Lynn – Phigs and Pho

dinner
The title of this post reminds me of high school…back when I was big Phish Phan.
For lunch yesterday I put the 7 remaining organic figs from the farmer’s market in my salad…

…with turkey, organic spinach, bell peppers, and red pepper hummus as dressing – plus a handful of honey wheat pretzels.
I took Julius on an hour-long walk in the heat which left both him and I panting:
At around 5pm we headed to the other side of town, to celebrate my cousin Noah’s 17th birthday.
I was quite famished on the way and had a few sips of Abe’s Diet Pepsi to tame the rumbly tummy -
A note about diet soft drinks – I used to be a bit of an addict…around the same time I gave up counting calories a year ago, I eschewed artificial sweeteners and caffeine. They were a dieting crutch for me, and an unhealthy substitute for eating at times. My, my, my…how one’s habits can change. The sips were good and they did the trick, but only to be used in emergencies like this one.
When we got there I snacked on a small handful of edamame,

A large handful of grapes,

And a couple Lundberg Brown Rice Chips (which were quite tasty)

Our chef for the evening was our cousin Kristine. Back in December we all travelled through Southeast Asia together so Noah requested Pho for his birthday dinner. Kristine is the food editor for Bon Appetit magazine; obviously, we were in outrageously capable hands.

In a large pot, combine 2 quarts Organic Chicken Broth with 2 cups of water

While that heats up, place onions and ginger directly over a high flame until charred on all sides (turning with tongs).

Soak 2 packages of dried rice noodles in hot water (tap is fine),

toast up some star anise… (Kristine brought this back from a market in Vietnam)

…and put it in a tea strainer (with 1 tsp black peppercorns). Add to the chicken broth with 2 TB fish sauce and 1 Tb sugar (and salt to taste, if you’re using low-sodium broth).

If you’re vegetarian, you can use veggie stock and leave out the fish sauce, like Abe did, which you see in the neighboring saucepan.

Once the onions and ginger have charred, remove the skins and chop into large chunks…

…adding them to the stock.

Drop in 4 chicken breasts.

Meanwhile, put another large pot of water on the stove for the noodles and start prepping the garnishes. Here’s some chili.

Kristine also chopped up some fresh scallions and cilantro, and set out some fresh bean sprouts, basil, and mint.

The birthday boy got a knife sharpening lesson while we waited for the chicken to finish cooking.

When it was done, the meat was pulled out and put in the fridge for about 15 minutes (to make it easier to cut).

Bok choy was washed, cut, and added to the pot…

…and the onions/ginger were removed with a slotted spoon.

The noodles were drained from their soaking liquid and added to the boiling water -

And the chicken, now firmed up from its vacation in the fridge, was sliced.

The noodles cooked for a few minutes, were taste tested out, and drained.

Done. Pho time!

It was unusually foggy and cool outside on the beach, making it perfect weather for a hot meal on an August evening.

Kristine assembled the base, which was noodles, broth, chicken slices, cilantro, and scallions -

We added our own toppings – which included the fresh herbs and lime, Sriracha, and Hoisin Sauce.

My first bowl -

And seconds -

Super spicy and yummy.

We gathered to watch the video Abe edited of our Southeast Asia trip, entitled…

EAT

PRAY

EAT

A really fun trip down memory lane.

Of course no birthday is complete without:

I had this slice of Cookie Dough Ice Cream cake from Coldstone Creamery -

Hope you enjoyed your Saturday as much as I did!