A med & grad student who used to work the line in LA, NYC, SF and Napa talking about the science of cooking and cooking with science. Harold McGee's On Food And Cooking - The Science and Lore of the Kitchen never satisfied my kitchen curiosity and more than one Chef grew exasperated with my asking "Why?" I'll try to stay on topic, but you may see a kvetch or two about the school & hospital.
My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.
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I love this weather. The sharp, cold Bay Area rain. The rain that turns gutters into miniature rivers of brown, and city streets slick. The pavement at the Embarcadero Center shines just a little bit more in the rain. The windows overlooking Parnassus sheet with water and are refreshingly cool to the touch in the middle of a shift. The crisp, clean air that makes a walk through the Mt. Sutro Reserve a treat. The canopies of trees shielding you from the rain, but not that smell of fresh damp. After a "winter" with temps upwards of 70F (20C), the rain has been glorious. It never lasts long enough. And I dread the allergies to come. Still, the rain is welcome. Sharp. Cool. Clean.
The one pain I've had with the rain is that I've had dinner reservations most of this week. And there's just no classy way to pull off the "got splashed by a taxi and now the right pantleg is soaked with gutter water" look. The plus side is that school is reimbursing me for dinner at some nice places. After all those dinners, though, I've been craving something a little less...fussy. And I can't think of anything more un-fussy than a bowl of pho. The rich, savory broth. That slurp of noodle. The sharp freshness of basil. The heat of chili sauce. All of these things together create an amazing counterpoint to the sharp, cool, clean rain.
Don't get me wrong. Pho isn't easy. A lot of dishes aren't easy. And many times people mistake "simple" or "un-fussy" with "easy." I don't do easy. Nothing good is every easy. Would I make this dish during the weekday? Yes. Would I make the broth during the weekday? Hell no. The broth is key for pho. Where the noodles are body, and the thin slices of meat and garnishes are treats, the broth is the heart and soul of the dish. No matter how high quality the noodles or thin slices of meat or other accoutrements are, if the broth is bad the entire dish is bad.
Now, I have a confession to make about this recipe. This isn't how I always make it. I'm a scrap hoarder. Every piece of protein I've prepped. Every vegetable I've chopped. I save the scraps in the freezer. And they go into my broths and stocks. The ingredients I've listed above? They're always in the broth. But sometimes the trimmings from a tritip or maybe some dungeness crab shells make their way into this broth. That is the great versitility of homemade broths and stocks. Everything you add to them adds to the flavor and complexity. Unlike dishes where adding another ingredient just muddies and dirties the finished product, broths and stocks take the best parts and mix them together when they're well tended and fed.
It's going to continue to be cool and wet in the Bay Area for the next few days. I'm certainly looking forward to the cold, sharp wet. Sure, I won't be able to play tennis for a few days, but I think I can manage to console myself with a few steaming hot bowls of pho instead.
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Try roasting your ginger knob and onion with the marrow bones...adds a whole extra layer of flavor! Pho is awesome.
I forgot about that step. Yes. Absolutely roast the ginger and onions with the marrow bones. Thank you for the reminder, Carri!
In the Broth, do we add Spaghetti or Noodle?? The noodle in the picture looks good!!
Add pho noodles. You can find them at asian markets. They'll be in plastic bags labelled as "banh pho." Bring a separate pot of water to a boil, and cook the noodles until just starting to get tender. They cook quickly, maybe 30-45 seconds and then put them in a bowl and cover with the broth.