Monday, February 15, 2010

Pho (Page 125)

RECIPE #1098

  • Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 -- 7pm
  • Location: Berkeley, CA
  • Kitchen: Our Temporary California Home!
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B

I needed a little break from the All Fish All The Time plan, so I made this Vietnamese beef soup last week. I started by cooking some rice stick noodles in boiling water. Then I added slices of snow pea and boiled for a minute. I drained the noodles and peas and rinsed them under cold water. In a saucepan I cooked shallots, ginger, and serrano chiles in vegetable oil. I added beef stock and water and simmered for 10 minutes. I stirred fish sauce, lime juice, and salt into the broth. I divided the noodles and snow peas up between several bowls. Then I added thinly sliced rare roast beef, bean sprouts, cilantro leaves, basil leaves, and mint leaves to the bowls. I ladled broth into the bowls and served! The Book acknowledges that this is not really pho, but rather faux pho, a quick and easy version with easy-to-find ingredients. Of course, there is a tradeoff. This version was tasty, but it paled in comparison to a true beef pho, for which making the broth is a long process of flavor building. That said, my special gentleman and I both enjoyed eating this soup well enough. It was flavorful with an interesting combination of textures. If you make this recipe with the idea that it will be a nice Asian-inspired beef soup, you will probably enjoy it. If you are looking for a pho recipe, you might want to look elsewhere.

The recipe is here.

There has been a lot of talk lately within our group of friends about communal living. In particular, the idea has been thrown around to have a certain group of people buy a house together in the Bay Area. It has been an interesting thought experimental to weigh the pros and cons of group living. The same concerns were raised over and over: mainly the logisitical nightmare of co-ownership, and the potential damage it could do to friendships. But it still does seem tremendously tempting in a way. A friend said that what she loved about the idea was the vision of summer evenings in the backyard, with the adults crowded around a table drinking wine, and a whole slew of kids running around in the lawn. It sounds lovely.

In real life of course my special gentleman and I live in Michigan, not the Bay Area, but it has got me thinking about the kind of environment we would like to have in our household. I do hope that over the years various members of our family and friends live with us for extended periods of time. That was something we had in mind when we selected a house -- having enough space to make a home for more than just our immediate family. My special gentleman and I both like having people around, and enjoy the benefits of having a generous notion of "family."

This semester, while my special gentleman is living in Berkeley, we are sharing a house with a friend and colleague of his. It's great! Everyone gets along, we all hang out and eat meals together regularly. And right now, for instance, my special gentleman and Josh are watching episodes of Wonder Showzen in the other room -- I am glad my special gentleman has someone else to enjoy them with so I don't have to watch them! Ah, the many benefits of living with friends!

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