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Posts posted by nessa

  1. I'm totally shocked! But thrilled, none the less!

    And certainly thanks to the judges. I understand being tired of eggplant..... I had to eat that entire batch myself. :hmmm:

    But seriously, thanks for the oppurtunity. I feel that I learned, and that was my goal. I'm no longer scared of eggplants. As a matter of fact, they are moving up in rank towards one of my favorites. Who knew?

  2. Nessa, you've been a real popular lady all week. Thanks for a great blog. And, umm, you look mighty sweet in that photo [blushing].

    Got a question, if you're still around - how many of each dried chilie did you put in the enchilada roux?

    Awwww Thanks HKDave! I wish I knew how to do tht blushing icon thingamajig. I put in 6 chipotles, and 3 Guajillos and 3 New Mexican chiles.

    I'm really bad about not measuring stuff like that. I also forgot to mention that I put about a tablespoon caynenne. I'd guess there were roughly 3 tablespoons of each of the other chile powders.

  3. Allllllllllrighty then folkaroonies.

    I'm stuffed, how about you?

    So, Out of the oven


    Then plated


    Now on to dessert!

    Sopapillas are just easy as can be. Its a simple dough of flour, shortening, salt and baking powder and water. The dough rests for about 30 min after mixing


    Then it gets rolled out thin, about 1/8th inch I guess. Obviously I suck at rolling. You think this is bad, I make square tortillas!


    Cut into pieces


    Then into the oil


    All done.


    At this point I dust them with cinnamon, sometimes sugar, and sometimes honey. Tonight, its honey. :wub:


    And off to make the "honey" smile.


    Folks, thanks for reading, its been a lot of fun.

    Signing off from sunny Texas,



  4. Since we got in so late from the party last night, I slept till 10 this morning! Unheard of for me. So, no breakfast, and lunch was snacking on kefta and the lebni. I fixed the SO some brisket and horseradish sauce (made with the lebni) with the last of the potato salad. I had to run to the grocery store to get yellow corn tortillas, Asadero cheese and Queso Fresco.

    So, the menu is:

    Enchiladas, "spanish" rice, pinto beans with jalepenos and sopapillas.

    I'll let others debate over wether the cuisine is Tex-Mex, Mex-Tex, or neither.

    All I know is its dayum good eatin' and its one of the SO's favorite meals. So I'm going to be a very popular lady tonight. :wub:

    The beans were made a while back, and frozen. They do freeze amazingly well.

    Here's the rice:

    First, I started out with some of the rendered lard that I'd saved from making carnitas, and I browned some basmati rice. Its now my rice of choice. Good thing since I bought 10 pounds of it :biggrin:


    Then I added spices and a can of Rotel. For those not in the know, Rotel is a brand of tomatos and green chiles. I got the Mexican kind with lime juice.

    I add then a cup and a half of water.


    And here it is all done and fluffy.


    It occurs to me, that I eat a lot of rice.

    Now, for the most important part of the meal. Enchilada sauce, aka chile gravy.

    This recipe was taught to me by a sweet elderly Mexican cook at a ranch where I used to work. It sure beats anything out of a can. It is very fattening, so dieters beware. Just looking at it might cause inadvertant weight gain. Thats my excuse, anyway. I can, have, and will eat it by the spoonful.

    First, you have to start with some dried chiles. My choices are chipotle, guajillo, and New Mexican chiles.



    And after grinding in my handy dandy coffee grinder.

    Note to self: Don't inhale just after grinding. :blink:




    Look at the color! This is worth its weight in gold. Its so fragrant.


    And so on and so forth for the New Mexican Chiles.

    To start the gravy, I make a roux. I'm using the rest of the rendered carnita lard, about a cup and a half, and about a cup of flour. I'm not using a 1:1 ratio because I'll be adding about a half cup of seasonings.


    Here is the roux percolatin'


    So here it is after the roux has cooked, and I've added the three chile powders, onion powder, garlic powder and dried mexican oregano. *Edited to add that there is also about a tablespoon of cayenne*


    I add enough hot water at this point so that it coats the back of a ladle and is still a bit runny, but not overly so. Then I salt to taste.



    When the gravy is done, I chop the leftover brisket


    I dip yellow corn tortillas into the hot gravy to soften them so that they do not crack when rolled.


    Then I lay in the pan and add the filling, which is brisket and asadero cheese this time, then roll, seam side down.


    Fully assembled, topped with queso fresco.


    Heading for the oven, back in a bit!

    *edited to add note about cayenne*

  5. Ok, here goes....

    For the dolmas, I started by sauteeing the onions in plenty of olive oil.


    Then I added the rice and garlic


    Then in goes the herbs and lemon juice. Let simmer for about 5 minutes, then cool.


    While cooling the filling, I trimmed the stems off of the grape leaves


    Next step is to fill


    Then wrap



    Line the pan with spare leaves, then lay the dolmas in concentrically



    Top with spare leaves


    Then add water to just below top layer, and put a plate on top to secure the bundles.


    Simmer, cool and enjoy!

    On to the kefta....

    One caveat... use a higher fat content mix than I did.

    Here it is mixed: Lamb, onions, sumac, thyme, mint and a touch of dill. Salt and cayenne.


    Skewerd and waiting for the grill to heat.


    Grilling :wub:


    The yogurt cheese with cucumbers and garlic


    And the meal


    Dessert... the variety of pastries from Afra. All good, I had to test them, of course.


    Well, today is the last day. I will tag someone this evening. I've one more meal to cook. Perhaps more typical of what folks think we eat here in the great state of Texas. Or as Theobroma said... "Occupied Mexico". :raz: I guess thats one of those things ya just had to be there for. Dang funny, that woman.

    Did I mention what a lovely time I had with her this morning? Thouroughly entertaining.

  6. Nessa, try making your own labneh -- you just drain good yogurt through a cheesecloth, that's all there is to it. If you make your own yogurt you can also control how sour it is. I don't like commercial labneh because they usually add stuff like carageenan and whatnot.

    Also, try those labneh balls preserved in olive oil for a different treat.

    I've made it using a collander and coffee filters, actually. Mine turns out thicker than this, but not as creamy and rich. This is with a much higher fat content milk than I typically use to make yogurt cheese.

    This brand is nothing but milk, cream and enzymes. :wub:

    I saw herbed labneh balls in oil and almost bought them. I was sorely tempted!

    Perhaps next time.....

  7. You can tag anyone at anytime, but traditionally it's been done towards the end of an installment.



    Its gonna have to be towards the end, I'm runnin' behind!

    I skipped breakfast today. Instead, I met the lovely, and very witty Theobroma at the Jasmine Market and Cafe.

    Alas, I was running late and I ran out without my camera. Bad nessa!!

    Dallasites, ya just gotta go. Its a real gem. They have a little covered patio in back with marble inlaid tables and comfortable chairs. They served us some turkish style coffee, and set us up with a big ol' hooka. We smoked "double apple" tobacco. It was very fragrant and extremely smooth for this non-smoker.

    Hookas are great because it filters the smoke through liquid, usually water but it can be milk, wine, etc. This makes it a cool smoke and not so rough. It was very relaxing and quite honestly I got a caffiene and tobacco buzz.

    We sat and chatted for about 2 hours, just enjoying the relatively cool morning, and good company.

    After the chatfest, we shopped. I'll post pictures of my purchases in a bit.

    I've a party to go to this evening, and I'm going to make stuffed grape leaves, kefta and a yogurt sauce.

    After I lef Jasmine's, I went down the street to Afra's pastry shop and got this that and the other for the party as well. Last time I made baklava, but I'm pressed for time today, and besides I got everything BUT baklava at the bakery.

    For lunch I nabbed this incredible pistachio gelato at Afra's and slurped it down on the way to Central Market. I also pilfered a pistachio treat from the party box. Shhhhhhh. :rolleyes:

    I got some fresh herbs, lemons and more ground lamb at CM.

    Now I need to go take pictures, cook, storm a castle, and come back and post!

  8. I tried injecting but the injector clogged, and clogged and clogged and the liquid shot out the back end of the injector, butter was all over the counter and my hands and the end result didn't nearly justify my anguish.

    I brine now.

    Ouch. Been there, done that. Hell with the needle.

  9. Yes, Toliver, most serendipitous!

    Pan: Oh well, not a confit then. It *sounded* cool anyway.

    Whatever it was, it was sinfully good. How could it not be with all that fat and juicy bits of whatnot. I'm going to have to put my talk into action after this blog is over and get my butt over to the gym.

    The *only* reason I've not made more desserts this week is 'cause who has the time? Thank goodness for small blessings.

    Tomorrow I am meeting another Egulletier at the Jasmine Market and Cafe. I'll discuss with her and see if she wishes to be mentioned :raz: .

    My plan, at this point :blink: is to make kofta and stuffed grape leaves and some kind of yogurt sauce.

    I've some plans for making a Tex-Mex meal on Sunday.

    I forget when I tag someone, Sunday morning? Or Sunday night?

  10. Brrrrrr. This drink sure does cool you off! :cool:

    Ok. So last night, I took the marrow bones :wub: and the onions and the juices from the veal, and let them have fun together in the crock pot. Does that make a confit? I'm unclear on the confit concept, I need to do a little research.

    There was much goodness in the morning. As you can see here, I am putting them in the pot, and next to that is all that lovely rendered marrow fat.


    Today, I started with some of that fat, and browned some chopped onions, then added a cup of aborrio rice and then a cup wild/brown/something else mix from central market. Lots of short grains in that mix so perfect for risotto.

    Here it is browing before I started adding liquid.


    I added a bunch of chicken stock and white wine, mushrooms, parsley, and garlic.

    Here it is after all the liquid has been added, if you can see it through the steam.


    And for the final touch, 8 oz parmesan. The SO is a parm hog.


    For the sauteed spinach, I again reached for the marrow fat. Its all gone now.

    To the fat, I add thinly sliced garlic and let it toast a wee bit.


    Then in goes baby spinach...


    And all done, with some salt and cracked pepper. Simple, and my second favorite way to have spinach.


    So I took the veal out and removed residual fat and sinew, then cut it into medallion sized pieces. I put in the stock with all the onions, thyme, and olives.

    I added parsley, more onions and mushrooms. I put in another cup of shiraz and let it simmer for about 45 minutes.


    Then I added some left over Morbier cheese. It seemed like a good match.


    It was a lovely pairing, if I do say so myself.


    And here is dinner :biggrin:


    And yes, the cherry-limade goes passably well with tequila


  11. Yep.  However, that old addage about everything being bigger in Texas is simply untrue.  I hate to debunk myths, but I was 4'8.5" on the Arkansas side of the border, and still 4'8.5" on the Texas side of the border.  Thus, one can conclude that everything is NOT bigger in Texas.  Much to my dismay, of course. :blink:

    Maybe you're just using the wrong ruler/tape measure/scale.

    You're just using the wrong word, my dear. You're not 'short' -- you're 'petite' :hmmm: But you are very tall in terms of personality; whatta great blog. :biggrin:

    Awwww, thanks guys!!! Y'all are just such a great crowd, you make a bloggin' gal feel mighty good!

    And now time to post dinner........

    Stewed veal with mushroom and wild rice risotto, and sauteed spinach with garlic.

  12. Toliver......

    I could just KISS you, I swear!


    I just had to go get me one!

    And you know... the carhop FLIRTED with me. This kid, at LEAST 10 years my Jr, came out with the drink, and called me beautiful in the first sentence. He sure knows how to milk a tip. He called me pretty, cute, and then we proceeded to have a conversation about why women who don't need diet drinks order diet drinks :wub: . Smooth operator, that one. Had me all blushing and stuff. Totally made my night, and I owe it all to you, Toliver, so... bottoms up, this cherry-limeade is for you.

    :hmmm: I wonder how it tastes with tequila........

  13. After a couple of weeks, I asked him to drive me through Sonic just so I could get some of that cherry limeade.  :biggrin:

    I was pleased as punch when my local Sonics started selling diet cherry limeades! The perfect no-sin soda for the summer.


    Any good Texas barbecue joints around you? Of course, looking at that incredible brisket on page 1 of your blog, who needs another barbecue joint? :wink:

    OH MY $%@#$#%%&*$ ### They have DIET Cherry limade NOW??? No one told me! I'll be back in a bit......

  14. So Nessa, is there going to be any Chili in this blog? I ask simply because you live in Texas and I am making a broad sweepering generalization ;).

    I tend to cook it about once a week myself, and have been experimenting a lot with Cincinnatti style (with cocoa, poached meat, lots of spices, etc) but would love to see an in depth look from a Texans POV, if that is in the plans that is ;).

    In a word? No. Chili to me is more of a winter dish. Its gonna make you sweat. It sure helped, in Chicago. I get a hankerin' for it about once a year and make a big ol' vat of it. One bowl and I'm pretty much done for the year. Its good, but.... I don't know. If I start craving chili now, you're in for it! For whatever reason, the combination of spices and chiles that I use absolutely rip my innards apart. I can have off the scale hot Thai, Ethiopian, or what have you....

    But that chili is hell on this little red. :raz: Even if its mild. But what the point of mild chili is, I'll never fathom.

    I think that a Texan's POV of chili would take up a whole 'nother thread.

    Oh Damn. Now I AM craving chili. THANKS. :angry:

  15. For breakfast, I made a masoor dal porridge. I guess thats the right term. Masoor dal is actually pretty sweet, as far as beans go. It cooked in like 10 minutes, while I was in the shower. I laced it with cinnamon, honey, apricots, dates and a dollop of yogurt. I brought it with me to work. I only got to have a bite or two, but it was really quite delicious.


    For lunch, I was weak. A sales rep showed up with pizza and cookies. I succumbed to free, fattening food and indulged in two slices of combination pizza with a liberal smattering of red pepper. I didn't get pictures, but I think y'all all know what pizza looks like.....

    I'm stuffed, and I wish the boss would leave so I could go home and take a nap!

    I can feel my arteries clogging as I type. :shock:

  16. 'nessa, you've solved the mooshu sauce mystery for me, thanks!  I've been trying to figure out what that stuff was for a while. 

    My SpringRoll all-time favorite diiping sauce is the MAE PLOY sweet chili sauce, cut with a smidge of rice vinegar. YUM!

    Thanks for your pics and tours of Dallas. The scoop on the ethnic diversity there is illuminating, and your writing is a riot to read:

    WHOOOOHOOOOO time to stock up.

    I looked for YEARS for that **** sauce. Folks would tell me it was a black bean sauce. Fine. I bought ever black bean sauce that I could find. :blink:

    Nothing came close. Others told me it was hoisin sauce. Close, but no cigar. I tried all manners of Hoisins. Good stuff, though. Then I was told it was a plum sauce. Same deal, bought a thousand varieties, and nada. Recipes were unsuccessful.

    In Chicago, I worked with a Chinese mother and daughter, who took me under their wings. They introduced me to the "north chinatown" which really isnt chinese...

    But there was this one huge grocery store on Broadway and Argyle I think?

    They introduced me to so many new things, tastes, condiments, methods of prep. etc. Fine people, those women. :wub: In exchange, I taught them how to cook some traditional "American" Food. Namely, Thangsgiving Dinner. I had them over and we did everything from start to finish. WHAT a blast that was. It was a very cross-cultural day. They brought over some light goodies for lunch, as we cooked and then of course we all pigged out for dinner.

    I'm digressing again, aren't I? :hmmm:

    So anyway I was just moseying down the condiment isle of said store, pretending like I was gonna find that sauce, or whatever.... I picked up a bunch of new ones, read the ingredients, and put them down. Then I picked up the bottle of Chee Hou sauce. I got prickles on the back of my neck. It *looked* like it could be the one, so I took it home with me. They frown on sampling the sauce in the isle, so what choice did I have?

    It was spot on. Now, I do dilute it a bit with water, but other than that I use it as is.

    So far thats the only brand that I've found.

    But hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!


    I'm just pleased as punch that you are enjoying my blog :biggrin:

  17. Nessa, do you mind being alittle more specific about your spring roll recipe? They look mahvelous. :smile:  I love that you just take cooked/marinated things and can put them together, no frying.  However, what do you marinate the cabbage in?  Also, do you use roast chicken for your shredded chicken?

    Lets see. I tend to use what's on hand.

    What simply cannot be left out, in my opinion, are thai basil, and cilantro.

    I marinate the veggies simply because they give more flavor that way, you don't *have* to.

    This time I marinated both the carrots and the cabbage in some cider vinegar, sweet rice vinegar and mushroom soy sauce.

    The chicken I had was boiled dark meat, that I had used to make that chicken stock for the aforementioned chicken and green chile soup.

    I just took the cooked meat out of the freexer, threw on some mushroom soy, and a spalsh of dark sesame oil. Then I nuked it to defrost, and then put back in the fridge overnight since I didn't get around to making them. When I was ready, I put the chicken in the food processor and pulsed a few times to get it shredded.

    You can use any meat, or tofu, or leave it out. Leftover meat is great for this, in my opinion. I actually considered shredding some of the brisket for them but figured the smoke flavor might just overpower everything.

    Roast chicken would be delish!

    I haf oder planz for de brisket... muahhahahhaaaaa :laugh:

    edited for color!

  18. Yes to Korean.  I live near the Koreatown on Royal Lane in west Dallas.  My most convenient Asian grocery store is there on Harry Hines.  It's very Korean-centric so they also have a pretty decent selection of Japanese goods as well.

    I love taking a spur-of-the-moment dinner run over there and walking into a little storefront that looks like a restaurant (I can't read Korean) and simply trying to communicate.  I know of at least two places that don't have English menus.  At one point I remember trying to have a poor conversation with my waiter in Spanish!


    Nessa, I usually don't read  these blogs but I caught a bit of yours and got sucked in.  Good job.  Keep it up.

    Edit:  I wish I were bigger in Texas.

    Lyle, I'm ever so glad that you stopped by!

    I want to know more about Korean Town! Pretty please? This is one area of oriental cooking and cuisine that I am not very well versed.

    And on the subject of oriental food, I ran across this thread and discovered a name for the breakfast bundles that I've been eating.

    Click here

    They are called noh mai gai. I love having a name for them. Its a very informative thread, check it out!

    Edited to add: They apparently freeze well! WHOOOOHOOOOO time to stock up. :wub::wub:

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