Pho soup has gone from an exotic rarity in Boulder County and environs to a common menu item. The truth is, some of it is not great and tastes processed because it is assembled from packaged ingredients. Take one sip of the aromatic amber broth Edwin Zoe makes at Pho Mi and you’ll understand how good it can be. The Vietnamese focused eatery is part of Chimera Ramen in Boulder, next door to Zoe Ma Ma.
He roasts onions and boils bones to make the broth, which is more subtly spiced than ramen broth, and fills it with rice noodles. Instead of an platter of greens, this pho comes garnished with the perfect amount of basil, bean sprouts, mint, cilantro, scallion and jalapeño slices. For toppings, rare steak is available. Asian meatballs are preserved in fat skimmed from the bone broth to make them juicier. The crowning addition that elevates the dish is lightly smoked thin slices of fatty beef brisket, with a squirt of sriracha and a squeeze of lime juice.
Pho Mi. 2014 10th St., Boulder, 720-580-1100, chimera.kitchen
Pickling the pie cherry plethora
While local pie (or Montmorency) cherry trees are having a rare, abundant crop of small, delicate, tart cherries, many folks are baking pies and cobblers. But consider making a batch of pickled pie cherries for Thanksgiving. Once you’ve tried pickled cherries, you’ll never go back to cranberry relish again. Easy to make, they can age until the holidays in a jar in the fridge. They are also great in cocktails. You can tweak my recipe to make them sweeter or spicier.
Pickled Pie Cherries
1/2 cup rice, white or champagne vinegar
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2- 2 pounds tart pie cherries, rinsed and pitted
Optional Additions: black peppercorns, fresh ginger, allspice, bay leaves, chile flakes, mustard seeds
Bring vinegar, water and sugar to a boil and continue until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add any or all of the spice additions. Some cooks only use salt and peppercorns. Pack cherries into a heat-proof jar and fill to the top with liquid. Seal with a tight lid and refrigerate.
Rescue your neighborhood fruit
Community Fruit Rescue (CFR) is a nonprofit that harvests and distributes surplus fruit growing in urban areas in Boulder. CFR organizes neighborhood volunteer harvests of backyard fruit trees. The tree owners, participants and food banks and shelters receive the rest. Nonedible fruit is donated to animal sanctuaries. Community Fruit Rescue is looking for a slew of volunteers to help harvest cherry, peach, apple and other fruit trees. Information: fruitrescue.org.
A final toast a Colorado beverage pioneer
We take a moment to toast the recently passed George Stranahan, a remarkable Colorado leader in many areas. A physicist, he raised beef cattle and published the alternative Mountain Gazette. He founded an early craft brewery, Flying Dog, and employed writer Hunter S. Thompson and illustrator Ralph Steadman to design his labels. He kept the infamous Woody Creek Tavern open and helped launch Colorado’s first big success story in spirits since Prohibition: Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey.