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…

One Pot Wonder Lentils and Barley

This is what I refer to as a one pot wonder. Basically you throw everything into the pot and let it go. After a little while you have a something that tastes like you worked really hard on it. This is a method that's ideal for lentils and barley because they both will absorb all the wonderful flavors that are sharing the pot with them. Cooking lentils and barley together in one pot is also easy because of their near identical cooking times. About 20-25  minutes. So they also take long enough to cook that the flavors of the supporting ingredients have a chance to develop and marry.

 There's very little herbs/seasoning in this dish. It relies on and really focuses on the flavors that can be obtained from a generous variety of fresh vegetables and produce. This one really takes the let the ingredients  shine approach to new heights. If you're not a fan of lentils. If you think they're bland... this recipe will change your mind. If you already love lentils, this will only make you love them more.

3-4 vine tomatoes, about 1 lb., chunked small
1 pint white mushrooms, sliced thick
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced

1/3 cup white wine
3 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil

2 1/2 tsps salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 large bunch fresh basil, sliced small

Add all of the first group of ingredients, plus oil, salt and black pepper to a large pot or oversized high sides skillet. Cook down for 10 minutes. Add wine. Cook down 5 more minutes. Add lentils and barley. Cook 3 more minutes. Add water. Cover and simmer until lentils and barley are just barely tender. Stir in basil and an additional 1/4 cup more water. Turn off heat. Recover. Leave pan sit on stove for 5 more minutes.