Resolutions are funny things. Did you make one? Have you kept it? I learned long ago that I can never keep them. I generally make some half hearted attempt to lose a couple pounds but never seem to lose even one.
This past year my perspective has changed somewhat. Instead of making an unwanted requirement of myself, I figured I would make a promise instead. Each day I want to experience life a little more each day. There are many ways to do that, but most days while running around in the daily grind, it really just means that for at least one second per day I want to truly be in the moment and appreciate where I am in life.
Along with living life, I also want to appreciate amazing food – because it’s such an essential part of life anyways, so might as well eat the good stuff. Delicious food doesn’t always mean decadence or unhealthy options – though I never said I wouldn’t go a little crazy – it just mean fresh, vibrant foods that look good, taste good and make you feel good. Lots of people like to start the year eating a bit healthier, so I figured I would dedicate a week to delicious but healthier options.
For several weeks I have been dying to make pho, its a vietnamese soup pronounced ‘fa’, and really it’s a deep flavor tasting dish. The broth is the base of the entire soup because it flavors everything. If you have a mediocre broth, you will have a mediocre soup. This is what takes the longest to make so I made a huge batch all at once. I froze separate bags so all I have to do is heat some broth up and I’m all set to add whatever add ins I have on hand any day I want some pho.
My brother David is a pho connoisseur. Or at least I’ll call him that at this point. He has this knack for craving pho at two o’clock in the morning then convincing half awake siblings to join him in his hunt for a bite. Usually it ends up being my little sister Becka, but I don’t think she complains too much. When I told him I was going to make it myself, he begged to be invited for dinner. As if I would make it and have it without him…
Thankfully we live in an area that is nearby a dense asian culture where I can find all the asian veggies and inspiration I need. Before you panic, no you don’t need anything super fancy to make this. The beef slices can be sliced by your supermarket butcher – just make them do it as thin as they can. You can use regular basil, it tastes awesome too. You can find everything else at almost any supermarket so there’s no excuse to try this!
- 1 ½ pounds beef bones
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 onion, rough large chopped
- 6 cloves garlic
- 4 star anise pods
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- thai basil
- olive oil
- To make the broth, first roast the bones in a 400 degree oven until dark brown and fragrant. After roasting, put the bones, cloves, onion, garlic, anise, pepper and salt into a large slow cooker, cover with water and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Strain the broth removing all the solid pieces. Skim fat off the top as much as possible. Add fish sauce and salt to taste. If you like, you can remove the meat from the bones and add it back into the broth. To store, freeze in personal serving sizes and defrost what you need.
- For the crispy basil, heat olive oil in a deep pot (to minimize spitting), and fry basil leaves a couple at a time for about 10-20 seconds until firm and glassy looking. Remove to a paper towel to drain and sprinkle with salt.
- To prepare pho, fill a large bowl with any of the following toppings, pour hot broth over it and top with crispy basil leaves.
- Thinly sliced beef
- Rice noodles, cooked to package directions
- White onion, thinly sliced
- Jalapeno or serrano chiles, sliced
- Hot chile paste like Sambaal
- Bean Sprouts
- Lime slices
- Thai basil