Italian-Inspired Garlic Asparagus

I love to cook. As a child I wasn't much interested in food or eating, but when I learned to cook around age 18, I suddenly discovered the joys of eating. Even so, some of the foods that the humans around me eat are inedible for me; this is less of a problem if I cook my own meals. In particular, my digestive system doesn't handle dairy (especially butter), eggs, and hot chili peppers very well. Oddly enough for a fox, I have never liked meat either, which means that I don't buy it or cook it for myself, or order it in restaurants. I do eat fish and tofu, however. I don't like foods that are too greasy or cloyingly sweet, either. True to my roots in western Japan, I tend to make mild dishes: if I am using soy sauce and/ or cooking sake, I don't add salt, and if I am using "mirin" (sweet cooking sake) I won't add sugar. Most of the food I make is neo-traditional Japanese food with the salt and sugar content greatly reduced, but I also sometimes make pseudo-Chinese or sort-of-Mediterranean dishes, plus some dishes that have no discernible ties to any culture. In any case, vegetables are front and center.


That's enough backstory. Now for a recipe! How about some garlic asparagus?


Ingredients: Asparagus (4-6 stalks if cooking for one), black pepper, minced garlic, cooking wine or sake (teaspoon), a drizzle of olive oil, and a little bit of water as necessary


1. First, mince the garlic. Add the garlic, black pepper, cooking wine, and olive oil to a frying pan.



2. Wash the asparagus and cut off the hard ends. This is easier if you leave on the rubber bands.




3. Start heating the frying pan on high. When it starts to bubble, add the asparagus.



4. Lower to medium heat. Cook off some of the liquid.



Olive oil can turn carcinogenic if overheated, so be sure not to keep it on high too long.

Does this seem maybe, sort of Italian-ish? Asparagus was one of my grandma's favorite vegetables, so I think of her every time I cook it. Eldercare is no picnic, but now that she's gone I cherish the memories. I pack this asparagus into my bento box often.

As you can see, the key to cooking my style is to be very lax about precision. I deliberately don't measure out quantities. I think the meals are more "homey" that way.