Fresh spring asparagus loves to be cooked in a wok. Quickly seared, on high heat for a short amount of time leaves it snappy, flavorful and vibrantly green. Paired with mushrooms, garlic and ginger, this is one of my all time favorite asparagus recipes- perfect as a healthy side dish, served with fish or chicken. Or, for a fast delicious, vegan and gluten free meal, add crispy tofu. Even Brian loves crispy tofu, it’s so good. Drizzle with a few drops of toasted sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds for a boost of earthy umami flavor. Best of all, if you are organized, it can be made fast— 15 minutes flat!
On the home front–this last glorious week was spent digging in the dirt, planting starts and seeds and readying the beds for this season’s harvest. I am constantly reminded how my mental state of mind is directly correlated with time spend outside in the natural world. As a child, pulling weeds was my parents form of torture and punishment. Now it has become a reward. Being outside, my mind seems to settle down and rest, and I begin again to feel the connection to the earth and to all of life. As I worked in the garden, one thought kept coming up repeatedly.
It’s that…everything wants to grow! In my garden, there are weeds, there are volunteers and there are the seeds I plant every year. The dilemma then becomes one of space and time. There is simply not enough of both to grow everything. And so I begin to ask myself the question -what do I really want to grow in my garden? And of course now, I’m really talking about the garden of life. Because everything will grow if we let it, and we only have so much time here. So. What do I truly want to grow in this life? And how do I do so in way that honors it with the space and care that is needed? Garden epiphanies….
- 8 ounces mushrooms- sliced ( cremini, white button, or shiitakes)
- ¾ pound asparagus
- 3 T ginger
- 3 T garlic
- 1 pound extra firm tofu
- ½ C corn starch
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- ¾ tsp sugar
- 3 T peanut oil ( or vegetable oil)
- 3 T peanut oil
- 2 tsp braggs liquid amino acid ( or soy sauce)
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar.
- drizzle toasted sesame oil
- sprinkle sesame seeds
- Slice mushrooms. Bend off the tough ends of the asparagus- they will naturally break off where they are tender. Cut into 2 inch pieces. Chop garlic. Peel and chop ginger.
- Pat dry tofu with paper towels, pressing down to release water. Cut into 1 inch cubes.
- Place cornstarch, salt and sugar in a medium bowl and mix well. Toss tofu in the corn starch mixture.
- Heat 3-4 T oil in a wok over high heat. Once hot, turn heat to medium high. Shake excess cornstarch off tofu and carefully place tofu in the wok, working in 2 batches ( don’t over crowd). Turn tofu carefully every minute or so, until a least two sides are golden brown and crispy. Set tofu aside on paper towel lined plate. When all the tofu is done, wipe out the wok.
- Gather the all the prepped ingredients and the rest of the ingredients ( soy, vinegar, sugar ) and place near the stove, so there is no need to walk away.
- Heat 2-3 Tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil in a wok over high heat. Just as it begins to smoke, turn heat to medium high and add mushrooms.
- Stir constantly for 2 minutes, don't stop.
- Add ginger and continue stirring 1-2 minutes.
- Add asparagus and garlic, stir for 1 ½-2 minutes, until asparagus is just tender, but still crisp and vivid green.
- Add soy sauce ( or GF Braggs Liquid Amino Acids), sugar and vinegar. Give a few last stirs, taste for salt.
- Gently fold in crispy tofu at the very end right before serving.
- Add a little drizzle of toasted sesame oil and sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds to finish.