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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Weekend Wokking #1 (Asparagus)

Sup Mang Tay Cua 2
Hello, Weekend Wokkers! :) I feel so loved. I cobbled together an event at the last minute and half a dozen of you, representing four countries, joined me. Yay! I was so worried this would be a party of one. I thought I was being clever by picking asparagus since it was in season. I didn't realize my little event would actually garner interest from bloggers in other parts of the world, where asparagus is unfortunately very expensive or not available. And yet, some of you, like Ning of Heart and Hearth in the Philippines, bought asparagus anyway. Thank you so much for that! And after reading how much Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok loves her cast iron wok, I came up with a new category - We Wok! (I know! I come up with cheesy names.) So if you've got a wok that you'd like to show off, just post about it, send me the link, and I'll add you to the list. We Wok! will also be found at the end of the main Weekend Herb Blogging page for easy viewing. One of the reasons that led to the creation of Weekend Wokking was seeing the same fruits or vegetables popping up again and again on various food blogs. I was curious to see how different the preparations could be if we all used one ingredient. Well, even though this round-up included two stir-fries and three rice dishes, the end results were all very different. Isn't that great? The entries are in alphabetical order, based upon the name of the recipe.
Asparagus and Prawns in XO Sauce by Ning of Heart and Hearth from Manila, Philippines. Asparagus is one of the more expensive vegetables in the Philippines so Ning doesn't cook with it very often. So when she found fresh asparagus, still in their delivery bags, at her neighborhood grocery she bought some without even checking the price. She said it was worth it since it's difficult to find fresh asparagus, her kids and husband love it, and it's nutritious. Ning decided to make her asparagus with shrimp stir-fry even more special by adding XO sauce. XO sauce, which got its name from XO Cognac to connote luxury, is a spicy, flavorful Cantonese sauce with dried seafood such as scallops and shrimp.
Asparagus Risotto by Prof. Kitty of The Cabinet of Prof. Kitty in New England. She has been making and tweaking this risotto recipe for years and it seemed like a good one for her first blog event. Prof. Kitty says the key is to cook the asparagus separately and to cut off the heads for garnishing at the end.
Asparagus, Mint, and Lemon Risotto by Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen in London, Ontario, Canada. After making an asparagus and mint frittata, Lisa realized she was quite taken with the combination of asparagus and mint and Googled for another idea. Whereupon she discovered a Jaime Oliver recipe for asparagus, mint, and lemon risotto.
Red Rice Asparagus Salad by Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple in Southern California. In the midst of planning a party for 60 guests, Todd and Diane decided to add asparagus to their minted red rice salad. Mint brings out the nutty flavor of red rice. They decided to replace the cucumbers they usually add to their recipe with asparagus.
Sup Mang Tay Cua (Vietnamese asparagus and crab soup) by Wandering Chopsticks in Southern California. This is one of my favorite soups. Although typically made with canned white asparagus, I decided to replace with fresh asparagus since they're in season.
Thai-Style Beef and Asparagus Stir-Fry by Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok from my hometown of Portland, Oregon. Darlene says she likes asparagus so much she even eats it raw. In stir-fries, the asparagus stays crisp-tender. She used a Thai seasoning paste called naam prik phao, a chili paste with shallots, tamarind, dried shrimp, fermented shrimp paste, and sugar. The result is a little spicy, a little sweet, and a whole lot of flavor. I know her stir-fry looks awesome, but I'm eagerly waiting for her homemade naam prik phao recipe! This recipe was so tasty that she made it twice in three days. Also, check out her post so you can admire her cast iron wok.
Weekend Fry-Up with Vege Sausages, Asparagus, Grilled Tomato, Eggs Over-Easy, and a Kohlrabi and Snow Pea Salad by Oanh of Halfway Between Ca Mau and Saigon. Phew! And I thought her blog title was already long! :P Included in her organic vegetable home delivery was asparagus. She cooked the asparagus every so slightly to enjoy its fresh, full flavor and served it alongside a full English breakfast.
Thanks again to everyone for participating in my first ever blog event. I loved seeing the varieties of dishes. Since asparagus was so difficult for some of you to participate, let's go in the opposite direction and pick something I think everyone can work with. So the "secret ingredient" for July's Weekend Wokking will be... the ever so humble... easily attainable... ... POTATO!!! Weekend Wokking hosts for July are Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple. Please send entries by 11:59 p.m., Sunday, June 29 to td (at) whiteonricecouple (dot) com. Round-up on Wednesday, July 2. For rules on how you too can participate, please read Weekend Wokking. ***** 1 year ago today, coffin bread, dumplings and other Taiwanese street food at Pa Pa Walk - San Gabriel.


  1. I wonder when I can find some time to wok out and work out!I will try. Such an interesting event you are wokking on :p

    P.S I just clicked on the RSS icon at the right end of the address/URL bar, your feed is ok. I wonder if that means RSS is working. Hmmmmph....

  2. Nice round up :-)

    Note to self: need to develop shorter titles. Brevity just is not my strong point.

    You should mention, re the 'taters: it is international year of the potato! (this is my favourite piece of trivia for 2008).

    Wok on!

  3. WS, I'm so disappointed. I had just figured out what I would make for this. Too little too late!

  4. Great write-up! I love that you describe a little about each submission.

    The potato, huh? This is going to be a challenge for me because I cook with potatoes only about once month. Gotta put my thinking cap on...

  5. This was a great ingredient to start with. Bummer that I wasn't able to submit - but I hope I will next round with 'taters :)

  6. Tigerfishy,
    I hope you join in! It'll be fun!

    Haha! I thought of mentioning that it's year of the potato, but you just said it so good enough. ;)

    No worries! If you want to make it, go ahead. If you don't mind, I'll add you after the fact to this post.

    I know! Gotta get creative.

    I hope you join in! It's great to see what everyone else comes up with.

    Cool huh?

  7. Great round up - I love all the photos of the food!

  8. Fabulous round up, WC! So often, I just boil them and serve with lemon or roast them with balsamic, but now there's a little heap of ideas!

  9. W&S,
    Yay! You're back. I can't wait until you can join in again.

    I loved that even though there were multiples of the type of preparation, the results were all quite different. Lots of recipe ideas.

  10. I missed that! Been busy past week. Hmm..potato! That should be easy as i have a recipe book on potato!

  11. Love potatoes! Hopefully everyone will be able to submit something for your second edition! Almost everyone I know eats potatoes! Unless they're on a low carb diet.
    Asparagus was a great theme, look at all those yummy dishes.

  12. PP,
    No worries, I look forward to your potato recipe then!

    Ha! You guys are hosting the potato round-up. But then you get to pick the next secret ingredient. :)

  13. I already know what am going to make! Hehehe...will do it this weekend.

  14. PP,
    Yay! Just remember to send it to White on Rice Couple, not me! They're the hosts for July.


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