Perusing through a national magazine recently, I was pleased to see what I find is becoming a reliable trend. Food and lifestyle publications are providing monthly planning guides for everything from household chores and planting, to family menu planning. For busy parents, this is a wonderful service. Even for Moms and Dads who are individually, or separately knowledgeable about home-based skills, having access to a monthly guide of necessary tasks is very helpful.
Something that stuck me as particularly interesting is a menu pattern featuring "Meatless Monday" options. Not only is this a way to inject variety into the family diet, its also economically beneficial, as meat prices continue to soar. Having been a vegetarian in my 20's, I do enjoy a plant-based meal now and then.
When I'm planning this kind of meal, I try to bulk it out a bit with pasta, bread or polenta, since I have 2 strapping teenage boys to fill up who don't entirely appreciate being subjected to nothing but a pile of vegetables for dinner.
I must have had a subscription to Martha Stewart Living back in 2003. Every glossy little white card from that publication seems to be dated with that early 2000s date. Today's recipe is no exception. Delivered in March of 2003, this recipe seems to speak to the American hunger for such fresh dishes in early spring. In addition, farms in some parts of the country are harvesting asparagus, so for certain regions, this meal is also fresh and seasonal.
Polenta with a little Paremsan cheeses would be a lovely accompaniment to this recipe, should you have your own ravenous mouths to feed on Meatless Monday!
Shiitake mushrooms can be a bit costly, and hard to source. They are, however, delicious, so try your local Asian marketplace for fresh offerings. Most mainstream grocery stores stock bags of dried Shiitake mushrooms in the International section, which are simple to rehydrate, and very effective. Common white button mushrooms- or your favorite mushroom variety- are certainly an acceptable substitution.
The Rediscovered Recipe Box #19- Asparagus And Shiitake Stir-Fry
To clean the mushrooms, simply with the caps with a damp paper towel; do not rinse, as they will become soggy. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden.
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 bunch medium or thick asparagus, tough ends trimmed
8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and mushrooms, and saute just until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.