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


nessa
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Nessa, we've seen your food - now we need to see YOU (if you're willing)!

We know you're petite.

We know from the Sonic guy that you're adorable.

Hmmmmm. :hmmm: I'll take that under consideration. I'm getting dolled up tonight, so maybe. No guarentees though.

The sonic guy was clearly biased, I had money. :rolleyes:

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I didn't think it was possible, but this foodblog is on a par with bleudauvergne's blog.

Now those are high accolades indeed. I am beyond flattered.

I'm gonna recommend blogging to all and sundry, it really is a nice ego stroke. :raz:

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

Best,

Soba

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!

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Ok, a quick summary of shopping at Jasmine's:

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Ok, at the top, pita bread. Middle is a hunk of feta, lower right is za'atar.

Upper left is grape leaves and lower left is sumac.

And here is this FANTASTIC lebni. I'll never use sour cream again.

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They sell these little cucumbers that they grow themselves.

I've never tasted anything quite so..... cucumbery.

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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 love those cucumbers, my parents still grow them in Philly. I can't get them here :sad: They are given such high praise in Elisabeth Schneider's vegetable book, I have no idea why they haven't caught on. They have the nice texture like the english cucumbers, but much more flavor. Those things they sell in most supermarkets are an embarassement to the species.

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I like those cucumbers as well. Plus, they make great pickles.

Great photos, btw.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Yeah - that filtering smoke through water thing is brilliant. I seem to recall having similarly excellent results with that method in college :biggrin:

Great pics, great blog! I'm going to miss this blog alot when the next person gets tagged. You've set the bar quite high Nessa.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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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.....

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Ok, here goes....

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

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Then I added the rice and garlic

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

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

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Next step is to fill

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Then wrap

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

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Top with spare leaves

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

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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.

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Skewerd and waiting for the grill to heat.

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Grilling :wub:

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The yogurt cheese with cucumbers and garlic

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And the meal

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

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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.

Edited by nessa (log)
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whee... this has been an excellent blog, I've really enjoyed the photography...

also an eyeopener, I found myself prowling the aisles in our local chinese supermarket for ingrediants for a weekend treat!

Spam in my pantry at home.

Think of expiration, better read the label now.

Spam breakfast, dinner or lunch.

Think about how it's been pre-cooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold.

wierd al ~ spam

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Those dolma look great. I've been wanting to try making them for awhile but never got around to it. Perhaps you've inspired me.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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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:

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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.

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And here it is all done and fluffy.

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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.

Chipotles

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And after grinding in my handy dandy coffee grinder.

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

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Guajillos

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

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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.

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Here is the roux percolatin'

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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*

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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.

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When the gravy is done, I chop the leftover brisket

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

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

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Fully assembled, topped with queso fresco.

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Heading for the oven, back in a bit!

*edited to add note about cayenne*

Edited by nessa (log)
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Allllllllllrighty then folkaroonies.

I'm stuffed, how about you?

So, Out of the oven

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Then plated

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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

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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!

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Cut into pieces

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Then into the oil

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All done.

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

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And off to make the "honey" smile.

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

Signing off from sunny Texas,

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nessa

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So I'm going to be a very popular lady tonight. :wub:

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?

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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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.

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Coming from a long line of redheads myself and having a predliction for petite women.... I just have to say that 'nessa is da bomb! (all the incredible food helps as I so rarely end up dating women who cook.

You've opened my eyes up to so many food related attractions in Dallas - I've only been there on business and staying downtown without a car - there's obviously so much more to the place than meets the eye.

Why do Chinese restaurants only give you 4 pancakes and maybe 1 TBS. of sauce and a full container of mushu filling?

Count me among the many who thoroughly enjoyed this fabulous blog and also feels indebted for the tip about what this sauce really is. When I order moo shu I use the sauce carefully and don't run out but I always, always, always order extra pancakes - four is never enough.

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Coming from a long line of redheads myself and having a predliction for petite women.... I just have to say that 'nessa is da bomb! (all the incredible food helps as I so rarely end up dating women who cook.

You've opened my eyes up to so many food related attractions in Dallas - I've only been there on business and staying downtown without a car - there's obviously so much more to the place than meets the eye.

Pardon me while I bathe in the compliments and soak up the glory. I hear its good for the skin :biggrin:

Seriously, thank you phaelon! Dallas has a lot to offer, especially if you know where to look!

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