Hello, I'm Sharon.

I'm an optimist, a happy person, an imperfect perfectionist, a professional problem solver, a city girl who enjoys life in the country, an engineer turned home designer, and a hopeless coziness & comfort addict.

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Pho fo' real!

January 10, 2017

As much as I claim to love food and trying out new recipes, when it comes to making weekday dinners, I'm lazy.

Where we live, air is crisp and clean, night sky is lit by the moon and stars, it's natural, and oh-so-beautiful, but dine out options are only abundant if you're a cow.

That never bothers us since we are a couple of anti-social homebodies like to cook at home.  So from Monday to Friday, we make one thing, and eat one thing, same thing all 5 nights of the (work) week.  We keep the ingredients of that one thing simple and select cooking methods with as little effort as possible (we love one pot wonders), so that we can dedicate the precious free time each evening to resting and relaxing before marching to bed at 9:30pm.

It's pretty good to be like us if you don't mind being boooring!

For this week, we're making pho.

We've had plenty of pho before, but never tried making it at home.  So it's a bit risky betting the entire week of dinners on a new recipe... Oh the thrill of taking risks!!!

Apparently, with pho, the magic and all the goodness is in the broth.  I referenced a few recipes from the internet and came up with our version of pho broth based on the ingredients we can find.

Now... an important tip before you start:

Start early if you want this for dinner tonight!

Most recipes suggest the broth takes several hours to make... the longest suggested time I came across was 10 hours, that's right, TEN HOURS!  I believe it is necessary though, since the first night we only cooked it for 3 hours, and the broth seemed to fall short on the richness we expected (smelled really good though!).

Alternatively, if you're short on time, reducing the amount of water for the same amount of ingredients may allow the flavor to come through stronger.  Now if you're *really* short on time, well, there are plenty of pho places around the country... just sayin'.

Optional step: Stage all the ingredients for photo op. 

PHO BROTH | ingredients

  • Beef bones - 2.5 lbs
  • Yellow onion, whole - 1
  • Daikon radish, peeled and cubed - 1
  • Ginger, thumb sized piece - 1
  • Star anise - 3
  • Cardamom, grounded - 1/2 tbsp
  • Coriander, grounded - 1 tsp
  • Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
  • Rock sugar - 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon stick - 1
  • Bay leaves - 2
  • Salt - 2 tbsp
  • Fish sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Water - 16 cups (or less if more concentrated broth is preferred)

PHO BROTH | instructions

  1. Optional- Pack all the spices in a spice bag so it's easier to pick them out from the broth later.  (I used a tea filter bag and a spice ball for double protection so my ground spices don't end up in the broth!)
  2. Prepare a pot of water.  Leave it cold or bring it to boil and blanch the beef bone until most of the blood is cooked out.  
  3. Set the blanched bones aside and discard the muddy water.  Start a fresh pot of water (20 cups or less) and bring it to boil.
  4. Throw all the ingredients in.  After the water reboils, turn it down to simmer for at least 6-10 hours.  (This is when you remind yourself patience is a virtue.)

At the end of all that waiting (should've used the slow cooker), we were rewarded with the creation this golden goddess of broth.  HELLO, BEAUTIFUL!

On to the assembly of the pho itself.  Remember, we're lazy people, so we conveniently forgot the many little things that gives pho that extra oomph. 

We apologize in advance if this picture offends our vegan/vegetarian readers...

PHO | ingredients

  • Banh pho noodles (aka Vietnamese rice noodles) cooked in a separate pot of water.
  • Yellow onion, julienned
  • Cilantro, very coarsely chopped
  • Bean sprouts, raw or blanched
  • Thai basil leaves
  • Scallions, chopped
  • Beef, thinly sliced, served raw to cook using the heat from the broth, or blanched separately
  • Optional- Beef tendon, thinly sliced, blanched
  • Pho broth

PHO | instructions

  1. Put'em in a bowl!

Voila!  Dinner is served.  Don't tell me this doesn't make you hooot!

Not only does Beau Beau approve this dinner choice, he wants it, and he wants it bad. But it's mine, all mine!!  Sorry doggies.

Do you have any easy and tasty dinner recipes to share? Comment below please! We'd love to try them out too!

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