Crispy Tofu with Spring Onions

I borrowed The Veggie Chinese Takeout Cookbook by Kwoklyn Wan from one of my family members when I was back in Texas last August. By March, I still hadn’t made a single recipe. I decided to buckle down and find some dishes to make. I chose this recipe for Crispy Tofu with Spring Onions on page 65, along with Chinese Broccoli in Garlic and Ginger Sauce. I used true spring onions from my yard and to make it low fodmap, I fried the white parts in oil ahead of making the dish and then included just the green parts in the finished dish. The recipe calls for 2 tsp of chile bean paste. I used 1/4 tsp of Gochujang. The spice didn’t really come through. Next time I’d use 1/2 tsp. I also used vegetable oil instead of peanut oil, since I don’t keep peanut oil around.

This is an easy, fast weeknight dish. The longest part was cleaning and cutting the spring onions, which would have been way faster if I hadn’t used the onions from my yard, which are very diverse in size and much smaller overall than what you’d get at the store. Be warned, this recipe calls for 10 ounces of spring onion, which is A LOT. It doesn’t sound like so much until you consider how light these veggies truly are.

Overall, I liked this dish. It was easy to make and was a great dish to use all the spring onions in my yard when I’m short on other veggies in the house. I’m sure it would have been better with the white par of the onion included, but I still enjoyed it just with the green parts. I’ll keep this in my back pocket for when I’m in a dinner pinch and in the mood for Chinese.


Asparagus Frittata

A few weeks back I was getting ready to leave for a trip and needed to use up the asparagus from my garden before I left. I’d be doing a lot to get ready for the trip and didn’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking. Thus, I was intrigued by this quick recipe for an asparagus frittata that called for broiling instead of baking. Alas, in this case you get what you wait for. Speeding up the cooking process under the broiler technically worked, but the result was much less enjoyable than a baked version. The timing on this recipe was a big issue and in order to fully cook the center it was necessary to dry out the top. I can’t imagine cooking for the upper end provided (10 minutes). Even the 8 I used was dubious. It ended up not quite burned, but very dry. The recipe only called for 4 eggs so this was a pretty thin frittata as well, not my preference.

I’d say if you’re in a big pinch you can use the broiler to cook your frittata. But unless you’re in a mealtime crisis, use the regular oven method.

Quick and Easy Braised Tofu (Hongshao Dofu)

I found the instructions for this recipe really confusing. I feel fairly confident that if I had figured out the instructions, the result would have been pretty good. But as I made it I ended up with burned crumbly tofu, mushy vegetables, and little sauce.

The core problem was that the recipe said to turn down the pan to medium while cooking the tofu if it took you more than a minute to flip it all. I did that, but the tofu didn’t actually end up cooked, and then later crumbled once I added the veggies. In trying to compensate for this, I ended up overcooking the veggies. Then I tried to fix it by taking out the veggies and cooking the tofu further, but the tofu burned and all the sauce evaporated.

The flavor wasn’t bad but everything else was a mess. I might try making this again, but I just don’t see how it’s possible for the tofu to fully cook in one minute.

Fettuccine al Limone with Asparagus

I was looking for a very decadent pasta recipe to break Passover with. Bonus points if I could use my asparagus from the garden. This recipe ticked both boxes. I love a lemony pasta, so this sounded really good. I used a fancy fettuccine instead of spaghetti because I don’t really like spaghetti.

So…when you say you want something decedent…be careful what you wish for. This recipe calls for 2/3 cup (2/3 cup!!!!???) of olive oil. I cut the olive oil down to 1/2 cup, but it was still an absurd amount of olive oil. I think 1/3 cup would have been fine. That said, the recipe was very yummy and a great indulgent way to use garden asparagus and bask in post-Passover carbs. Still, I don’t think it’s likely I’ll make it again. Just can’t stand to use that much olive oil.

Braised Spring Vegetables with Grits, Poached Eggs, and Chives

This recipe is from page 22 of Fresh Food Fast. I will make any grits recipe I find. So of course I made this one. But it was just okay. The grits were bland and were overpowered by the veggies. It’s not a recipe for the way I cook. I didn’t keep well. It really needs to be eaten in one sitting.