• Karine Wlasichuk

Girls' Night In: Pho and Chardonnay Edit

Updated: May 1, 2020

The other night my friend Lauren came by for wine and catch up (and hold our little giggly baby!) and I never let anyone leave the house without a meal because how can I test if my recipes are any good? I'm kidding! Sorta.

I like to refer to Lauren as my childhood friend because we met when I was around 18 and, well, almost 10 years later, I can tell you I was a child. With awesome aspirations and great work ethic, but a child nonetheless. We met working at a coffee shop (a chain in Canada called 'Second Cup', pretty much seen as a lesser Starbucks but to be fair I like their house blend much better-also their scones are life-changing) in a financy/business area at day and the sketchiest mess you can possibly imagine at night (Square Phillips if you know the area). So we bonded over having to serve egotistical, entitled men (some were very nice, but you don't bond over the nice ones) or weird crackheads at night. Our days were mainly spent saying 'calm down Sir your espresso is coming', 'how's life treating ya' to the regulars, 'restrooms are for clients only' to all the junkies or simply 'yikes'. But to be honest I worked there for about 3 years because the boss was a great family man whom I had a lot of respect for (rest in peace) and the staff was filled with diverse, creative and fun people just trying to get through school (having a thought for Noah, Chelsea, Danial, Isabelle and Leah, I'm sure they're doing epic things by now). I know our girl Hannah is living it up in the Italian Alps and Noah was way too interested in his engineering degree to not have built some really important bridge by now (I wouldn't use real names if I didn't have sincere love and good vibes to send their way- and I simply wouldn't say anything rude about anyone because I have a full-time job and morals).

It was the best of times (not really, but hilarious), it was the worst of times. But not all college jobs will be red carpet material and it's fine, it builds your character to work 12 hour shifts for basically no money. This entire moment was just the prelude to telling you that we had Pho. Sorry about that.

I truly like the idea of serving soup in general because it forces people to sit down and enjoy each other's company. You can't run around town holding a bowl and chopsticks- the 'soup in a cup' creators have loose morals and no time for family.

As there was much wine and much happiness involved on Saturday's Pho night with Lauren, I have recreated the recipe today- with different noodles than in the final picture- as my friend Ana is in town from Paris. Two lessons to be drawn here:

1) I can eat Pho everyday

2) Evening light (and a nice Bourgogne Aligoté) make for horrible pictures

So here is the said Pho recipe, in all its glory.

You will need,

Organic Udon noodles

Ginger (2 tbsp, freshly grated)

Garlic (4 cloves)

Kale ( few leaves- because when is it not included)

Zucchini (1)

Scallions (3)

Cilantro (a bunch)

Chili oil (dash)

Fish sauce (dash)

Hoi Sin (1 tbsp)

Soy sauce (1 tbsp)

Sesame oil (2 tbsp)

Beef broth (3 cups)

King Oyster Mushrooms (any mushroom you have on hand is fine)

Black/white sesame seeds

French Shallot (1)

Bonus: if I had any in the fridge, I would add carrot peels, they act as second noodles and are delicious as they absorb the broth so well!

A few simple steps (and at this point, nothing you haven't seen from me):

1. In a large pot over medium-heat, toss the chopped garlic, ginger, shallots and scallions in the sesame oil/ chili oil combo and let simmer for 3-4 minutes until fragrant

2. Add the zucchini slices and sliced mushrooms, toss for another 2-3 minutes

3. Pour in the broth with the soy sauce, hoi sin, and fish sauce and sprinkle the cilantro (once brought to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes- I personally don't cover it)

4. Lastly, add the kale and the noodles and garnish with sesame seeds (you are welcome to put in the kale earlier if you don't want it to have any crunch, however I prefer when the greens aren't soggy)

Enjoy the mess and the good conversations.