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…

Cucumber Salsa

I was in the mood for summer, even though mother nature is still not ready to comply. Crisp cucumbers in a spicy dressing with lime and ginger make you feel like summer even when it's still snowing outside.

2 large cucumbers, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 can kidney beans rinsed thoroughly, reserve 1 tbl of the can brine
2-3 handfuls cilantro
1 jalapeno, diced
1 serrano, diced

2 limes, zest and juice
2 tbls white vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbl kidney bean can juice
1-2 tsps Louisiana hot sauce
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 inch ginger, grated
1 tsp sugar
2 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp crushed pepper flakes

In a bowl add all the dressing components except for the oil. Whisk in the oil slowly until emulsified.

Add salsa ingredients to the prepared dressing and stir to coat everything.

I deseeded the cucumbers before dicing, but that is personal preference.

I like a lot of heat, but you can use half a jalapeno and half a serrano to tone it down some. I don't recommend using one jalapeno and eliminating the serrano. Different kinds of hot peppers help create a depth of spice instead of just a single note of heat.

Cilantro measurements are a general guideline. Add cilantro to taste. I like a lot of that too, but for some people a little goes a long way. I like to add a nice bunch and then taste to decide if I want to add more. Also, keeping in mind that the flavors will intensify some after resting and chilling.

Allow to rest in the fridge for a few hours.