Friday, November 15, 2013

The Hawthornes Get Together With The XKTs And Glowria.

The XKTs and Glowria are coming for a little get-together
and XKT has requested pho.
I'm more than happy to oblige,
but I'm running dangerously low on pho.
It's time to make some more.

Ingredients for pho
11-12 pounds beef marrow bones

10 quarts water
3 onions
fat 4-inch chunk of ginger
7 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
big chunk rock sugar
1/3 cup fish sauce
2-3 TB salt

sliced beef
rice noodles
sliced mushrooms (I like the "exotic" blend.)
mint, chopped
basil, chopped
cilantro, chopped
bean sprouts
lime slices
sliced jalapenoes
red hot peppers, minced

Step 1: 
 Prepare the onion and ginger. 

Set the unpeeled onions and ginger
 over medium low flame and char for 15 - 20 minutes,
 using tongs to rotate to burn the surface area. 

And, yes, it's messy when the skin starts flying.

Let cool.

When cooled, rinse under running water
to rub off charred skin.
Trim off the blackened roots and stems.
Peel the ginger.
Slice the ginger lengthwise
and slap with the broad side of your cleaver.
Set aside.

Step 2:
Prepare the bones.
I'm using a 16-quart stock pot.
Cover the bones with cold water.

Bring to a boil over high heat
and boil vigorously for about 3 minutes 
to release the impurities.

Dump bones and water into a clean sink 
and rinse off the bones to wash off any clinging residue.
Scrub the pot out and return the bones.

Next, I added 10 quarts of water to the pot.
Return to high heat, bring to a boil,
and then lower heat and keep it at a gentle simmer.
Use a ladle to skim any scum that forms on the surface.

While the pot was coming to a boil,
I counted out my spices and ...
... got out a big chunk of rock sugar.

When you reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, 
add in the onions, ginger, cinnamon,
cloves, star anise,  fish sauce, and salt .

Conventional wisdom says all the flavor
is extracted from the bones in three hours.
I've had pho broth that I gently simmered for the three-hours
and I've had pho broth that I covered 
and left at a bare simmer overnight.
I prefer the overnight pho.
The flavor is richer, deeper, and more complex.

Here's the overnight pho the next morning.
Taste test.
Add more salt if needed.

Strain the broth through a colander lined with cheesecloth.
Discard any remaining solids.
Let cool,
then cover with plastic wrap touching the surface
and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning,
I peeled off the plastic, 
along with about 1/4+  inch layer of fat.

I ended up with eight glorious quarts of pho broth.

I have company coming this afternoon
- the XKTs and Glowria -
so I heated up 2 quarts of pho broth.

Now for my garnishes.
 I have tofu.
Don't know why, but I do.
So I'm trying my hardest to make it edible.
I decided to fry it.
Certainly couldn't hurt, right?

First I sliced the tofu into 1/2-inch thick pieces
and placed a weight (Iron skillet works.) on the tofu
to get out as much moisture as possible.

I thought frying would help.
It didn't.
Even with paprika and Kosher salt.

I don't know why I bother with tofu at all.
Tofu sucks.

I found sirloin kabobs at FL on sale.

Slice into thin pieces.

one pours the boiling pho broth over the beef.
I am not conventional.
I like a sear on my beef,
so I sprinkled a little sugar (1-2 teaspoons) over the pieces,
added a tablespoon or so of soy sauce,
and let it marinate until I was ready to cook it.
Then, I heated my pan,
added a little peanut oil,
and cooked the meat in batches.
You don't want to overcrowd the pan.
As each batch of meat cooks,
drain it, and add it to the pho broth.

Simmering pho broth on the left.
Beef cooking in front center.
Rice noodles cooking in rear center.
Raw beef strips marinating on right middle.

And here are my accoutrements:
lime slices
bean sprouts
fried tofu (GAH!)
sliced red and green jalapenoes, seeded and ribbed
minced red hot peppers
chopped cilantro
chopped basil
chopped mint
chopped scallions
sliced "exotic" mushrooms

For more information and history of pho,
please check out my previous post about pho,
"Pho Whom The Bell Tolls."

Oh, in case you want to know what else we had to eat,
check it out.
I served a Crabmeat Boule for the appetizer.
 Don't mess with Glowria.
As in don't get between her and a crabmeat boule.
She can be a feisty bitch.

 Rosie's Crabmeat Boule
1 pound crabmeat -minus 1/2 cup
(since I'd used the 1/2 cup on a previous oyster preparation)
1/2 stick unsalted butter
3 ounces cream cheese
3 ounces Brie
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 TB sherry
1-2 TB chopped red onion
1-2 TB chopped red, orange, yellow, and green peppers
hot paprika

Combine butter, cream cheese, and Brie
in a saucepan and melt over low heat.
Stir in lemon juice.
Gently fold in crabmeat
being careful not to break any lumps up.
Heat through.
Stir in sherry, onion, and pepper.

Tonight, I'm using a store-bought boule.
Sacré bleu!
I know.  I know.
Please forgive Rosie
 for not whipping up a homemade one,
but I just didn't have time.
A proper Rosie would have MADE time.
I hope my guests will forgive my faux pas.

back to the boule.
Slice off the top and tear into piece,
hollow out the center by pulling out bite-sized pieces,
and place all on a baking sheet.
Fill boule with crabmeat mixture
and sprinkle hot paprika over top.

Bake at 350° until bread pieces are toasted.
20 minutes?

Now, for the main event.
 Rosie's Beer-Battered Coconut Fried Shrimp
With Pineapple/Orange Marmalade/Horseradish Dipping Sauce

Beer-Battered Coconut Fried Shrimp 
2 dozen large shrimp
2 cups flour
1 cup corn starch
1 tsp cayenne
1 12-ounce beer
equal amounts Panko bread crumbs and coconut for coating

Prepare the shrimp by peeling, but leaving the tails intact.
De-tract down the back.
Must people say de-vein, but it's not a vein.
It's the digestive tract.
Next, butterfly the shrimp.
Turn the shrimp on its back
and, with a serrated knife,
slice from the tail towards the head end to butterfly,
removing the grayish nerve
that runs down the length of the shrimp.
Dredge through beer batter,
being sure to open up the butterfly part,
and shake off excess batter.
Run battered shrimp through Panko and coconut mixture,
again separating the "legs."
Fry in batches at 350° 1 - 1 1/2 minutes,
until a nice golden brown.
If your temperature is correct,
and you're not crowding the pan,
they'll cook in a minute.

Serve with my Pineapple Dipping Sauce

 Pineapple/Orange Marmalade/Horseradish Dipping Sauce
1 cup chopped pineapple
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup roasted red pepper, chopped
2 TB horseradish
Mix all together.

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