Sunday, September 23, 2007

Faux Pho

The Bug and I had a craving for Pho and Bun. Who doesn't love noodle soups? I didn't have any rice noodles in the house, and sure didn't have any scrumptious spring rolls. But I did have some good odds and ends, and ended up making a darned good Faux Pho.

Faux Pho
1/2 Yellow Onion, minced
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
One tablespoon olive oil
One tablespoon sesame oil
About one teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamon
3-4 alspice seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
Fresh or dried ginger, to taste
Chicken broth
Angel hair/vermicelli pasta
Thinly sliced beef, pork, or chicken (I used leftover steak)

For garnish--use what you have around:
Minced scallions
Mint leaves or cilantro
Sliced jalepenos
Lime wedge
Hot sauce
Bean Sprouts

In a large, deep saucier pan/pot, saute onion and garlic in oils until soft and fragrant. Add spices and cook about 30 seconds, or till fragrant. Add the chicken broth--I've left amounts of the broth and noodles up to you. Some like it soupier, some want to make pho for four, some for one. Heat to boiling and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer about five to ten minutes (this is a good time to prep all your garnishes). Use a hand-held strainer, like a tea strainer, to remove alspice and fennel seeds. If you can't get them all, don't sweat it.

Bring broth back to a boil and add pasta. Cook according to directions, stirring frequently. You should have a lot of pasta in relation to your broth, but remember, it will continue to suck up the broth as it sits in the pot, so not too much pasta!

Add sliced meat about one minute before serving. Serve in a deep bowl with garnishes on a plate on the side.

For a bonus, I threw in a couple of Ling Ling's potstickers--it was a wierd combo dish of pho and potsticker bun.

The Bug said it was as good as the pho we get when we're at pho places. I take that as a big compliment, since he's become a pho expert!

Bits and Pieces

I'm playing catch-up. I'm back to work (started right after Labor Day), working from home two days a week, and running around like mad the rest of the time. The baby is fat--today is the last day for his 0-3 months onsies, even though he's just two months. I think he'll weigh in at about 14.5 pounds at his appointment with the doctor. It's all that good, healthy mothers milk. Everytime I think I'm done with the breastfeeding/pumping routine, I remind myself that this kid is doing good on it.

And *I'm* still losing weight, though not working hard to do so. I'm down 22.5 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. Hooray! I had a baby two months ago and have lost a total of 39.5 pounds!

So here's some of what's going on:

1) I can cook rice again. And ooohhhh, is it good!
2) I have a good recipe for Faux Pho. I'll post it in the next day. No pictures though, sorry.
3) The heirloom tomatos at our local farm, Parker Farms, are beautiful and delicious. But even better is the yellow watermellon. It is sweet and unbelievably juicy. I asked the ladies at the stand what kind of watermellon it was, and they looked at me funny and said, "....yellow?"
4) Buying local and fresh is the way to go. I made a tomato salad that looked delicious. I layered tomatoes, cucumbers and "fresh" mozzarella (not the rubbery stuff but the more expensive kind packed in water). I seasoned with salt and pepper. I drizzled olive oil on it. It looked great but had absolutely no flavor. Why? Because the vegetables HAD NO FLAVOR. I bought them at Safeway. They were probably two weeks old by the time we got them on our plate. Blech.
5) We saved money on Juiceboy's birthday. Instead of going out to a steakhouse, I turned our house into one. I bought NY Strip Steaks from Costco (I've never paid $30 for three steaks...unless I'm at a steak house, and then I'm paying that much for one). I was very careful in how I cooked them, and they came out perfectly (I'll post the recipe here later). And with these gigantic brontosaurus steaks we had big baked potatoes and steamed cauliflower. Of course, there was bacon and chives and (light) sour cream for the potatoes. For desert? Ghirradeli brownies. We're not big cake people....

Must dash. The baby is about to do this:

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Man Dies from Popcorn Lung??!!

An item in today's news warns that not only workers in buttery-flavored microwave popcorn plants can be injured from exposure to the fumes of fake butter. Consumers can too:

"...the ailing patient... consumed "several bags of extra butter flavored microwave popcorn" every day for several years.

He described progressively worsening respiratory symptoms of coughing and shortness of breath. Tests found his ability to exhale was deteriorating ...although his condition seemed to stabilize after he quit using microwave popcorn."

Huh. The piggie consumed several bags of extra butter flavored microwave popcorn EVERY DAY FOR SEVERAL YEARS--and his doctor is worried about his shortness of breath? Doesn't she know that when you weigh 87 Trillion Pounds you might have a slight problem breathing?

Maybe when he quit "using" microwave popcorn he started using carrots and apples instead.

Yeah, right.

Read the full article here.