Comfort Food
January is the first full month of winter, and as I write this (in the first week of December) it's dark out at 5:00pm and the forecast is for 7-10 inches of snow. It has me thinking that it's going to be a long, cold, snow-filled winter. Generally when I get in this mood my thoughts turn to comfort food. Comfort food means something different to everyone. For some, it's fatty or greasy food like a cheeseburger or macaroni and cheese. For others it's sweets like cookies and chocolate (or both.) My definition is food that is hot and filling and has that certain intangible that satisfies not just your belly, but your soul as well. I don't narrow it down to one particular food group, and I like to experiment with old favorites in a new setting.

Popular Items on Special
For example, this month we have some of the most popular deli items on special. For the entire month we'll have our Thai Firecracker Rice. This is one of my favorite recipes, mostly because it starts out with a peanutty flavor and then slowly but surely turns on the heat. I eat it cold or hot, as a main or side dish, or as a filling. I like to get some tortillas and fill them with the Firecracker Rice and some julienned carrots or cucumber for an easy and satisfying lunch that will keep for a while without getting soggy.

Marinated Baked Tofu
We'll also have one of our most versatile items on special towards the middle of the month, our very own marinated baked tofu (or as we refer to it MBT.) Spiced with basil, thyme, red peppers, and tamari among other things, the MBT goes well with any meal by itself or dressed up. I've used it in omelets for breakfast, on a sandwich for lunch, and diced up on top of pasta with my favorite marinara for dinner. I prefer the darker slices, since they're chewier, but we also serve lesser-done slices for those who would prefer a lighter cut of tofu.

A Very Special Omelet
Speaking of omelets, the other day I made one at home that has become a new standard at my house. I stopped at the deli salad bar and picked up some of the vegan chili (which, not coincidentally, is also on sale during January) and added about a 1/4 cup to my omelet and topped it off with a little salsa. It was quick, easy, and delicious. We served sliced avocado and fresh orange juice on the side for one of the most comforting meals I've had in a long time.

BBQ Chicken & Guacamole
At the end of January we'll be featuring two comfort food standards, which also happen to go well with watching the Packers win the Superbowl, or anything else for that matter. We'll have barbequed chicken and our new and improved guacamole on special starting the last week of the month. You'll find the chicken in both the self-serve case and in our hot case. The guacamole will be over with our other fabulous dips and spreads right next to our fresh new salsas.