Sunday, October 25, 2009

vegetarian pho-king gold

Hey all.
So I have this odd sort of fascination with Pho, ever since I was introduced by a friend of mine. Something about it is therapeutic - maybe the spices and steam, or maybe that you're eating a gallon of broth and all the trimmings. Either way, I decided to take it on at home.


A lot of my friends are vegetarians, and my apartment is a sweat lodge at the moment. So simmering beef knuckles for eight or so hours just ain't gonna happen. Luckily, I found a pretty nifty veghead recipe online that still does the trick.

As follows (thanks

- Make eight cups of vegetable stock. You can use the cubes, or if you have some good homemade stuff, that's neat too. Again, sweatbox - I used the cubes.
- Put a large pot on medium-high heat, with nothing in it. Then toss:

  • 1 small unpeeled onion, quartered

  • 2 unpeeled shallots, halved

  • 8 garlic cloves, halved

  • a 1-inch piece of ginger, coarsely sliced

  • two 3-inch cinnamon sticks

  • 2 pods of star anise

  • 4 cloves
in. DO NOT (yes, I mean it) put olive oil or any such nonsense in. You basically want to burn these suckers - I have no idea why, but getting a good scorch on these things does the job. When you're content, and your apartment is smoky - toss in the broth and 3 tbsp of soy sauce. Simmer this sucker for twenty-five minutes and strain into another pot.
It'll look like this:

Then, cook some rice vermicelli (they look like sticks of rice) - about half a handful - according to package directions. Set these in bowls to keep warm.
No picture. I tried, it looks pretty fugly.

Toss on some sliced green onions, and prepare your platter of accoutrements.
I used

  • mint

  • lime

  • bean sprouts (big ones

Isn't that purty? Also, keep a bottle of this nearby:
You can find it at any respectable Asian grocer. Sriracha works too, but I like the chunky stuff where you can see pieces of garlic and chilis. - I used a Vietnamese place nearby for everything in this recipe. It also totalled about.. twelve dollars for four LARGE (there is no other way with Pho) servings.

{Side note: I heard a story once about a guy who went to the address on the back of the bottle, and it was an empty lot. Thus is the mystery of the most amazing hot sauce in the universe. I use it on pizza and eggs like it's going out of style, and has already shown up in next year's American Apparell catelog.}

To finish!
- Top your noodles and onions with broth. Use a massive bowl. Trust me. You'll eat it all.
- Rip up some mint (or basil, that's nice too.) leaves and toss them on.
- Toss in a handful of sprouts
- Squeeze a lime wedge
- Stir in some hot sauce

and voila:
Giant bowl of Vietnamese cure-all.

{Side note the second: Pho is apparently pronounced "fuh" - think of that next time you go to the Pho-King.}

Saturday, October 3, 2009

pizza? ohnomnomnom

Okay. So this is the latest post after months of not posting - basically, I've lived at home for a few weeks, and barely cooked. So to start writing again, I figure I can write about the best home-made pizza I've ever had.

If you know me, you know I cook A LOT of pizza. With a lot of weird things. But it's still sort of kind of pizza. Here's the basic recipe:

- Good dough, about fist size
- Good sauce, about half a cup (cook chilis, garlic,and crushed tomatoes together for eons - there's a good sauce)
- Good mozzarella cheese, about... a heaping half-cup grated.

Heat your oven between 450 and 500 degrees.
Spread out the dough BY HAND - but not too much, or else it gets messy. Get it really thin.
Ladle on sauce, spread it around
Put on cheese.

Here's where it gets tricky.

Put it in the ludicrously hot oven, aiming to not get your eyebrows singed.
Cook until the bottom is well done. I mean nice and well done - like this:

(side note:this is known as a "pizza upskirt" shot. google it. i dare you.)

Take out, turn your oven broiler on full whack. Put the rack close to the broiler (the top element)

Put your pizza in and watch the cheese and top crust go all beautiful and golden brown and delicious. This is pretty critical if you have thin crust pizza, so you don't have to cook it to black on the bottom to get some colour on top.

Take out, let rest, and then eat the whole thing in one go like I did before I posted. So no pictures. Sorry folks, next time. Anyways.


Put some genoa salami on it - either on top or under cheese, depending how you like it (crispy or hidden.

Saute spinach, lots of garlic, and sauce, then top with that in lieu of sauce. Don't do this before a date (smelly breath + spinach in your teeth = no kiss goodnight)

THE MARC SPECIAL - caramelized onions, blue cheese, and crispy (burnt) bacon with everything else. This turned into pizza soup once, but IT WAS STILL GOOD. (even if a certain someone's mom thinks I'm a loser.)

OR toss some cheese curds or old cheddar in with the mozzarella. makes it a bit tastier, I find.

That's all for now. (hopefully) more to come soon!