Baking Day: Brioche au Sucre, Pain Brioché

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Protect Yourself by Wearing Elegant Gloves

Since 2006, I have been writing about the benefits of wearing gloves. Now, there is more justification than ever for my admonitions and recommendations on the topic. Currently plaguing Americans and the rest of the world are norovirus and MRSA; the deadly ebola virus is rampant in Africa, and other antibiotic-resistant diseases are proliferating. Most of these viruses are spread by surface-contact. Wearing gloves while out in public, especially while shopping, and disinfecting them when you get home can save your life. And hospital-acquired diseases are now common, so do your best to avoid hospitals and other heath-clinics.

HOSPITAL-ACQUIRED INFECTIONS

Hospital-acquired infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites; they are spread by touching contaminated surfaces, clothing and implements, or skin-contact with infected people. Viruses may be contracted from surgical procedures, catheters, or by inhaling airborne pathogens.

Common hospital infections are MRSA and C Difficile. These micro-organisms may already exist dormant in the patient’s body or be contracted from the air, contaminated surfaces and hospital equipment, healthcare workers or other patients. Hospitals must employ pre-screening for MRSA or C-Difficile prior to surgery.

These infections and viruses are often resistant to antibiotics, and the lack of effective therapies may necessitate amputation of fingers or limbs. If you find yourself having to be in the hospital as a patient or visitor, wear disposable gloves before touching any surface, tool, item of clothing or person.

Relying on antibacterial gels and liquids is no longer adequate for self-protection against dangerous germs. Wearing gloves can not only enhance your elegance, but you will be more confident about your safety and survival.

M-J’s Recommendation for Affordable, Elegant Gloves (click here)

©M-J de Mesterton 

Making Pound Cake

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M-J’s Pound Cake Recipe

2 Sticks of Room-Temperature Butter, OR One Stick of Butter and 1/2 Cup of Coconut Oil

2 Cups of Sugar

3 Cups of White or Unbleached White Flour

1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder

1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon of Salt

1 Tablespoon of Vanilla, OR Two Teaspoons of Vanilla and One Teaspoon of Almond Extract

4 Eggs

3/4 Cup of Buttermilk, OR Milk plus One Tablespoon of Lemon Juice

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream the butter and sugar, add vanilla and almond extracts, then beat until fluffy.  Blend in half of the eggs. Gradually add flour and other dry ingredients (I usually combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large measuring cup, & mix it with a fork so it’s ready to be incorporated into the batter); add the other two eggs, beating, then gradually add the milk. Beat for three minutes. Pour into a 13″ Pullman loaf pan, or two regular meatloaf-pans, and bake for 1.5 hours OR until a thin knife or skewer inserted into the cake’s center comes out clean.

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 I use a 13″ Pullman pan for this recipe.

 

Elegant Brown Rice & Lettuce Luncheon Salad

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One Cup of Cooked Brown Rice, a Few Soft Adzuki Beans, a Diagonally-Sliced Carrot and 1/4 of a White Onion Sautéed in Coconut Oil , Resting on a Bed of Chopped Little Gems Lettuce by Tanimura & Antle: a Nutritious Luncheon Salad, Dressed with Home-Made Red Chile Oil* and a Little Soy Sauce

Below, a photo from earlier this year of Little Gems Sweet Lettuce by California’s Venerable Tanimura & Antle Farms

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*M-J’s Original Red Chile Oil

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One cup of liquid (room-temp) coconut oil

One half-cup of red pepper flakes or crushed, dried chiles

One or two tablespoons of cayenne pepper (optional)

Two tablespoons of soy sauce (this liquid will help reconstitute and soften your dried chillis or red pepper flakes.)

Mix ingredients together and keep at room-temperature in a sealed jar.

Stir-Fried Vegetables and Brown Rice

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Celery, onions, red capsicums and zucchini are sliced and stir-fried in two spoonfuls of coconut oil. When these vegetables have been slightly browned, pre-cooked brown rice will be added, and the whole lot cooked a bit more.

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Remember stir-fried vegetables and brown rice? Updated with coconut oil, it really is health-promoting dish, loaded as it is with vitamins and fibre.  Combining sautéed vegetables and brown rice is a wonderful way to use your abundant garden vegetables, and constitutes an entire meal.  I like to put a bottle of soy sauce and some Asian-style “red chili oil” on the table for optional seasoning. ©M-J de Mesterton 2017

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M-J’s Sweet or Savoury Coconut Flour Pancakes

My recipe for coconut flour pancakes can be adjusted to your taste. I sometimes add a few drops of Mapleine, which is in the spice section of the market, together with vanilla extract. For fewer carbohydrates per pancake, unsweetened almond milk is ideal to use rather than buttermilk. When making a savoury version, I usually serve sour cream on the side, perfect for a low-carb regimen.

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Gelatine Dessert-Moulds

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You can use nearly any wide-mouthed container in the kitchen for moulding gelatine, even milk-cartons. It’s fun getting creative with colourful stuff, even it’s going to disappear soon. Look at the trouble that goes into elaborate ice-sculptures. And hey, you can immortalise  your creations using a camera.

~~M-J

Tanimura & Antle’s Elegant Lettuce: Little Gems

Tanimura_Antle_Little_Gems_Lettuce_Copyright_M-J_de_MestertonI discovered Tanimura & Antle Little Gems lettuce lately, when my market was out of Romaine heads. These are so far superior to the usual Romaine that I’ve switched, and now only buy Little Gems. Not to be confused with my series of paintings from 2008 by the same name, which did come first. I’ve read that the Tanimura & Antle company trademarked it. For vegetable trays that feature dips, and for scooping tabbouleh, these lettuce leaves make excellent replacements for things like pitas and chips.~~M-J de Mesterton ©June 2017

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Tiny, Highly-Functional Kitchen

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One doesn’t need lots of space to have an elegant, organized kitchen like the one pictured here. Things just need to co-exist in coherent fashion. Large, white appliances combined with lemon yellow, orange and lime green cookware can give a unified appearance; I call the effect “harmonious clutter”. All the many tools in this kitchen are used frequently, so there really is no wasted space.
Heavy French and Danish pans are hung on stainless steel carts with practical S-hooks from the hardware store, saving the home-cook lots of kneeling and heavy-lifting at low cabinets. Ladles, spatulas, can-openers and other essential kitchen tools are hung the same way for easy access.
Cookware-Cleaning Tip: stubborn stains on cookware, sinks and fixtures can be reduced or eliminated by scrubbing them with a paste made by combining cream of tartar and a little vinegar. This acidic mixture is often more effective than an abrasive chlorine-based cleanser.

@M-J de Mesterton, May 2017

The Elegant Dina Merrill


Above: September 12th, 1984: Joan Rivers, guest-hosting for Johnny Carson, delivers a hilarious monologue and interviews actress and philanthropist Dina Merrill after she welcomes comedian David Brenner and musician Elvis Costello (scroll the video forward to go directly to Dina Merrill’s appearance).

http://deadline.com/2017/05/dina-merrill-obit-1202100624/

Simple Cake with Swiss Icing

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You don’t have to be a perfectionist or a cake-decorating pro to make a layer cake look nice. Just get creative with some fluffy icing and add something charming as casual décor. Here, I’ve added some French dragées (candy resembling Jordan almonds) to a couple of white cake-layers filled and frosted with Swiss icing.

~~M-J de Mesterton, ©2017

M-J’s Potage Printanière aux Petits Pois

M-J’s Original Recipe: Potage Printanière aux Petits Pois



Photo and Recipe Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2007

I devised this spring pea soup for an elegant luncheon.


Potage Printanière 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

Herbs: savoury or herbes de Provence

1/3 Cup of sour cream or crême fraîche

Salt to taste

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 or herbes de Provence, 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 serve four. Double the recipe by repeating the first step and adding the results to the pot, while repeating  the other ingredients as well. Add salt to your own preference. I use 
Himalayan salt. This soup may be served either hot or chilled. A small spoonful of sour cream or crême fraîche in the center of each bowlful will act as a garnish.
 


~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, March 2008

My Favourite Measuring Spoons

Best_Measuring-Spoons_Elegant_Cook_M-J_de_MestertonI like to keep my measuring spoons separate instead of on a ring, for ease of use. Aedilys_Measuring_Spoon_Set_Elegant_Cook_M-J

They’ve finally designed a set of measuring spoons that are engraved with both U.S. and metric capacities, shaped to fit into small containers, have four-inch handles, and are made of 18/8 stainless steel. Please visit M-J’s Traditional Household.

The Tiny and Highly Functional Kitchen

 

4a835-traditional_household_small_functional_kitchenOne doesn’t need lots of space to have an elegant, organized kitchen like the one pictured here. Things just need to co-exist in coherent fashion. Large, white appliances combined with lemon yellow, orange and lime green  cookware can give a unified appearance;  I call the effect “harmonious clutter”. All the many tools in this kitchen are used frequently, so there really is no wasted space.

@M-J de Mesterton, May 2017

Please Visit M-J’s Traditional Household  for tips on kitchen essentials.

Green Tea Fights Influenza

Article by the Nutrition Reporter, Jack Challam: Green Tea Reduces Children’s Risk of Contracting Flu

“Green tea is known to contain antiviral components that prevent influenza infection,” wrote Hiroshi Yamada, MD, PhD, of the University of Shizuoka, Japan.

Yamada and his colleagues analyzed questionnaires from 2,050 students, ages six to 13 years, in elementary schools in Kikugawa City. The questionnaires included information about their consumption of green tea.

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