Elegant Eggs, Elegant Living

Elegant, Easy Egg Dish: Rolled Omelette



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For rolled omelettes that are more fluffy, like the one pictured here, blend one tablespoon of self-rising flour and a quarter-cup of milk into three beaten eggs.
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M-J’s Fluffy Rolled Omelette

Above: Plain and Fluffy Rolled OmelettesJapanese_Rolled_Omelette_Stainless_Spatula_Le_Creuset_Pan

For a rolled omelette with fillings, spread a thin layer of beaten egg onto a greased, hot skillet. Place cheese or chopped vegetables on the egg layer, then push it into a roll with a spatula, then keep it on the side of your pan. Pour egg mixture into the pan to create another thin layer, top it or leave it plain, then roll the first egg-roll into it with your spatula. After two-to-four layers have been rolled together, tip the omelette onto a plate. If desired, place a paper towel on a sushi-mat and lay your rolled omelette on top of it, then do the traditional sushi-rolling procedure to form a tighter roll than the one pictured here.  My fillings for this rolled omelette are crumbled feta cheese, finely-chopped red onion, and dried parsley.

©M-J de Mesterton 2018

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Japanese rolled omelettes (tamogayaki) are eaten at room-temperature, and using a sushi mat to tighten the layers is traditional, making them very attractive. If you like the omelettes very warm, however, and want to keep washing-up to a minimum, just leave the layers natural.

Japanese Rolled Omelette: Making Tamogayaki

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Re-Purposing Commercial Containers

Painter M-J de Mesterton
I usually fill these gallon-jugs with emergency water and store them out of sight.  This time, I decided to use one for watering potted plants.  I am going to keep it filled and ready, maybe adding a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Most commercial labels are unattractive, and are misleading when their respective containers are empty. Soaking labels off huge bottles requires lots of hot water, time, solvent and elbow grease, so I grabbed a hefty black  permanent marker, then yellow and red “Sharpie” pens, which I used to loosely disguise the original label by drawing on it “freehand”. ©M-J de Mesterton 2018

Making Mini Salt Shakers
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Re-purposing another commercial container: a tiny jam jar was converted into a mini-salt shaker and filled with Himalayan salt. I used a sharp-pointed pair of scissors and lightly pounded it with a meat mallet to poke holes in the lid. I also put three little holes in the screw-top of a nicely-shaped Herdez green salsa jar, then filled it with my seasoning blend for use while cooking. ©M-J de Mesterton 2018

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From the Clothes Line: Elegant Survival of Your Clothing

Summer Clothing Survival

Drying Clothes Naturally

Clothes and Towels Sunbathing on the Clothesline

Washing and Drying Your Shirts

A well-made shirt can cost $100.00 or more. That is an investment to protect. Your shirts will last much longer if they are washed by hand and hung to dry. Don’t use so much detergent that it takes a rinsing marathon to remove it. “A little dab’ll do ya”, as the old Brylcreem jingle said. Ideally, one would hang shirts on a clothesline, upside down, with clothes-pins or pegs. This keeps pinch-marks off the important areas of your shirts. The sun will dry them in no time. Alternatively, one could hang them indoors, perhaps out-of-sight behind the the shower curtain, on hangers. A sturdy spring-rod, placed inside the shower area for the purpose of hanging clothes to dry will not interfere with your existing shower-rod. If you don’t want to get hanger-marks on the shoulders, just put wash-cloths under them, over the ends of your hanger. The worst thing to do, even if you wash your shirts in cold water in the gentle cycle, is to dry them in a machine–doing so will quickly degrade your shirt, which will die an angry death before its time. My husband and I have shirts from France and England that are more than twenty years old, and in perfect condition.

An electric, energy-consuming dryer is an enemy to high-quality clothing. In fact, dryers shrink clothes and wear them out quickly; lint is composed of fibres that a machine robs from your clothes. You’d be surprised at how swiftly shirts dry naturally, and when they are just a wee bit damp, they’re easy to iron. In cases of stubborn collar and cuff soil, when hand-scrubbing fails, you can still wash your white shirts in hot water, soap, and a little bleach, as long as they are rinsed well, and then hung to dry. (Bleach alternative may be a better choice, if you can get it to work on stubborn stains. I sometimes use hydrogen peroxide and/or vinegar.) The sun will do some natural bleaching of white cotton. Save costly energy and your shirts by hand-washing and sun-drying them.

Giving your precious shirts to a dry-cleaner or other laundry service is wasteful. They crush buttons and machine-dry the poor things. Do clothes hanging on a line outdoors conjure up bad images for you? Too bad, because it is one of life’s simple luxuries to be able to dry a beautiful, well-made shirt in the sun–some of the best people do it. Believe me, it’s not remotely infradig to care for your own shirts. After all, who cares for them more than you do?
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, May 2008-2012

Elegant Survival

Clothes-Line_Copyright_M-J_de_Mesterton_2007The 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 fibre-loss and shrinkage. Some electric dryers even tear holes in clothes. Hand-washing and line-drying your shirts and other washable garments will extend their lives. I use Zote soap and a microfibre 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 natural clothes-drying; a five-dollar investment in a clothesline from a supermarket, and a packet of wooden clothespins for about three dollars will do, and you can be line-drying in a jiffy. Having a couple of trees to hold your clothesline at each…

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Elegant Breakfast Dish: Pink Grapefuit

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Grapefruit is part of a healthy, elegant breakfast. Peeled and cut into sections, then drizzled with a bit of honey and a few grains of sugar, this exquisite pink grapefruit is ready to eat in an antique Japanese export bowl  (which I acquired in 2004, and has disappeared–that’s all right; my main collection is Baron Morimura’s Noritake).

Grapefruit has a reputation of breaking-down fats, so it is advisable to eat it in conjunction with your favourite bacon-rich breakfast. By the way, in our house, Real Men do eat quiche, an entrée that would be beautifully complemented by grapefruit. ©M-J de Mesterton

  Visit Elegant Cook for M-J’s Quiche Lorraine Recipe
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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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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

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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