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A weekday stirfry to celebrate spring

(post, Tiffanie McCoy)

My toddler son loves mushrooms and tofu, so I'm always on the lookout for recipes that include mushrooms (the tofu is often a given, since we're vegan). I bought some lovely thin asparagus at the farmer's market last weekend, so I was also looking for a new way to use it up. Usually I end up boiling the spears until just soft and serving them warm with a mustard-vinaigrette. 

I found a great recipe in my trusty World Vegetarian, by Madhur Jaffrey. It takes 1/2 pound of asparagus, cut into 1.5 inch lengths and soaked in cold water, a pound of tofu cut into 1 inch cubes and soaked in hot water, and 12 dried shiitake mushrooms soaked in boiling water. It also asks for one garlic clove (whole), two scallions sliced, and two slices of fresh ginger. You also put together a sauce with the usual asian stirfry suspects: sesame oil, dry sherry, soy sauce, sugar, salt, cornstarch, chili sauce. Some of the mushroom stock is also used in the sauce and the stirfry.

It's a good weekday recipe, in that you can prep everything far ahead of time. I ignored the time suggestions for soaking everything (went way over, was juggling feeding the baby solids and dinner). The cooking process itself only takes about ten minutes, and it was delicious. My son liked the mushrooms and tofu very much, but didn't care for the asparagus. He ended up naming all four pieces of asparagus after everyone in our family and dropping them in his apple juice. Then he ate eight olives, a veggie sausage, and an entire avocado. I wonder if I can get him eating asparagus before the season is past?