Mexindian Summer Salad

While I love to cook, the summer heat causes me to avoid using the the stove and oven as much as possible. Instead, I opt for fresh produce that I can chop and mix without applying heat. This isn't too difficult when you cook with mostly beans and vegetables.

This one has a really nice sauce that has two of my favorite spices: paprika and turmeric. I love this combination. It's a really accessible way to quickly introduce heaps of flavor and depth. Especially if you're not that comfortable with combining a lot of spices. This simplifies it, but still keeps it interesting. 

It's easy to put together too. Just combine all ingredients and let rest in the fridge overnight. This allows time for the tomatoes to release their juices, the acid to wake up the spices and the starches from the beans to thicken the sauce. 

Vegan cooking is a unique situation. Traditional techniques don't necessarily work. We have to approach the ingredients from a different perspective in order …

Crispy Tofu Recipe

There was a time I didn't think that crispy tofu was even possible. I had tried various cooking methods and not gotten the crisp I sought.

The key to crispy tofu is in using the right kind of tofu. It has to be firm or extra firm. Extra firm is best. It also must be thoroughly drained.

I've found the best way to get tofu really dried out is to use refrigeration.

Discard the packaging liquid. Lay the block on a plate layered with thick paper or regular towels. Rest in the fridge uncovered for several hours. Wring out the towels once or twice during the process so they can continue to absorb more moisture. Also turn the block over half way through.

The refrigerator will do most of the drying with its cool, moisture evaporating environment.

Coat a baking sheet with non stick spray. Slice the dried out tofu into 1/2 inch thick slabs. Arrange evenly in a single layer on the sheet. Salt generously. This will further help to dry out the tofu.

Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes, turning over the slices at the halfway point.

Remove from oven. Brush with olive oil and season with additional salt on both sides.

Set broiler to high. Broil the tofu until a crispy, crunchy exterior is formed on the top. About 7 minutes. Turn over and repeat.

Brush with a little more oil after you take them out of the oven. Season with black pepper. Allow to rest for 10 after it's come out of the oven.

The tofu will have a very crunchy, very crisp outer layer and the middle will be tender, yet a little bit chewy. The seasoning and the oil will give the crunchy outer layer lots of flavor. A hint of the oil and seasoning flavor will have penetrated to the center. If you've been successful the tofu will snap like a chip or cracker when you break it or bite into it, but it will  have a pleasingly soft and chewy middle.