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Ground Breaking

Reuse, recycle, reduce. We hear these ideas all the time and I tend to think they are good ones. It comes in especially great when someone gives me an old kiln.  That is exactly what happened when the electric kiln that we used for cone 6 glaze firing gave up the ghost at Callanwolde. It’s a good size kiln, much bigger than my electric kiln but I’m not interested in rewiring this one. You may remember I did that with my electric kiln when I installed the kiln sitter (you can read about that here) which I got from another free kiln.

My plan for this kiln is to make it a reduction kiln since that is the look I like best for my pots. I am even considering adding a stoke hole so I can feed some small piece of wood into the kiln for some ash and wood effects.

Before I can start converting it into a gas kiln I need to build a kiln shed. My current kiln room is fine for the electric kiln but it’s too crowded to add flame to the mix. I’m designing a simple lean-to type shed that will have a m…

Meatless Monday - Quick Vegetarian Phô

Phô is a delicious Vietnamese soup that is normally made with a very rich tasting broth and very fresh herbs and sprouts.  It’s one of those dishes that I never knew about until recently. Now I love it but the Vietnamese restaurant near me only makes it with beef broth. Oh, well, I’ll just make some at home. Besides, I have plenty of these ingredients growing in my garden so I know they’ll be as fresh as possible.

Many homemade soups take a long time to cook but this one only takes about a half an hour so it’s really convenient for a weeknight. I’ll warn you about how spicy this can get so if you don’t like hot foods make sure to remove all the seeds from the peppers.

Traditional Phô is served with bean sprouts but I accidentally picked up alfalfa sprouts at the farmer’s market. It tasted fine but the picture may look weird to you if you are very familiar with Phô.

Vegetarian Phô by Lori Buff
Vegetarian Phô


64 ounces low-sodium vegetable broth
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, tough stems removed
1 1/2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
14 ounces rice noodles, cooked according to package instructions
8 ounces bean sprouts
2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
2 or 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
Fresh cilantro, basil, lime wedges, hoisin sauce, and chili garlic sauce or sriracha for serving


In a large pot, combine the vegetable broth, green onions, and grated ginger. Bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

While the broth is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 6 minutes, or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in the hoisin and sesame oil and cook until the sauce thickens and coats the mushrooms, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.

Divide the rice noodles between four to six large bowls, then fill each bowl with the ginger broth. Serve the egg slices, bean sprouts, sliced jalapeños, shiitake mushrooms, fresh basil, and cilantro on the side so each person can add the amount they want while they are eating the soup. The veggies stay fresher tasting this way. Also serve with lime wedges, hoisin, and chili garlic sauce.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff


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