More Elegant Cuisine with M-J

Bread-Making is Good Exercise

Swedish Flax/Rye Bread

This is my own recipe. You won’t find this bread outside of Sweden, unless you are on an SAS flight.
Four cups of very warm water, to which a half-cup of buttermilk has been added
Two tablespoons of yeast
One third-cup of molasses (substitute: dark corn syrup)
Two tablespoons of salt
Two cups of rye flour
Half cup of ground flaxseed
White flour–amounts vary, but it will be about  six cups (the amount of flour needed depends upon the climate, the altitude, and the phase of the moon)

Dissolve the yeast in warm water/buttermilk mixture. Add the molasses and some of the two flours–enough to make a sponge. After it has bubbled up, add salt and the rest of the flour except for one cup. Let the dough rest for fifteen minutes. Keep adding more white flour as needed until the dough no longer sticks to the surface. Knead dough for eight minutes. Form into a ball, set into a buttered bowl, cover lightly with waxed paper or a tea-towel, and let rise until it is double the size. Punch down the bulk, kneading it again for a minute.  Shape the dough into loaves, dust pans with cornmeal or ground flaxseed, let rise again until nearly double in size, then bake for one hour at 350* (moderately hot oven). This recipe will yield two slicing loaves and two baguettes.  — Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 25th August 2007


Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2008. Click image to enlarge.

I devised this soup for a luncheon. It may be served cold or hot.

Potage Printanier aux Petits Pois

One 16-ounce bag of frozen petits pois, or tiny green peas (be sure to use the frozen variety for their intense colour)

Three cups of hot water

In a blender, mix together the hot water and frozen small peas until they are like soup. Pour the
mixture into a pot and heat it to simmering. Add a half-teaspoon of savoury, and a third-cup of crème fraîche or sour cream. Stir with a wire-whisk until the bits of cream are fully incorporated into the green soup. Heat again till just boiling, and serve. This recipe will make four bowls of Potage Printanier aux Petits Pois. Double the recipe by repeating the first step and adding the results to the pot, while doubling the other ingredients as well. Add salt according to your own preference. I use Himalayan salt. This soup may be served either hot or chilled.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, March 2008

The cuisine of Provence, France, is one of the world’s most health-promoting, with its focus on fresh vegetables and use of olive oil. A very good table wine from the Vaucluse is Le Pigeoulet Vin de Pays. This wine is inexpensive, and complements French cooking.

Provençal Cuisine

Marmiton.org: La Communaute des Gourmands

History of Shiraz Grapes

Argentinian red wine is excellent with beef.
The following one was a big hit at our recent dinner party: Vistalba Cortea.The estancia belonging to Carlos Pulenta has a fabulous website. Vistalba of Mendoza, Argentina: Look for the Delicious yet Economical Vistalba Cortea

Cream of Celery Soup, by M-J de Mesterton Photo Copyright 2009

M-J’s Potage de Celeri, or Cream of Celery Soup

For the Recipe, Please Click Here

Good News: Chic Restaurants in the U.S. Switching to Filtered Tap Water

New York City has always had high-quality tap water, as do so many cities. I always use a low-cost Brita filter and pitcher at home, and don’t waste money on bottled water. Who knows the true provenance of that, anyway? After all, Evian is “naive” backwards!

~~M-J