and juice
1 tbl sriracha
1 tsp habernero hot sauce

2 tsps chunky salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp crushed pepper flakes
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 tsps nutritional yeast flakes
2 tsps curry spice blend, see below

1 can pinto beans, plus can brine

cooked noodles to serve over

Saute mushrooms and celery in oil over fairly high heat. Season with a pinch of salt. When those are tender add tequila. Cook down until most of the liquid is gone. Add poblano, onion, jalapeno, garlic. Continue sauteing until all veg is tender and fragrant. Add curry blend let cook in now mostly dry skillet to toast. About 2 minutes.

Add coconut milk, sriracha, hot sauce. Simmer 5 minutes.

Add can of beans, remaining spices, yeast, lime. Simmer to heat through and thicken sauce. About 5 more minutes.

Curry Blend
2 tbls cardamom
2 tbls cumin seed
2 tbls coriander seed
2 tbls celery seed
1 tbl allspice
1 tsp cloves

Buzz up spices in a grinder. Store in an air tight container. Yield 3-4 uses.