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

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The Elegant, Nutritious Parsnip

Parsnip_Seed-Packet

Parsnips are rich in potassium, vitamin C, folate, and soluble fiber. They grow underground, and belong to the same vegetable family as celery, carrots and parsley.

Parsnips are delicious when cooked in beef stew, or baked as an accompaniment to roast beef. Adding a boiled parsnip when making mashed potatoes will lend pleasant, interesting flavour to that classic dish. The parsnip is a versatile root vegetable which can be used for soup, grated into salad or braised with potatoes, celeriac and carrots, or julienned and deep-fried as chips.
©M-J de Mesterton 2016

Swedish Meatballs, an Elegant Austerity Dish

Elegant Swedish Meatballs and Potatoes 

An elegant way to stretch your meat budget in these austere times is to make Swedish or Scandinavian-style meatballs. Each household cook has his or her recipe, but the basics are ground meat such as beef, veal and/or pork mixed with bread crumbs or bits of bread (I use bits of brioche pulled out from my brioche hamburger buns, which have been reserved in a freezer-bag), an egg and some cream or milk.  Finely-minced onion is optional. Spices include nutmeg and/or allspice, salt and optional white pepper. Onion powder can take the place of minced onion, or that flavour may be omitted altogether. Meat mixtures are shaped into small balls and rolled in flour, then fried in butter. A pan-gravy is made while the finished meatballs rest in a warm oven until serving time. I prefer to use ground beef, brioche bits, sour cream, minced onions or onion-powder, nutmeg, salt and white or green ground pepper.
©M-J de Mesterton 2011

Serve Swedish meatballs with new potatoes and perhaps a little lingonberry or cranberry sauce on the side.
This Danish baking-dish has the traditional cream gravy at its bottom, topped with the meatballs (this type of meatball recipe is found in Swedish, Danish and Finnish cookbooks).
Very small new potatoes are usually just boiled in salted water, and not cut into pieces.
These Yukon Gold new potatoes have been cut and boiled, then sautéed in butter and smashed lightly.
©M-J de Mesterton 2011

Elegant, Nutritious Sweet Potatoes and Yams

Sweet Potatoes and Yams

Posted on January 20, 2012 at 7:45 PM

 

Our friends at Paleo Works in Yorkshire have written a wonderful essay about a dietary marvel known as the sweet potato, which includes delightful preparation and serving suggestions. Read it HERE, and while on their page, you can read about the sensible, successful Paleo Diet. Below, please find a recipe for a health-promoting salad that I devised using yams and red cabbage or  beets. The Okinawan people of Japan have for centuries relied upon yams as a central component of their diet, and attribute their traditional great longevity to the tasty tubers.

A refreshing way to eat health-promoting vegetables, this elegant cabbage and yam salad is also a nice thing to serve your friends: red cabbage is sliced as thinly as possible, and marinated for several hours in the vinaigrette of your choice, then mixed with yams that have been cut into match-sticks and cooked in water with a bit of honey until slightly soft. The red cabbage may be substituted with beets cut into match-stick shapes and cooked until just soft, then marinated in vinaigrette.
Recipe and Photo©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Health Salad

Elegant Vegetable Salad for Good Health

Cucumbers, celery and red onions all chopped finely and dressed with vinegar and olive oil comprise a health-promoting salad. This elegant vegetable dish is refreshing in summer, and can help to prevent colds in winter. Vinegar helps to adjust your body’s alkalinity to the desired level, and olive oil is beneficial to the heart, reduces corporeal inflammation, and is now commonly known as an anti-cancer food.

©M-J de Mesterton

It’s Time to Strengthen Your Health with Yams and Sweet Potatoes

Yams and Sweet Potatoes Baked or Added to Fall and Winter Dishes Will Enhance Your Health

The Elegant Yam: a Versatile, Health-Promoting Root-Vegetable

Eating yams or sweet potatoes every day is believed to be one of the reasons the people of Okinawa, Japan, have the longest average life expectancy in the world.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the yam is “neutral” in nature–somewhere between yin and yang. Its properties can help to tranquilise the mind, preserve youthful skin, nourish the spleen, stomach, kidneys, aid in digestion, and contribute to a feeling of fullness, something that can aid both dieters and poor people.

Yams contain vitamin B6, which can soothe the mind as well as boost immunity. Rich in linoleic acid and fibre, yams not only help to alleviate constipation, but can also reduce cholesterol build-up blood vessels, a process which helps prevent arteriosclerosis and thrombosis.

The yam is rich in protein, vitamins A , E and C, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Although its vitamin B1 and B2 content is six and three times higher than that of rice respectively, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of yams produce only 99 calories, a one-third the amount that rice contains. Because yams are alkaline foods, they can help decrease body fat. Acid foods lead to fat-storage in the human body. Yams and sweet potatoes also contain lycopene, which is believed to help prevent prostate cancer. A hormone-like, anti-inflammatory compound called dioscin exists in both yams and sweet potatoes, as well as vitamin C and carotenoids.

Sweet potatoes and yams have the same qualities, even though they are from different families, so substituting the root-vegetable known as sweet potato for yams is perfectly acceptable and will yield the same health-results when eaten. If the yam or sweet potato is too sweet for your liking, there are several ways to incorporate them into your diet that will make them seem less so. For example, a well-scrubbed yam may be chopped into matchsticks or slivers, fibrous skin and all, and added to a stir-fry. Adding soy sauce to sweet potatoes and yams will give them a more balanced taste. Soaking them in Himalayan salt solution will also do wonders for the flavour of sweet potatoes and yams.
Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2010

The Health-Benefits of Red or Purple Cabbage

Health-Benefits of Red Cabbage
The Elegant Purple Cabbage is Brilliant in a Fresh Salad

The deep colour of red or purple cabbage is caused by a high concentration of anthocyanin polyphenols, giving it significantly more phytonutrients than green cabbage. Anthocyanin pigments are strong dietary antioxidants, and possess anti-inflammatory properties, meaning that they can play a role in protecting the human body from cancer and other degenerative diseases.

100 grams (about 3 ounces) of raw purple cabbage can contain as much as  196.5 milligrams of polyphenols, of which 28.3 milligrams are anthocyanins (deep red, blue and purple pigments found in plants). Green cabbage contains a comparatively low 45 milligrams of polyphenols, which include less than one milligram of anthocyanins. The “vitamin C equivalent,” which represents the antioxidant quotient of red or purple cabbage, is roughly eight times higher than that of green cabbage. Red cabbage is one of the most nutritious and potentially best-tasting vegetables on planet Earth. Shredded thinly and marinated in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, eating red cabbage is a powerful health-tonic. In my photograph of a purple cabbage salad, I have added yellow pear tomatoes and feta cheese to it for a colourful and nutritious dish.

Easy to grow, red or purple cabbage will continue to thrive until the garden has suffered many deep-frost nights.

©M-J de Mesterton

Red Cabbage Growing in the Kitchen Garden
Purple Cabbage in the Late-Autumn Garden
Raw Red Cabbage
Purple Cabbage, Grown at Home, by M-J de Mesterton

Summer Squash, from Garden to Table

Fried Summer Squash, from the Home-Garden Harvest
Fried Summer Squash
Liquid: Two beaten eggs, 1/4 cup of buttermilk, cayenne pepper, paprika, to taste
Dredging Ingredients: One cup of white flour
One half-cup of corn meal or masa harina
One tablespoon of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
Slice summer squash into discs. Dip these into the liquid. Dredge in flour mixture. Fry in vegetable, olive, corn or coconut oil. Remove with slotted spoon or tongs. Drain on paper towels.
©M-J de Mesterton 2010
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Elegant Yellow Summer Squash, Fried in Health-Promoting Coconut Oil
This summer squash was grown in my garden, where vegetables grow without pesticides or chemicals of any sort, and with the aid of some compost that I created from vegetal kitchen scraps over several months.~~M-J

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