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Wok-Fried Asparagus With Walnuts

Portland, Oregon:  A quiet day around here. No doctor appointments. It is too smoky to go outside anyway, but the air quality is so much better today than yesterday. Sadly, the fires continue to burn out of control. The fire in the Columbia River Gorge is now over 32,000 acres - tripled overnight by joining with yet another fire. Crews were able to save the historic Multnomah Lodge! Read here how hikers nabbed the little twerps who started the fire, and photos of the disaster. (Warning: very sad.) I-84, is closed. Our state is grieving the senseless loss.

My Driver, who cannot drive, continues to improve daily.

I am not so sure if this is actually "vegan" month, so much as "blogging" month. I wonder what I have contracted myself for - blogging about every single meal. (Only Crystal will be happy to read this blog every day... and she doesn't even cook.) Anyway, here goes:

Healthy breakfast of apples, blueberries, raspberries and figs... and the left-over potatoes from tacos last night. Spicy hashbrowns? 

Dinner tonight was a stir-fry from The New York Times, Wok-Fried Asparagus with Walnuts (I think you have to be a subscriber to see the recipe, but maybe this a back-door version?) Our meal was naturally vegan, meaning there was no need to substitute ingredients or omit ingredients to make the recipe vegan.

I prepped, chopped, grated and ground the ingredients earlier in the day, and it is important to have everything in place because, as with most Chinese dishes, it comes together very quickly and there is no time to wait for ginger grating or spice measuring. The recipe consists of asparagus, stir-fried with a sauce made of Sichuan pepper, five spice powder, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, hot chiles, soy sauce and walnuts, then garnished with sesame oil, green onions and cilantro.

Again, served on our 32-year-old plates from Taiwan

This was one of the nicest things to come out of my wok in a while. Simply delicious... and I followed the recipe, with two teeny exceptions: using only 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, instead of the requested 1 Tablespoon (this was a good idea), and omitting the cilantro garnish because it just seemed wrong. Very wrong, and I love cilantro. I used one serrano chile. Omit the chile pepper if cooking for wimps or children - the Sichuan peppercorns and five spice will do.

Make this! Goodness, no one will even notice or care it is vegan. It's that good. I used organic walnut halves from Nuts.com. I just love love love their nuts.

We also enjoyed scallion pancakes. Scallion pancakes are a flaky savory pan-fried Chinese pastry. Easily made at home, or even easier if you pick them up at your local Chinese grocer... which are on every corner in my town. Most brands are naturally vegan as well.

We also had steamed Jasmine rice and Taiwan Pickle, which was a nice cool relief from the spicy asparagus.

The asparagus stir-fry will be added to my usual rotation - it is really that good.

PS: Little Miss Lucy's first day of pre-school photo:

Lisa's godmother, Nancy, sewed the Hello Kitty dress for Lucy. So adorable, and Lucy's favorite dress. Of course.


Until my next update, I remain, your "there is a 20% chance of rain overnight" correspondent.