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…

Sweet Heat Fusion Salad

When the weather warms up, which it finally did, I'm a big fan of fresh, unadulterated flavors. Simple, natural  ingredients that are allowed to shine really are a pleasure to eat. Light, fresh flavors that are refreshing and nourishing. Minimal cooking for maximum satisfaction.

Sweet and spicy peppers, zesty citrus and crunchy apples make up this summery salad that's rounded out with hearty chick peas.

This is a fusion of so many cuisines. It's a global blend that borrows from many cultures. Small influences from many places work together in harmony. Food and flavor have and always will be universal.

I just recently started whipping up my own salad dresings. The fresh taste is so much more satisfying than store bought. It's easy too. Shockingly easy.

That's the one danger of cooking for yourself with fresh ingredients... Convenience foods I once found perfectly adequate now taste bland and salty.

It's a fair trade off though, for the brilliant variety of flavors and textures that have become available to me.

2 granny smith apples, peeled, diced
1 can chick peas, drained, unrinsed
1/2 cup white or red onion, diced
1 large red pepper, diced
1 large poblano pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 serrano, minced
3 large cloves garlic, sliced very thinly
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, stems removed

1 lime, zest and juice
1 tsp sriracha
2 tsps soy sauce
2  tbl hot sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
2 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper

Add lime zest and juice to a medium sized work bowl. Add sriracha, soy sauce, hot sauce, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, Whisk in oil.

Add remaining ingredients. Stir to coat in the prepared dressing.

When you drain your chick peas save the liquid. It's a great way to flavor other dishes. I used mine in my vegan mushroom risotto preparation. That salty brine they pack the beans in is a flavor powerhouse you don't want to waste.