Sunday, January 6, 2013

Just One

One class sample for Tuesday.
The colour in the picture is off (as usual).

I'm a fairly decent cook, and if I'm not forced to cook on a regular basis, I enjoy it quite a bit. I especially enjoy a challenge.

The first challenge that I remember/that was fun was a dinner party at which one person could eat no dairy, including butter, one person could eat no wheat, and a third eschewed mushrooms and curry. The main course wasn't a problem, but the appetiser and dessert were problematic (given that I refused to opt out and give them hummus and crackers at one end of the meal and fruit at the other end). It turned out quite well in the end, and involved making almond milk from scratch, although I'm not sure why I didn't just go out and buy some.

So there's a group of people with whom I have dinner on a fairly regular basis, and we tend to go to rather vanilla places for the most part. Never anything ethnic (I don't count Vaguely Italian as ethnic).

Once the two in the group whose tastes in food seem the most catholic and I ended up at a Thai restaurant; both of them ordered a rice soup that was suspiciously like a Vietnamese pho, though which rice grains rather than noodles. Much to their surprise and mine, they loved the soup.

I'm not one of those people (this should not come as a shock unless you haven't read any of the preceding paragraphs) who regard food merely as fuel and derive no pleasure from it. I also enjoy, well, proselytising: I love to get people to eat and enjoy foods that they have not tried, especially when they've been in any measure biased against that sort of food, so when I knew my friends over for lunch today, I knew what I had to make: pho.

It was well worth it, though I can't figure out why it's so hard to find bones for soup in reasonable quantities. One tiny bone isn't exactly going to flavour gallons of broth, so finding sufficient and suitable bones was probably the single biggest time-suck.

My broth was clear and scum-free and had appropriate silkiness.

The shredded beef from the bones was meltingly tender.

The sirloin, well, I need to work on "paper-thin", but it was most definitely edible.

Next time I might not follow the cooking directions on the package or rice noodles, as I would have preferred them firmer.

Next time I will most definitely heat the bowls first, because it was not piping hot.

Next time I need even more soup bones, but yes, overall, I'd do it again because it was delicious and probably one of the healthier dishes I've made in a while. Definitely healthier than the white and dark chocolate extra-custardy bread pudding with raspberry sauce I made for dessert.

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