Pho Dinner

Pho DinnerJanuary
It’s cold and rainy outside. The Holiday decorations are all put away (well, mostly put away). This is when I watch my mailbox waiting for my seed catalogs to arrive. I call this my second Christmas because I begin dreaming about what this year’s vegetable garden will look like, and I can get a little over-exuberant. There’s just so much to choose from.

I have visions of heirloom beans, and squashes, and carrots, oh my! I see myself in a floppy hat, twirling around in my muddy boots happily administering to my rainbow of color, a perfectly pest-free bounty of freshness. I cavort amidst the singing birds, buzzing bees and happily clucking chickens. Utopia! Martha Stewart ain’t got nuthin’ on me!

And then, reality. I wake up remembering I have a full time job and a family of five (not including the animals). This delightfully bucolic scene is, in fact, a dream. The biggest reason? While I successfully grow a lot of things, I also endure epic fails. Every year I say the same thing, “This time it will be different!”

This year I mean it. It’s really going to be different.

One of my more exciting Christmas gifts was a new watering system for my garden. (I know, right? It’s okay to be jealous.) I have always watered my garden by hand. It is hard to be consistent because something always comes up: baseball practice, work, homework, laundry, and of course the worst one of all, I don’t wanna do it right now ‘cause I just want to sit here and drool.

But this year I will have a timed, drip system to ensure my leafy greens get all they need. I can’t wait ‘till March.

In the mean time, we’re keeping ourselves warm with spicy stuff that’s good for you. One of my favorites is Vietnamese Pho (pronounced ‘fuh’). The traditional broth base has a deep, complex flavor developed by slowly simmering it for 8-10 hours with aromatic spices including star anise, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and coriander pods. I prefer the beef, but you can make it with pork, chicken, or go vegetarian.

The greatest news is that Pacific Foods now has an organic Pho broth that makes Pho possible for a weeknight dinner. We carry it in Piedmont Grocery’s Asian foods section, and if you to tell the guys in the meat department that you’re making Pho they will cut your sirloin extra thin. 

How To Make Pho Dinner in Less Than 20 Minutes

  1. Prepare the fresh ingredients including chopped scallions, cilantro leaves, bean sprouts, basil leaves, lime and jalapeño peppers.
  2. Bring Pho Soup Starter to a boil. And add thinly-sliced meat (if you wish) and allow it to cook through.
  3. Heat precooked rice noodles in the hot broth to finish, and ladle the Pho into large soup bowls.
  4. Let everyone choose their favorite fresh mix-ins and condiments. Don’t forget the hot sauce!

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