Happy New Year’s Eve! I hope you all had a fabulous year and are looking forward to 2015! It was a busy end to the year here on 2eat2drink, and we are closing the year out with over 19,100 views! Wow, I’m not sure what to say other than thanks and I hope you are eagerly awaiting my next posts. I have 4 cocktails coming up soon. Here are previews of the photos…recipes to come. Be safe and cheers!
I like pho. Do you like pho? I bet you do. You just don’t know it yet. Pho is Vietnamese noodle soup. I wanted to make the authentic version, but figured it would take too long (who has three hours to make stock?), so enter… Thai culinary stock. Some recipes use a chicken stock, but I figured the Thai stock would have a flavor profile closer to Vietnamese. Or something like that.
I used this recipe as a rough guideline, but as usual, I changed a few things. I specifically liked the idea of pan searing some of the elements to add more flavor; thus the mini stir fry. Enjoy!
- 1 medium onion, peeled, halved through root end
- 2 Thai chili peppers or ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise pods
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 1” piece ginger, peeled, chopped
- 8 cups Thai culinary stock
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 lb. of peeled and deveined shrimp
- 2 cups baby bok choy, chopped
- 1 cup beech mushrooms
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces Thai Kitchen straight rice noodles
- Mung bean sprouts, fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems, thinly sliced scallions, chopped unsalted, roasted peanuts, and lime wedges (for serving)
Heat a dry large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Cook onion, cut side down, until lightly charred, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate.
Add chiles (if using crushed red pepper flakes, add with fennel seeds), garlic, cinnamon stick, and star anise to skillet and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add fennel seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds (do not burn). Quickly transfer to a large saucepan (reserve skillet) and add onion, ginger, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until broth is flavorful.
Meanwhile, heat oil in reserved skillet over medium-high heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper, toss in the skillet with baby bok choy and beech mushrooms. Stir fry for a minute or two until shrimp is cooked through.
Cook noodles according to package directions. Divide among bowls and add stir fry. Strain broth and ladle into bowls. Top pho with bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions, and peanuts and serve with lime wedges.
This was so easy, and so fabulous. Sautéed calamari is a frequently ordered item when Heather and I go out, but I’m kicking myself for not making it before. All in all, prep and cook time was 15 minutes or less. The recipe is below. As usual, I’m pretty vague with my portions (you just need to feel it). Make sure to do the cooking in portions, as the calamari must be cooked in a single layer. The sauté time is quick, so you need to make sure it gets cooked through. Enjoy!
- 1 pound cleaned calamari
- 2-4 garlic cloves chopped
- crushed red pepper flakes
- olive oil
- 1/2 lemon
- tri color grape tomatoes, halved
- small bunch chopped oregano
- small bunch chopped parsley
- fresh cracked black pepper
- Dry calamari with a paper towel and cut into 3/4″ rings. The tentacles can be left whole, unless very large.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until smoking. Add butter (to taste), then only enough calamari to cover the pan surface. Add similar portions of garlic, tomatoes, oregano, and parsley to the pan, and season with salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Cook, tossing frequently, until squid is opaque and cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Make sure not to overcook. Repeat until all the calamari is cooked. Squeeze lemon over squid, toss and serve.
Every time I passed the sushi case, the octopus was there, daring me to step up and order some. Yesterday, I finally did. Have you had it before? You just have to get past the fact that it’s covered in suckers. The texture is not nearly as chewy as you may think. Heather described it as almost crunchy, like a soft water chestnut. It has a mild flavor and is truly excellent.
It was too beautiful not to photograph the whole leg, but we served it diced up into bite-sized pieces, along with finely diced ginger and scallions, and drizzled with teriyaki sauce.
We were in the Italian market in Canandaigua. It just slipped out in my fascination with the garlic. “Wow, these are pretty!” Not that I wouldn’t normally use the word pretty, just not in reference to garlic. I think the clerk’s strange glance towards me brought Heather to say, “Oh, he’s a photographer, he says that all the time.”
You can’t say they aren’t pretty, so can you blame me? In the weeks since I purchased them, I’m having trouble deciding if I was drawn to their subtle coloring, or nice shape and amazing texture. A color photo emphasizes one trait, black and white the others. I like them both! What’s you’re favorite?
Whatever holiday you are celebrating this Christmas eve, I’m sure this will make it better. It’s a little treat brought to you in a round-about way from 1961 Vodka, Restaurant 2Vine, my friend Ann, and Heather and me, called the Queen Ann.
I mentioned 1961 Vodka a few posts back, here. I was working with Ann on all of the cocktail and bottle photography for 1961Vodka.com, which I recommend you check out…as I helped develop the recipes, too. (It was a fun shoot!) It’s fabulous vodka, I suggest you look for a bottle!
Restaurant 2Vine created the cocktail in Ann’s honor. Just for fun, I decided to photograph it in a similar fashion to the others. Pour one ounce 1961 Vodka and 1 ounce strawberry puree in a champagne glass. Top with sparkling wine, garnish with a strawberry, and celebrate. Cheers!