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.
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.
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.
M-J’s Original Recipe: Potage Printanière aux Petits Pois
Photo and Recipe Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2007
I devised this spring pea soup for an elegant luncheon.
Potage Printanière aux Petits Pois
One 16-ounce bag of frozen petits pois, or tiny green peas (be sure to use the frozen variety for their intense colour)
Three cups of hot water
Herbs: savoury or herbes de Provence
1/3 Cup of sour cream or crême fraîche
Salt to taste
In a blender, mix together the hot water and frozen small peas until they are like soup. Pour the
mixture into a pot and heat it to simmering. Add a half-teaspoon of savoury or herbes de Provence, and a third-cup of crème fraîche or sour cream. Stir with a wire-whisk until the bits of cream are fully incorporated into the green soup. Heat again till just boiling, and serve. This recipe will serve four. Double the recipe by repeating the first step and adding the results to the pot, while repeating the other ingredients as well. Add salt to your own preference. I use Himalayan salt. This soup may be served either hot or chilled. A small spoonful of sour cream or crême fraîche in the center of each bowlful will act as a garnish.
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.
Gyoza skins were filled with health-promoting ingredients: purple cabbage, cooked adzuki beans, celery, carrot, red onion, cooked brown rice, chopped umeboshi plums and miso; I sealed them with an egg-wash and then the gyoza dumplings were deep-fried in peanut oil and drained on paper towels. I served half of these and froze the rest (it’s the only way to keep them; storing these deep-fried pockets of finely minced vegetables, legumes and rice in the fridge will make them too soft). The frozen “gyozas” will be spread in a single layer and reheated in a hot oven. @M-J de Mesterton 2017
Lemons are dear. I never waste any part of them. Squeezed-out lemons are cut finely, with just the seeds removed, then boiled for an hour with non-GMO sugar, water, and fruit pectin. Refrigerated in a recycled jar with a pretty lid, my citrus marmalade easily replaces an expensive glass of “Bonne Maman”. So, after you make lemonade, you might just want to make marmalade. ~~M-J
I invented this dish for a dinner party guest, a French teacher who was pregnant. She loved it. Other guests did as well, so I have made my Pink Lemonade Chicken for many buffet dinners. Now, I am inspired by my dear nieces and nephews who are expecting babies soon, so I am publishing this recipe again. The ingredients are simple and few, and you may adjust the amounts according to taste.
Four-to-six pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
One 16-ounce can of frozen pink lemonade
One tablespoon of cornstarch
Salt or celery salt to-taste
Water, two or three cups
Poach chicken breasts in a mixture composed of 2/3 of a 16-ounce can of frozen pink lemonade juice and two or three cups of water.
When it is thawed, the pink lemonade turns to thick syrup. One large can will be sufficient for four-to-six pounds of chicken. Reserve a third of the can for a final sauce.
Cover the boneless, skinless chicken breasts and simmer slowly in the pink lemonade for an hour or more. You may add salt or celery salt, but remember, this dish is created for those with delicate stomachs, so please don’t add garlic or onion flavorings. The liquid will reduce and the whole pieces of chicken should become lightly browned. Remove from heat and place on top of two sheets of waxed paper to protect your cutting board. When the chicken breasts are cool, slice them into medallions–see my example in the photo below–with a very sharp knife. The liquid left-over in the poaching pan will be used to make a sauce.
Sauce for Pink Lemonade Chicken
Into the pan, pour 3/4 cup of water and a teaspoon of cornstarch, which has been mixed with a tablespoon of water. Add the 1/3 can of remaining pink lemonade syrup. Cook till it becomes a sauce. Pour some of it on the base of your serving dish. Arrange the slices of chicken in a circular fashion. When you have finished arranging the chicken slices, drizzle the rest of the pink lemonade sauce over them.
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