27 January 2012
St. Louis has a wealth of Vietnamese restaurants, and for years I've been irritated that there was no vegetarian version of pho, the national dish of Vietnam. It always looks so appealing steaming in its big bowl with all sorts of fresh stuff on the side. Then, I spotted this at Local Harvest Grocery, the coolest store in St. Louis, which I can walk to from my house! The thing about making this soup is you have to buy the stuff and use it soon. Bean sprouts and cilantro do not last long in the fridge. I winged the recipe since the hard part was already taken care of with the stock. I was pretty excited to find brown rice vermicelli at Jay's, but I doubt it will be there the next time I look for it.
You know what is gross? Anchovies. You know what is super-gross? Ground up anchovies. I've never had a real ceasar salad in my life, but Kurt is a big fan. Several years ago, at his suggestion, I tried my hand at a vegetarian ceasar salad that involved a coddled egg (which is like a raw egg but without the danger of poisoning yourself.) It was tasty enough, but not really worth repeating in a hurry. There was a big pack of organic romaine on clearance at the grocery store for $1, so I snatched it up and thought it time to try another ceasar recipe. My friend Adam was recently singing the praises of the Post Punk Kitchen, so I checked there first and sure enough they had a much lauded vegan recipe. I followed their recipe exactly, so I won't re-post it. The only difference with mine is that I used some stale homemade spelt and teff bread instead of French or Italian, and kale instead of the optional spinach. The recipe is really clever and uses caper brine for a vague fishiness and ground almonds for texture.