California Cuisine: Cooking with the Grape

 

Painting of Grapes by M-J de Mesterton Hangs at the Tiny Bar of Her California Kitchen

Tiny_Home_Bar_Copyright_M-J_de_Mesterton

Below: M-J’s Meat Sauce with Red and White California Wines Cooks Eight Hours in a Crock Pot, with Bottles Nearby for Adding More at Random Intervals Cooking_with_Wine_Copyright_M-J_de_Mesterton

For a casual supper at my beach house, I once made meat sauce with wine and sliced seedless grapes, then put it on home-made pizza for a visiting family of Armenians. They loved it!

Colour-Coordinated_Elegant_Kitchen_Copyright_M-J_de_Mesterton

Advertisements

M-J’s Low-Carb Luncheon Salad

M-J’S LOW-CARB, HIGH PROTEIN LUNCHEON SALAD

 http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5FY6wI5Dcsw/S8tJhctw3ZI/AAAAAAAAW7U/0yDBnVSKLJA/s1600/LowCarbLuncheonSalad.JPG

Bacon bits, 1/3 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese, an avocado cut into pieces, Romaine lettuce and almond-coated white-meat chicken combine to make an elegant, high-protein luncheon dish.

I top this low-carb salad with home-made ranch dressing, which I create from mayonnaise, buttermilk, and/or sour cream, mixed with onion and garlic powders and dried parsley. When I don’t have the powdered onion and garlic, I will dice bits of fresh ones very fine and sauté them before mixing with the other ingredients. Add salt and green or white pepper to taste, then blend with a wire whisk.

©M-J de Mesterton, April 2010

Elegant Frittata

 

Frittata_Elegant_Cook_M-J_de_M
This simple three-egg frittata was cooked then baked in a non-stick copper pan with plum tomato and bits of cream cheese. The tomato was sliced and sautéed in a teaspoon of coconut oil before three beaten eggs were added to the pan. The bottom of the frittata was cooked on the stove-top for a minute, dotted with bits of cream cheese, then placed under the oven-broiler in the same pan for about another minute. ©M-J de Mesterton

 

 

©M-J de Mesterton, Elegant Cook

Elegant_Cook_M-J_de_Mesterton_2011_Copyright_J_de_Mesterton
Please Visit the Elegant Cook, by M-J de Mesterton

Holiday Health: Stay Svelte with Celery Soup

In a hot Dutch oven or stock-pot that contains two tablespoons of olive or coconut oil, sauté a head of sliced celery that has been thoroughly cleaned and an onion that has been chopped. Stir these vegetables often, cooking them until they are slightly brown at the edges. Add two tablespoons of flour and coat the vegetables with it. Gradually add five cups of water, a teaspoon of  salt, pepper to-taste, and two tablespoons of sour cream. Cook this mixture until it thickens. If you prefer creamed celery soup, pour it into a blender and process to the desired consistency. ©M-J de Mesterton, November 2017

Here is my 2006 version of celery soup:

 
My Original Recipe: Low-Carbohydrate Celery Soup
Potage de Céleri
Wash a whole head of celery, by cutting the bottom off and bathing the stalks in a sink-full of water. With French chef’s knife, chop finely. Include the celery leaves, which are packed with flavour. In a large pot, melt two tablespoons of butter. Put the chopped celery in, and add a teaspoon of salt, one half-teaspoon of cumin, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Sauté until bright green and almost soft. Stir in a tablespoon of cornstarch (cornflour), which has seven grams of carbs. Saute for two more minutes, and then add one cup of cream and two cups of water. Simmer for ten minutes. Serves six. This soup is a good accompaniment to croques monsieurs for luncheon.
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, February 2007
Celery_Soup_Elegant_Cook_M-J_de_Mesterton

 

M-J’s Easy-to-Make Thin-Crust, Yeast-Free Pizza

Home-Made_Yeast-Free_Pizza_Elegant_Cook_M-J_de_Mesterton
Yeast-Free_Thin-Crust_Pizza_Preparation_Elegant_Cook_M-J_de_M<

Home-Made_Flour-Tortilla_Pizza_Elegant_Cook_M-J_de_Mesterton
Yeast-Free Pizza, Ready to Broil

Place a flour tortilla in an oven-proof or copper pan in which olive oil or coconut oil has been heated. On your stove-top cooker, brown the tortilla in the oil, and flip it to brown the other side as well. Remove the tortilla to a plate, and with an offset spatula or other flat implement, spread a layer of pure tomato paste over it, to the edges. Sprinkle this surface with a little bit of finely-crumbled, dry oregano. Grate your choice of cheese (mozzarella or my fave, Cabot white cheddar–this semi-soft cheese must be cold to grate it properly) and place evenly onto the pizza. Salt is not necessary, but you may wish to add red pepper flakes to-taste, or serve them in a condiment bowl at table. Add finely-sliced pepperoni if desired (I keep a pack of this in the freezer, which doesn’t require defrosting to use this way). Slide this raw pizza back into its oven-proof pan and place under the broiler in your oven, watching it closely as it cooks to your desired degree.  Remove pan from oven, and if the crust is a bit too soft, just set it back onto the burner for a minute or so on medium-high heat. Slide finished pizza onto a cooling-rack for a few minutes. Cooling it a bit will firm up the crust to a crispy stage, and stabilize the pizza’s toppings. Cut your thin-crust, yeast-free pizza into wedges with a pair of kitchen-shears.

Recipe & Photos Copyright ©M-J de Mesterton November 2017Home-Made_Thin-Crust_Pizza_Elegant_Cook_M-J_de_Mesterton

Above: Finished Thin-Crust Pizza, Top & Bottom

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 de Mesterton 

Making Pound Cake

Pound_Cake_Recipe_Copyright_M-J_de_Mesterton

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.

Pullman_Pan_13-Inch_Made_in_USA_Copyright_Elegant_Cook_M-J_de_Mesterton
 I use a 13″ Pullman pan for this recipe.

 

Elegant Brown Rice & Lettuce Luncheon Salad

Brown_Rice_Tanimura_LittleGems_Luncheon_SaladElegant_Cook_M-J
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

Tanimura_Antle_Lettuce_Little_Gems_by_M-J_de_Mesterton

*M-J’s Original Red Chile Oil

Home-Made_Chile_Oil_Copyright_Elegant_Cook_M-J_de_Mesterton

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

Stir-Fried_Vegetables_Copyright_M-J_de_Mesterton_Elegant_Cook
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.

Stir-Fried_Brown_Rice_Veg_in_Season_Elegant_Cook_M-J_de_Mesterton
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

Stir-Fried_Brown_Rice_Vegetables_Copyright_M-J_de_Mestertron

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.

Cocont-Flour_Pancakes_Sweet_or_Savoury_Elegant_Cook_M-JCoconut_Pancake_Ready_to_Flip_Elegant_Cook_M-J_de_MCoconut_Flour_Pancakes_Elegant_Survival_M-J_de_Mesterton

Gelatine Dessert-Moulds

Gelatine_Dessert_Moulds_Copyright_Elegant_Cook_M-J_de_Mesterton

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

Tanimura_Antle_Lettuce_Little_Gems_by_M-J_de_Mesterton

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑