Monday, February 18, 2008

Frolic and Fun!

Sledding is fun!

Winter is not over yet. It is still winter in beautiful Vermont and there is still plenty of time to frolic around in the snow. Build a bonfire, go sledding, drink Long Trail's Hibernator beer, and make moose stew; this is my idea of a great time!

I am sharing a recipe that will keep you warm through the end of winter. Vietnamese Pho (pronounced fuh), the broth smells beefy, laced with ginger, star anise and freshly chopped onions and cilantro. A bowl of pho, Vietnam's treasured beef noodle soup will take the chill off on a cold Vermont night. The rice noodles are velvety and fresh, the edges of the rare beef curl up expectantly in the hot broth. Reach for a piece of lime to squeeze into the broth, a handful of cool, crisp bean sprouts, a few sprigs of herbs and fresh chilies. Pho is complete, nutritious, infinitely delicious and we could eat it morning, noon and night, day after day. Slurp up the flavor, eat it while it's piping hot, and warm up.


6 cups beef broth
4 (1/4-inch thick) sliced ginger
2 whole star anise
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2 clove garlic, smashed
1/2 pound piece boneless beef sirloin, trimmed of any fat
3 ounces dried flat rice stick noodles
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt as needed
1 cup fresh bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
1/8 cup minced scallions
1/4 cup fresh cilantro sprigs, washed and finely chopped
1 small thin fresh red or green Asian chili, sliced very thin
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
Lime wedges for garnish

In a 2 quart saucepan bring broth, ginger, star anise, black peppercorns, cinnamon, and garlic to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
With a very sharp knife cut sirloin across the grain into very thin slices.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add rice stick noodles and cook 6-8 minutes. Drain noodles in a colander. Set aside.
Strain broth into saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in fish sauce, honey, salt and pepper. (Add more sugar for sweeter taste, or more fish sauce for saltier taste. Keep soup broth hot on the stove).
Add sirloin and sprouts and cook 30 to 45 seconds, or until sirloin changes color. Skim any froth from soup.
To serve, divide noodles into 4 bowls. Ladle soup over noodles. Sprinkle scallions, cilantro, chilies and basil over soup and serve with lime wedges.

Mr. Barkley came out to play!

Where are the marshmallows?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Secret Ingredient Is ...Love

Have you ever tasted that special ingredient love? I often here about people adding it to recipes and have even seen it written on labels of different foods as an ingredient. Have you added it? I have, and I also remember the memorable meals with love added. This Valentines Day add some love to your romantic meal for your special one. I know it will be well received and remembered!

Below is the menu for my Valentine's Day Dinner for two:

Mussels with Provencal

Honey Lavender Roasted Vermont Raised Chicken

Wilted Spinach with Black Pepper and Local Goat Cheese

Wild Rice with Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Hazelnut Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate Hazelnut Lave Cakes

Serves 6

lots of love
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup ground hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 425ยบ. Butter six ramekins.
Melt chocolate and butter in heavy sauce pan over low heat. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk whole eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla extract. Add sugar and mix well. Then fold in chocolate mixture, love, flour and hazelnuts.
Pour batter into the ramekins, dividing equally.
Bake cakes oven until the sides are set but the center remains soft and runny, about 14 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 2 minutes.
Run small knife around cakes to loosen. Immediately turn cakes out onto plates and serve hot with favorite garnish.