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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
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Cast-Iron Cooking, Cast-Iron Cookware, Elegant Living, Home-Made Pizza, Le Creuset Cuisine

Elegant, Durable Cast-Iron Cookware

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Elegant Little Kitchen with Cast-Iron Cookware from France, Belgium and Denmark

M-J’S CAST-IRON PAN PIZZA METHOD

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M-J’s Home-Made Pizza

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

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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

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Elegant, Refreshing Daikon Salad

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Gyoza with Daikon Salad

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

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Little Gems Sweet Lettuce, by Tanimura & Antle, is a Nutritious Component of M-J’s Elegant Daikon Salad

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Elegant Avocado Salad

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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

Conservation, Elegant Conservation, Elegant Living, Resource Conservation, Water Conservation

Conserving Water in the Kitchen

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The water in a sink-sized white bucket, in which coconut oil was once packed, after rinsing some dishes and utensils in it, can be saved and given to plants. This pail came with a tight-fitting cover, which I sometimes use if I wish to agitate utensils in the water. A little washing-up soap is welcomed by trees and flowers; soap helps to keep away insects and mould. Be sure there is no trace of animal product in the kitchen rinse-water, though (or in your compost-heap), because it will attract rodents and other pests. I live in the Mojave Desert, where water is scarce and expensive–a little of the precious liquid goes a long way, especially in my dry-climate garden of cacti, morning glory and palm. ©M-J de Mesterton

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Cleaning your lettuce and other vegetables with a little hydrogen peroxide or vinegar in the water makes them more sanitary. The rinse-water can be conserved and used in your garden. Plants benefit by being fed a little hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. ©M-J de Mesterton

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Cooking with Ginger Helps Fight Cancer

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Raw, Sliced Ginger, Sautéed with Haricots Verts, or Thin Green Beans, Helps Fight Cancer


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

 

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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

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Deep-Fried Gyoza

M-J’s Health-Promoting Gyoza, Fried in Coconut Oil 
Gyoza skins are filled with health-promoting vegetables, roots and legumes: carrots, celery, red onion, raw ginger root, gobo or burdock root, raw turmeric bulb, and cooked mung beans; all of  these ingredients have been chopped together in a food processor. After being filled and crimped, gyoza are then deep-fried in coconut oil. A sauce made with tamari, sweet vinegar, red chile oil and white wine or sake is on the table as a seasoning. This is an attractive, tasty way to feed your family the vegetables, legumes, and medicinal roots that they ordinarily would not dream of eating..
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Pan-Fried Gyoza
Traditional Pan-Fried and Lightly Steamed Gyoza

 

Elegant Living

Home-Grown Organic Turmeric

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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.

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Pronounced “TERmeric” not “toomEric,” this spice is used in India and Japan for health and longevity. Turmeric can be used in cooking, or ingested in capsules. Turmeric is a well-researched anti-inflammatory agent, as well as a powerful antioxidant. Inflammation is the root of most ills and degenerative conditions in the human body.
©M-J de Mesterton
Turmeric Capsules, a Convenient Way to Take Curcumin for Its Anti-Inflammatory Properties
The 2001 book, The Okinawa Program by Bradley J. Willcox, M.D., D. CraigWillcox, Ph. D., and Makoto Suzuki, M.D., is based upon the25-year-long Okinawa Centenarian Study. It is one of my favorite diet and health books.Turmeric has recently garnered respect and much publicity as a medicinal plant from the ginger family. The qualities of turmeric are not news to the famously long-living people of Okinawa, as related on page 149:
Excerpt:
Ucchin, or Turmeric M-J’s pronunciation note: TER-mer-ick
(Curcuma longa, Jiang Huang, Curcuma, Indian saffron, Ukon, Valerian)
Ucchin,commonly known in North America as turmeric,  is one of the Okinawans’ favorite herbs (as it is in India), and claims a multitude of health benefits. It’s known as ukon to the Japanese….
Folkloric Claims
Turmeric is from the ginger family. The stalk of the plant is the part most commonly used in both herbal and traditional medicine, and is the part that provides the distinctive yellow-orange powder that adds flavor and color to curry. It was probably brought to Okinawa centuries ago from India, which had active trade relations with the Ryukyu Kingdom (as Okinawa was formerly known). In Ayurvedic medicine…turmeric is thought to strengthen the immune system, relieve inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, improve digestion, relieve gas, killl parasites and worms, alleviate menstrual problems, dissolve gallstones, and relieve other ailments. The Okinawans are in full accord with these claims, and highly prize their turmeric.
Excerpt, page 150
Turmeric possesses significant antioxidant properties, comparable to those of vitamins E or C, which is probably why it proves powerful against cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research has reported somedegree of inhibition for cancers of the GI tract, including oral, esophageal, stomach, and colon cancers. And, there is further evidence for its effectiveness against breast and skin cancers.
~~M-J de Mesterton, August 2009
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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