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…

Italy Meets Thailand Vegan Stew

This is a sweet and spicy concoction that has surprising nuances to offer. The mushrooms are meaty. The tomatoes provide acidity. The black beans fortify the broth into a rich sauce. Ginger and basil smack of Thailand. The sweet tomatoes and earthy mushrooms whisper of Italy. It's weird, but it really works.

There's a lot of flavor to be extracted from this rather mundane list of ingredients. It just takes a little bit of passion and the right techniques.

8 ounces sliced white mushrooms
6 ounces white onion, diced
4 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 jalapeno, chopped
1/2 a hot banana pepper, chopped
1/2 inch fresh grated ginger
1 large handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1/3 cup Marsala wine
1 tbl canola oil

1/2 cup cooked white rice
1 cup drained and rinsed black beans

2 tsps salt
2 tsps black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne powder

Add oil and heat a large skillet. Cook mushrooms on medium high heat for 5 minutes. Add wine, onion and tomatoes. Cook 5 more minutes. Add jalapeno, banana pepper, ginger and garlic. Cook 2 more minutes.

Stir in rice and beans. Simmer 3 more minutes.

Add salt, black pepper, paprika, cayenne and basil. Simmer 2 more minutes.