Credit: Jonathan Bardzik

Five years ago, at almost 7pm on the nose, I made a promise. I was standing in a swimming pool in southern Florida and it was the last night of vacation. My husband and I, cocktails in hand, began a ritual exchange of promises we had no intention of keeping that closed out each of our trips to the sunshine state.

“Once we’re home I’m going to be up at 6:00 each morning to hit the gym.”

“We’ll only drink on weekends…including Friday night of course.”

And, “I’ll never leave an empty roll on the toilet paper dispenser.”

That year I made a truly impossible promise. “I won’t,” I said “get any more takeout or home delivery for dinner.” Three weeks later I’m sneaking open the front door and slipping two $20’s to the driver in exchange for my bag full of dumplings and General Tzo’s Chicken. I knew right then and there that if I was ever going to keep this promise I would need to learn how to cook Chinese takeout – my favorite – at home.

I’ve developed home recipes for many of my favorites over the years, but the first one I cooked, and still turn to time and again, is a recipe my Mom taught me. It’s the simplest stir-fry you’ve ever made and with fresh asparagus hitting farm markets right about now it’s the right time to make it.

So enjoy. It’s delicious. And that’s a promise I can keep.

Jonathan Bardzik
Credit: Jonathan Bardzik

Quick and simple stir-fried asparagus

Serves 4 – 6

This recipe works well for summer green beans and fall broccoli. Sauté some thinly sliced chicken breast, pork loin or beef sirloin and add it back in at the end to make a one-dish meal.


2 tbs peanut or vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, whole and peeled

1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off and cut in 2” pieces

4 tbs Tamari soy sauce

2 tbs corn starch


Warm oil and garlic in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Remove garlic after 3-4 minutes, being careful not to burn.

Increase heat to medium and add asparagus. Stir-fry until bright green and crisp-tender.

Meanwhile, mix together soy, cornstarch and 1/4 cup warm water.

Add sauce to pan and stir until liquid has evaporated and sauce coats asparagus.

Note: if asparagus is perfectly tender coming out of the pan it will be mush by the time you start eating it. Pull it out just before and it will be just the right texture on your plate.

For more recipes, check out my official site.