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…

Vegan Chick and Beer Soup

A great bowl of soup is a cold weather essential. The inspiration for this one is childhood and snow. My mom used to serve Campbell's chicken noodle soup when it was cold outside or I was not feeling well. My mom was a lousy cook. That's what inspired me to become a good one. Thanks Mom!

This is a vegan faux chicken soup made with chick peas. It's complex and full of depth thanks to many fresh vegetables and some help from beer and wine. This is the kind of soup where you gobble up all the chunks and then you pick up the bowl and drink the leftover broth like it's your first cup of coffee in the morning.

It's kind of a long list of ingredients, but nothing fancy. All the cooking takes place in one pot. So it's actually very simple.

If you love soup, this is the recipe for you. If you don't, this soup will change your mind.

1/2 pint favorite mushrooms
1/4 lb chopped baby carrots
1/4 small red onion, diced
1/4 lb chopped celery
1 poblano, diced
1 jalapeno, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced

2-3 cups water
1/3 cup beer
1/3 cup white wine
2 tbls olive oil
2 tbls white vinegar
1 can chick peas, plus 1/2 the can brine

2 tsps paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne powder
2 tsps basil
1 tsps dill weed
2 tsps salt
2 tsps black pepper

Saute vegetables in olive oil and salt in a large pot. Cook over medium heat until slightly softened. Add beer. Cover and steam for 5 minutes.  Add wine and 1 cup water. Add spices. Remove cover. simmer 5 more minutes. Add chick peas/can brine, vinegar, spices and 1 cup more water. Bring back to a simmer and let go uncovered for 10-15 more minutes.

Add water 1/4 cup at a time during simmering to keep it at a chunky soup consistency if too much liquid evaporates. You want to reduce it to concentrate the flavors, but not too much so that it's no longer soup.

Taste the finished soup. Add a little more salt and pepper if needed.