"It would have to be something Vietnamese, because my mom's Vietnamese and I can't live without Vietnamese food. It would probably be vegetarian Pho. And I don't do dairy but I'm a huge ice cream fan. I'd have to have ice cream before I went!"
Maggie Q - Actor
W hen she's not kicking ass and taking names on the screen (Nikita, Divergent, Stalker, Designated Survivor...), Maggie Q is an outspoken supporter of animal rights and vegetarianism. Once named PETA Asia-Pacific's "Person of the Year" (2008), she has said that giving up meat is one of the most rewarding decisions she has ever made.
I feel better, I have more energy, on, and off the set, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that I'm doing something to help stop animal suffering
We wanted to stay true to her values by creating a rich, mushroom based pho coupled with a delicious, dairy free gelato.
The god of food porn, Anthony Bourdain, once called it his death row meal (albeit he changes this often). Pho has taken on a cult-like following over the past few decades in the United States, and its worldwide popularity continues to grow. While Tony might balk at the idea of a meatless version of the Vietnamese classic, we found the deep, earthy flavors of the shiitakes perfectly match the herbs and spices in the complex broth.
We went through several iterations of different recipes before settling on one that we were happy
with. This version is an adaptation of David Tanis' meaty recipe. Tanis is best known as
the ex-head chef of Chez Panisse, an award winning restaurant in Berkeley that prides itself
on using locally fresh, organic ingredients in its cooking. Tanis has a number of mouth-watering
cookbooks that showcases how coupling the best ingredients with simple techniques can yield
surprisingly rich and succulent flavors. In particular, we recommend the book Heart of the
Artichoke: and other kitchen journeys:
where we found our inspiration for today's recipe.
Although fresh ingredients represent the keystone of the movement started at Chez Panisse, we at Fawlow are huge fans of the dried shiitake. The bold, concentrated flavor of the mushroom helps to jump start the earthy broth in our pho once we give them a nice soak. If you can't find dried shiitakes at your local supermarket, criminis or portabellos can be used as a meaty substitute.
Dairy free ice cream used to be an oxymoron, but we live in a future where being socially conscious does not have to mean missing out on all the good things in life. Actress Kristin Bauer (Pam on True Blood) pined for some Coconut Bliss for her final meal, and Maggie Q follows in her request for some delicious, dairy free ice cream.
Our recipe comes from an adaptation of something made at the Modernist Cuisine kitchen. Like Chez Panisse did in the 80s, the Modernist Cuisine is a movement that is rapidly changing the face of home cooking. The story of the Modernist Cuisine movement is almost as strange as some of the ingredients they use in their cooking. It all started when a former CTO of Microsoft, Nathan Myhrvold, decided to write a cookbook, but in the obsecenly wealthy software engineer kind of way (i.e. build a lab and hire over 50+ people). What he ended up with was a six volume tome weighing 52 pounds which contained countless recipes along with novel techniques for preparing food. It quickly became the bible of cookbooks and represents an unprecedented achievement in food science and research.
Our recipe derives from a more approachable, home version of the original Modernist Cuisine.