M-J’S CAST-IRON PAN PIZZA METHOD
A cast iron pan can go under the broiler and come out even better condition than before, which cannot be said for other pans. After all, it was created in a sort of crucible. For an artisanal pizza, I like to place a thin layer of raw pizza dough in my large, flame-coloured French iron skillet, which has been coated with olive oil, and cook it on the stove until the bottom of this crust is brown. Then, I place the dough-in-pan under the broiler for a couple of minutes. Taking it out with a very sturdy silicone pot-holder, and placing this cast-iron pan on a trivet, I then brush the dough with a thin layer of thick pizza sauce (this can consist of plain tomato paste if you like), grated Parmesan cheese, sliced mozzarella, and usually some sliced pepperoni. This preparation stays inside the skillet, and is then placed under the broiler until the top is well-baked. I keep the oven door ajar so that I can keep an eye on the broiling process. After its top is broiled to my preferred degree, the bottom of this skillet pizza may have become a bit soft. Crisping up the bottom crust on the stove if necessary is simple: just place the cast iron pan on the burner again for a couple of minutes, and then slide the pizza out onto a cooling-rack. This method of airing-out the pizza until it is cool enough to eat will allow the crust to remain crisp.
©M-J de Mesterton 2018
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
Daikon is a health-promoting Japanese white radish. I create shreds of daikon with a sharp Victorinox peeler, then place them on a bed of finely-shredded lettuce, sometimes with a few fine pieces of red onion for even more nutrients and additional piquancy. Ideally, this refreshing salad is dressed with mirin or a vinaigrette. It makes the perfect complement to gyoza dumplings.~©M-J de Mesterton 2018
Using a tool for creating Swedish meatballs (similar to a melon-baller), I was able to make pieces of avocado more appealing than usual in a salad. I doused the avocado balls in lemon juice to prevent them losing their fresh green colour. Elegant salad design dictates that dressing is added only to the lettuce component, so that the other ingredients are clearly visible. With the addition of Roma tomato-wedges and finely shredded cheese, this concoction made a perfect summer luncheon for one.
©M-J de Mesterton 2018
Microsoft, bless their collective heart, took the liberty of cramming my uploaded photos of today into a “video”. So, I’m testing their somewhat bizarre product at YouTube, where I’ve had an inactive channel for a couple of months, waiting for content. Might as well get started….
What’s with the photos I took yesterday? First, one of my flowering cacti was being buzzed by a hummingbird, and I lazily snap-shot it via zoom-lens through the patio door. Then, I made a Spanish tortilla (classic Iberian egg dish) for my husband Jacques, who suggested I photograph the thing. Then I read that cooked ginger develops a cancer-fighting property in the process, so I sautéed some raw ginger in coconut oil with green beans (alas, it’s not as quick & easy as my habit of throwing whole ginger-root into a smoothie). I decided to take some shots of that endeavour for my blog, Elegant Survival News, to spread the good word. The green beans and ginger made a tasty dish, especially after I added home-made chili-oil and ponzu sauce at table~~M-J de Mesterton
Herbal Remedies, Courtesy of “The Health Ranger” Mike Adams, Editor and Founder of Natural News
M-J’s Health-Promoting Gyoza, Fried in Coconut Oil
Harvested in late autumn, cleaned and frozen, this home-grown turmeric bulb is chopped and incorporated into a mixture of sautéed vegetables, or simply whirled raw into a blended smoothie~~©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