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Making Croutons

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A half-loaf of home-made sourdough bread was a couple days old, and tired of being stored in the fridge. I decided to make croutons with it for the week’s luncheon salads. I poured olive oil, spices, parsley and fresh rosemary into a Pop-It storage box (made with safe materials in Italy), then tossed the bread squares in and shook the thing with all my might to coat them well. With ambient heat from the oven while baking the croutons, a new loaf of bread was rising nearby. Sliced thinly, the croutons were ready after ten minutes in a 350° oven. Cooled croutons were poured into elegant jars to be used at table. And they won’t need to be stored for long; these croutons will quickly be poured out onto salads. @M-J de Mesterton

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M-J’s Gyoza

Gyoza, the Famous Japanese Dumpling

Forming Gyoza: Brown Rice, Mashed Adzuki Beans, Miso and Vegetables are Encased in Thin Dough

Making Gyoza at Home: My Recent Recipe Includes Minced Spinach, Carrots, Brown Rice, Mashed Adzuki  Beans, Toasted Sesame Oil, Miso and Gomashio Wrapped in Round, Thin Bits of Dough. Fry them on one side, add a half-cup of water, and cook covered for ten minutes.

©M-J de Mesterton

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Elegant Pantry

Elegant Pantry

Arrange pantry items in groups of similar containers for a well-organised appearance.

VISIT M-J de Mesterton’s ELEGANT PANTRY

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Elegant Pantry

The Elegantly-Arranged Kitchen Cupboard/Pantry

The contents of an elegant kitchen cupboard or pantry are arranged in groups of similar items such as spice bottles, salt-shakers, and jars of dried herbs. This pantry cupboard arrangement was achieved by recycling and using the most attractive jam jars, and purchasing cobalt glass-and-wire containers. There are also four Luminarc glasses with red lids for food-storage.
©M-J de Mesterton
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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.

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Poaching Chicken for Elegant Dishes

Poaching Chicken in Miso Broth
Poaching Chicken ©M-J de Mesterton

Add water and the flavouring of your choice to boneless chicken breasts. Simmer for forty minutes, cool and freeze for future use, or slice and use with sauce or gravy, perhaps made with the same poaching-liquid in which you cooked the chicken. I will return at the next opportunity with an original recipe or two, employing poached chicken breast meat. ~~M-J de Mesterton

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M-J’s Autumn Harvest Potato Salad

M-J’s Elegant Autumn Potato Salad

Like the potato salad that my Swedish grandmother used to make for me, this dish relies upon some bacon, vinegar, and an onion.
Peel, quarter and boil eight medium sized potatoes, or ten small ones. Salt the boiling water. Alternatively, add some Maggi or Knorr chicken bouillon powder.
Boil the potato chunks for fifteen minutes. Drain but do not rinse them.

In your cooking pot, sauté eight strips of bacon, finely chopped. Remove the bacon bits with a slotted spoon. and reserve in a small bowl or cup.
Empty out  half of the bacon fat from the pan. Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil (I use peanut oil) and two tablespoons of vinegar (I use malt vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar). If you have it, a tablespoon of concentrated apple juice can be added to this dressing mixture. You will adjust the vinegar and oil to your taste after the initial mixing of all ingredients.
Add the potatoes, one finely diced small onion (red, white or yellow), and one diced, unpeeled apple. Grind some pepper into the mixture for taste, and check for salt. Mix gently. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature for  best flavor.

~~Recipe and Photo of Autumn Potato Salad Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2008