March 8, 2011 by paiday
This past Saturday marked the fifth annual Heart and Sole 5K run/ walk benefitting the MCG Children’s Medical Heart Program. Each year I am amazed at all the new faces who join the event and come out to support this great cause. Ashley decided to run this year, and like everything else he does, showed a sickening amount of ability. No training and a bout with the flu and he was still in below 27 minutes. I, on the other hand, gave myself a pat on the back with my slow jog (I did have the stroller after all). As a reward, we had a long breakfast at New Moon, and then walked out to check on Tonya, the Savannah Riverkeeper, and her current, middle of the River home. It was a weekend for causes!
The Heart and Sole evening event is always a blast as Augusta comes out to support this great cause. There is nothing better than donning some jeans and heading out for an event. That is my kind of party. When we arrived, the caterers had set up station offering fare from Tako Sushi, T-Bonz, French Market, and Tastefully Yours.
The highlight was certainly the booth by Tastefully Yours. Not only was their display attractive and manned, the grits with collards and bacon were to die for. They also served a delicious, smoky pulled turkey for “bar-b-que” turkey sandwiches.
As always, the band brought the crowd out onto the dance floor with a mix of old school Motown and classic dance beats. The interactive band even encouraged one unsuspecting soul to do “The Gator.” What’s “The Gator” you ask? Well, it appears that is up to interpretation but it sure is interesting.
After all that dancing, running, eating, and drinking, Sunday morning came a little too early. Luckily, the spring garden is in full swing and mint, cilantro, and lettuce is sprouting up with vigor. When I see a garden full of fresh, healthy cilantro, I can’t help think about pho and there is nothing with the redemptive powers of a hot, beefy noodle bowl. Feeling inspired by the garden, I whipped up a broth made with beef, chinese five spice, onion, fresh ginger, and garlic. A necessity for homemade pho is to buy rice noodles at the local chinese grocery (I like Jin Long on Bobby Jones) and cook them separately. Make sure to rinse and drain them before putting them into a large bowl. Cut some beef into super thin slices and place atop the noodles. When your broth is boiling , it is time to pour it over the raw beef. The hot liquid “cooks” the beef and warms the noodles. Top it all with a handful of bean sprouts, fresh cilantro, fresh mint, and a slice of lime. Since I like it hot, I add a good sized dollop of Sriracha.
I also whipped up some summer rolls. Summer rolls are much like an unfried, spring roll. They are made by taking a rice paper wrapper and soaking it for about 45 seconds in a bowl of water. This takes a little practice as soaking too long results in a sticky, holey mess. But they are cheap and a couple of tries will have you rolling your own summer rolls in no time. I stuff mine with shimp, rice noodles, bean sprouts, and finely chopped orange bell pepper, cucumber, mint, and cilantro. To roll a summer roll, think burrito. You fold one side over the ingredients, fold in the two sides, pull back a little and then roll that sucker tight. The dipping sauce for these was the best we have ever made. No kidding. We used hoisin, sriracha, sweet chili sauce, and a little peanut butter. We whisked it up in no time and vietnamese was on the table.
The best part of my pho on Sunday? The left overs turned into a Vietnamese, pork salad on Monday night. Check out the recipe at allrecipes for the Caramelized Pork Noodle Salad. It is unreal. Not too much fish sauce and crispy, sweet pork. Yum.