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Weird Birds Recipes: Quick Pho Bo

There are certainly merits to starting a soup from bones, but sometimes it just isn’t practical. Sometimes we get a craving for pho that needs immediate satiation, and because we currently live in Hamilton, Montana, we have about a ten-hour drive to the nearest Vietnamese restaurant.  So, we’ve started making the following quick pho recipe quite a lot.

Quick Pho Bo

Serves 6

Broth
2 gallons water
4 tbsp concentrated beef stock (I use Better Than Bouillon)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp salt

Spice Sachet
3 oz. whole star anise (5-8 pods)
1 cinnamon stick, broken in two
1 tsp. whole cloves
1 tsp. black peppercorns
Several slices of fresh ginger, or ½ tsp. dried

1 packet of  Bahn Pho noodles
½ lbs. sirloin or similar cut, lean beef
½ thinly sliced medium yellow onion
2 stocks green onion

First off, stick the sirloin (or whatever meat you are using) in the freezer. After an hour or two, the meat should be hard, but not entirely frozen. Remove, and slice paper thin, as thin as you can get it. Put the sliced beef into the fridge. Bring water to a boil, and add concentrated beef stock. Add sugar, fish sauce, and salt. Create a loose sachet out of cheese cloth to wrap up the star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns, and ginger. Drop the sachet into the broth, and let simmer for at least an hour. The longer, the better. Meanwhile, soak the noodles in cold water in a pot for twenty minutes. Remove the thinly sliced beef from the fridge, and set out on the counter. Next, boil the noodles until they are about ¾ cooked, pliable but still a little hard. Strain the noodles and rinse with cold water to stop them from continuing to cook. Evenly disperse the noodles in deep serving bowls, and top with beef and onion slices. Bring broth to a boil, remove the sachet, and then ladle the boiling soup onto the noodles. If done correctly, the boiling soup will instantly finish the noodles and cook the beef. Garnish with green onion. Serve with basil, cilantro, mung bean sprouts, sliced jalapeño, lime, Sriracha sauce, hoisin sauce, chilli paste, and fish sauce. Enjoy!

The Season’s First Snow, and a New Shop!

As the first snows drifted down, we found ourselves huddled at the dining room table watching deer in the yard nibble at the apple cores from our pies, and later, bundled to go for a nice, snowy hike around Lake Como this past weekend.  This evening, Halloween, will be our first time handing out candy together, and we carved pumpkins for the first time in years.  It’s been so wonderful to savor these changing seasons in the States, and all of the surrounding festivities feel new and magical again.  In time for the approaching holidays, we changed our shop format to make purchasing a little easier.  We can now be found on Etsy, and hope you’ll stop by to see some of the things we’ve been working on.

ELIZABETH

We hiked around Lake Como while the water was perfectly still and Tundra Swans giggled among themselves like feral children.

A hornets’ nest sways in the wind with the foliage.

Our Jack-O-Lanterns.

Cornelia takes a nap on our work bench while we build things in the basement.

Kevin is almost done building honeycomb shelves.

KEVIN

Tundra Swans relax under the cloudy skies and yellow leaves.

A fern along the trail.

A cozy, snowy walk on a Sunday morning.

A Bald Eagle looking for lunch from his perch high above Lake Como.

Elizabeth surveys the low, seasonal waters of Lake Como as the season’s first snows blanket the hills on the far bank.