Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Fresh herbs truly are my love . i think more than anything else in the garden, i most look forward to all the amazing herbs that can be used soo many ways. Basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, i sound like Simon and Garfunkel I know... marjoram, cilantro, oregano... My sister in-law, Sandy, has taught me a lot about good Vietnamese cooking! I don't know if she knows it, but she is an AWESOME flavor princess! She has introduced me to some good restaurants too. Not so much here, but in Calgary. I love Pho, but i'm not super big on the whole beefy broth, boil the bones thing that people do to make that really flavorful broth. So a while ago I started to experiment with making a killer Veggie Pho. Its taken some time, i'm not gonna lie! Even tonite when i made it, I added my greens too early and they got kinda over cooked... but none the less, i got the broth part down! Even though i totally cheated tonite! i usually have some veggie broth in my freezer... but not lately! So i used a high quality, no salt mushroom boullion cube to get the base.
1/2 a red onion thinly sliced
a smidge of grapeseed oil (divided)
2 cloves of garlic
6-8 cups of water/quality or homemade veg stock/boullion (remember most of 'em are uber salty and too much salt in this bad boy will kill it so read your ingredients)
a big nub of grated ginger
1 medium size grated carrot
Some chunked up mushrooms (tonite I used oyster)
A big handful of greens ( you can use: spinach, chard, collards, kale... )
A good size chunk of thinly sliced green cabbage (reds fine too, it just makes everything purple)
1/2 a brick of tofu (i use the other half in yummy salad rolls)
A itty bitty smidge of toasted sesame oil x 2
1/4 c of braggs (if you don't have braggs, get some! but if you don't wanna, use soy sauce but use WAY less.) x 2
A baby teaspoon of rice vinegar (apple cider works too)
A little Hoisin sauce
Some black bean sauce
Some kinda hot sauce or chili flakes ( do this to taste)
The juice of 1 lime and a bunch of the zest too.
Some thinly sliced red pepper
As much mint, chives, basil and cilantro that you want (or don't want!)
Some fresh pea shoots
Toasted sesame seeds
A bit of red pepper for color
Some rice vermicelli (i use about a 1/3 of a pkg)
Saute your onion in 1/2 your grapeseed oil in a big pot over med/high heat, add finely chopped or squeezed garlic, add water/broth, add grated ginger. Let this part simmer for a few. Add you carrot and your mushrooms. Preheat your oven to 350. Cube your tofu and toss in a bowl with a little bit of your braggs/soy sauce, a bit of hoisin, a touch of sesame oil and the rest of your grapeseed. Make sure all your tofu is covered, lay on a baking sheet and send'er into the oven. 15 minutes tops for the tofu. Watch it cuz everyones' oven cooks differently.
Add the rest of your braggs, hoisin, black bean sauce, rice vinegar and your other smidge of sesame oil to your pho. Add in your cabbage and cover to simmer. Boil the kettle for vermicelli. I like to slice up my greens into nice 'fit-in-my-mouth' size strips. I highly reccomend that. I also do the same for my herbs, but not at the same time. First I do my greens, put 'em aside. Then I do my herbs. Pour your boiled water over your vermicelli.
When your tofu is done, toss it in your pho. Send your greens in after. Zest and squeeze your lime, drain and rinse your vermicelli. Portion your vermicelli into the biggest, best bowls you can find, ladle the pho over top and sprinkle with your herbs, red pepper, sesame seeds and pea shoots.
I usually eat this (all the time!) with salad rolls and peanut sauce, but, I'm not ambitious enough tonite to write out those recipes. However, I did post pics of the salad rolls and if anyone chooses to read this, they can guess whats inside, until I post a recipe. They are sooo easy though!! Its the peanut sauce that makes it!