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
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, 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
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:
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 2017
Above: Finished Thin-Crust Pizza, Top & Bottom
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
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.
Below, a photo from earlier this year of Little Gems Sweet Lettuce by California’s Venerable Tanimura & Antle Farms
*M-J’s Original Red Chile Oil
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.
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.
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.
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
I like to keep my measuring spoons separate instead of on a ring, for ease of use.
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.
Simple and satisfying, a salad made with Romaine lettuce and crushed walnuts may be enhanced with Cheddar cheese to make a nutritious luncheon dish. The best dressing for M-J’s Walnut-Romaine salad recipe is a honey-laced vinaigrette. For an elegant salad-design, toss the lettuce in dressing before arranging the crushed walnuts around the edges of your bowl. ©M-J de Mesterton
I made my own pizza-dough as usual, and fitted it into a copper pan, decorated with sauce, cheese, parsley and pepperoni, then popped it into a 400-degree oven. This is the gorgeous pie that slipped right out of my pan onto a trivet.
Here is another home-made pizza, fashioned with dough from my versatile pain de mie recipe. The soft stuff was stretched onto a 14″ round Granite-Wear pizza pan that gives the bottom of the light dough a crispy finish.
©M-J de Mesterton, March 2017