Tag Archives: experimentation

Pho sure!

Is there anything more satisfying than a humongous bowl of pho?
Maybe there is, to you, but I sure love sinking into this fragrant soup filled with amazing aromas, crunchy bean sprouts and fiery chilies.

2010-08-22 11.02.32I was first introduced to pho at a little hole in the wall Vietnamese place here in Florida. This place is authentic (and people do swear by its magical powers and great, cheap food) with Buddhas strategically placed and Vietnamese TV on in the background.

I had the vegetarian pho, and what struck me especially was the little side dish of condiments – basil, bean sprouts, chili peppers, lime) that signaled you to place them gently atop the finished soup, creating a masterpiece. It’s almost too pretty to eat!

When I get a hankering, I make my own at home (see above pic). It’s not hard. I love my river rice noodles, so those are very important. You can add anise, black pepper, garlic, and what not to a good veggie based broth. Add tofu (or leave it out), green onions, sliced mushrooms, gently simmer. Then you can begin adding your pretty condiments. Pho is adaptable to whatever you have on hand – it’s a lovely, gentle, forgiving soup. 🙂

The humble bean.

This is a humble little pinto bean. Many, many more just like this one will result in delicious meals.

When you cook the heck out of these little beans and mash them, you then have the basis for refried beans. Add garlic and onion powder, a little oregano, sea salt, and cumin. Drizzle a bit of olive oil. Mash and mash some more (don’t ‘whip.’) Add a tablespoon of water at a time to get a creamy consistency.

Fill into tortillas, taco shells, or eat plain with chopped scallions.


Spinach, mushroom, & garlic crescents. Addictive. Vegan.

And all gone.

Thursday’s experiment in fine cooking: Tomato bisque

“…Bisque is also commonly used to refer to one of many cream-based soups, in which the ingredients are pureed or processed in a food processor or a food mill. Common varieties include lobster, tomato, mushroom, and squash bisque.” – Wikipedia

After my wondrous Ribollita experience, I decided to go for a soup on the opposite end of the soup spectrum: three ingredients or less, not counting salt or pepper. Off the cuff, I decided on Tomato Bisque, and that’s exactly what I made last night, albeit in a small portion so I could test the waters, so to speak. I stewed fresh tomatoes just to soften; cooled them, then pureed the tomatoes with milk and some fresh cilantro I had lying about (and I usually do). The bisque then simmered very slowly with the addition of a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.

We’ll see how it goes. The tomatoes down here are for crap, but I can at least try!