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    19th August 2008

    Fee, Fi, Faux Pho

    Pho rilz? No.

    Sometimes you know a recipe’s just not going to be anywhere near authentic, not going to be nearly as good as you could get in a restaurant, but could still suffice for a quick weeknight meal. This is one of those recipes, from the cookbook How to Eat Supper. Should you really expect a full-flavored broth — the essence of pho! — in a 20 minute cooking-time recipe? No. If you haven’t yet experienced pho, this might stand on its own as an interesting soup recipe, but if you try to compare it to the real thing, it falls short. But hey — it was good enough to warm our bellies on this chilly evening.

    Chris says:

    What the pho? This just makes me want real pho, not faux pho.

    Lisa says:

    What if you just think of it as a noodle soup with slices of beef in it?

    Chris says:

    Okay — in that case, it’s not bad. But the broth could still be more flavorful. You can definitely taste the broiled veggies, and they’re good, but I really need to try to disconnect the pho association.

    Lisa says:

    You certainly look like you’re enjoying your sauces.

    Chris says:

    Pho Shizzle. I’m a meat dipper.

    Lisa says:

    Oh, pho cryin’ out loud… enough with the puns!

    Chris says:

    Okay, fine. In fact, there’s my review of this recipe. Okay/fine. Not spectacular, but I certainly didn’t dislike it.

    Lisa says:

    I agree. Good, not great.

    Chris says:

    Not pho.

    Fee, Fi, Faux Pho
    For the broth:
    1 medium onion, thinly sliced
    4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    3″ piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
    6 whole cloves
    1 whole star anise, bruised (or 1/2 tsp anise seed)
    freshly ground black pepper
    4 14-oz cans chicken broth
    2 tbsp sugar
    2 tsp fish sauce

    For the soup:
    6 oz rice noodles
    6 oz top round steak, sliced paper-thin (place in freezer for 30 minutes before slicing to make this easier)

    To Garnish:
    cilantro
    thai basil
    jalapenos, sliced
    bean sprouts
    lime, quartered
    hoisin sauce
    sriracha, or other hot sauce

    Place an oven rack 4-6 inches under the broiler and preheat. On a large piece of doubled-over foil, scatter the vegetables and spices from the broth ingredients (onion through black pepper) and broil for five minutes, flipping once, until the onion begins to char and the spices are fragrant. Remove from the oven and place everything in a large pot.
    Add the broth, sugar, and fish sauce and bring to a low boil. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. While the broth simmers, prepare the rice noodles by soaking them in warm water for 10-15 minutes, or until almost tender. (They’ll lose a little more firmness when the soup gets added.) Drain and divide the noodles between two very large soup bowls. Place the garnish ingredients on a plate and set at the table.
    When ready to serve, divide the (raw) beef between the two soup bowls. Ladle the low-boil broth into the bowls (this will cook the meat pretty much instantly). Top each bowl with your preferred garnishes.

    2 Servings

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    posted in How to Eat Supper, Main Dishes, Vietnamese | 1 Comment

    29th July 2008

    No-Cook Stew: Santa Fe Summer Pot with Shrimp and Avocado


    Tonight, a dish that’s perfect for those hot summer evenings where you don’t want to turn on the stove or the oven: a “stew” made entirely of raw and precooked ingredients. Shrimp, cucumbers, and avocado are topped with a puree of tomatoes, onions, and peppers, then topped with cilantro and tortilla chips. This recipe comes from How to Eat Supper.

    Lisa says:

    Is this like gazpacho or something?

    Chris says:

    Sort of — it’s like the world’s best chunky salsa.

    Lisa says:

    Yum… seems pretty light if it’s just raw veggies and shrimp.

    Chris says:

    Yep! Light and refreshing… that lime juice brightens up the flavors a bit.

    Lisa says:

    So, you mentioned that you don’t have to turn on the oven, but we did anyway for the bread we had with it.

    Chris says:

    Yeah, well I also mentioned that it’s good for really hot nights, but it’s actually kinda cool and raining.

    Lisa says:

    True. It’s still delicious.

    Santa Fe Summer Pot with Shrimp and Avocado
    1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
    2 large garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 jalapeño, seeded and minced
    1/4 tsp cumin
    1/4 tsp coriander
    1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
    1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
    4 sprigs fresh cilantro
    1 small cucumber, peeled and diced
    1 ripe avocado, diced
    1 pound cooked peeled shrimp
    Handful tortilla chips, lightly crushed
    limes, cut into wedges

    In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, onion, garlic, jalapeño, and spices. Let marinate for 10 minutes.
    Place the tomatoes and cilantro sprigs into the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the mixture is chunky. Add the onion mixture, and pulse five times.
    Divide the cucumber, avocado, and shrimp among four bowls. Spoon the tomato blend into the bowls. Garnish with the crushed tortilla chips, additional cilantro, and lime wedges.

    4 Servings

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    posted in How to Eat Supper, Main Dishes, Soups and Stews | 7 Comments

    9th July 2008

    Pan Roasted Salmon over Fresh Greens with Garlic and Basil


    We’re continuing detox week here at We Heart Food, so tonight we made this light salmon dish as prepared in How To Eat Supper. Salmon is pan-roasted with garlic and basil and then placed over a bed of fresh greens. A simple and very quick preparation; the salmon is the star of the show here!

    Chris says:

    This salmon is slammin’. What the — what’re you doing with that bread?

    Lisa says:

    Making a Slammin’ Salmon Sandwich, obviously.

    Chris says:

    Obviously. What’s your favorite part of the dish?

    Lisa says:

    One guess.

    Chris says:

    Gotta be the garlic. Those paper-thin slices just melt on your tongue!

    Lisa says:

    Ding ding ding! My only problem is that there aren’t more of them.

    Chris says:

    I really like that you have both the cooked and the fresh basil. I also think this would also be good with some asparagus.

    Lisa says:

    Ooooh, good idea!

    Pan Roasted Salmon over Fresh Greens with Garlic and Basil
    1/2 bag fresh spring greens or mesclun mix
    1/4 lb sugar snap peas, roughly chopped
    12 fresh basil leaves, torn into large pieces
    2 salmon fillets, skinned
    extra-virgin olive oil
    salt and freshly ground pepper
    2 large garlic cloves, sliced paper thin
    1/3 cup dry white wine
    lemon wedges

    Divide the greens between two dinner plates, then scatter the snap peas and 1/2 the basil leaves over them. Rinse the salmon, pat it dry, then salt and pepper both sides of the fish. Set aside.
    Add enough olive oil to a 12-inch skillet to leave a light film, and heat to medium-high. Add the salmon to the pan and sear for one minute, flip, and sear for another minute on the other side.
    Sprinkle the garlic and remaining basil around the fish in the pan, lower the heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook for 5-6 minutes, flipping the salmon once, until just done. The fish should be barely opaque in the center.
    Remove the salmon from the skillet and set aside, keeping warm. Add the wine to the skillet, set the heat to high, and scrape the garlic and basil from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the juices thicken and sizzle.
    Drizzle the hot sauce over the greens and top with the salmon. Serve with lemon wedges.

    2 Servings

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    posted in How to Eat Supper, Main Dishes, Salads and Light Soups | 3 Comments

    12th June 2008

    Kefta Kebabs and Cauliflower with Taratur Sauce

    Turkey Kefta
    Two new dishes for us tonight: baked cauliflower with a delicious tahini sauce, and ground turkey meatballs with a pomegranate syrup. We had originally planned to make this cauliflower dish (from Lebanese Cuisine) as part of the Lebanese feast last weekend, but there was already way too much food, and so we made an excuse to try again this week. The kebabs are listed as a variation on a turkey burger recipe in the How to Eat Supper cookbook; it isn’t exactly “authentic”, but the kefta was delicious all the same. To round things out, Lisa made baby bok choy sauteed with plenty of onions and garlic.

    Lisa says:

    This turkey kefta is way different than the versions I had growing up… but you’re right, it’s really good.

    Chris says:

    Yeah — no pine nuts or bulgur in this one… Yum, I really like the way the cauliflower is cooked — I don’t think I’ve ever had it any other way than raw or steamed. I strayed from the recipe and used Jenn’s baking method instead of the one in the book.

    Lisa says:

    …that taratur sauce on it rules.

    Chris says:

    Oooh — the sauce is actually also good on the kefta.

    Lisa says:

    I like how there’s not really a ton of tahini in it, but the sesame flavor really comes out.

    Chris says:

    I like how there’s not really a ton of kefta left, because most of it is already in my belly. The flavor really went in.

    Turkey Kefta Kebabs
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 large onion, finely diced
    1 large tomato, diced
    2 large garlic cloves, minced
    salt and pepper
    1/2 tsp coriander
    1/2 tsp cumin
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro
    1 lb ground turkey
    1/4 dry white wine
    pomegranate molasses

    Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a nonstick skillet, and cook the onions and tomatoes, sprinkled with salt and pepper, over high heat until the onions start to wilt and brown, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
    In a large bowl, add the ground turkey, onion-tomato mix, salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, cilantro, and wine. Mix together well and form into small balls. The mix will feel *really* delicate and sticky.
    In the skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs, and rotate every 30 seconds or so until all sides are seared. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 150. Serve on a plate and drizzle the pomegranate molasses over the top.

    Makes ~14

    Cauliflower with Taratur
    1 head cauliflower
    olive oil
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    1 tsp salt
    3 tbsp tahini
    2 tbsp water
    1/3 cup lemon juice
    powdered red pepper

    Heat the oven to 450F. Break the cauliflower into florets and place into a small bowl. Drizzle a little olive oil over the cauliflower and add a pinch of red pepper. Toss until all the cauliflower is coated, then place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until browned and tender.
    In a bowl, mix the crushed garlic and the salt. Add the tahini and blend well, then add the water and mix thoroughly. Add the lemon juice and blend until the sauce is whitish and smooth. Add red pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and serve.

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    posted in How to Eat Supper, Main Dishes, Middle Eastern, Sides | 9 Comments


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