Jeanette - Off The Cuff

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Blogger at: http://offthecuffhome.blogspot.com and http://offthecuffcooking.blogspot.com -- My name is Jeanette, and I was born in Sweden, but unlike the famous Muppet, I am not a professional Swedish Chef. I actually studied design and photography. I also was a freelance indie-rock critic for several magazines from 1998-2005, and had an in-house PR company for a while. Cooking is in my DNA--my dad's brother was a chef and their father was a pastry chef, my mom's mother was a caterer, who published a cookbook of traditional Finnish breads and pastries when she was 92. Everyone else in my family loves to cook, and we're not afraid to experiment. I have a yen for interior design and remodeling.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Meredith's Meatball Phở

Once upon a time in 1984, when my family moved to the United States, I was a little girl, and our neighbors became good friends with my parents. They had a daughter that was the same age as me, and we became fast friends. We roller skated in her garage, to the Pointer Sisters, Wham! and Prince, and swam in the lake, and caught sunfish and left them to "dry" on the pontoon, where we forgot them for several days, and then decided to toss them back in the lake. Who knew that sun-dried sunfish were buoyant? They floated to shore and bobbed in the waves.

As a child of the 80s, it's also worth noting, that my dear friend got me my very own  Cabbage Patch doll for my birthday. And for one glorious week in the summer, our two families rented a full sized motor home and vacationed together all over Minnesota and Wisconsin, hitting up all the mini golf courses, RV parks, water theme parks, and camp sites. These are those lingering sweet memories of my youth.  Anyway, we moved many times, time passed, and we did -- as kids did in those days -- stay in touch via regular letter writing. Thanks to modern times, internet, and social media, we are now still able to exchange photos and updates with far more frequency than we did the last few years.  And since I'm a newbie mom with little to no time to blog about recipes, I asked her to share a guest post with me that she had written about on Facebook.

She had me at "Phở" ... This Vietnamese savory soup is easily one of my favorites! (Note: I may add more photos when I get a chance to make this myself. )

So here it is:

Meredith's Meatball Phở

1 lb. Ground pork
1 cup water chestnuts, small dice; divided.
1/2 cup soy sauce; divided
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tsp. Fresh ginger puree; divided
1 tsp. Fresh garlic puree; divided
1Tbsp. Dark sesame oil
2 quarts chicken stock
1 package rice noodles (fresh preferred)
1 cup asparagus chopped into 1" pieces
1 cup oyster mushrooms, cleaned and chopped into bite-size pieces
1 head bok choy, sliced
1 cup snow peas, halved
Garnish:
1 bunch green onions, chopped; divided
1 bunch pea shoots (or bean sprouts)
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Sriracha
Fresh lime (optional)

For meatballs:
Place ground pork, half of the pureed ginger, garlic, water chestnuts and soy sauce in a bowl. Mix well with your hands, and roll into approximately one and a half inch meatballs. (Should make about 24). Place on baking sheet and bake in 350° oven for 20-25 minutes.

For soup:
In a large pot on medium low heat,  combine stock, remaining ginger, garlic and soy sauce. Add fish sauce and bring to a simmer. Add in snow peas and asparagus and simmer for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, bok choy, some green onions and noodles. Cook until noodles are soft.

When ready to serve, add meatballs and garnish as you like.

This is ALWAYS a hit in our house no matter what fresh ingredients I use!