A Recipe for Instant Faux Pho Jars Plus Butterflies Around My New Cookbook Release

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Hey, guess what? I wrote another book! Wait, I told you that already. Here’s the real news…

A couple of days ago, I finally got to unbox an advanced copy of my new cookbook and I went on Instagram to share the unboxing with you because this book took more than just two years to write. It actually took three decades to come to life. (Check out the unboxing in the “Cookbook” tab on my Instagram page here. Please forgive the squeals of delight!)

A New Way to Food is the story, the real story, of how I found my kind of real wellness after decades of not only de-prioritizing me, but hating every inch of me. It’s how I learned to get a lot healthier but also how I learned to love my puffy belly and appreciate my thick thighs. And it has lots of good stuff inside, more than 100 recipes that I enjoyed on this journey to real wellness. It’s all the food that helped me learn to love me, at last.

I’m so excited to share this story with you but if I can take a moment to be very honest with you, I need to say that I’m feeling lots of butterflies about this book. In A New Way to Food, I share a lot of personal challenges around being the fat girl. I tell you tough stories from my childhood and triumphant stories from just a couple years back. I talk about love and acceptance and forgiveness. And I do it using the best words I could find.

I know my approach to wellness is not what society wants me to embrace. Society wants me to feel bad that I didn’t lose weight sooner. Society wants me to lose more weight. Society wants me to continue to hate every inch of me. I’m almost halfway through life (if I’m lucky) and I just can’t worry about what society thinks of my body anymore. I have to tell this story, even if it’s going to be hard for me and (perhaps even) hard for some of you.

But I appreciate this safe space in which I can tell you that I’m totally elated and totally scared to share this book with you. I am planning to visit several cities once the book releases on February 5, and it’s going to be just a wee bit difficult for me to bare my tender feelings in front of some of you (those who come to my signings). But I feel this story is one that needs to be told, however difficult it is for me. (If you want to hug it out before the book release, I’m co-moderating a panel of amazing chefs, bakers, brewers, and bottled-tea makers on how they funded their dream food business on Jan 28th. Get tickets now.)

And… I trust that if I get a little teary in New York City or Boston or Minneapolis or Seattle, well, someone will help me out by raising their hand or changing the subject or asking me something super fun, like “Can you really make Gooey Baked Ziti without dairy?”

I’ll wipe the tear and assure you that, “Yes, you can. And, more so, it’s delicious!”

Just so you know, many friends and colleagues are helping me share the cookbook with the world over the next couple of months. In fact, there will be some major giveaways leading up to the book’s release, starting as early as next week. Woot! If you want to follow along with all the happenings, please follow me on Instagram. I’ll post all the news there.

Now, I want to talk to you about these Instant Faux Pho Jars. This jar is essential to how I get through the day right now. It was a life saver when I started on this wellness journey and continues to be as I contemplate moving away from the New England winters as soon as possible because the cool temps now feel like freezing temps, brrr. (I’m not really moving but Florida sounds grand about now!)

To make this meal, I push anything and everything into a jar with a block of noodles. Fresh veg, leftover veg, pickled veg, all works well. If you want extra protein, spoon in leftover beans or chickpeas. Then, fill that jar up with boiling water, shake, and serve.

Gosh, I wish food was always this easy. I mean, it is for me and there are many other recipes like this in my new cookbook, but lunch isn’t always feel this easy. I hope you make it easy by making these!

Instant Faux Pho Jars

This is lunch on-the-go in its saintly essence. Please don’t allow the long list of ingredients to cause you stress, as the dish is really pure assembly and can work with whatever is surviving in the fridge, even a droopy chard leaf or a peeled limp beet. Just trim away the unrighteous parts and jam it into the jar.

The dried mushroom powder, however, is essential—it adds immense umami flavor—so grab some dried mushrooms stat and grind them up for your spice shelf. Except for that single ingredient, if you purchase everything else pre-cut or pre-cleaned, this jarred soup is a cinch. Of course, you may boil all the broth ingredients on a stove and pour it over everything else to make a straightforward sort of dinner but the eating-from-a-jar part is quite fun and, for me, a pleasurable part of the day.

Makes: 1 16-ounce jar

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 22 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon Mushroom Powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (from about 1 lime)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 block dried instant vermicelli-style noodles
  • 1⁄2 medium white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1⁄2 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 kale or chard leaves, stems removed, thinly sliced
  • 3 large button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 cilantro sprigs, stems cut and discarded
  • 1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • Sesame seeds, fresh herbs, or Crispy Shallots, for garnish (optional)
  • Extra lime wedges or Shallot Oil, for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. Gather a wide-mouth, 16-ounce jar that can fit the noodles and has a tight-fitting lid. Add the mushroom powder, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, vine- gar, sesame oil, chili paste, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Add in the noodles. Then add the onion, cucumber, kale, mushrooms, cilantro, and scallion, tucking them in around the noodles.
  3. When ready to eat, pour boiling water into the jar and seal. Let sit for 5 to 7 minutes, shaking a few times to disperse all the flavors. The pho is ready when the noodles are soft and the broth is flavorful.
  4. If desired, garnish with sesame seeds, herbs, crispy shallots, or all three. Squeeze in extra lime juice to brighten it or drizzle in shallot oil to make it extra savory.
Photo by Kristin Teig; Styling by Heidi Robb

Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista–shop girl, writer, author, and creative business coach. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is working to open her first permanent Eat Boutique–a food-retail concept space with a new way to the very best food–as well as coaching women in food to reach life and business goals. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: 100 Recipes to Encourage a Healthy Relationship with Food, Nourish Your Beautiful Body, and Celebrate Real Wellness for Life, will be published by Roost Books on February 5, 2019. 

Follow Maggie Battista here: InstagramTwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.

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