Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happiness Is…

P2140029

It’s Valentine’s Day. My kids are playing, my husband is off at work (after giving me these lovely roses), so I’m spending my day doing what I love most — cooking! I started the day baking cinnamon rolls for the kids for breakfast, then quickly turned my attention to a recipe I found online a while back, for Crock-Pot Pho.P2140031

For those unfamiliar with pho (pronounced “fa”), it’s a Vietnamese rice noodle soup whose base is a slow-cooked broth. The noodles are placed in a large soup bowl with meat, then the broth is poured in. Bean sprouts, fresh herbs, jalapeno peppers, lime juice, and hot sauce can all be added to taste. There are many versions of pho (chicken, beef, tendon, beef ball, tripe); I prefer the one where rare thin-sliced beef is added to the noodles, then the hot broth cooks the beef right in the soup bowl. That’s the kind I’m making today.

My family-of-four has made pho its mission. Like most families, I assume, we rarely all agree on cuisine. My daughter and I don’t like potatoes that much, while my husband and son do. If my husband and I like the meat, one if not both of the children will hate it. And so goes dinner at my house every single night.

But when we roadtrip for pho — mostly to Lancaster or Harrisburg; on occasion to New York — it’s a different story. Everybody is happy:

IMGP0287
IMGP0288

So for Valentine’s Day this year, I decided to bring the happiness home as my gift to them. The broth is simmering as I write, the smell in the house … well for us, it’s heaven!

P2140030 

On a different note, my mom stopped in just before lunch. Valentine’s Day is especially hard for her. Not only has my father been gone a long time — 27 years in June — but he was a Valentine’s baby; today would have been his 80th birthday.

I know it weighs heavy on her, so when she called to visit, I knew I could engage her for a while by walking me through her “Escarole and Beans” recipe. I had purchased all the ingredients earlier this week; what a perfect way to spend some time together — making and then eating this relatively healthy recipe from my youth.

Of course, the surprise was on me. Look at this great cookbook she brought me as a Valentine’s gift!


 51EZpE2LRfL._SL500_AA240_

Thanks, Mom! I love it!!

We did make the escarole and beans...


P2140028

(Click here to view and print recipe)
 

Mom seemed to enjoy it…
P2140027

And she just called to say she is taking us up on our offer for her to join us for dinner. Pho’s at 6; Mom’s bringing dessert.

Ăn, trẻ em…*

* That’s Vietnamese for “Mangia, Figlie…”!

Mom's and My Escarole and Beans on Foodista

4 comments:

Anne Chamberlain said...

Yummmy. So good to see your mom here!
Warm hugs,
Anne

Beth said...

Happy Valentine's Day, Maria! I've been meaning to tell you, there's a link on my blog--Designs by Gollum--every Friday is "Foodie Friday", do one of your recipes on a Friday and link it to her website and you will have a ton of new traffic. Give me a call if you can't figure it out. Beth

Wendy said...

I agree with Beth, you should like up to Foodie Friday!! I also have an award posted for you on my blog!
Wendy

heartnsoulcooking said...

What a GREAT!!! cookbook. I LOVE!!! receiving cookbooks. My family always say they never know what to buy me, but they forget I LOVE!!! cookbooks.
I have become a follower of your blog, I found your blog via Wendy. Come by and visit maybe you can do the same.
Geri