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.

Ingredients
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…

Lentil and Barley Winter Stew

Lentils and barley are a match beyond reproach in my opinion. Throw in some tomato and leafy greens and never look back.

When I was young my mother would make beef stew. I never cared much for it. Chewy cubes of meat swimming in a soupy mess of mushy carrots and potatoes.

This recipe on the other hand, is what stew should be. All the components still have their textural integrity. They are married together in a rich and complex broth.

It takes some time to make, but it's worth it.

2 shallots, sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup spinach
1 cup kale

1/2 cup dry lentils
1/3 cup dry pearl barley

1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup brandy
2 tsps spicy mustard
1 chipotle and 1 tbl adobo sauce
3 tbls olive oil
1 small can low sodium V8 juice
5-6 cups water

1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsps celery seed
2 1/2 tsps paprika
2 tsps thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsps salt

In a large sauce pot or stock pot sweat shallots and bell/poblano peppers in oil with salt and black pepper. About 5 minutes. Until softened. Add garlic and jalapeno and continue sweating for 5 more minutes.

Turn up heat to medium high. Add wine and brandy. Cook off for 5 minutes.

Add 2 cups water, yeast, mustard, chipotle, adobo, remaining spices. Simmer 5 minutes.

Add barley and lentils and 1 cup more water.

Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add 1 cup more water, V8. Cover and continue to simmer 5 more minutes. Add another cup of water. Simmer 5 more minutes. Add another 1/2 cup water and kale. Simmer 5 more minutes. Add spinach and 1/2 cup more water if needed. Simmer 5 more minutes.