Homemade Pho…The Best You’ll Ever Taste

Homemade Pho…The Best You’ll Ever Taste

The image featured on my blog is of a bowl of homemade Pho soup. Strangely enough I don’t have my recipe posted for you all. Have you ever had Pho? Always wanted to try it? I have eaten Pho in restaurants and I have to tell you they just really don’t cut the mustard for me.

Fun Fact: Pho is pronounced fuh not foh.

Here is what you are gonna need:

Beef roast (I use tri tip cuz it stays nice and tender)

Yellow Onion

Green onions (couple Bunches)

Cilantro (couple Bunches)

Hoisin Sauce

Lime juice or fresh limes

Beef paste (Asian Market)

Fresh Rice Stick Noodles (fridge at Asian Market)

Giant Pot (mine is 16 qt)

Small Pot w metal Strainer

Oxtail Bones (1.5 lbs seems to work well for 16 qt of broth)

A wide slotted spoon

A ladle

Deep dish bowls

The pot I use for this dish is a 16 qt pot. One pack 1.5lb pack of oxtail works just fine for this size. I used to have a smaller pot and would add water to the broth because it was pretty concentrate so I giant pot like this is fine for one pack of tail.

I won’t tell you how to do anything in this recipe. I will just tell you how I do it and you can feel free to make any adjustments you want to your own liking. I will say this, though. The woman who taught me the art of making Pho soup learned from her mother in law who lives in Vietnam and speaks very little English. She was in the states visiting her son. The recipe is authentic and beats any restaurant Pho you will ever have.

The very first thing I do when I make this gold in a bowl is fill my giant pot with water and set it on the burner. I throw in the oxtails and cut the onion into chunks and toss it in along with a liberal amount of salt. I know my cutting board looks gross. I cut a lot of potatoes on it hence the black. Ima try to bleach it.

That pot boils covered all day. In the meantime, when I find time throughout the day, I get the cutting done cuz there is a fair amount of that. I slice the roast so it is as close to paper thin as possible, I slice the green onion and  chop the cilantro. All the meat and veggies are put in the fridge for later.

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Close to dinner, I fish the bones out and onions and set them aside. I then add a liberal amount of the beef paste. (Liberal amounts of everything in this recipe. Don’t be shy.) I will use half the jar for my pot cuz my pot is huge.

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In my smaller pot, I fill it with water and get it boiling with the strainer on top. Once its at a rolling boil, I add a big handful of noodles and stir with a fork. They only take a couple minutes to finish cooking. I then lift the strainer and dump the noodles into another strainer and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking. I do several batches of noodles until I have enough to fill as many bowls as I have. (I usually feed 5 but sometimes we have company cuz Pho is sort of a special occasion food around here).

Sorry the pics are a bit blurry :/

Once the noodles are done, using my hands, I grab a generous amount of noodles and flop them into the bowls. I do the noodles for everyone cuz I don’t know if their hands are clean enough to be reaching in there and man handling them the way they need to be man handled. Everyone is free to add whatever they want to the noodles ie. cilantro, green onions. Squeeze a crap load of hoisin and an equal amount of lime over the noodles in the bowl.

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Cooking the beef: This can be done two ways. The authentic method is to use the wide slotted spoon or a basket spoon and cook individual amounts for a few minutes in the boiling broth. If you don’t want to stand there and cook individual portions of the beef in a spoon, you could just dump some of it in and fish it out once its cooked long enough (typically just a few minutes). Put cooked meat into the bowl then add as much broth as is desired to the bowl and enjoy!

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I make enough broth whenever I make soup that we are able to eat this for two meals each day for two to three days. We love this soup enough to look forward to it for lunch even on the third day. Also, as a side note. We make so much that we can’t cold store the leftover broth. The broth remains in the pot the entire three days on the stove. Several times a day I bring the temp up so its at a rolling boil which kills any bacteria that may try to grow in it but honestly I keep the pan hot enough that bacteria doesn’t form. In Vietnam, they make such enormous pots that they never use refrigeration to keep their soup from spoiling. I have to admit, when I first realized that my first time eating second day soup that was still on the stove even overnight I was a little leery. But after having done it myself every single time I have made this meal, I can assure you it is safe. Keep the broth above 140 degrees and you are golden 🙂

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As a post note, in restaurants they give you various flavor options on a plate for you to choose from. I have seen fresh oregano, fresh basil, bean sprouts, different chili sauces, etc. This recipe is a reflection of how I like mine. You can change it up however you want it based on what flavors are good to you. 🙂

 

If you try this recipe and you really like the way your pho came out, tell me about it in the comments. Thanks!

 

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Been A While!

Been A While!

Good day to you! I have been so busy lately that food has taken a backseat for me in my house. We have been unenjoying such delicacies as grilled cheese and tomato soup and bbqed hamburgers and hot dogs while I have been finishing up the year of school with my kids. I have also written my first novel and am hoping and praying to get it published! Update on that later. I have a brand new book idea that has taken hold of my ability to concentrate even while part two of my first novel awaits all of my attention. I foresee my summer being full of writing, and putting next year’s curriculum together. I will try, I promise to cook some delicious foods and post pictures and directions so you all can drool and then make them yourselves. By the way, if you do decide to make anything I post and you love it, let me know. If you hate it, I suppose let me know that, too.

Tonight I will be stir frying. Stir fry is one of my favorite dinners but we don’t get it often cuz it can get costly. One would think that produce is cheaper than buying ready-made meals but let me tell ya, it adds up. It doesn’t help that I am using hoison marinated pork loin for the meat, though. That alone was $5.99 a pound. For my family of five I bought about 3-4 pounds. Yikes! But we don’t splurge often so it’s okay to do it sometimes. It doesn’t have to be expensive, though. If you are on a tight budget, you could easily use chicken and whatever veggies are on sale. Farmer’s market season is almost here! Get the veggies from them for less and they are healthier! I can’t wait!

I’ll post tonight the process and the deliciousness of my stir fry oh and pot stickers. No stir fry would be complete without them.

Have a great day!

Beer Can Breakfast Burgers?? Are you kidding?

Beer Can Breakfast Burgers?? Are you kidding?

I have been seeing these beer can burgers all over my Facebook page since I joined my smoking group and I couldn’t wait to try them. The other day, while shopping at Winco, I came across a smokin deal on ground pork and swiped it all up. Now I have a freezer full of pork and not sure what to do with it all. Then I got to thinkin. Every time I get to thinkin, I end up blogging lol. I thought, what if I made some breakfast beer can burgers. Hey! That actually sounds really good! I had some breakfast sausage flavor up in the cupboard I could throw into the ground pork to make it sausage and then… Here is what I did:

2 lbs ground pork

2 TBSP sausage seasoning (could have been more)

Before going any further, I took a little piece of the sausage and threw it into a pan until it was cooked through and tasted it to make sure there was enough seasoning in it. I’ll look around and see if I can find the sausage seasoning recipe and post it here. It makes about a year’s worth or better. Anyway, once the flavor was right I started putting it all together.

I balled up some of the pork and pushed a cup into it then pushed the pork up the sides of the cup so it formed a sort of bowl. I would have used a beer can but I didn’t have one so I improvised 🙂 then I wrapped a strip of bacon around the pork and gently pushed the whole thing off the cup. This was tricky. It took a little dexterity to get the meat back off the cup. I cold beer would have been better for this part. Anyway, after getting the meat off the cup I messed with it for a minute to make sure the “bowl” was formed then I set each one on a piece of folded foil and then onto a cookie sheet. I added a little ball (you can use a cube or shredded) cheese to the middle. In a bowl I mixed up about 6 eggs, turns out I only needed about 5 but no worries, my kids ate the leftovers 🙂

Into the eggs I poured some cooked onions, red/green bell peppers and garlic and whisked but not too much. You don’t want to beat the eggs too much they will fluff up. While fluffy eggs are lovely, not so much for this project. Pour that mixture into the sausage bowls and they are ready for the smoker.

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I smoked them for about an hour or so between 200-300 degrees. The temp was at 200 when I put them on but it rose to 300 by the end which was fine.

on the smoker

Then I finished them on the grill. When I set them up onto the grill, they were still pretty soft so I left the foil for a few minutes while they cooked and once they were a little more sturdy I took the foil off to finish them up.

all finished

I used a meat thermometer to check the centers of them for doneness and pulled them at 160 degrees.

I personally do not eat eggs so my kids were the guinea pigs. They have given me rave reviews on this one. I hope you all try it and it works out well for you, too! I can’t wait to try new combinations!

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As a little extra bonus, you could plop these bad boys right between an English muffin! Mmmmm!

I think it was this recipe I used for the seasoning:

CRADLE ROCKING MAMA’S SAUSAGE SPICE MIX

– 8 or 9 tsp. dried sage
– 7 or 8 tsp. salt
– 4 tsp. black pepper
– 4 T. brown sugar*
– 1/2 to 1 tsp. ground cloves
– dash of some pepper: paprika, chili powder, cayenne

 
  1. Measure out your spices.
  2. Dump them in a bowl.
  3. Whisk them together.
  4. Store in a labeled container.
  5. Use 4 tsp. of the mix per pound of meat.

You can find more on her blog at http://cradlerockingmama.com/homemade-breakfast-sausage/ 

Smoked Pork! Oh my goodness!!!!!

Smoked Pork! Oh my goodness!!!!!

Ok, so I was going to throw my pork into a crock pot and forget it and then later come back and pull it and call it pulled pork. Hey, what can I say I am a home school mom with a bunch to do. But then I joined a group whose theme is smoking and grilling and whatnot and started slobbering as I read through the posts in the group. I decided how dumb am I to crock my pork? Today I spent 9 hours manning my smoker. My classroom was in the backyard. Hey I am a home school mom and we can school anywhere 😀 So, here is what I did: It all started last night. I made the rub: 1/2 cup white sugar mixed with a little maple syrup (I didn’t have brown sugar so I improvised). 1/4 paprika I used the smoked paprika you can buy in bulk at Winco 1 TBSP each of onion powder garlic powder chili powder black pepper salt 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

pork rubbed

Adjust this rub to your own taste. I rubbed this all over my roasts after I rinsed them and patted them dry. Then I covered them and put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning I pulled them out and threw em onto the smoker after it was hot and ready. I kicked back and enjoyed the songs of the birds and the breeze and the sounds of my daughter reading to me or doing math. This is the smoker I used. Nothing fancy, but it does a really good job!

smoker

I really like the taste and smell of Frontier brand lump charcoal and today I tried chunk hickory instead of chips for the first time. The chunks are way better. I used some dry and some wet just depending on the level of smoke I wanted the heat inside the smoker. If it was getting on the hot side I would use wet chunks and if it was cooler I threw in some dry ones. I brushed the meats with some olive oil a couple hours in to keep them from drying out. Also, make sure your water bowl has water in it. The water helps to even out the distribution of the heat and it keeps the inside humid which also aids in maintaining moisture in the meat.

pork on smoker

At the stall, I wrapped the meats in foil and put them back on the grill and increased the heat to 250. Once the meats hit an internal temp of 200, I pulled them off and rested them for an hour under heavy towels. Once the meat was cooled and pulled I made a vinegar-based sauce using these ingredients:

1 c Cider vinegar

1/2 c Hot water

1 TBSP Smoked paprika (you can use regular it’s okay)

2 TBSP Dark brown sugar

1 tsp Black pepper

1 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix the brown sugar with the hot water until dissolved then mix everything else together and pour over the meat. This sauce added a tang and spice that was a real kick in the mouth! Adjust the ingredients to your own taste but you can’t go wrong with this recipe. So to balance the tang and spice of this sauce in the finished product, I also made a white barbecue sauce that was a real hit with the family. Here is what I did:

1 c Mayo

1/3 c Cider vinegar

1 tsp Water (not sure what that was for but whatever)

1 tsp (or more heehee) Worchestershire sauce

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 tsp Garlic powder

1/2 tsp Onion powder

1/2 tsp Black pepper

1/4 tsp Hot sauce (I used Tapatio)

Whisk it all up and viola! White barbecue sauce southern style!

No pulled pork is complete without a good coleslaw. I went looking online for a good recipe but didn’t find anything that particularly enthused me but I did find some inspiration. For mine, I didn’t really measure I just threw things together. Here is an estimated recipe:

1 cup of mayo

1/2 c sour cream

1/4 c white vinegar

1/4-1/2 c white sugar

2 TBSP black pepper

2 tsp salt

1/4 cup sweet relish

1/2 tsp of celery seed

I mixed it all up and poured it over my cabbage which I shredded in my food processor. The slaw added a nice mild flavor to the meat. All-in-all, my mouth was jazzed trying to wrangle all the different flavors and textures in the sandwich. One thing I would change is I would not have used regular hamburger buns. That was dumb. I recommend using a hoagie roll or something that absorbs juice without getting soggy. This is a JUICY sandwich!

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I didn’t stop there, though. As I sat there thinking about how wonderful this meat was going to be when I eat it this weekend I got to thinking about dinner for tonight. I knew I wanted to cook up the pork Spare ribs I had in the freezer and thought, “what the heck? Why don’t I thaw them and throw them on the smoker too?” So I did. I gave em a rub down with the same rub (I had leftovers) and tossed em in with the roasts after the roasts were foiled. Before long, they were done so I put them in a pan, poured in my preferred beverage:

smoking beverage

covered it with foil and left the pan in the smoker a while longer.

Here is what those babies look like!

pork spareribs

There are four of them in there. I know my pictures suck but the lights in my house are just not conducive to capturing true color. Anyway, dinner was so yummy! I served this with tomato/blue cheese salad and broccoli.

Better Than Store-Bought Refried Beans! And Cheaper!

Better Than Store-Bought Refried Beans! And Cheaper!

It is really hard for me to justify spending a dollar on a can of refried beans when I can buy a couple of pounds of dry beans for less than 2 dollars and end up with three quarts of them only mine taste better and I know what’s in them. I had a bag of pintos lying around today so I thought I’d do em up since I didn’t have any cans.

Here’s what I did:

I dumped em into the pan and covered em with water and brought them to a boil.

beans

I shut off the stove but left the pan on the burner. They sat on the stove for a bit after that, maybe an hour. Then I dumped in some dehydrated onions (don’t be shy), and dried oregano, butter (bout a half stick) and Himalayan salt for flavor. I dumped 8 cups of water in and stirred then brought that all back up to a boil. I turned the heat down to med low or low and covered the pan and let em cook a good 3-4 hours until they were soft enough to smash with a hand masher.

I prefer my beans to be smooth so I put them through the food processor and while they ran I added a pinch or two of celery salt and a few more pinches of onion powder. I actually tend to use a lot of onion powder. I love that stuff.

refried beans

bagged beans

Bag em up and toss em in the freezer. Viola! Delicious homemade refried beans made with all healthy ingredients. I think these can also be dehydrated for non freezer storage if you have dehydrator mats. I might try it myself and see how it goes and then I’ll update this blog with the results.

Cost of beans $1.60

Cost of butter $0.38

Scrumptious Red Pepper Hummus

Scrumptious Red Pepper Hummus

Yes I am stealing this recipe from another blogger. I am hoping mine turns out as wonderfully as the picture looks on their blog. Who doesn’t love hummus?? It is the most amazing versatile spread or dip on the planet and the flavor combinations are endless! You can make any flavor hummus you want! Today I am making my own so I know what goes into it and what I put into my body. Recently, Sabra hummus has experienced a few recalls which is scary to me. I love hummus but I don’t wanna buy it from the store to find out it has contaminants in it. Yuck. I’m going to make some I know is healthy as well as tasty 😀

Lets get started.

First thing I did was wash my pepper then throw it in the oven on the top rack. I turned on the broiler and waited for it to blacken. I turned it over and over to make sure the whole thing had black on it. Once black, into a ziplock bag it went until it was cool enough to take the skin off and remove the seeds.

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I threw it and all the other ingredients into my food processor

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and let it go for a few minutes to make sure it was creamy and smooth enough.

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Then my favorite part; the taste test. Mmmmmmm!! So good!

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Don’t mind the picture I was trying to garnish with paprika but the fan was on so it looks more like an accident.

Here is the link to the original recipe I used. In fact, this whole blog is pretty amazing!

http://dollarfriendlymeals.com/2012/01/21/roasted-pepper-hummus/

For those of you not familiar with Tahini,    unnamed (6) this is the one I use. When I first bought it, it was separated like paint. It needs to be stirred a super long time the first time you use it. So, if you are putting something together and you need tahini, give yourself time to stir it before you actually need it. I am not joking you need at least a half hour to get it all incorporated. But it is totally worth it. This stuff is so frickin good!

Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemons

I have been seeing this new trend all over the internet lately or maybe it’s not new just new to me but I had to try it. I washed and scrubbed my lemons cuz apparently some have wax on them. I don’t know if mine did but they don’t now lol. I threw my jar and a lid into the oven to sterilize cuz we only want the good kind of bacteria running around in our lemons.

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Like every other blog says to do, I cut the tops off the lemons then sliced them almost into quarters but not all the way then jammed em full of Himalayan salt. Most recipes call for sea salt but I didn’t have any so I used the pretty pink stuff. I squished em down into the quart jar and then filled the rest of the space with lemon juice. There are recipes that call for things like coriander and cloves and cinnamon sticks. I will use all of that in my next batch. I got too overzealous and forgot them this time around.

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Himalayan salt isn’t terribly expensive unless you go to Safeway where you will probably pay about $7 for a little jar of it. Too much! Get it at Winco! Buy bulk! It is so much cheaper that way! Himalayan salt has lots of minerals your body needs that regular table salt doesn’t have. I can’t remember how much it is at Winco but I know that when you can buy as much or as little as you want, you control the cost.

Now we wait. Every couple of days, flip the jar for 30 days.

Cost of Lemons 4 x $.68

Cost of Lemon juice – pennies

Cost of salt – pennies

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