Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pho Failure

We must be allowed the freedom to fail, yes?  That's the adventure in life.

Recent pho cookery learnings:

Rule 1:  Don't try to make semi-vegetarian pho by making a homemade vegetable stock using a completely indiscriminate combination of vegetable scraps you've been stashing away in your freezer as your wise father has taught you to do as an exercise in both economy and deliciousness.

Leftover parings of fennel and asparagus might make delicious vegetable soup, but combined with the cinnamon, anise, cloves and ginger of pho broth, the combination is fairly weird...  kind of like artichoke flavored mulled cider.  Blech.  It can be overcome with lots of lime, herbs, and other goodies as garnishes, but not the best move. [p.s. using the whole spices was really fun for a change.]

Rule 2:  When your husband has two fingers on each hand, do him a favor and chop the garnishes smaller so he can scoop them up with a big soup spoon.

I personally enjoy the big sprigs of cilantro and using chopsticks to pick through the tangled mess of snappy bean sprouts, noodles and large torn leaves of basil, but it's not a sportsmanlike offering if my life partner has to pick up a spoon to sip the broth, and put that down and pick up a fork to get the goodies.  Too complicated.

Rule 3:  Make sure the noodles, tofu and cabbage/bok choy are warmed up before putting the broth on them.  Otherwise the broth is too cooled to wilt the herbs and everything is really crunchy.  Still good, but tougher.

Rule 4: If you put a couple of slices of jalapeno in your broth to lend spiciness, don't forget they're there and go to drink the rest of the broth out of the bowl and take them into your mouth thinking they're cabbage, then chew thoughtfully on them until you wonder why the roof of your mouth is going numb.  Especially if it's hot jalapeno season.

Rule 5: It's okay to serve fortune cookies even though pho is Vietnamese food.  But only if you explain to your children that they were invented in California in a Chinatown and we're just being silly.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, so my Dad implied that my blog may inadvertently place blame for my failed pho broth on his veggie stock lessons. Nope. Dad's broth cookery is beyond reproach. I blame it on the asparagus. I can't imagine the fennel would have hurt since there was anise in the broth, but asparagus combined with anise/ginger/clove/cinnamon... slightly retch-inducing.


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