I’ve been tinkering around with the eventual recipe for Division Street* Pho, which is traditionally identified as a pho chay, for months now. Tinker, tinker. I found myself on what became an epic quest for vegan pho chay in Portland last winter (which I’ll be compiling one of these days), and really studying the flavors in the bowls in front of me. Specifically, which broths boasted or lacked flavor, spices, development. I turned to google search and Vietnamese cookbooks to read up on just what makes traditional pho broth (Spoiler alert: charred, simmered bones), how to avoid the off-putting canned broths and salty flavor packets, the building blocks of the Buddhist vegetarian version (chay), the requisite spices and herbs, and ultimately, how I could achieve my own animal-free depth of flavor.
After the first Con in 2011, I returned to my delusional day job and vowed that if I could help put together something so seemingly epic, I wouldn’t be in the same place next time around, grumbling and devoting so much time to things that didn’t matter to me. I’m definitely not
Mission, complete! Weeknight dinners…all set. No excuses. Testing for Isa Does It, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s ode to weeknight wonders, has ended, which is sad news for me, but good news for you! This brand spankin’ new book is officially due out October 22, 2013 — so it’s time to share (plus, Isa’s back in Portland for VVC …
It’s my day on the Whole Grain Vegan Baking Blogtour, and I’m taking the teeniest, tiniest moment away from uh, week-of Vida Vegan Con-hyperdrive duties, before bed to share what I’ve made so far from this intriguing, wholesome book. Let’s be honest, there are a lot lot lot of vegan cookbooks out these days (and well, seemingly every few days), but when Tami and Celine put out a book, you take note.
And when they ask you to join a blogtour, you’re so in.
Bit by bit, her favorite cookbooks and well worn recipes from newspapers (Sweet Potato Pie Casserole, I’m talking to you), impressive family holiday spreads, baking peanut butter fudge cookies, frosting cupcakes for class, using a food processor to puree the filling for her well-loved stuffed mushrooms (which she kept making, despite developing a severe fungus allergy – and I remember bits and pieces of that fateful ravioli at a restaurant on Long Island well), savoring good wine and balsamic, aged Parmesan and visits to gourmet Italian markets, the early days of the Food Network, forming those croquettes out of leftovers mashed potatoes, and even her go-to fried potatoes & scrambled comfort food – it all starts to reappear: and I try to savor them, one by one. You never want those visions to go.
Cold brew has become one of the savings graces of warmer days in my life, and it’s ridiculously easy to make at home. You’re essentially extracting the coffee into more of a concentrate (which is why you’re typically see cold brew priced higher than coffee). The method I used comes from Cook’s illustrated’s Dan Souza, and is available on the website of America’s Test Kitchen. As if you could have any doubts now. I’ve combined a couple of steps, based on how I’ve been making at home the past two summers, and throw in the addition of rich cacao nibs, ripped off from my dear from Tom (who rules!).