Pho Ya!!!

January 27, 2010 2 comments

[A posting by JOHN – I’m sure you can tell.  The photos are better and the copy is funnier.]

What the Pho.  Ap-Pho-tizing.  Pho King.  Fee fi Pho fum.  Okay that’s enough I’ll start already.

Since I’m on hiatus and income is short, I’ve been cooking a lot.  Home cooking saves a lot of money and for me is very challenging.  Sometimes I cry, sometimes I scream, sometimes I cheat, but in the end I’ve created something from a bunch of stuff and it’s edible.  Recently I made Pho for the first time.  Growing up, my parents made it all the time but I never bothered to learn how.  I’m an eater not a cooker, lover not a fighter, driver not a walker.  I just knew it took a long ass time and I had to skim the fat off the top of the broth.  That was my job, I was good at it.  We never had oily Pho in my house.  Never.  Instead of asking them how to make it, I looked up a recipe online.  I figure I would take a shot at it first and perfect it based on their suggestions.  Here’s how I did it.

First you have to get all your spices ready.  I used cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, and cloves.  I couldn’t find any cardamom so I excluded it.  You can also get a Pho packet that has all the spices you need.  That’s easier.

Second, I started to broil the onion and ginger.  Add a little olive oil to it and put it on the top rack of the oven and watch the magic happen, it’ll take about 10-15 minutes for that magic to happen.

Third, you have to start making the stock.  I used oxtail for this.  Why did I use oxtail?  Because I like oxtail.  I am sure you can use other parts of the cow if you want. I boiled it first for 10 minutes, threw out the water, and put it back in a pot with new water.

Fourth, add the spices, onion, ginger, and beef into that pot of new water and let it simmer for about 3 hours.  You can add some sugar and fish sauce to taste.

Once it’s done, boil some Pho noodles, add mint, basil, bean sprouts, rare steak (sliced thin) and enjoy.  Add hoisin sauce and Sriracha to taste.

My first attempt at Pho wasn’t even close to how good my parents made it.  Next time I’ll probably use a few more pieces of oxtail, keep the original water, and let it simmer with the ginger and onion for a couple hours and ad the spices in the last hour.  I hope your mouths are watering now, oh it’s so good.

Categories: home, john, milestones, num yummies Tags:

Boo Photo of the Day: Bradley and Macy

January 19, 2010 Leave a comment

an oldie but goodie

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David Phillips

January 12, 2010 2 comments

So.  This is my friend DP.  From way back when.  We did a tour together at Spot Welders.  So super talented.  And he freakin’ says MOO.  He’s just the bestest I tell ‘ya.  Just the bestest.

He’s so talented he was featured in this here TV segment

Check out his work by clicking the image above or by visiting the Downtown Art Center Gallery in LA.

Dew it.  Dew it NOW!

Categories: friends

Boo Photo of the Day: Macy and Wednesday

January 6, 2010 Leave a comment

LURVE!

Categories: Uncategorized

The Crumb Stash: Currant Scones

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Sometimes I just crave scones.  And our recent obsession with the Starling Diner, who serves up an absolutely criminal stuffed french toast and crazy-good cream scones has gotten the scone-jones going.

My first foray into scone making was at the CCA in San Francisco.  I think it’s made me partial to currant scones above all flavors, as this was the kind we’d make everyday in bread class to serve up to the rest of the students.  Very few things smell more heavenly than freshly-baked scones.  The recipe below is adapted from Baking Illustrated by the lovely people at America’s Test Kitchen.  It’s by far the best scone recipe I’ve ever used and the Hus says that these scones are even better than the ones from Starling.

Cream Scones

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a low-protein brand such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup currants
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F.

2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.

3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Stir in currants. If using food processor, remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add currants and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to large bowl.

4. Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Form scones patting the dough onto a lightly floured work surface into a 1-inch thick circle and cutting them into 6 wedges.

6. Place the wedges on an ungreased baking sheet [lined with parchment, wax paper or a silpat mat], brush the tops with cream and bake until scone tops are brown, 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the process. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Boo Photo of the Day: Macy and Wednesday

December 8, 2009 Leave a comment

** crap photos courtesy of the first-generation iphone camera.  enjoy.

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The Crumb Stash: The Pioneer Woman’s Monkey Muffins

December 6, 2009 1 comment

I am a HUGE fan of pull-apart loaf, also known to some as “monkey bread.”  Just ask anyone who was in San Francisco with me when John and I got married.  On wedding day, we all got up early and walked across the street to the Ferry Building Marketplace to grab one [or three] of Acme Bread Company’s delicious currant pull-aparts along with some other yummy stuff.  There is nothing much better in the world for breakfast than that and a latte from Blue Bottle [for those of you out on the West side, Equator Books in Venice now serves Blue Bottle Coffee].

I’m a newbie to Ree Drummond’s blog, The Pioneer Woman – I sort of love her.  She doesn’t take herself too seriously and her blog is full of wonderful recipes, stories and photographs, especially of her life on a working ranch in Oklahoma.  Her photos are gorgeous.  Looking at one of her recipe posts always sets my tummy a-rumblin’.  And I swear that woman has a third hand – she always has these action shots while she’s cooking [either that or she’s got camera-timers down pat].

She recently posted a recipe for what she calls “monkey muffins” that got all me all kinds of excited.  You can see the original recipe [and tummy-rumblin’] photos here.  It was my first venture into no-knead bread dough – no-knead bread dough is freakin’ awesome.  And Ree’s “monkey muffins” are freakin’ awesomer!

Monkey Muffins

adapted from The Pioneer Woman

makes 24

No-Knead Rolls
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 package Active Dry Yeast
  • 4 cups (Plus 1/2 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tablespoon [or 1 1/2 teaspoons]  (heaping) Salt
Preparation Instructions

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan and scald – you’ve scalded the mixture when little wisps of smoke appear, just before the mixture starts to boil.

Turn off heat and leave to cool for 30-45 minutes. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm [stick your clean finger in there] sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 4 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.

After rising for at least an hour, add 1/2 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. At this point, you can transfer the dough to another container and cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary.  If it starts to overflow from the container, just deflate or “punch” it down.

Monkey Muffins
Ingredients
  • no-knead rolls dough
  • 3/4 stick Butter
  • 6 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Add 1/2 teaspoon butter to muffin tins. Sprinkle in cinnamon-sugar.

Roll dough into walnut sized ball and place three into each muffin tin [I am little OCD so I used a small ice cream scoop to scoop out uniform-ish-ly sized balls of dough]

Top with 1/2 teaspoon butter. Sprinkle on more cinnamon-sugar.

Allow dough to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or so, or just go ahead and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Remove from oven and immediately drizzle plenty of 1 teaspoon [or more] of sweetened condensed milk over the top of each one.

Scoop out with a spoon and serve to hungry humans.

** if you don’t dig sweetened condensed milk, leave the planet now!  ok, you can stay.  but if you don’t like sweetened condensed milk, roll the dough balls in some cinnamon-sugar placed in a plastic zip top bag before putting them into the tins [you’ll obviously need to make more cinnamon-sugar than what’s needed above].  these should be sweet enough to pass for monkey muffins without needing the condensed milk.

*** if you’re feeling extra dangerous, throw in some chocolate chips, dried fruit [like currants or cranberries] or some nuts [pecans would be my #1 pick] into the tins before you set them aside to rise before baking.

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