This is the best pho I have ever had and that is pho sho.
Now that we have that out of the way, eat this pho on days where nothing is going right. Where you have to bite your tongue to keep from cussing and deliberately breathe so that you don’t melt into a puddle on the floor. Ok well it wasn’t that bad but still, everybody has those days.
Pajama days, where if you have the luxury to stay in bed all day, you do so. Then when the gumption finally hits to DO something with your life, you get up, and make pho. No? Just me? Okay then…
The moral of the story is the same phrase as you see on the notebook in this picture- The Grass Is Always Greener
Whatever that means…
Can we be satisfied with what we have in this very moment? Instead of longing for an invisible future and pretending like we know whats best for ourselves? By now I’ve found that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, it only appears to be so. But finding peace with this one moment, because it’s really all we have, that is where the green side lies. So I sat by the window, and shared a savoury bowl with J, of the most umami thing to have ever touched my lips, and in that moment none of the madness mattered. Why would it when all that we have is this very moment?
Heat a large skillet or frying pan, melt coconut oil and add onion, garlic and jalapeño, when they're slightly browned add the ground pork.
Keep the heat high and cover the pork, when it starts to release some fat uncover and add hoisin, chili paste and fish sauce. Stirring, keep the heat high, add the sugar or honey and allow the pork to slightly caramelize.
In a large pot, add chicken stock, kaffir lime and sea salt. Bring to a simmer. Add vermicelli and cook for about 3 minutes
When the pork is fully cooked, add half a cup of broth to deglaze the pan and get all the brown bits where all the flavour is.
Scrape the pork mixture into the broth,mix and serve with fresh sprouts and cilantro
This is my most favourite soup in the whole world. If ever you go out for Thai food and you don’t know what to get, tom kha gai is a safe choice that everyone loves. The creamy rich sweet and tangy coconut broth, infused with lemongrass and kaffir lime and humming with a hint of red chili is simply good enough to eat on its own. Add in tender chicken and plump mushrooms which soak up all the yummy flavours and you will be just as addicted to this soup as I am.
My sister, our friend and I went to one of my favourite restaurants while we were in Edmonton. Syphay specializes in Thai and Laos cuisine and I am endlessly striving to emulate their amazing Tom Kha Gai. Since we returned I’ve made this soup 2 times, learning along the way the perfect balance of sweet, sour, spicy and creamy which this soup is so famous for. Often I become obsessed with certain dishes until I get them just right, part of this blog is that it forces me to create a document of recipes which I won’t ever be able to lose. Cause yeah, I’m kinda disorganized like that. I love this soup alongside a thai curry and jasmine rice, or just as a simple lunch. It’s perfect served with a wedge of lime, chopped cilantro, sprouts, and maybe a heaped spoonful of chile sauce, or maybe not. I may or may not have made this before on the blog, but it’s slightly different, I know I’m obsessed,I’ll get over it once I make Tom Kha 10 more times this cold month of January.
A 5 ft pile of snow greeted us upon arriving home 2 days ago, since then we’ve been pleasantly nestled in our little home insulated with fresh powder. It feels so good to be home, our vacation in the city was wonderful but coming back to stillness and the scent of wood burning just feels right. Who would’ve thought a prairie girl would feel so comforted in the hands of mother mountain. The powers only gone out a handful of times since we got back and though you always think a million things will have changed in 2 weeks, everything remains the same. Aside from baby Mav nearly walking, yes at 9 months he is walking with the help of kitchen chairs and the mini car that his grandma got him. I’m not ready for this, it’s all happened so fast. A year ago he was a mere little bump, today he is an endlessly curious ball of energy. We tried our hand at mom and baby yoga class. Discovered that this is ideal for babies who aren’t yet movers and shakers. It was fun none the less, but I don’t think my boy is the next Iyengar.
Coming home to an empty fridge and belly is both daunting and exciting. I hate waste so I always make sure that everything perishable is enjoyed before leaving for a trip. If not, I give it all away, because there’s nothing worse than returning home to moldy kale leaves. Now we restock, oh what fun. Unfortunately we are relatively snowed in and a trip to town isn’t high on the list of priorities. After driving for 15 hours there must be at least a 3 day reprieve, at least. Simple comfort foods do the trick in this instance, and today this jalapeño and bacon cream of mushroom soup really hit the nail on the head. It’s dead simple, really, I don’t even have any chicken stock made so I had to opt for water and flavourful additions like smoky bacon, crispy garlic chips and a bit of kick with the jalapeño. I am in love, so is J, normally he is considerate and leaves me a little after the second serving but today he gobbled up all the leftovers and left not a crumb. Whatever. You can definitely make this soup paleo friendly by using coconut cream instead of heavy cream. I hope you love this decadent mushroom soup as much as I do.
1½ lb mushrooms (whatever types available to you), sliced
1 Tbs butter or ghee
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp fresh cracked pepper
3 C water
1½ C heavy cream or 1½ C coconut cream
3 cloves garlic, sliced
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
In a large pot melt the butter and add chopped onion, when onion is translucent, add mushrooms (save a handful), thyme, salt and pepper and allow this to cook down for a few minutes.
In a skillet or frying pan, add the chopped bacon and let it release some fat before adding garlic, jalapeño and a handful of sliced mushrooms. Let the bacon get nice and crispy and the mushrooms golden brown.
When the mushrooms and onions have cooked down, add water and cream and simmer for a few minutes. Using a hand mixer or transferring to a blender until smooth and creamy.
Serve the soup with a generous helping of crispy bacon, garlic and jalapeño and enjoy.
French onion soup can’t come from a packet, it cannot be had by a chemical laden powder. It’s essence is steeped with time and a wack load of onions which all melt down to practically nothing. There’s a reason why it’s french, the slow caramelization process is one which only the french could invent. Tried and true this recipe is one that my Grandmother taught me when I was about 10. It’s more of a technique than it is a recipe really. You can’t just fry up some onions and add stock, the depth of flavour comes from a long and slow all day melt down of the onions, perfect for a sunday afternoon or a start in the morning while the grass still clings to its frosty sleeve. Feel like you need a good cry but you just can’t let it out? French onion soup to the rescue, drown your sorrows while twelve onions force the raw emotion out of you, and then just let it melt away, allow the release just like the onions. You’ll see the volume of your onions wilt to 1/4 of their original fullness, what a great example they set.
Tomorrow morning we embark on a journey of epic proportions. A visit to the frozen wasteland of soviet like architecture, dear old Edmonton. While I’m happy to no longer live there, I adore my family and cannot wait to spend time with them. This year we’re having a solstice celebration before my brother and his fiancee depart for her families place. It’s baby Mavs first road trip so my fingers are crossed that he doesn’t learn how to unbuckle himself, as he has adeptly shown in the past. My outstanding procrastination skills have brought me here to this moment where its more important to write about classic french onion soup than it is to pack and get ready. I don’t care, I work best under pressure anyway.
1 baguette sliced and toasted (I used spelt sourdough) (optional)
½ C grated gruyere cheese
½ C grated parmesan cheese
In a large, heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter or ghee and add the onions,thyme and bay leaf. Stir and allow them to cook down for at least 3 hours, stirring every so often. Near the end give them a colour boost by amping up the heat for a few minutes and stirring continually.
With the heat on high, add the red wine and allow the alcohol to evaporate, cooking on high for about 2 minutes.
Add the beef stock, salt and pepper to taste and let it all come to a simmer.
Ladle to hot soup into 4 oven proof bowls, set oven to broil.
Top each bowl with a few pieces of toasted baguette and a generous amout of cheese. Place bowls on a baking tray in case of spillage and bake under the broiler until golden brown.
So, I always tell people I live in the clouds, which is true in a symbolic way but also in a physical way. Every year around this time the clouds really start to envelop us, swallow us up into their dreamy wisps, transport us to the land of long sleeps and somber walks through the misty forest. It’s nice to have a welcoming bowl of soup when you get home. That’s about all one can do in a land of clouds, dream, eat soup, play music, watch endless lost episodes on netflix (guilty) and eat more soup, okay and maybe some of that freakin’ amazing organic chocolate ice cream.
There’s something in me that waits for these short days and long nights, it is renewing in its way and brings a certain sense of retreat, but that it’s ok. We wrap ourselves in comfort foods and find that green stuff is at a major lack. Next year I’m going to try and build up some cold boxes to grow kale and hardy greens into the winter. I dislike buying greens from California or farther, the amount of energy it takes to get them here as opposed to what they give, it’s just heinous. Not to mention food prices are soaring, a woman in our area wrote a book on sustainable small town food dynamics and it’s distributed to food cupboards all over the place. The comparative living expenses and food cost in this area of BC (and most of Canada, likely) is akin to that of a third world country, not what most consider one of the richest nations in the world to be experiencing in their rural communities. Luckily there are a lot of amazing farmers who sell their produce at very fair prices and grow their food with love.
Squash is one of my favourite soup additions come winter, it’s loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, B vitamins and loads of essential minerals. It’s rich and creamy texture is welcomed warmly and paired with rich nutty brown butter and nutrient dense sweet potato topped with crispy bacon, it all makes for a mightily fulfilling meal.
Chipotle chicken soup for the soul, remember those books, minus the chipotle? The ones filled with cheesy stories about miraculous happenings like little Timmy’s dog saving his Aunt Wendy from driving off a cliff. I loved those books when I was younger, they were such a source of hope in this crazy world. When cynicism seizes my heartstrings nowadays, I read FML (they’re much more realistic) and I make actual chicken soup (much healthier). Though I do still like a good sappy story every now and again…I should just follow in my mothers footsteps and watch youtube videos of rescue dogs (Fiona‘s story is my favourite) when I need a good sob fest. Anyways…enough with my non-gourmand coping methods, lets get on to this spicy chipotle chicken soup with crispy pumpkin seeds and aged cheddar. It’s been pouring rain here in the Koots, it’s that time of year where my head is literally in the clouds and all I can do is eat soup and read and try and do yoga with a little baby scurrying all over the place.
Every week I roast a chicken and make stock, since there’s only 2 of us we usually get a good amount of leftover meat to add to make a nice soup with. Homemade chicken stock is dead simple and so good for your health, it’s loaded with natural gelatine and minerals and really does comfort ones soul. You can add all sorts of vegetable scraps, herbs and spices to your stock or you can just cover the bones with water and let it simmer for 12-24hrs. It’s really only as complex as you want it to be. Chicken Soup has been called Jewish penicillin, and for good reason, it keeps your immune system super strong. The money saved by roasting a chicken and making your own stock is paramount, not to mention most commercial chicken broth has added MSG, sadly even the organic ones. Just another reason why making your own stock has endless benefits. Adding other goodness like chiles, garlic and squash makes this chicken soup all the more nourishing and mightily delicious.
Hey I'm Chantelle, my alter ego would be a mermaid if I wasn't such a terrible swimmer. I love writing authentically and cooking in my pyjamas. My favourite pastimes include eating avocados, travelling the world and hanging out with a toddler.