Outsized Fruits & Vegetables; Chicken on Steroids?

I hadn’t gone shopping in a while, so when I came upon these grapes and jalapeño peppers at Albertson’s a month ago, they seemed normal at first. At home, they looked larger than life all of a sudden, like the Grapes that Took Over the World, and Jalapeños as Big as Texas. They may be genetically-modified (in fact, I’d put money on it). Yeah, them grapes were slightly smaller than golf-balls, and twenty years ago women would have been runnin’ scared at the sight of ’em. Those peppers ain’t just big, they are hotter than Hades. Talk about getting more bang for your buck–for all I know, the whole lot is deadly poison. Sure as shootin’, I am not going back to that store for more. The chicken breasts we bought there were just enormous, probably from a fowl critter named Dolly (in honor of the lamb created in a lab, not the huge-breasted singer, Ms Parton).

After poaching and frying those pieces of chicken, having spent more than an hour in the process, we were stunned at the foam-rubber texture of the alien meat. The animals had to have been pumped full of SOMETHING unnatural to make their breasts as large as those of turkeys and render their flesh absolutely inedible. My husband, who had innocently ordered the stuff at Albertson’s butcher counter, brought all the chicken back for a full refund. Don’t let grocery stores ruin your meals–make sure the chicken you purchase is of normal size. Good thing we did not unwittingly serve this faux fowl to guests. That would have been ruinous!~~M-J

frankenfoods_copyright_m-j_de_mestertonchicken_breasts_frankenfood_copyright_elegant_cook

And now, the eternal question: which came first, the funky chicken enhanced by hormones, or the FREAK EGG?

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Food Safety Website

It’s a government website, so take everything you read here on food-hazards with a grain of salt. Remember who is running the show: an entity that has so far proved its abysmal ineptitude, and a propensity to take campaign money among other bribes from big insurance, big food, big oil and big pharmaceuticals. There is, however, some common-sense advice on the page.

Elegant Bamboo Cooking Tools

Available at Wal-Mart for about three dollars, these ultra-useful, sturdy cook’s implements are made from bamboo.  Each white mesh bag contains five bamboo spatulas and spoons. At that price, it may be wise to purchase two packs of them.

Live the Elegant “Pouch” Lifestyle…

…with beautiful pouches in various materials. Organize and protect your silver, jewels, brushes and watches; make sachets; present little party-favours in pretty little fabric bags. Go “green” with canvas or burlap pouches, or go for the glitz and glamour of organza. Use fabric pouches to store your lingerie for travel.

Elegant Canvas Pouches by PouchMart of CaliforniaThere are so many potential uses for pouches that I shall just give you the link to PouchMart in California, and you can dream up your own uses for them. The prices are fantastic for all the elegant drawstring pouches they offer, both plain and fancy. Buy them in multiples of ten or twelve, for about a dollar or less apiece. Have fun putting your stuff in pouches!

©M-J de Mesterton 2010

M-J’s Elegant Eggs Vienna: 3 Sources of Protein and Choline

M-J's Eggs Vienna First Recipe for Eggs Vienna on the Internet, by M-J de Mesterton 2006

M-J’s Original Eggs Vienna


M-J de Mesterton’s Eggs Vienna Recipe

This Dish Features Three Sources of Choline

An old friend of mine used to make this dish for me in the 1970s. I had published my recipe for the unusual breakfast offering on Elegant Survival in 2006; it was for a long time the only recipe for Eggs Vienna on the internet. I shall reconstruct it here at Elegant Cuisine:

Eggs Vienna for Two

Prepare four slices of streaky American-style bacon until they are crisp. Poach two eggs in two cups of boiling milk, until they are soft. Toast two slices of white bread or English muffins, then butter them. When all three components are ready, place one piece of  toast in each of  two soup-bowls. Place two slices of  bacon on top of each piece of toast, then top that with a poached egg. Pour the remaining hot milk, in which the eggs have been poached, into each bowl.

Eggs, Bacon and Milk are Good Sources of Choline, which, when Ingested by Pregnant Women,  Contributes to the Intelligence of Babies, and for Everyone Else, It Helps to Prevent Heart Disease

Choline on FoodistaCholine

M-J’s Winter Health Smoothie

cropped-aeedd-elegant_smoothie_winter_health_copyright_de_mesterton.jpg

Green_Smoothie_M-J_de_Mesterton_Recipes
One half-cup of water, one fourth-cup of lemon juice, one jalapeño or serrano pepper (roasted, pickled or fresh), two stalks of celery, one-half of a cucumber, one tablespoon of thick yoghurt or one half-cup of buttermilk, one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of parsley, all whirled in a blender till smooth. Add water if necessary for processing.

big grinCopyright M-J de Mesterton 2009

Elegant Party “Champagne”: Cristalino Brut from Spain


Cristalino Brut from Spain: Inexpensive Substitute for French Champagne

Available at Cost Plus World Market

Inexpensive Substitute for French Champagne

“Bright green-gold color and aromas of apple, spices, flowers and nuts. Crisp, bright and dry with medium-full body. Intense ginger and apple flavors with nutty and floral nuances. Clean, lemony finish that is quite dry. A pleasure with chicken salad, scampi, filet of sole, brie and fruit desserts. Serve as an aperitif, too.”

Make Your Own Elegant Hamburger Buns

M-J's Home-Made Hamburger Buns, Copyright Elegant Survival 2009
M-J's Home-Made Hamburger Buns, Copyright Elegant Survival 2009

Elegant Hamburger Buns


Ingredients:
• 2 tablespoons of active dry yeast
• 1 and 1/4 cup of warm water (110° to 115°)—hotter water will kill the yeast
• 1/3 cup of vegetable oil (do not use canola oil, which tastes fishy in baked goods; peanut, corn or pure vegetable oils are preferred)
• 1/4 cup of sugar, any variety
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon of salt
• 3 and 1/2 cups of unbleached or all-purpose white flour

Directions:

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Then, add the egg, salt, and flour.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead for about four minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed. Form the dough into a ball, cover, and let it rise for ten minutes. Divide the dough into 12 flat, round pieces. Place 3 inches apart on buttered baking sheets.
Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake on top oven rack at 400° for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Monitor closely to prevent burning. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. This recipe makes twelve hamburger buns. For dinner rolls, do not flatten but shape your twelve dough pieces into balls.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, Elegant Survival 2008


Elegant Survival Food Safety, and Recycling Cake-Covers

Cake and Croissant Container Top from Sam's Club, Recycled as a Food-Safety Tool; This One is Four Years Old!
Cake and Croissant Container Top Made of Thin Plastic, Recycled as a Food-Safety Tool; This One is Four Years Old! Keep flies off your food, in the house or outdoors. These lightweight tops are stackable, washable by hand (not dishwasher-safe), and will protect your family and friends from the awful germs carried by flies and other pests.~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, May 16th, 2009
M-J's Four-Year-Old Cake Cover, Recycled from Croissant Container (Painting and Photo by M-J de Mesterton)
M-J's Four-Year-Old Cake Cover, Recycled from Croissant Container (Painting and Photo by M-J de Mesterton, Copyright)

What to Do with Over-Ripe Bananas

Over-Ripe Bananas, about to Get a Make-over (photo copyright Elegant Survival)
Over-Ripe Bananas, about to Get a Make-over (photo copyright Elegant Survival)
Ripe Banana Sections,  Ready for Smoothies (Copyright Elegant Survival)
Ripe Banana Sections, Ready to Freeze for Smoothies. M-J's Gardening Tip: Bury the banana peels deep under your rosebush, or add to compost bin. (Copyright Elegant Survival)

From The Clothes Line: Elegant Survival of Your Clothing

The Clothes Line, an Elegant Survival Original, Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2006
The Clothes Line, an Elegant Survival Original, Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2006

Clothes dryers are energy-wasters, and will ruin your clothes as well, through fiber-loss and shrinkage. Hand-washing and line-drying your shirts will extend their lives. I use Zote soap and a microfiber cloth to rub dirt out of cuffs and collars. Underarms need special attention, too. I use a microfibre cloth instead of a brush because it is more gentle on the fabric, while strong enough to grab what I like to call “café crud” from cuffs. You don’t need a fancy contraption for clothes-drying; a five-dollar investment in a clothesline from Walmart, and a packet of wooden clothespins for about three dollars will do. Having a couple of trees to hold your clothesline at each end is lucky indeed, but in their absence, wooden posts can be installed.

When travelling, pack a small piece of Zote or Octagon bar-soap for hand-washing dainties and shirts in your quarters. The shower is a nice place to hang them; they will likely dry overnight, and probably not need ironing.  You might pack a couple of clothes-pins as well.

The sun and Zote soap both act as  fabric-brighteners, and your clothes will have a clean, fresh scent if treated to a sun-bath.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2009

Irresponsible Parents Spawn Flu Outbreak; Protect Yourself from Disease

Health and Happiness
Health and Happiness

There they go again: sending high-school teens to foreign resorts for “spring break”, where kids can indulge in barbaric activities, while risking kidnapping, disease and even death. Like the parents of the teenage girl who disappeared in Aruba, these New Yorkers thought it was chic to allow under-age kids to go gallivanting about in tropical climes. For all their purported sophistication, none among these geniuses received the memos about kidnapping, the white slave-trade, and rampant murder in Mexico. And now, because of their mindless allegiance to convention,  which dictates that even the quite young should be allowed to participate in this increasingly toxic “spring break” tradition, these ridiculous parents have imported a deadly flu. We all remember the imbecilic attitude of the Columbine murderers’ parents, and what that  lax bunch spawned….

The authorities tell you to use hand-sanitizer. That’s a good idea. Maybe that little precaution taught to President Obama by President Bush when they shook hands, and which was castigated as “racist” by vicious left-wingers, has possibly saved the president’s life. After all, Mr. Obama shook hands on April 16th with a Mexican official who died from the new influenza just a few days later.

My husband and I have always gone out in gloves. We hate germs of all stripes. I’ve never gone grocery shopping without gloves. For one thing, the carts are filthy, and carry spittle from little kids, a population that seems to often be sick. Once we are home, I wash every item to the best of my ability to kill whatever exterior bacteria they carry; the possibility of surface germ-transference is something I never ignore.

Don’t be afraid to wear gloves. People wore them all the time forty or fifty years ago, and had done so for centuries. Would you rather get a look that could kill or acquire a disease that may kill you from some boorish cad who goes out into the public to spread virulence for sport? And while you’re at it, you may consider following the new fashion embraced by our Mexican neighbors and wear a matching mask; this thing is airborne, as well as communicable through surfaces.

Of course, wearing stylish gloves with today’s inelegant hip-hugging pants and skirts will look silly. I recommend dumping these muffin-top-inducing clothes, as well, and covering up your skin to the waist (unless , of course,  you are planning a belly dancing career and wish to serve as your own best advertising gimmick).

Well, I always look for a silver lining: maybe this outbreak of worrying disease will cause people to wear actual clothing, shoes, gloves and hats…. No, I’m just dreaming–even the threats of economic ruin and dread disease haven’t mitigated the self-destructive behaviour of Americans.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2009

Versatile Buttermilk Biscuits

M-J's Buttermilk Biscuits and Cheese Biscuits (Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2009)
M-J's Buttermilk Biscuits and Cheese Biscuits (Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2009)

M-J’s Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe

Buttermilk is good for you. When in Scandinavia, we drink it at breakfast-time, as is customary.

If your grocer has stopped carrying buttermilk, insist that he stock it. Alternatively, you may use powdered buttermilk, which is found in the baking section of most food markets.

Why buttermilk? It is not only tasty, but acts as a leavener in pancakes and biscuits. It is said to be good for the gastrointestinal system, and for the skin. Granted, buttermilk is an acquired taste, not popular with many children. I didn’t care for the idea of it until I was an adult. But, if one likes the taste of yogurt, buttermilk ought to appeal.

When baking buttermilk biscuits according to my recipe, which is linked above, I sometimes fold the dough over some shredded Cheddar cheese. These cheese biscuits, shown in the foreground of my photo, are popular at drinks parties.

Cheddar Cheese Stands Alone at Elegant Survival

Cheddar Cheese and Rock Painting by M- de Mesterton, Photo Copyright 2009
Cheddar Cheese and Rock Painting by M-J de Mesterton, Photo Copyright 2009
California Cheddar by Albertson's, Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2009
California Cheddar by Albertson's, Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2009
My two favourite cheeses are Cheddar (named after the town in England) and Parmesan (named after Parma, Italy). Of course, I am fond of other cheeses from around the world, such as Swedish Farmer’s Cheese, Danish Havarti, Kashkeval, feta, halloumi and brie, but these two cheeses seem to have many more applications.

One of the nice things about Cheddar cheese is its versatility: it is always welcome at a cocktail or drinks party, and melts well for nachos and other American dishes.

The charming host of America’s Test Kitchen, Christopher Kimball, also of Cook’s Illustrated magazine, has written about Cheddar cheese in its latest number, and has also conducted a taste-and-quality test of various Cheddars offered in most American supermarkets. I have always depended upon the quality and taste of Tillamook (Oregon) and Cracker Barrel brands. The test results bore out my choices. Another great Cheddar from the U.S.A., available in several western states, is Albertson’s supermarket brand California Cheddar (pictured here), costing about four dollars per pound, a price which is commensurate with that of the two aforementioned selections.

Here is the article about Cheddar cheese from this month’s Cook’s magazine.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2009

M-J’s Still Life with Fruit Smoothie


M-J de Mesterton Still Life with Fruit Smoothie, Recipe Copyright 2008

Ginger, Chilean black grapes, plain yoghurt, bananas, apples, oranges, frozen blueberries, strawberries and a bit of honey are blended in an Osterizer for a health-enhancing morning drink.

~~M-J