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…

Blistered Tomato and Mushroom Ragout

This is a pretty straightforward tomato based ragout that's simple to make, but delivers big on flavor. It yields a nice sauce that's not too thick and perfect for mixing into rice, pasta or salad.

1 pint cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 jalapeno, sliced
2 tbls olive oil
1/4 cup Marsala wine
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup water
2 tbls red wine vinegar
1 can garbanzos, plus half the can brine
2 tsps dry basil
1 tsp crushed pepper flakes
2 tsps salt and pepper
12 leaves fresh basil, sliced
In a large, non-stick skillet blister the tomatoes with a pinch of salt by turning up the heat and allowing them to almost burn. Tomatoes can take a nice dark char. So don't be shy.

It's easiest to do this if you're not watching the pan. Slice your other ingredients while the tomatoes are charring. Just be sure to keep an eye out that they don't go too far. It happens slow at the outset, but moves quickly once it gets going.

When the tomatoes are nicely darkened in a few spots add your Marsala, mushrooms, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cook on medium high to reduce the wine and darken the mushrooms. About 5 minutes.

Add garlic, jalapeno, vodka, vinegar, garbanzos, remaining dry spices, water.

Simmer on medium for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are very tender and you can easily squash them with tongs. Squeeze the softened tomatoes gently with your tongs to release the juices.

Add fresh basil and simmer 2 more minutes.