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.

Ingredients
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…

Pearl Barley Mushroom Risotto

For a creamy effect I used hummus in the preparation of my black bean and pearl barley risotto. It made for a velvety and rich texture.
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The beans and barley give off a lot of starch which thickens the broth from all the veg to form a nice sauce.

I experimented with the spices and wound up with a pleasing fusion of the Mediterranean and Asia. When you're working only with veg and spices you need to get creative to really make the flavors pop.

1/4 lb baby carrots, sliced on the bias
1 poblano, sliced into small strips
1 pint cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 small red onion, sliced thinly
1 jalaepno, sliced small
1 habernero, sliced small
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1 tbl olive oil
2-3 cups water
2/3 cup red wine
1 tbl hummus
1 lime, zest and juice

1/2 cup pearl barley
1 can black beans, plus the liquid

3 pieces cloves
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1 large handful fresh basil chiffonade

Cook down the carrots and mushrooms in the oil and salt until tender. Add the poblano and onion. Continue to cook until those are tender too. Add wine, jalapeno, habernero, garlic, barley, black beans, dry spices and 2 cups water.. Simmer over medium heat. Stirring occasionally. Letting the barley slowly absorb the liquid. Add water 1/2 cup at a time as needed to continue cooking the barley until tender.

When barley is almost done, stir in hummus, lime zest and lime juice. Simmer 5 more minutes or until barley is done. Stir in fresh basil. Let sit off heat for 2 more minutes.