California Cuisine: Cooking with the Grape

 

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

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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!

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Elegant Home-Made Tortilla Chips

MAKE YOUR OWN ELEGANT TORTILLA CHIPS

Frying Tortilla Chips for an Elegant Home-Made Southwest Appetizer

Posted at 12:16 PM on November 27, 2009
MAKE YOUR OWN ELEGANT TORTILLA CHIPS

You don’t have to throw out your tortillas if they are past their prime. Make them into tortilla chips, which will be very popular with your family and guests, as they are pleasingly different from those bought in the store.Take a stack of tortillas and dust between the layers with salt, pressing it into them. Then, pushing down hard with a large knife twice at different angles, cut the stack into quarters. Lower a handful at-a-time of uncooked chips into bubbling hot oil. For this light and crispy batch, I used a combination of soy oil, which is now sold as “vegetable oil”, and lard. Peanut or corn oil are also good for deep-frying tortillas. When the chips themselves have developed bubbles and are slightly brown, it’s time to remove them from the pot with a runsible or slotted spoon. Drain them on paper towels, and dust with more salt if desired. The cooking oil may be strained, refrigerated and re-used for French fries, yams or potato chips. My recipe for Elegant Guacamole goes very well with these tortilla chips. So do sour cream or crème fraîche, and a mixture of sliced jalapeños with melted Cheddar cheese, baked on top of the chips for a few minutes in a hot oven.

©M-J de Mesterton 2009

Home-Made Tortilla Chips: an Elegant American Appetizer

M-J de Mesterton’s Elegant Guacamole Recipe is Available on ElegantCook.net

For green chile powder, which is a good substitute for chopped canned or frozen New Mexico green chiles, go North of the Border.

M-J’s Elegant Tart Made with Two Apples

All you need to make a tart like this  is a reliable tart pan with a removable bottom (about ten USD at Target, for example), a good crust recipe (see Elegant Cook), some reduced apple sauce or juice concentrate if you have it, for added flavor, two apples, a little butter and sugar.
Fruit is very expensive nowadays, and if you cannot go to the market frequently, it is unlikely that you will have plenty of apples with which to make a traditional pie. Food prices are going to skyrocket, since the delivery of vegetables, fruits, and packaged goods depend upon oil and gas–two commodities that America is rich in, but our leaders are damning more by the day–to the extreme detriment of all itscitizens. We are all for alternative fuel sources, but there are none right now that don’t use disproportionate amounts of water and corn to produce. Plants that produce food and goods also need energy to run. France depends upon its own nuclear energy for 80% of its power. Very few Francophiles in the United States, most of whom excoriate oil and gas, coal and nuclear energy, are aware of that fact, ironically. America’s university chemical engineering departments have developed clean coal-producing plants, in order to run electrical grids with minimum pollution. Yet, people with nothing better to do spend big bucks putting huge adverts in the papers and on television repeating the howler that there’s “no such thing as clean coal”, not having bothered to inform themselves. Self-proclaimed “environmentalists” will not tolerate wind-farms within sight of their precious properties. And they think it’s better to drill for the oil they require in someone else’s backyard, in order to run their private jets and other gas-guzzling, luxurious transports. Meanwhile, America’s economy is under assault from over-regulation by those without an understanding of business, trade, finance, and what it takes to run commerce or even a household. Fasten your seat-belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride downhill without any fuel…and learn to make an economical pie, because you still have to try and enjoy life!
©M-J de Mesterton 2010

M-J’s Elegant Tart Made with Two Apples

All you need to make a tart like this  is a reliable tart pan with a removable bottom (about ten USD at Target, for example), a good crust recipe (see Elegant Cook), some reduced apple sauce or juice concentrate if you have it, for added flavor, two apples, a little butter and sugar.
Fruit is very expensive nowadays, and if you cannot go to the market frequently, it is unlikely that you will have plenty of apples with which to make a traditional pie. Food prices are going to skyrocket, since the delivery of vegetables, fruits, and packaged goods depend upon oil and gas–two commodities that America is rich in, but our leaders are damning more by the day–to the extreme detriment of all her citizens. We are all for alternative fuel sources, but there are none right now that don’t use disproportionate amounts of water and corn to produce. Manufacturing plants that produce food and goods also need energy to run. So do the internet and telephone services. France depends upon its own nuclear energy for 80% of its power. Very few Francophiles in the United States, most of whom excoriate oil and gas, coal and nuclear energy, are aware of that fact, ironically. America’s university chemical engineering departments have developed clean coal-producing plants, in order to run electrical grids with minimum pollution. Yet, people with nothing better to do spend big bucks putting huge adverts in the papers and on television repeating the howler that there’s “no such thing as clean coal”, not having bothered to inform themselves. Self-proclaimed “environmentalists” will not tolerate wind-farms within sight of their precious properties. And they think it’s better to drill for the oil they require in someone else’s backyard, in order to run their private jets and other gas-guzzling, luxurious transports. Meanwhile, America’s economy is under assault from over-regulation by those without an understanding of business, trade, finance, and what it takes to run commerce or even a household. Fasten your seat-belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride downhill without any fuel…and learn to make an economical pie, because you still have to try and enjoy life!
©M-J de Mesterton 2010