It’s National Soup Month! It’s Friday. It’s Pho-day!

It’s friday and Julia and I love Pho from my head to my toes!

Julia and Pho Soup

So here is a recipe that is fairly easy to make. You can adjust as desired. THis one is veggie only. Traditional Pho has thin sliced beef, that works too! So would Chicken or tofu!

This recipe is from a website called The Kitchn. I like their ideas and philosophies of food and planet.  Here is a little bite (ha ha) about them.

“The Kitchn is a site for people who like to get their hands dirty while they cook.
It is for those who care about the quality of their food, and how it affects the health of themselves and the planet. It is also for those who want to cook more, but are shy in the kitchen. It’s a place to dive in deep, and embrace the joy of one of our basic needs: food.”

 

Now- on to the Pho! – the rest of this post is from their page. To see some wonderful photos to tempt you even further – go to the page they posted with the directions!

“There are few better comfort foods than Vietnamese phở. When I’m on the verge of a cold or in need of a culinary pick-me-up, I sit down to a restorative bowl of aromatic broth, slippery rice noodles, and fresh, customizable garnishes.

Between the broth, noodles, and assorted garnishes like onions, herbs, chiles, and lime, phở (pronounced “fuh” not “foe”) is a wonderful interplay of textures and flavors. Traditionally, the soup is made with beef or chicken bones. Vegetarian versions, called phở chay, may be found at Buddhist establishments or restaurants catering to contemporary, Western clientele but, sadly, these often leave much to be desired.

In the interest of making vegetarian phở at home, I consulted my mother, who recalled her experience living in a Vietnamese Buddhist community that made meat-free phở broth with a medley of spices, ginger, and lots of carrots. This recipe is my interpretation. While it admittedly lacks the richness of meat-based phở, it’s still quite fragrant and filling without being heavy. There’s also room to make it your own by adding different proteins or vegetables. I continue to work on perfecting the broth, so let me know what you think!

Vegetarian Phở (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)
Serves 2

Broth
1 large onion, peeled and halved
2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and halved lengthwise
3-inch cinnamon stick, preferably Vietnamese cassia-cinnamon
1 star anise
2 cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
2 teaspoons soy sauce
4 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

Noodles
1/2 pound dried flat rice noodles (known as bánh phở; use 1/16″, 1/8″, or 1/4″ width depending on availability and preference)

Toppings (optional)
Protein such as fried or baked tofu, bean curd skin, or seitan
Mushrooms
Vegetables such as bok choy, napa cabbage, or broccoli

Garnishes
1/2 onion, very thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 chile pepper (Thai bird, serrano, or jalapeño), sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 cup bean sprouts
Large handful of herbs: cilantro, Thai basil, culantro/saw-leaf herb
Hoisin sauce, sriracha (optional)

For the broth
Char onion and ginger over an open flame (holding with tongs) or directly under a broiler until slightly blackened, about 5 minutes on each side. Rinse with water.

In a large pot, dry roast cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and coriander over medium-low heat, stirring to prevent burning. When spices are aromatic, add vegetable stock, soy sauce, carrots, and charred onion and ginger.

Bring broth to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain and keep hot until ready to serve.

For the noodles
While broth is simmering, place noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand for 20-30 minutes or until tender but still chewy. Drain. (If soaking does not soften the noodles enough, blanch them in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds.)

For the toppings (optional)
While broth is simmering, prepare toppings as desired – slice and cook tofu, lightly steam or blanch vegetables, etc. Toppings should be unseasoned or only lightly seasoned so as not to interfere with the flavor of the broth.

To serve
Divide noodles between two bowls. Arrange toppings over noodles. Ladle about 2 cups of broth into each bowl. Serve with garnishes on the side, which diners should add to taste.

Time off. Resting is good too.

We will be taking this week off, even Beasties need some down time. The Whole Gang at Botaniumus wishes you all the very best for 2012.

Zoie is taking some time to dance, swirl, and enjoy. All the creatures hope you can relax, enjoy and do a little wiggling yourself!

For those of you that celebrate Kwanzaa Merry Ones to you!

Zoie
Take a little time to wig, wag, and enjoy.

Festival of Lights.

May your home and heart be filled with shining lights of joy.
Mabel is celebrating Night 2 of Hanukkah this eve.

Mable Hanukkah  2011Mabel Holds the USA post office stamp. “This festive new Hanukkah (Forever®) stamp design commemorates a joyous annual festival celebrated by Jewish people around the world. In the stamp art, letters spelling out the word “Hanukkah” are backed by eight colorful shapes, symbolizing the eight days and nights of the celebration. The second “k” appears on the silhouette of a dreidel, a spinning top that children traditionally play with during Hanukkah.
The celebration of Hanukkah dates back over two millennia. Tradition relates how a miracle took place during the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem, which had been desecrated. The remaining supply of sacramental oil, thought to be enough for only one day, burned for eight days. Today, family members gather each night during the festival to light candles on a special candleholder called a menorah. Art director Ethel Kessler worked with illustrator Suzanne Kleinwaks on the new design.

The new Hanukkah stamps are being issued in panes of 20 self-adhesive Forever stamps. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.

Made in the USA. https://shop.usps.com

Hear ye Hear ye…Upcoming Events


Twinkles, Hear Ye Hear Ye

Twinkles is Back in town! Even though it’s not really cold it is, after all, December. Twinkles missed her friends and has come on back for the winter! As you may remember she is a true snow goddess check it out on The Individuals Page/Stories continued page of our site. (Note she is towards the bottom of the page, it is in alphabetical order.)

Today not only is Twinkles  announcing her arrival but also some up and coming events, starting this Friday and Saturday!

Friday Dec 16: We are part of the Whole Foods, Garden City Holiday Cheer: 

“The Sounds of Effie Kalas for Buy Local Night!
Friday, December 16th 4:30-6:30 pm

Join us and enjoy the music of Effie Kalas of the Bootsy Brown Singer Songwriter Tour at Whole Foods Market. Shop local this holiday season!  Visit with many of our favorite local vendors, (That’s where we fit in) grab dinner and then head out for the Garden City Center Holiday Stroll! “ ….The Botanical Beauties will be at Whole Foods with a full line of fun gifts ready for you, your friends or perhaps that “hostess with the mostess” gift! Sounds like a grand time, for fun, families, and everyone. Grab some Holiday Spirit and stroll! (Maybe Rock Roll and Stroll?)

• Saturday Dec 17:  3:30 pm. Don’t live in RI? Not to worry, how about coming to Uxbridge MA. This will be an open house afternoon with the full Botanical Beauties Line out for one and all to see and enjoy. Email us for directions and more information. Email: Botanicalbb3@gmail.com

• Sunday Afternoon Feb 5: We are setting up for a Uxbridge Food Pantry Fund Raiser. The Pampered Chef will be doing a food and product demo, The Botanical Beauties and Beasties will be out and about as well. All in time for an easy Valentines Day gift! Share the Food, Share the love. If you are not the email invitation list, not to worry, just email us for directions and more information. You don’t even have to be there to help out the food pantry. We will take straight out donations for them or The Pampered Chef will be sending them a check based on products sold. Email: Botanicalbb3@gmail.com