The best birthday gift a husband can give his wife is whisking the babies off her hands for a few hours so she can reclaim an ounce of sanity and enjoy some neglected “Me” time. My bff/hubby did just that!
With my precious solo time, I had Pavarotti/Sutherland’s I Puritani soaring beautifully in the background while I peacefully made a milestone birthday bowl of wonder that screams “Me”. My Vietnamese Bun Bo Hue is on the horizon. Next to Pho (which is percolating on the back burner for the girls), this all-time favorite beef and rice vermicelli noodle soup is unapologetically spicy, sings of smashed lemongrass and roasted ginger while sweet, salty, and sour flavors dances harmoniously with each mouthful. Fatty pig trotters and fork-tender beef tendons are slightly submerged in a lava broth laden with fresh and dried chili oil. Several hours of steeping on the stove, the fiery cauldron is steadily bubbling and “It’s time”!
Fresh herbs of greens onions, chopped coriander, spearmints, thai basils, purple perilla leaves, crunchy shredded romaine lettuce, and more chilies are sprinkled over the steamy noodle bowl. A generous squeeze of lime on top seals the deal.
To help infuse the broth with freshness, a few of my favorite herbs specifically for Bun Bo Hue were harvested from what remains of my winter garden beds: Spearmint, fresh ginger root, green onions, Tabasco peppers, and lemongrass. Mother Nature’s bounty, though small, is plentiful to contribute to the wonder bowl.
Six messy napkins and two cups of water later, my hubby and I are stuffed to our eyeballs. We might require a Tums or two soon.
To cap off my idea of a “zen birthday” evening, my baby divas beautifully serenaded me with a birthday duet of their own along with a surprise gift. I had no room for vanilla ice cream/chocolate cake but managed to share a few nibbles with my sweeties!
In God’s grace, I’m thankful for this milestone birthday! Now, somebody roll me over and turn out the lights. I feel fully charged and ready to tackle the challenges and chaos of tomorrow.