Crockpot Beef Pho

Crockpot Beef Pho

‘Tis the season for short days, long nights, chilly weather, cozy layers… and lots of Pho! 

 Let me tell you about my very first Pho experience (it was awful, by the way). My friends had been raving on and on about Pho, which I quickly learned is pronounced, fah, and decided they wanted to plan a Pho night. It was Ramadan, and I was starving to begin with. The place was nothing to write home about. It included lots of basic chairs and tables, some Vietnamese décor, and of course only accepted cash. 

 A friend of mine, we’ll call her Dee, sat next to me. When I stared blankly at the menu and then started to panic because I had no idea what to look for, Dee told me to follow her lead. So I did. I ordered the beef Pho, added hoisin sauce, no garnish, no limes, and no siracha. It was the worst experience of my life. By the time we left, I had barely gotten through 1/4 of the Pho, coughed up the cash and promptly left. Only to cry all the way home. I never wanted to see another bowl of Pho again. 

 Note to self: don’t try new dishes in Ramadan when you’re already starving. 

 It wasn’t until I told my best friend, Z about my experience that I dared to try Pho again. Z’s exact words were “No, you did it wrong. You need to go with someone who knows how you like to eat. Let’s go to Pho together.” I learned,  with my best friend taking the lead, that I actually love Pho. With lots of limes, sprouts, basil and a dash of siracha. Turns out, our taste buds are pretty similar and she knows how I like to eat. 

 Since then, I began craving steaming hot Pho bowls on cold dreary days. 

Crockpot Beef Pho

As much as I love Pho, I hate waking up the next day with my face and fingers double their size. The amount of sodium in restaurant pho is just out of control. Making pho at home means you can really control the amount of salt you add to the broth.

If you didn’t know, Pho takes about 8 hours of stovetop cook time. 8 hours I don’t have. Enter the crockpot, this magical appliance that lets you cook food for long periods of time (4-8+ hours) without much active time. I adore my crockpot. No, really, I do. It’s great for soups and stews, and my yummy pulled beef tacos and BBQ Beef. So if you don’t already own one, I suggest adding it to your basic kitchen appliances. 

Adapted from here

Crockpot Beef Pho

Crockpot Beef Pho

Yield: 4 Bowls

Ingredients

    For the Broth: 
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced into ½ inch rounds
  • 1 3 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 4 lbs Beef bones
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 garlic cloves (whole)
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 teaspoon fennel
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 3-4 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8-9 cups water
  • 1–2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • For Bowls:
  • 4-5 oz rice noodles
  • 1 lb beef steak thinly sliced
  • 4 green onions, chopped 
  • 1 ½ c bean sprouts 
  • Limes, cut into wedges
  • 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups Fresh basil
  • Sircaha, to taste
  • Hoisin Sauce, to taste

Instructions

    For the Broth
  1. Bring a large pot with water to a boil over high heat. Add the beef bones and boil on high for 10-15 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté the spices and garlic for 2-3 minutes, then add to the crockpot
  3. Place onion rounds and ginger on an aluminum-lined baking sheet
  4. Broil for 5-7 minutes on each side, until charred.  Add to the crockpot.
  5. Keep an eye on the boiling bones. A froth will form. Remove the froth and discard as it's boiling
  6. After 10 minutes, remove the bones from the water and discard the water.
  7. Add the bones to the crockpot
  8. Add 9-10 cups water to the crockpot (fill to about 1 inch below the surface)
  9. Add fish sauce, sugar and salt
  10. Cook on high for 8 hours
  11. Strain the broth through a sieve before serving
  12. For the Bowls:
  13. Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and place in each bowl.
  14. In a small skillet sauté the steak until cooked through
  15. Place the noodles in the bowls, top with cooked beef and green onions
  16. Using a ladle and a sieve, pour the broth through a sieve into each bowl
  17. Put all your garnishes on small plates on the table, each person garnishes as they like
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://www.measuringcupsoptional.com/2016/12/30/crockpot-beef-pho/

Garlic Roasted Potato and Arugula Salad

Garlic Roasted Potato and Arugula Salad

Just last weekend, the family and I took a short road trip to James Madison University (JMU) for my brother’s graduation. The graduation ceremony was boring, except the part when my brother made his way across the stage. It was a proud moment for all of us. Me included, since he wouldn’t have made it without my editing his papers. Did I mention that he usually sent them to me 2 hours before the assignments were due with a frantic text asking for my help? Of course Murphy’s Law would have it that I always had meetings on those days. Once, I was given 12 hours. I had to read that email a few times just to make sure I really had extra time.

Once we cheered him across the stage, and took our graduation photos until they basically kicked us out of the commencement hall, we all headed to lunch. My brother insisted that it was the best pizza place in town, but what he didn’t tell us was that they had a delicious potato and arugula salad. After we each ordered individual pizzas (read as: we all ordered the same pizza with small topping variations), we dug into a shared plate of potato and arugula salad. My dad fell in love with it, so I mentally took note. I would be trying to recreate something similar in the coming weeks.

Garlic Roasted Potato and Arugula Salad

 

Garlic Roasted Potato and Arugula Salad

 

Garlic Roasted Potato and Arugula Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Yokon Gold or Russet Potatoes
  • 3-4 cups Arugula
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Juice from 1 Lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F
  2. Keeping the skin on, slice the potatoes in to thin rounds (about 1/6 inch)
  3. Toss the sliced potatoes with vegetable oil, salt, and garlic, until coated. I usually put everything into a gallon-sized ziplock and shake until coated
  4. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on an aluminum-lined baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes until crispy
  5. For the dressing, in a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, mustard and lemon juice
  6. Toss together the arugula, potatoes and dressing. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese. Serve while the potatoes are warm
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://www.measuringcupsoptional.com/2016/12/24/garlic-roasted-potato-and-arugula-salad/

Cardamom Cookies

Cardamom Cookie

It’s been a lazy Sunday. So lazy, in fact, that I’m still in my PJs and rocking my top bun and glasses at approximately 3:48pm. It’s only a matter of minutes before the sun sets and I enter pre-Monday mode.

Pre-Monday is my least favorite time of the week. It’s the time after the sun sets before Monday morning when you realize you’ve wasted an entire day doing nothing. Or maybe you had a productive Sunday, or a fun Sunday filled with adventure. In any case, Pre-Monday is when you start thinking about everything you need to accomplish by the time your dreaded alarm rings and wakes you out of slumber.

I really did intend to leave the house. I planned shower, get dressed and spend the afternoon sipping Turkish coffee with my Tayta. Then I would hear the wind gusts against the sides of the house, and watch the trees sway back and forth with furry and change my mind.

It wasn’t a total waste, though. Besides watching Toy Story 2, Cat in the Hat and The Pacifier (all on TBS, in case you were wondering), I also baked a batch of Cardamom Cookies.

Cardamom Cookies

When I read spiced cookie recipes, I find that people aren’t very generous with the spices they add in. ½ teaspoon of anything really isn’t going to add the flavor your looking for. For these cardamom cookies, I altered my Ghraybeh recipe and added a lot more cardamom. I’m talking 1-2 teaspoons ground Cardamom. It might seem like a lot, but I promise you will thank me when the house smells great and your cookies taste perfectly spiced.

To the think about this cookie recipe is that the cookies only slightly expand. Leave enough room for the expansion, but know that generally the size and shape you place on the baking tray is what you’re going to get. Enjoy!

Cardamom Cookies

 

Cardamom Cookies

Yield: About 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 sprinkle of Salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons Ground Cardamom

Instructions

  1. Place the baking rack in the middle of the oven and Preheat oven to 300 F
  2. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 5 minutes (or until the color of the mixture is a light yellow)
  3. Add Salt
  4. Slowly add the flour and Cardamom and blend on medium speed until smooth
  5. Form the cookie dough into rounds (or your favorite shape)
  6. Place cookies on a baking sheet and bake on the top or middle rack for 20-25 minutes. Do Not Brown.
  7. Allow to cool before serving
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://www.measuringcupsoptional.com/2016/11/20/cardamom-cookies/

Labaneh Rounds

Labaneh Rounds If you haven’t had labaneh (لبنة) then you’re in for a savory treat! I grew up on labaneh, as did most Arab-American kids. It’s a staple in most Arab-American households. There’s always a container in the fridge. Breakfasts and brunches include some form of labaneh with olive oil and zaatar for dipping, usually alongside olives, freshly slices cucumbers and tomatoes, and in most cases boiled eggs.

When we were kids, my mom used to make us labaneh sandwiches on Arabic bread (that’s what we call pita bread at our house). It’s, hands-down, my favorite dairy product. I still make myself labaneh on toast in the mornings.

So what is labaneh? It’s savory cream cheese … of sorts. According to Wikipedia, labaneh is:

yogurt that has been strained to remove its whey, resulting in a thicker consistency than unstrained yogurt, while preserving yogurt’s distinctive, sour taste.”

That description doesn’t do labaneh justice! Comparing it to savory cream cheese is so much more appetizing. My favorite kind of labaneh is the rounds. Admittedly, I casually refer to them as labaneh balls. But that doesn’t sound as appealing. Maybe I should refer to them as labaneh truffles, just to give off that exotic vibe.

In all honesty, the labneh rounds and the dip taste just about the same. The process for straining yogurt into Arabic cream cheese is essentially the same. It’s how long you strain and what you do after the yogurt has been strained that really defines the difference between the two. I’m not really sure why I get so much more excited about the labaneh rounds. Maybe because they’re perfectly portioned? That would be a great reason if I didn’t eat four rounds … or more in one sitting.

Labaneh isn’t hard to make. It just takes time – idle time, mostly while the yogurt is being strained. Now, don’t go out and buy a strainer and some yogurt. That’s not exactly what I meant. The straining takes place over a 24-hour period using cheesecloth. I have vivid memories staying overnight at my Tayta’s and waking up to find a white, damp, bag hanging from the kitchen sink. That’s how she strained her yogurt—overnight, hanging from the kitchen sink. My Tayta seriously makes the best homemade labaneh. It’s tangy and savory and I know she adds a little extra salt, just the way we like it. Those nights, I’d go home with a Tupperware full of Tayta’s fresh labaneh.

 

Labaneh Rounds

 

Labaneh Rounds

Labaneh Rounds

Labaneh Rounds

Yield: About 20 Rounds

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Plain Whole Greek Yogurt (I used Fage Total Plain)
  • 1 Cheesecloth
  • 2 cups Olive oil (maybe a little more depending on the size of your jar)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Salt
  • Herbs (dried or fresh mint, dill, rosemary, etc.), optional

Instructions

  1. Line a large strainer with cheesecloth, folded over once
  2. Set over a deep bowl
  3. In a separate bowl, stir the salt into the Greek yogurt until combined
  4. Spoon the yogurt into the middle of the cheesecloth
  5. Gather the cheesecloth around the sides to cover the yogurt and fasten (I used a rubber band)
  6. Suspend the cheesecloth from a stationary object, like the faucet of a sink, or a stick draped over the sink, and allow it to drip drain into a bowl underneath
  7. Keep the cheesecloth suspended 24 hours
  8. After 24 hours, fill a glass jar (with a secure lid) ¼ way with olive oil
  9. Rub your hands together with some olive oil and begin rolling small balls out of the labaneh and placing them into the jar
  10. Add optional herbs
  11. Once, you’ve filled the jar, pour olive oil into the jar until the balls are covered
  12. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 months.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://www.measuringcupsoptional.com/2016/10/02/labaneh-rounds/

Salted Pistachio Cookies

salted-pistachio-cookies

Last week, I tried a 3-day juice cleanse. It was the hardest 8 hours of my life. I made it through the workday without coffee (because really, who drinks coffee without flavored creamer?) Half asleep for most of the day is not a way to live, or be productive. I downed 3 pre-packaged Blue Print juices before I couldn’t take it anymore. The green juice stank. It really made me mentally break down the process of inhaling before drinking out of a bottle because for the life of me I could not figure out how to drink it without wanting to vom. I still had the beet juice to look forward to [insert sick emoji here]. I made it through the entire workday before I got home and tore through the fridge and cupboards. Needless to say, that was the end of my juice cleansing days.

I partook in the juice cleanse on the premise that it would rid my body of toxins, fill me up on all the good-for-me stuff and help kick-start healthy living. Then I read the nutrition label and found that the green juice — the healthiest and stinkiest of the bunch — had 24 grams of sugar! Are you serious? Why wouldn’t I use those sugars on something much more worthy like … a Salted Pistachio Cookie. It would have been so much more fulfilling.

If you’re into juicing, I give you all the credit in the world. I’ve heard that juicing at home is more cost-effective and a little easier on the taste buds because you can pick and choose what you want in your green juice. Not all the Blue Print juices are bad. I will say that the Pineapple, Apple, Mint is my favorite and I’d happily drink that all day long. But that’s not really how it works.  

So about that much deserved Salted Pistachio Cookie…

Salted Pistachio Cookies

Salted Pistachio Cookies

Yield: About 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 box pistachio pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In a standing mixer, beat together the butter and sweetened condensed milk until fluffy
  2. Add eggs, pudding mix and vanilla extract
  3. Beat until smooth
  4. Add flour, baking powder and salt and beat until smooth
  5. Stir in the white chocolate chips and chopped pistachios
  6. Spoon cookie mix onto a parchment lined baking sheet
  7. Bake for 12 minutes, it's okay if the bottom of the cookies are a little browned
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool

Notes

Substitute 1 teaspoons rosewater for vanilla extract for a soft fragrant flavor

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://www.measuringcupsoptional.com/2016/09/19/salted-pistachio-cookies/

 

Parsley Pesto

Parsley Pesto

I’ll be honest, when I think of pesto, I generally think of a basil-based chunky spread. But that’s because it’s the most popular flavor on grocery store shelves and at our favorite restaurants. What most people don’t realize is, there are so many variations of pesto, basil and parsley pesto being only two of them.

Last year, Bon Appetit showed us that that we can make pesto out of anything. Really, almost anything. Did you know that you can even use arugula?!  

According to Bon Appetit, you can pick from a number of greens, nuts, and cheeses then add in garlic, salt and lemon juice, if you so choose. So your probably wondering why I didn’t just go ahead and make traditional pesto with basil. If you haven’t noticed, buying basil in bulk is not easy around here. If you’re lucky, you can find a whole basil plant, use up all the leaves, attempt to grow it in your garden and then kill it with your lack of a green thumb. Or, if you’re a little less lucky, you can find those little plastic packets with 3 sprigs of basil for something like $3. It would probably take at least 10 packets to get enough for 3 cups. Parsley, on the other hand, is much easier to find in bulk, and also much cheaper. I mean they don’t really give you the option to buy anything less than a  portioned out bunch. Faced with this reality, I considered looking into growing my own herbs and vegetables– but that’s a consideration and discussion for another day. At that point, it was a no-brainer. I was experimenting with parsley pesto. 

 

Parsley Pesto

 

Parsley Pesto

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Parsley
  • 3-5 cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Pine Nuts
  • Salt, to taste.

Instructions

  1. Toast the pine nuts by placing on a sheet pan and broiling until lightly browned. Watch the oven carefully, as pine nuts toast quickly.
  2. Place parsley, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor.
  3. Process until smooth, or until desired consistency.
  4. Add parmesan cheese, salt and olive oil
  5. Process until smooth
  6. Serve on your favorite pasta, or garlicky toast

Notes

Toasting the nuts ahead of time adds some extra flavor. However, you can use raw pine nuts

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://www.measuringcupsoptional.com/2016/09/08/parsley-pesto/

logo
Food Advertising by