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nessa

eG Foodblog: nessa - Dallas, Texas... Feel the burn!

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Howdy, Y'all. :biggrin:

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. :raz:

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. :wub: 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.

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Sounds great, Vanessa! I've visited Dallas, and it seems like a good eating city.

I'm looking forward to hearing about your big cooking day.

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I'll start with an introduction. I'm Vanessa, and I live in Dallas, Texas.

Sweet!! Blog on!

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Okie Dokie.

First, the wee beasties.

This is Pookie, short for Spookie. I wanted to name her Joleen. :wink:

Some folks.....

i7693.jpg

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.

i7694.jpg

And the Boycat, Dustie. He's a big'un

i7695.jpg

He's doing what Dusties do best. :raz:

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.

i7696.jpg

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.

i7686.jpg

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.

i7687.jpg

I let it rest about an hour then sliced

i7688.jpg

These are the best bits. My grandpa called them "tips". They are hard and chewy and worth fighting over.

i7689.jpg

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.

i7690.jpg

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. :wub:

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.

i7692.jpg

I had a little snack while waiting for friends to arrive for dessert.

i7691.jpg

I didn't eat dinner or lunch cause I picked at stuff all day.

:huh: Look at the time! I have to get up around 4:30 so I best skedaddle off to bed!

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I'm looking forward to this blog. It's already clear that it'll be different from all the others.

Nice pics, Nessa. :smile:

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How fun. We'll be following along. Damn sporting of you to do this, Nessa... :rolleyes:

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Great pictures Nessa. This looks like it's gonna be fun!

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Wow that pork looks amazing.

I'll be living vicariously through you, Nessa!

That pie looks divine.

Mmmm thank you very much!

:biggrin:

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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:

i7713.jpg

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!

i7714.jpg

I'm also sucking down my second cup of coffee. :wub:


Edited by nessa (log)

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Oh my God. Nessa, that brisket puts to shame every ounce of meat that I consumed in last week's blog.

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Okie Dokie.

First, the wee beasties.

This is Pookie, short for Spookie. I wanted to name her Joleen. :wink:

Some folks.....

i7693.jpg

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.

i7694.jpg

And the Boycat, Dustie. He's a big'un

i7695.jpg

He's doing what Dusties do best. :raz:

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.

i7696.jpg

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.

i7686.jpg

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.

i7687.jpg

I let it rest about an hour then sliced

i7688.jpg

These are the best bits. My grandpa called them "tips". They are hard and chewy and worth fighting over.

i7689.jpg

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.

i7690.jpg

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. :wub:

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.

i7692.jpg

I had a little snack while waiting for friends to arrive for dessert.

i7691.jpg

I didn't eat dinner or lunch cause I picked at stuff all day.

:huh: Look at the time! I have to get up around 4:30 so I best skedaddle off to bed!

Oh boy! My pepper glands are salivating. What's "injeera"? Is that an Indian condiment? And do you make your own habanero-tequila sauce?

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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.

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love the salsa recipe, vic and i have seen the light and moved away from the store bought stuff

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Basically I put a can of whole drained tomatoes in the blender. To that I add... 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.

I tell you, once you figure out that it's "okay" to combine a can or so of good-quality tomatoes, some seasonings to taste, and a blender, whole new worlds open up to you.

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My darling SO likes >gasp with me< Pace. Loves it. I buy it by the gallon for him.

He and I would get along just fine :biggrin: 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?

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My darling SO likes >gasp with me< Pace. Loves it. I buy it by the gallon for him.

He and I would get along just fine :biggrin: 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. :wub:

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. :sad: But if thats the worst of his sins, I'm a lucky gal indeed. And I am :wub::wub: !

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.

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must..have..rasberry -morello cherry pie...

:rolleyes:

what are you eating that injera with nessa?

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must..have..rasberry -morello cherry pie...

:rolleyes:

what are you eating that injera with nessa?

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 :rolleyes:

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Beautiful brisket. And cute pets too, of course. :) But the pie was what I was really drooling over. Crust flaws just add character and make it look homemade, or at least that is what I tell myself. What exactly is a morello?

Also, what do you usually drink with a dinner like that one?

Edited to thank you for the salsa Revelation! I've always made mine with fresh tomatoes and it's been exclusively a late summer recipe as the winter tomatoes here are awful. I'd never even considered using canned, but yours looks delicious. Does it freeze well?


Edited by Cusina (log)

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Nessa:

Great start on the blog. I'm eagerly anticipating the installments.

Love injera too. It's kind of like eating a slightly damp and sour version of those foamy sheet things they wrap around electronic equipment for packing and shipping. :biggrin: I like it best with Ethiopian stews. Have you been to any local Ethiopian restaurants? I'm figuring if there's an Ethiopian shop or two then there's immigrants and probably a restaurant not too far away as well.

Blog on Madam!

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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 :rolleyes:

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.

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Nessa, I thought my cats were just going out into the yard at night - how the heck they get from Duluth to Dallas and back again in just a couple of hours is a complete mystery. :wink: I used to have a dog like yours, too - *sigh* - I'd sure rather think she'd worked her way from Duluth to Dallas, but I fear her fate was darker.

What a kick-butt blog you've started! I can't decide whether the brisket or the pie is the most droolworthy, but my keyboard is in serious danger right now...and I can hardly wait to try making salsa!

A note on taking notes as you cook: once you develop the discipline to take those notes, do develop the discipline to organize them somehow while you're at it. It's all right that my cookbooks look and read like lab notebooks, complete with dates, reactions and suggestions. It's not all right that my refrigerator is covered with magnets holding scraps of paper with our recipes-in-progress, some a couple of years old. (Dear, do you remember which magnet has the oven-roasted pork recipe?) Beware! Take heed before it's too late! :laugh:

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Oooh, that brisket looks mouth-wateringly good!

The pie doesn't look too bad either. I love morello cherries. I love raspberries. I love pie dough! (Try cutting the shortening in half at a time, or better yet, use half butter/half shortening. You will probably need more like 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups of flour)

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What exactly is a morello?

Also, what do you usually drink with a dinner like that one?

Edited to thank you for the salsa Revelation! I've always made mine with fresh tomatoes and it's been exclusively a late summer recipe as the winter tomatoes here are awful. I'd never even considered using canned, but yours looks delicious. Does it freeze well?

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.

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Nessa:

Great start on the blog. I'm eagerly anticipating the installments.

Love injera too. It's kind of like eating a slightly damp and sour version of those foamy sheet things they wrap around electronic equipment for packing and shipping. :biggrin: I like it best with Ethiopian stews. Have you been to any local Ethiopian restaurants? I'm figuring if there's an Ethiopian shop or two then there's immigrants and probably a restaurant not too far away as well.

Blog on Madam!

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!

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      Prior to the trip, when emailing with our guide in Bangkok to finalize plans, I mentioned that we wanted to be continuously eating (local food, I thought was implied!)  When we got there, I realized the misunderstanding when she opened her trunk to show us many bags of chips and other snack foods.. whoops...  Anyway, once the misconception was cleared up, she took us to a noodle soup vendor:


      On the right is our guide, Tong, who is now a very famous and highly sought after guide in BKK.... at the time, we were among here first customers.  I had a chicken broth based noodle soup with fish ball, fish cake and pork meatball, and my wife had yen ta fo, which is odd because it is bright pink with seafood.  I have a lime juice, and my wife had a longan juice.
       
      This is what a lot of local food places look like:

       
       
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