How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Faux Pho

Twice a year the Bridgewater One Book One Community steering committee selects a book for a community wide read with programming. This fall the Committee selected Dragon House by John Shors, a novel about Vietnamese Street Children. Two of the main characters in the book, Mai and Mihn, like to eat a noodle soup called pho when they have enough money. The Committee decided to have "Pho for Lunch" as the first of its fall programs. Two different recipes were provided to the Committee members to make for the event. Although the Lunch does not take place until Saturday, I decided I should do a kitchen test, since the recipes looked complicated. I took both recipes, and using elements of each, came up with the following:

3 cups of vegetable stock from cans
4 cups water
2 onions
1 very large garlic clove-minced
1.5 T soy sauce
2 inches of ginger root cut into rounds
1 peeled carrot cut into rounds
a dollop of red wine vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1.5 t brown sugar
2 basil stems
1 stem cilantro
Additonal ingredients:
rice noodles
4 oz. firm tofu - cut into chunks
8 fresh shitake mushroom - chopped
basil leaves
cilantro leaves
scallions - chopped
All broth ingredients went into a soup pot which I boiled and then simmered for about 45 minutes. I strained and discarded solids.
The rice noodles I prepared according to the package. While they were cooking, I stir fried the tofu and mushrooms together.
When the noodles were ready, I divided them into 3 bowls, ladled the broth over, and added the mushroom/tofu mix.
The basil and cilantro leaves, and the chopped scallions were set on the table to use as toppings. James and I added them; Paloma did not.
Final verdict - everyone agreed it was tasty and a good comfort food. The noodles were very difficult to keep on our spoons though. Paloma figured it was meant to be eaten with chopsticks.

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