Elegant Basket of Tea Towels

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Christmas Present Idea: a Silver-Plated, Large Basket for the Kitchen Counter or Hanging on a Cook’s Cart~Perfect for Tea Towels, Fruit, or Casual Flower-Arrangements
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Simple Greek Salad

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Simple_Greek_Salad_M-J_de_MRomaine lettuce, crumbled feta cheese, tiny tomatoes and vinaigrette combine to make a simple Greek salad. Other ingredients are sliced cucumbers, chopped fresh cilantro (coriander leaves) and Kalamata or Moroccan olives.

Elegant Breakfast Dish: Pink Grapefuit

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Grapefruit is part of a healthy, elegant breakfast. Peeled and cut into sections, then drizzled with a bit of honey and a few grains of sugar, this exquisite pink grapefruit is ready to eat in an antique Japanese export bowl  (which I acquired in 2004, and has disappeared–that’s all right; my main collection is Baron Morimura’s Noritake).

Grapefruit has a reputation of breaking-down fats, so it is advisable to eat it in conjunction with your favourite bacon-rich breakfast. By the way, in our house, Real Men do eat quiche, an entrée that would be beautifully complemented by grapefruit. ©M-J de Mesterton

  Visit Elegant Cook for M-J’s Quiche Lorraine Recipe

Swedish Potato Salad

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Boiled new potatoes, diced red onions,  chopped bacon with a little warm bacon fat for flavour, vinaigrette and brightly-coloured, diced capsicums (optional) make a splendid summer potato salad, either chilled or at room temperature. It is a tasty, safe alternative to mayonnaise-based potato salads, which cannot withstand long periods in the heat of a sunny day. This recipe is traditional in my Swedish family. ©M-J de Mesterton
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Swedish Potato Salad, an Excellent Summer Picnic Dish

M-J’s Cupcakes Filled with Swiss Meringue

Create hollow areas within cupcakes with a demitasse spoon or a paring knife. The resultant cake bits can be saved in a bowl and eaten later. Your cupcakes will be filled with a light, fluffy icing that is essentially a very sweet meringue that is stabilised by being heated while whipped. Here is my recipe:

SWISS MERINGUE ICING

In the top of a double-boiler over a simmering inch or two of water, whip five egg whites with a cup of white granulated sugar, a cup of confectioners’ sugar, a dash of salt and 1/4 cup of water, using an electric mixer at high speed. Continue beating the mixture until it forms stiff peaks. Remove from heat and allow to cool; whip a teaspoon of vanilla into the meringue. Use your Swiss meringue before it hardens, but most of the time, it stays spreadable for many hours. This is my method, but there are numerous other recipes on the internet for Swiss meringue. In my kitchen, I cook this meringue icing in the stainless steel bowl of my Kitchenaid mixer set atop a mid-sized stockpot with a couple inches of simmering water in it, using an electric hand-mixer to whip it into shape. Swiss meringue icing is sometimes referred to as “seven-minute frosting”. Depending upon various conditions, you may need to whip the meringue for more or less than ten minutes. I’ve had days when it took much longer than that. Find a formula that works for you. Spoon your room-temperature meringue into a gallon-sized polyethylene zippered bag with one corner cut off, as shown, or a professional pastry-bag. Fill the holes in your cupcakes with Swiss meringue, and top them with it as well if desired. Chocolate or buttercream frosting on top of your filled cupcakes would be wonderful. Alternatively, fill some cupcakes with ganache and top them with Swiss meringue icing. ©M-J de Mesterton

M-J’s Home-Made Blue Cheese Dressing

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Bottled blue cheese dressings usually contain corn syrup, sugar, and trans-fat oils, which makes them less than salubrious while ruining their flavour. They don’t taste anything like the dressings freshly-made by smart restaurant cooks. Here are my four simple ingredients for home-made blue cheese dressing: buttermilk, sour cream, crumbled blue cheese, and lemon-pepper (lemon juice and freshly-ground pepper are great in its place, though juice will thin the mixture). I do not use exact measurements when making this concoction. I simply put the ingredients into a bowl or jar and stir or shake them to mix well; this method leaves the blue cheese in appealing little chunks. ©M-J de Mesterton

M-J’s Elegant Little Kitchen Island

Small Functional Kitchen-Copyright_M-J_de_Mesterton (1)A sturdy stainless steel cart with a custom-cut Melamine surface serves as a work-island in M-J’s tiny kitchen, and attached hooks hold her heavy French cast-iron pans. The smaller stainless steel cart has a butcher-block surface, together with two shelves that hold a basket of potatoes, a wooden Zeissen coffee-grinder, assorted porcelain platters and baking-dishes. ©M-J de Mesterton 2018

 

 

M-J’s Low-Carb Luncheon Salad

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

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

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

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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