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Everything posted by nessa

  1. As far as the weather goes, they are predicting worse storms tonight. And last night's was the worst in over a decade. Joy. I predict we will lose power, so I'll try to post as early as possible, just in case. If we do lose power, no worries, I can still post from work, though pictures will have to be edited later. I might have a field trip or two lined up this week. I'm planning on going to Central Market with a friend of mine, and then perhaps to the Jasmine Market. I'll update as soon as things are solidified. So stay tuned, and batten down the hatches! And thanks so much to everyone for your kind comments and encouragment. This blogging thing ain't half bad. Pays well too....
  2. Before work, I had an iced coffee, topped decadently with whipped cream. I figured that on 4 hours of sleep, I was more than entitled. I had a very interesting breakfast this morning. While at the Vietnamese store yesterday, I picked up some fried tofu, and this bananna leaf wrapped bundle. I don’t know what they are called. Actually I picked up two varieties of the bundle. This one has sweet rice wrapped around an adzuki bean and banana middle. Its mostly sweet with just a touch of savory, and a subtle hint of coconut. The fried tofu I marinated with some mushroom soy sauce overnight. The inside of the tofu was a lovely custardy/scrambled egg texture. Quite nice, actually. I nuked the two for about 45 seconds and devoured them. Naturally, I had some coffee to go with. In hindsight, perhaps some green tea would have been better. Here it is, in its banana leaf glory Deglorified with a chunk of fried tofu. And split open so you can see its inner light and goodness. IMG]http://images.egullet.com/u13890/i7769.jpg Last night I sent the SO off to work with more brisket and fixin’s The rest I’ll probably freeze for later in the month. I’m running low on frozen dinners and lunches. I like to make my own. The SO and I have very different schedules most the time so the frozen meal has been a boon. I tend to bulk cook (as if you had not noticed) for a week or so and stock up on meals. Then I replenish by cooking a new dish a couple times a week, either to freeze or not. Gotta have variety! Also, the SO and I have different tastes in food. This way I can have my Indian/etc. food all safely frozen for lunches or dinners when I have to spend them alone, or when I’m just sick to death of Mexican food.
  3. Well, it tastes a little like a liquid, carbonated flinstone vitamin, only better. but not by much. Its nice and tart and perhaps has some berry overtones. One of the Ethiopian grocers carries green coffee beans, and the roasting equipment. I've been pondering giving that a shot sometime.....
  4. Oooops, I forgot to post this last night, this is injeera: Now, someone PLEASE turn the lights out..... Off to work.
  5. I am blessed. In the great metropolis, this is the view I get when I sit down at my desk for lunch. Ok, lunch was smoked chicken and green chile soup. This was inspired by a soup I had a Central Market. It tastes nothing like it, but its certainly quite delicious. I LOVE soups! This has smoked chicken legs, roasted poblano chiles, chipotle (notice a theme?) half and half, serranos pecan bits, and a lovely blonde roux. Its rather... spicey. For dessert, a brownie. I am not known for being subtle in my cooking. I don't think that a plain brownie is brownie enough, so I always add chocolate chips, just to get the message across that chocolate is truely a food of the gods. A few seconds in the microwave and its ooey gooey good! I needed to get some groceries, so I swung by my local vietnamese shop to gram some stray items for spring rolls. I think they are spring rolls anyway. The non-fried rolls in any case. I also needed a few things from the Indian grocery. So off I headed. But I looked up and saw: Hmmmmm. Best hurry. So off I went. Its a good 20 min drive. By the time I got there, the radio was all but screaming "Storms a comin', storms a comin'!". So I hightailed it in, and silently was greatful that I knew my way around the store. I was in and out in 10 min flat. Truely a record for me for any store, much less Taj imports. That included time in front of the pastry case. As I arrived home, this is how the sky looked: So I went on about my business and started cooking. It was getting a bit late, so I decided to forgo making spring rolls for tomorrow's lunch and move right on to making dinner. Tonight its Aloo Gobi Mattar with saffron/cumin rice. I was hungry and had this samosa and.... something for a snack before I got started. And its a good thing, too...... Here are most of the spices involved, before they hit the fryin' pan. That bottle is asafoetida. Just a pinch........ Then here they are melding with softened onions And here is the finished product. The rice starts with being browned in some oil. I'm out of butter. Then I added some cumin seeds. Saffron steeps in hot water before being added to the rice. Meanwhile, I lost power. Its a good thing I have a gas stove. Two hours later.... And the rice is done. It smells like heaven. This is my first time cooking with saffron. It won't be the last. During the rather lengthly blackout, I lit candles and treated myself to some tea and a sweet. I used one of the antique tea cups that I collect. I swear, tea tastes better in them. I know its just psychological but I'll take it. I had a lovely yerba mate' blend. I felt much restored, but really not much like eating. Well, eating more, anyway. Thats it for the night, its past midnight
  6. You might want to try using za'atar, which is a spice/herb mixture. It's more middle eastern than african, but it might add a nice flavor. I think thats a good idea, since za'atar is chock full of thyme. Splendid!!! thanks!
  7. Update: Major storm hits Dallas, nessa loses all power for two hours, right in the middle of uploading pictures. There will be a *slight* delay then you will be returned to your regularly scheduled blogram
  8. Ok, I'm home now, and I'm seeing my better half off to work. Then its off to the Indian grocery store for a few items. Then I'll be back and post pics from today's lunch and I'll get started on dinner, and lunch for tomorrow!
  9. Hmmmmmm. Maybe I'll have to swipe a notebook from work..... Nah. My handwriting is possible the worst there is, and its worse when I'm scurrying around the kitchen, throwing spices this way, knives that way... But you are so right, I do need to organize. Right now I shove the slips of paper into a drawer. I can't find my lemon curd recipe at the moment so that will give me the incentive to get them all entered into the computer, and printed out and put into a little notebook. I've had that plan for a while.....
  10. Yes Ma'am! There is at least one Ethiopian place here in Dallas. I've heard rumors of others, but also that they have all closed. I called a few but got disconnected numbers. I went to the one surviving restaurant about 2 weeks ago. I had a lamb dish that was to DIE for, and then a chicken "wat" that had basically no chicken, and a few whole hard boiled eggs. Very underwhelming. The staff spoke no english, and we, no Ethiopian. Its in a questionable part of town, but in the same complex as a cop shop so I think its pretty safe. I made a beef wat according to the grocer's instructions and it was delicious. I'm planning on getting an Ethiopian cook book soon. First in line for cook books though, is Monica Bhides!
  11. Morello cherries are sour cherries. I found a few jars at the local Big Lots for $1.99! I should have taken a picture! The definition according to Epicurious Traditionally, with brisket I guess most folks would drink a good beer. A lot of beer, actually. I personally would have a shiraz or cabernet with it, were I in the mindset to imbibe. The salsa freezes relatively well. The flavor survives unscathed, the texture becomes slightly more watery.
  12. Gingerly, I'm eatin' it with anything I can get it around. Mostly carnitas of late. I sometimes crisp it in the pan or oven and use it to dip hummus, but I use them much like one would tortillas. Cut in strips and fried is also most delicious, if exceedingly fattening. They retain a lot of oil. Injeera are rather new to me, I'd say I was introduced to them about two months or so ago, so I'm still toying with all the applications. I'm planning on making injeera roll up/pinwheel things for a party in the not so near future. I'm still formulating what the filling will be. Something to fit its cultural background, I think. Well, close, anyway. It will be fusion food, to be sure. Maybe a yogurt cheese with mit-mit-a and thyme? Only time will tell
  13. He and I would get along just fine Pace is my top choice for store bought salsa but needs to be doctored with cilantro, onion and habanero to give it some zip. Love that brisket - great stuff. Do you make the injera bread yourself or can you buy it locally? There used to be an awesome store bought salsa called Rio Diablo. They went out of business and broke my heart. Smokey Hill salsa out of Austin makes a kick-butt product as well. My Darling Sweetness doesn't care for it. So Pace it is. He's not wild about extra cilantro. But if thats the worst of his sins, I'm a lucky gal indeed. And I am ! I've not tried to make injeera yet, teff can be hard to come by, but there are two Ethiopian shops within a mile or so of my house. They sell them in these huge packages, I swear it weighs 5 pounds, and each individual injeera is freakin' huge. Larger than the traditional skillet by half again, I'd guess. I end up quartering them and freezing them.
  14. Seth, you know... this blogging thing is *really* good for a gal's ego! Thanks! Dover, injeera is a very thin Ethiopian flatbread. Its a sourdough and about as thick as a tortilla, but much spongier and stretchier. I'll post a picture tonight. Traditionally, its made from teff flour. Teff is part of the millet family, I believe. In fact its almost more pancake like than bread-like, but still chewier than a pancake. Its *very* sour and *very* good! And yes, I make my own habanero-tequila salsa. My darling SO likes >gasp with me< Pace. Loves it. I buy it by the gallon for him. I won't say that I can't stand it, but I avoid it since I usually have some other kind of salsa available. I'm not raggin on the Pace lovers, mind you...... Thats one of the things that I've yet to write down the recipe for. Basically I put a can of whole drained tomatoes in the blender. To that I add a bunch of cilantro, a habanero or two, about a half cup of tequila, 'bout 1/4 cup of lime juice, and whizz. Then I dice an onion, a couple cloves of garlic, and sautee them with a sprinkle of cumin, some cumin seeds, ground chipotle, and salt until they are mostly cooked, and soft. In they go, whizzz again, taste, adjust seasonings accordingly. Salsas are fun because they are quick, keep for a long time, and are just so versatile.
  15. Yeah... keep bagging it, Pompollo. I too, am teaching myself, with the help of all the lovely folks here, how to cook Indian food. I naievely went out and bought the asafoetida and brought it back to my den. That was two weeks ago. I've yet to use it, tho this week I will. All that I've read and heard points to it being perfectly safe for consumption, and that when cooked, especially in oil, the odor goes away, or is changed to one more pleasant. It doesnt really smell *foul* to me, just.... very pungent. It reminds me strongly of onions, perhaps just past their prime. Anyway, I've also been led to believe that just a pinch is plenty.
  16. Good morning, Y'all! I managed to hit the snooze for oh, about an hour this morning. Its a good thing I set my own hours at work. For my breakfast appetizer, I had a nice large can of Rock Star diet energy drink. Normally I like to start out with a nice stout cup of coffee, or Iced coffee if its going to be a hot day. Yes, I know its all relative, but its been an unseasonably cool spring here in Dallas. It's only hit 90 once, and that was this weekend. Felt hotter, since there was plenty of rain in the area and it was nice and muggy. Anyway, I was up far too late and forgot to set the coffee maker, so its a good thing that I had my spare energizer! I'll edit for pictures when I get home this evening. Here's the drink: I typically don't eat breakfast until I get in to work. First off, Its usually disgustingly early, and second, I have to take a pill first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and not eat for at least an hour. Breakfast this morning was a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, dates, raisins and cranberries. I usually make my own instant oatmeal usually since I can make it healthier, and its easy. I just put regular oatmeal in the food processor and pulse a few times. Tadaaaaaaaa!! Instant oatmeal. To that I add splenda and nonfat dried milk, nuts and fruits of choice. Pack into serving sized baggies and I have portable breakfast! I'm also sucking down my second cup of coffee.
  17. Okie Dokie. First, the wee beasties. This is Pookie, short for Spookie. I wanted to name her Joleen. Some folks..... We are not sure if she is as smart as she appears, or if that's an illusion. And this is Shadie, nesting. Shes the snugglebug of the family. And the Boycat, Dustie. He's a big'un He's doing what Dusties do best. And the Honorary cat..... Hoover. After the vacuum, folks, not the president. Hoov has been adopted by the cats and can often be found curled up with Pookie, or being groomed by or grooming Dustie. In this picture he is scavenging stray brisket bits. I almost fought him for them. This week, we got DirectTV, after virtually being TV-less for a year. I'm glutting on the Food Network, thats for sure. More editorial on that through the week, I'm sure. And on that happy note, on to the food. First, yesterday's rundown. Breakfast: Jayme's carnitas swabbed up with some injeera and habanero-tequila salsa. Lunch: Um. Iced coffee, and a piece of baklava. I made it about a month ago and stored the rest in the freezer. It freezes amazingly well. I hope I wrote that recipe down...... Thats a relatively new thing for me. I've now decided to have the discipline to take notes while I cook so that if I *really* like the way it turns out, I can re-create it exactly. Or modify as I see fit, of course. Dinner: I made a smoked chicken and green chile soup. It will make repeat appearances for lunch, I predict. Last night I prepared a rub for a 10 pound brisket. This was my first brisket to barbecue. I decided to smoke it. Here it is, all rubbed and swaddled in saran wrap. Breakfast was another of Jayme's carnitas and injeera. Oh, and a "Diet Rock Star" energy drink. I stayed up far too late last night. I had to chop the brisket in sorta half to fit it in the smoker. I put the flat on the top rack and the point on the lower. About 7 hours later I took them in and sliced the flat. It was not fall-apart cooked. So the point went into the oven at 350, in my "romatopf" pot for another 3 or so hours. I let it rest about an hour then sliced These are the best bits. My grandpa called them "tips". They are hard and chewy and worth fighting over. While the brisket was smoking, I made mayonaise for the first time. Thanks Alton!! I used the whole batch to make a mustard potato salad with red bell peppers and pickles. I also made my very first batch of barbecue sauce. I finally recreated the sauce I used to get as a kid. There was this delightful place on the side of the road on the way to Grandma's. Its a vinigary, hot, sorta thin sauce. Finally, I made a raspberry-morello cherry pie. I had problems with the crust. My recipe called for 8 TBS of crisco to a cup of flour. I wanted two crusts so I doubled. The dough formed a ball at around 8 TBS crisco, and never went to that cornmeal stage. I threw in a little more flour, the water and wizzed it again. I let it rest, then rolled it out on parchment. It was really hard to work with because it was sooooo fragile. I didn't think it would work. Anyway I added my filling and rolled out the top crust. I managed to get it on lopsided. Well it wouldn't move over, cause it was so fragile, so I played patch the pie. That looked really ugly so I recalled a thing in one of Martha's books about making leaves to decorate the pie with. So I used the scraps and did just that. Didn't look too bad, and its one of the tastiest, melt in my mouth crusts ever. Still..... it needs a little more structure. But I'm not complaining. I had a little snack while waiting for friends to arrive for dessert. I didn't eat dinner or lunch cause I picked at stuff all day. Look at the time! I have to get up around 4:30 so I best skedaddle off to bed!
  18. Howdy, Y'all. Apparently I got tagged this morning. Thanks Seth! Awesome job, by the way. I'm normally on at all hours of the day, but today was a big cooking day for me, so I didn't check in after my first morning fix. Since the blog is supposed to start on Sunday, I'll try and remember what I ate/cooked yesterday. I'll start with an introduction. I'm Vanessa, and I live in Dallas, Texas. I have a habanero temper and a chipotle smile. I have the pleasure of living with my significant other of 6 years, three cats and a dog. Pictures of said beasts to follow, of course. They are our only children. We moved here just under a year ago from Chicago, where we lived for two Before that we were living in the culturally hopping Bryan/College Station, Texas. Its been an interesting year learning my way around Dallas. There are many delightful foodie finds both on and off the beaten path. I have a passion for several different ethnic cuisines and seem to acquire more the older I get. I'm 32, if anyone is counting. I'm trying not to. I'm just your basic self-taught, home cook. I'm not a picky eater, but the SO is, at least in comparison to me. But that is easily worked around. I cook a whole lotta Tex-Mex and Mexican food. Thats the SO's favorite, and its good to keep the powers that be happy, eh? Fortunately for me, I also love it. In no particular order, my other favorite cuisines are: Indian, Middle Eastern, Greek, and a new one for me, Ethiopian. I'm also fond of French, Italian and American Regional. I just love learning about different cultures, and since I have a culinary bent, thats generally how I relate. I'm going to go gather my thoughts and make some uploads to image gullet, and I'll post again before bed.
  19. "This dance ain't for everybody, only the sexy people." Oh man, that takes me back to high school! Push it!!... Push it good.... Salt and Peppa Thanks for a trip down memory lane!
  20. I'm going to smoke my first brisket. I've an electric red bullet smoker thingie, and I'll use mesquite. I've yet to decide about the sides....
  21. Well at least it does not escape the pantry door. I'll figure something out, I'll try a jar and bring home some parafilm from work to seal it with. I will not let it get the best of me. NEVAH SURRENDAH!
  22. Ok, so I've got the powdered asafoetida, in a canister thing. I put it in a plastic baggie when I started noticing the odor. It came back, so I put it in a double plastic baggie. Its back. What gives? How do you store asafoetida so that it's..... fragrance..... is contained?
  23. I'm in! Partners in crime are the best partners to have!
  24. oh MAN i love the narghile/hookah things. I'm not a smoker, but those are so wonderful. Its a water/liquid cooled smoke that is infused with all kinds of delightful flavors. I'd not realized they had them. Well I knew Jasmine had them for sale, but not for smokin'! I gotta get back there!
  25. It has the importance of providing us with food porn. I love all the photos. You know, they say women aren't as "visually stimulated" as men.... but those pictures of all the lovely cheeses got me excited and raised my pulse. Viva la food porn!
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