M-J’s Gyoza Filling

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My gyoza (Japanese dumpling) fillings, which vary week-to-week according to what I have in the refrigerator and pantry, always include some fresh vegetables. This week’s mixture, pictured below, contains fresh carrots, raw celery, red onion, fresh ginger, dried parsley, mung beans boiled in green tea, cooked brown rice and a little miso. It’s a great way to disguise health-promoting ingredients that men and children usually won’t consume, even in one’s most cleverly-concocted smoothies.  My sauce for the gyoza dish is composed of orange juice, soy sauce and a little home-made red chile oil. A bowl of filling like this one is enough for a whole packet of 47 gyoza skins, and after they are cooked, these dumplings can be frozen and easily re-heated. ©M-J de Mesterton, January 19th, 2017

noritake_rosewood_antique_fried_gyoza_copyright_m-j_de_mesterton

Elegant Strawberry Desserts

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Strawberry desserts are simple. Just arrange washed and trimmed fresh berries on pound cake slices, shortcakes, or angel food cake, and decorate with whipped cream. According to the American Algonquin tribe, Strawberry season begins this year on Summer Solstice, which is always the longest day of the year–seventeen hours long, to be precise. This full moon coincides with strawberry season’s start in the Northern Hemisphere once every seventy years, which is why the June 20th, 2016 full moon is called “Strawberry Moon“. ©M-J de Mesterton 2016

Strawberry_Dessert_Elegant_Cook_©M-JdeMesterton2010

Making Sausage at Home

Merguez avec Brioche

M-J's Home-Made Brioche with Sausage

Why bother making your own sausage? Because you can choose the sort of casings and ingredients, ensuring that you won’t be ingesting something that makes you cringe. For example, I think the beef-collagen casings sound more appetising (if there is such a thing where sausage casings are concerned) than “natural” ones. Here is a SAUSAGE-LINK. The SausageMaker.com has everything one needs to make sausage at home, except the meat.

I received an email notice from Chefs.com this morning, which contained a plug for the Kitchenaid Mixer’s Breakfast Kit. It includes a sausage-making attachment, a juicing tool, and something to help one make salsa. I am intrigued by this, and it is now on my wish-list. If I ever acquire the breakfast tool kit, I shall review it here at Elegant Survival News.

©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Smoothie for Winter Health

Broccoli, Celery, Jalapeño, Parsley and Lemon are Blended with Buttermilk or Yoghurt to Make an Elegant Smoothie
This piquant green smoothie has properties that help to prevent colds, flu, 
water-retention and cancer.
 ©M-J de Mesterton

Huevos Rancheros, a Health-Promoting Breakfast

Huevos Rancheros-fried eggs and grated cheese on tortillas with red or green chile gravy on top–are a health-promoting breakfast or brunch dish for winter and fall. Placing refritos, or refried beans, under the eggs is optional. Use either flour or corn tortillas, with Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese. I like to sauté the tortillas in butter, grate cheese onto them, then fry the eggs, assemble the lot and pour on the chile gravy, finishing the top with more grated cheese. A good source for mail-order chile products from New Mexico is the New Mexican Connection, located in Albuquerque and on the web.

Versatile Buttermilk Biscuits

M-J's Buttermilk Biscuits and Cheese Biscuits (Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2009)

M-J's Buttermilk Biscuits and Cheese Biscuits (Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2009)

M-J’s Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe

Buttermilk is good for you. When in Scandinavia, we drink it at breakfast-time, as is customary.

If your grocer has stopped carrying buttermilk, insist that he stock it. Alternatively, you may use powdered buttermilk, which is found in the baking section of most food markets.

Why buttermilk? It is not only tasty, but acts as a leavener in pancakes and biscuits. It is said to be good for the gastrointestinal system, and for the skin. Granted, buttermilk is an acquired taste, not popular with many children. I didn’t care for the idea of it until I was an adult. But, if one likes the taste of yogurt, buttermilk ought to appeal.

When baking buttermilk biscuits according to my recipe, which is linked above, I sometimes fold the dough over some shredded Cheddar cheese. These cheese biscuits, shown in the foreground of my photo, are popular at drinks parties.

Italian Easter Pie: Torta di Pasqua

Happy Easter

Torta di Pasqua


Puff pastry or short-crust pie dough, sufficient to line and cover an 11-inch pie-plate (pie tin)

3 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 lbs. of ricotta cheese, well-strained to remove all liquid

1/2 lb. mild or hot Italian sausage, sliced and lightly fried in olive oil

8 to 10 slices of prosciutto ham, coarsely chopped

1/2 lb. of diced mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons of chopped or dried parsley

Freshly ground pepper, and salt, to taste

One egg-yolk mixed with one tablespoon of water

Prepare your pastry (see M-J’s Elegant Apple Pie recipe). Beat the eggs into the ricotta cheese, and add the rest of the ingredients. Roll out the pastry or pie dough, and line the pie-pan with one-half of it. Pour filling into the dough-lined pan, and lay the rest of your dough on top of it, sealing, trimming, and crimping the edges. Brush the top with the egg-yolk and water mixture.  You may also cut interesting shapes out of extra dough and apply them to the top of the pie. Make a few pretty slits in the top of the crust to create steam-vents, and bake in a moderately hot 350* oven for forty-five minutes to an hour, until the top of Easter Pie is golden. Serve Torta di Pasqua either warm or at room temperature. This recipe is adequate for 8 people.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton

M-J’s Green Beans with Almonds

M-J's Green Beans Amandine

M-J's Green Bean and Almond Sauté

In a large pan or wok, heat some peanut or red chile oil (M-J’s recipe is on the Elegant Survival.net Cuisine page). Empty a bag of frozen or fresh green beans into the hot oil. The thinner the beans, the better. Crush some roasted chile almonds (M-J’s recipe is on the Cuisine page at Elegant Survival.net) inside of a bag with a mallet or potato masher. Empty them into the pan with the green beans after they have begun to look a bit browned. Toss this together and sautée it for a while longer. Serve alongside chicken or beef, or as a high-protein, high-fiber meal if you don’t eat meat.

Rival Crock-Pots and Slow-Cooker Appliances Save Energy

Making my European meat sauce on a gas range or electric cook-top always made me wonder about the energy consumption involved. From now on, I am going to cook it in an electric slow-cooker. It will not only enhance the flavor of my sauce, but prevent it from scorching.

Today’s Crock-Pots, an invention by by Rival company, are very energy-efficient compared with  gas-fired ovens, electric cook-top, gas-stoves or toaster ovens, and even wood-stoves. These units, commonly called “slow-cookers”,  run on 100 watts of electricity. If used twice weekly, for eight hours at a time,  your slow-cooker will consume about forty cents’ worth of energy per month.

Slow-cooking is a way to make inexpensive cuts of meat tender, as in New England boiled beef or stews. There are plenty of recipes on the internet which call for the use of an electric slow-cooker, including ones which employ dry beans, an excellent source of low-cost protein and fiber. Rival has a great recipe for boeuf Bourguignon on its Crock-Pot web-site. Bon appétit!

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

M-J’s Elegant Apple Pie Recipe

Best Apple Pie Recipe, Apple Pie Recipe, Elegant Apple Pie

M-J’s Elegant Apple Pie

 

 

M-J’s Elegant Apple Pie Recipe

  • 4 cups of white flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 stick of salted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • ¾ cup of chilled lard (“manteca”)
  • 7 Fuji or Sonya apples–cored, peeled, and thinly sliced (reserve peels and cores)
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup light-brown sugar (or more, according to your taste)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup of cold water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 additional half stick of butter
  • An extra 2 tablespoons of sugar, either white or brown
  • One cup of water
  • DIRECTIONS
  • 1. Make the dough: put one stick of cold butter into a large mixing bowl, together with the 3/4 cup of chilled lard and a teaspoon of salt. Add flour gradually, working it into the butter and lard. Add approximately 3/4 cup of cold water, then cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms small pea-shaped balls, and when formed into a large mound, it holds together. Sometimes less cold water is required–believe it or not, the amount needed to make a pie dough with this recipe depends upon the moon.’s current phase. Mix this by hand, since machine will create a tough pie crust. I use an old-fashioned wire potato masher and a wooden spoon. When the dough sticks together but doesn’t stick to your hands, shape it into 2 balls, wrap each in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • 2. Put all of your apple peelings and cores into a saucepan on the stove with a cup of water and two tablespoons of sugar, and boil until the liquid becomes syrup. Strain liquid from solids and reserve it. The peelings can then be eaten or ground into applesauce–it’s important not to waste any edible part of your apples.
  • 3. Assemble the pie: heat your oven to 425°F. Roll out one ball of dough into a 12-inch round about 1/8-inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. Fit the dough into a 9 or10-inch pie pan. Place one layer of apple slices into the dough-lined pan. Cover them with two tablespoons of cornstarch and a quarter-cup of brown sugar. Repeat this process with apples, sugars and cinnamon. Distribute the half-stick of butter on top of the apples after slicing it into bits. Add your apple syrup over the top of the pie. Alternatively, I sometimes skip the step of creating syrup from my apple peelings, and just use some apple juice concentrate (found in grocery frozen juice section).
  • Roll out the second ball of dough for the top crust. Brush the edges of the bottom crust with water or milk, and lay the top crust down, pressing the edges together to form a tight seal. Use your imagination to pierce or slice a design into the top of the pie to allow steam to escape. Bake for ten minutes at 425*F, then lower your oven heat to 350* and bake for another hour. Let the apple pie cool for a minimum of two hours before serving.
  • Elegant Apple Pie Recipe Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2008