Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Vegan Chicken and Jicama Pho with Basil Mint, Cilantro, Garlic and Lemon Pistou

Well, it seems that my tales of teenage stoner-dom are a much bigger hit with all you lovely readers than stories about my Brazilian waxing. This week, I'll divulge a tale of psychedelic proportions that my family has yet to let me live down. You see, I used to have a torrid love affair with magic mushrooms. I had many a great trip, leaving me feeling divinely connected with the universe and all those around me. But there was one trip in particular that, well, let's just say it wasn't "all good, man".

My best friend's grandfather had just passed away, and I made the trek back to Youngstown to support her and attend the funeral. I also happened to bring with me one gigantic mushroom that I'd been saving for a special occasion. I don't know what in my sick head led me to believe that the eve of a funeral counted as such, but when you're 18, your idea of a good decision is usually clouded by negative external influence. Here's how the night played out...

My best friend and I are at my childhood home sitting on the back porch. I split the gigantic mushroom in half, and I consumed the larger part. All's going well as we sit watching the iTunes visualizer, and I decided to get up and use the bathroom. That's when it all started to go downhill. (I'm going to mention now that my entire family was home at the time. Like I said, I wasn't the best at making decisions). That's when the shrooms started to kick in. I look in the mirror, and suddenly have no idea who I am, where I am, or even the fact that I just ate mushrooms. I was a complete blank slate.

At a loss for what to do, I simply lay down on my living room floor and stare up at the ceiling. My mother walks into the room, seems me laying there all zoned out, and we have the following conversation:

Mom: "Jenn, are you okay?"

Me: "Who are you?"

Mom: "Oh my god! What are you on?!"

My mother runs out to the porch, where my best friend is tripping and having a great time.

Mom: "What the hell is wrong with Jenn? Did you take Ecstasy?!?"

Friend: "Oh, it's fine, Mrs. Shagrin. We just ate mushrooms. Everything is great!"

My mom immediately flips out, thinking I'm about to overdose. She runs back inside.

Mom: "Jenn, you're poisoned. You are going to die! I'm taking you to the hospital!"

Now, bear in mind that I'm a complete blank slate, so I believe that I'm actually going to die. I start having a panic attack. My mother drives me to the hospital, but refuses to actually take me inside because:
A) She works there, and doesn't want her co-workers to think her daughter is a druggie.
B) She knows that they'll admit me to the psychiatric ward, which is probably where I belonged at that point in my life.

We sit in the hospital parking lot for almost two hours, and as I start to come down, the mushrooms have a truth serum-like effect and I confess every single bad thing I've done in my life. To top it off, I try to convince my poor, scared-shitless mother that it truly was "all good, man", and that mushrooms were amazing.

I spent a nice 30 days in rehab following that lovely evening.

My poor best friend had to hang out with my dad and little sister while she was tripping balls all by herself, and documented her entire experience on over 50 post-it notes that we turned into a poster. I keep it on my wall to this very day.

Well, I hope that story is truly unPHOgetable. Muahaha.

Vegan Chicken and Jicama Pho
with Basil Mint, Cilantro, Garlic and Lemon Pistou

  • 1/8 cup Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 batch of Vegan Chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 16 cups No Chicken Broth
  • 1 large Onion
  • 1 Daikon, peeled and sliced
  • 5 large Carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Jicama, peeled and sliced
  • 4 whole Anise Seeds
  • 4 whole Cloves
  • 1 Ginger Root, about 4 inches long
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 6 Whole Black Peppercorns
  • About 3 TBSP of Vegetarian Fish Sauce
  • 1 lb Rice Noodles, cooked very al Dente
  • About 1 lb of Bean Sprouts
  • Chili Paste, for serving on the side (optional)
  • Vegetarian Hoisin Sauce, for serving on the side (optional)
In a very large pot over medium heat, melt the vegetable shortening until it's completely liquefied. Add in the vegan chicken pieces and 16 cups of No Chicken Broth, then allow to cook.

Take the Onion and peel it completely, the carefully hollow out the center. Place the anise, ginger root, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon inside of the onion. Using tongs to hold the onion, place it directly over your stove's burner until well browned. Add to the "chicken" and stock pot. Also add the whole cloves and vegetarian fish sauce to the stock pot, then followed by the carrots and daikon.

Allow the broth to cook for about an hour, until the vegetable are softened, then taste to see if more vegetarian fish sauce is needed. Skim off any excess fat if necessary.

While the soup is simmering is the best time to cook the noodles in a separate pot.

To serve each bowl of soup, ladle in a good amount of broth and veggies, add the noodles and serve topped with bean sprouts and pistou. On the side, serve the chili sauce and vegetarian hoisin sauce.

To Make the Pistou...
  • 1 small Sliced White Onion
  • 3 Green Onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 small bunch Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 cup tightly packed Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 1 cup tightly packed Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/4 Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
  • Pinch of Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Using a food processor, first puree the while onion and garlic. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food process, and puree until completely blended, scraping down the sides once during the blending process. Serve atop Pho.


Trinity (of haiku tofu) said...

Oh no you didn't combine jicama and pho! Hell yeah. Kristin would love your pun, i have to tell her. Thank you for posting this! I love pho, but I haven't made it at home yet because no one will tell me what's in the damn broth.

Your mom sounds like a real trooper. I'd like to see a pic of that post-it poster!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your stories! If I didn't think drugs were such a bad plan, I'd totally try some sort of hallucinogen, because it sounds like fun (see?! I'm totally an addict waiting to happen, it's a good thing I'm so straight edge!) - I'm experimenting vicariously through you! Haha! :)

Oh, and pho, I guess!...... this looks way better than the recipe I've used in the past, I'll keep it in mind the next time I feel like pho!


Anonymous said...

Dad was home? If he was, he was off while I dealt with the post-it covered table. But it was definitely entertaining.

Jenni (aka Vegyogini) said...

I remember you telling me this story before and it's just as awesome in writing! I'm living vicariously through your stories. :)

Jenni (aka Vegyogini) said...

Are you kidding? I wouldn't miss it! You'll be receiving my RSVP very, very soon! I think I'm more excited about your wedding than I am about my brother's in a week and a half. ;)

Anonymous said...

By the way - your poor best friend dealing with me? I recall this poster saying "Thankful for Alli being sane". HAH.

The Voracious Vegan said...

OH MY GAWD. That is quite the story. Seriously, I thought I had some crazy tales but I think sitting with your mom in a hospital parking lot waiting to get put in the mental ward is seriously something.

And how hilarious that your friend just kept hanging out at your house with your family!?!?!

The food looks AMAZING, as always. How do you come up with such delicious and creative recipes?

Bianca said...

I love that your mom drove you to the hospital but was too embarrassed to go inside. That's totally something my mom would have done if she'd caught me in a similar situation. And I feel for your friend, tripping by herself with your dad!

In my hallucinogen days, I never had a bad trip...and thankfully never took anything in the presence of my family. I do remember some remarkable car rides that felt like video games and one interesting quest to find my friend Big Amy (we spent the whole night driving around from place to place looking for this girl for no apparent reason, and when we finally found her, it was like finding Jesus ... like our holy mission had been fulfilled... as you can imagine, the night went downhill from there).

BTW, the pho sounds fantastic. I've never had meat pho, but I'd love a bowl of this right now.

CPNC said...

I love pho! Adding jicama was a stroke of genius. I can't wait to try this out as the weather gets steadily warmer. Also, I love a bad trip story, but I also liked the Brazilian waxing anecdote. I think I find the concept of that kind of waxing more terrifying than the memory of my own bad acid trip!

Anonymous said...

Your food always looks delicious and your stories rival. I think every new recipe should come with one good story!

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Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Yep, it's true. We LOVE your drug stories!