Monday, 28 June 2010

Making an Elegant Sauce

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Sunday, 27 June 2010

Sauce Velouté for an Elegant Dinner Dish

M-J's Sauce Velouté Recipe
Save the broth from poaching chicken breasts as shown in a previous post, and make elegant sauce velouté, a classic French recipe. For this recipe, I would prefer the chicken poaching liquid to contain just salt, white wine, water, and a spoonful of lemon juice. To be continued....
 Make a roux with about two tablespoons each of butter and flour. Stir it until light tan and bubbly.
Add about two cups of chicken broth or poaching liquid, stirring it in quickly.

Cook the ingredients until smooth.
When the sauce is very thick, slowly add a half-cup of cream and incorporate it well, cooking on low heat for another minute. I like to use bamboo tools, because they do not scratch my cookware.

Store your sauce velouté in a jar, and refrigerate or freeze until needed. Thaw the sauce slowly in a covered pan or pot, and add some white wine or champagne to taste. Cream may also be stirred-in until the sauce is at the consistency that you prefer. Dress your chicken in this elegant French sauce velouté. It is very good to have at hand for impromptu gatherings, together with some poached and sliced chicken breasts. These two ingredients guarantee you a quickly-prepared, elegant dinner party offering.
©M-J de Mesterton 2010

State-of-the-Art Personal Air Cleaner

For personal use around one's neck , this is a breathing-safety device.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Rare Barbour Ventile Jacket

Rare Barbour Ventile Jacket, Made with the Elegant Survival Material
from Our Reliable Friend in Yorkshire
Click image to see larger picture

Tag Safari: Helping Africa through Trade, Not Aid

Lilly Pulitzer Summer Shirt-Dress at Christabelle's Closet

Elegant Jacket by Vogue

Vintage Vogue offers this elegant shawl-necked swing-coat pattern, an ever-relevant addition to your wardrobe. Wear this chic car-coat with a pencil-skirt or tall trousers.

Elegant Bread

See for M-J's bread recipes.

Elegant Vegetables

Dry-Climate Garden

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Planting Advice for June 24th

June 24th, 2010 is an excellent day for planting fall lettuce, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, and other leafy vegetables. All above-ground crops planted today will grow well.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Elegant Tahini Sauce

M-J's Simple Recipe for Elegant Tahini Sauce
Sesame paste mixed with lemon juice, water, salt and the merest hint of garlic powder makes an elegant tahini dip or sauce for mezedes, or pre-prandial appetisers.

Use this elegant and simple tahini sauce as a dip for flat-breads, steamed cauliflower, celery, other fresh vegetables, and fried potatoes. Optionally, you may drizzle olive oil over the tahini.
People find tahini sauce very pleasing in the summer months, and it is economical to make, since the sesame paste expands greatly when mixed with water and lemon juice.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Tomatoes, a Gift to the World from the West 
The savoury fruit once known as the "Love Apple" was long ago considered poison by some Europeans, and initially regarded with much scepticism. The wider world now knows these delicious, juicy orbs as "tomatoes."

Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. They also contain plenty of phytochemicals that inhibit the development of certain degenerative diseases. Tomatoes are high in the strong antioxidant lycopene, and some phenolic compounds. In the average western diet, 95% of lycopene intake comes from tomatoes and tomato products. It is also found in watermelon, rose-hips, red grapefruit, and papayas.

Lycopene is the carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red tint. It appears that lycopene can reduce one's susceptibility to certain cancers, the eye disorder known as age-related macular degeneration, atherosclerosis, and mitigate skin-damage from over-exposure to the sun.

Men who eat two or more servings of tomato products experience an average of 35 percent-less incidence of prostate cancer.

According to research done by the University of Illinois at Chicago, lycopene helps women to prevent the development of cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN), a tumorous tissue-growth in the cervix. Lycopene is a powerful inhibitor of the growth of breast, endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) and lung-cancer cells.

Some nutrients are, unfortunately, cooked away from other vegetables, but lycopene is better absorbed by the body when the tomatoes in which it is inherent are cooked with oil, as in a tomato sauce or paste. This is good news for those who like Italian and Mexican cooking, as well as for adherents of what is known as the Mediterranean diet. The cooking helps to break down the cell walls of the tomato releasing the lycopene and the oil helps to increase its absorption.

Japanese scientists have determined that mixing tomato juice into the drinking water of mice prevented them suffering the sort of emphysema that is brought on by the inhalation of tobacco-smoke.

Tomatoes contain lutein. Lutein is found in the retinas of our eyes, thus its ingestion promotes good vision. This substance also is believed by scientists to lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, two negative eye-conditions. Lutein may also help to prevent atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis contributes to cardiovascular disease.

Tomatoes and tomato-products are known to be effective in arresting aggressive, metastasizing cancers.

Tomatoes are believed to have originated in Peru, and were introduced into Europe in the 16th century. The genus tomato's Latin name is Solanum Lycopersicum.

There are so many health-benefits from tomatoes, and such a variety of pleasant ways to ingest this colourful plant, that they are truly a gift from the western hemisphere to the rest of the world.

©M-J de Mesterton 2010

M-J's Elegant Tart Made with Two Apples

All you need to make a tart like this  is a reliable tart pan with a removable bottom (about ten USD at Target, for example), a good crust recipe (see Elegant Cook), some reduced apple sauce or juice concentrate if you have it, for added flavor, two apples, a little butter and sugar.

Fruit is very expensive nowadays, and if you cannot go to the market frequently, it is unlikely that you will have plenty of apples with which to make a traditional pie. Food prices are going to skyrocket, since the delivery of vegetables, fruits, and packaged goods depend upon oil and gas--two commodities that America is rich in, but our leaders are damning more by the day--to the extreme detriment of all itscitizens. We are all for alternative fuel sources, but there are none right now that don't use disproportionate amounts of water and corn to produce. Plants that produce food and goods also need energy to run. France depends upon its own nuclear energy for 80% of its power. Very few Francophiles in the United States, most of whom excoriate oil and gas, coal and nuclear energy, are aware of that fact, ironically. America's university chemical engineering departments have developed clean coal-producing plants, in order to run electrical grids with minimum pollution. Yet, people with nothing better to do spend big bucks putting huge adverts in the papers and on television repeating the howler that there's "no such thing as clean coal", not having bothered to inform themselves. Self-proclaimed "environmentalists" will not tolerate wind-farms within sight of their precious properties. And they think it's better to drill for the oil they require in someone else's backyard, in order to run their private jets and other gas-guzzling, luxurious transports. Meanwhile, America's economy is under assault from over-regulation by those without an understanding of business, trade, finance, and what it takes to run commerce or even a household. Fasten your seat-belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride downhill without any fuel...and learn to make an economical pie, because you still have to try and enjoy life!
©M-J de Mesterton 2010

Gardening with Little Water: "Xeriscaping" (Trademark of Denver Water)

Many people in the broadcasting and gardening industries mispronounce this neologism as "zeroscaping."
In Greek, "xeri" means "dry."
My own example of "xeriscaping" appears above in the photograph. Rocks collected from the surrounding area enhance the early spring plants.
©M-J de Mesterton 2010

Make or Buy a Utility Mesh Laundry Sack for the Bug-Out Bag

What better way to wash your clothes in a stream than secured in a mesh bag?! Nobody wants that scenario, but you never know. It's good to follow the Boy Scout Motto, and Be Prepared.
Polyester utility mesh fabric is available at Jo-Ann for $2.99 per yard (48 inches wide), and sometimes you can find mesh laundry bags on e-bay.

I prefer to make my own mesh bag, with a heavy-duty drawstring that will hold up while holding my clothes in rough water.

The utility mesh drawstring bag can be used for sifting compost over your garden--it will keep the rich dirt rock-free.

Utility mesh is also good for making curtains that admit fresh air into your rooms, while providing cover (see Elegant French Curtains).

Utility Mesh by the Yard at Jo-Ann Fabric

Copyright ©M-J de Mesterton 2010

Gardening with Rocks

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Friday, 18 June 2010


I use these wavy-bladed crinkle-cutters for making summer hors d'oeuvres with cucumbers.

Feast in the Field

From my friends at Wilderness Survival: 
Edible and Medicinal Plants

Elegant Pouches

Live the Elegant “Pouch” Lifestyle…

…with beautiful pouches in various materials. Organize and protect your silver, jewels, brushes and watches; make sachets; present little party-favours in pretty little fabric bags. Go “green” with canvas or burlap pouches, or go for the glitz and glamour of organza. Use fabric pouches to store your lingerie for travel.
Elegant Canvas Pouches by PouchMart of CaliforniaThere are so many potential uses for pouches that I shall just give you the link to PouchMart in California, and you can dream up your own uses for them. The prices are fantastic for all the elegant drawstring pouches they offer, both plain and fancy. Buy them in multiples of ten or twelve, for about a dollar or less apiece. Have fun putting your stuff in pouches!
©M-J de Mesterton 2010

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Organic Fertilizers

Link to a Site about Organic Fertilizers

Refreshing Green Vegetable Smoothie

Lettuce, Spinach, Parsley, Celery, Lemon and Cucumber Blended with Buttermilk:
 a Health-Promoting Breakfast Drink
©M-J de Mesterton 2010

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Caring for Your Shirts

Washing and Drying Your Shirts by Hand Promotes Their Longevity

A well-made shirt can cost $500.00 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 clothespins. 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 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 fibers 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 if necessary, 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.) Bleach is to be used only after stain-removal steps like soaking in Zote soap or Octagon (shirtmaker Alexander Kabbaz recommends Octagon for hand-washing his works of art) have been attempted without success. Always use as little bleach as possible, diluted before adding to wash-water, and only on white shirts. Bleach has a corrosive effect on your shirt’s fibers. The sun will do some natural bleaching of white cotton. Save costly energy and prolong the life of 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

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

M-J Says: Protect Your Clothing from Moths and Other Insects in Summer

Make sure your clothes are completely clean before putting them away for the summer. Moths, beetles and silverfish are attracted to food particles, stains, body oils and perspiration left to sit in the cloth or fabric.

 Don't wash your clothes with fabric-softeners, or put them away with starch in them if silverfish are a threat, because these elements will lure them.

Cedar blocks, cedar oil, and lavender sachets may repel moths. Sew some lavender into cotton envelopes or fill burlap pouches with it, and set them in your closets or drawers. Add a few drops of lavender oil to the inside when your sachets need freshening. Cedar chips may be bought in little fabric bags, and you can amplify their efficacy by  sprinkling them with cedar oil. Cedar and lavender are pleasing to humans, and not-so-attractive to wool-hungry insects, which will also eat silk.

No one likes the scent of old-fashioned moth balls. They only belong on moths!

To kill any larvae present in your wool clothes and sweaters, put the clothing in plastic bags and freeze them for twenty-four hours before storage. Remove, drying off the bag with a towel. You may choose to keep the clothing in these plastic bags. Then, put the items in your cedar closet or in an airtight storage bin. Now, say "Toodles" to moths and other clothing-munchers for the season, as they find oodles of good eating elsewhere.

Copyright M-J de Mesterton ©2010

Bar-S Bacon, the Old West's Best

Bar-S Bacon is the best that I have found in the U.S. When I was a child in the far west, we ate Cudahy Bar-S brand, which morphed into Cudahy and then became the Bar-S that we know today.
Sure, Neuske's is supposed to be the very finest bacon, but it is not only expensive but difficult to find. Bar-S seems to be available in all fifty states!

Seiko Le Grand Sport

Seiko, the Elegant Survival Watch

Friday, 11 June 2010

Aigle of France

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Now Is the Time to Put Your Clothes On-Line

This Umbrella-Style Clothesline Is Available at The Home Depot (about 39 USD) and the Vermont Country Store (about 79 USD)

Reality Check

Michael Stollaire, Congressional Candidate for the North Hollywood District (28th) of California, Explains the Status Quo in America, How We Got Here, and What Can Be Done about It

The Health-Benefits of Cauliflower

Cancer-Inhibiting Compounds Abound in Cruciferous Vegetables, Including Cauliflower

11 Jun
Article about Cauliflower on George Mateljan’s "World’s Healthiest Foods" Page

Serve steamed cauliflower with tahini sauce for a delicious, health-promoting snack, cocktail offering, or as an elegant vegetable dish.~~M-J

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Window with Elegant French Curtains

For an elegant window-treatment known as French curtains, all you need is two spring-rods, a sewing machine (though you can easily sew the upper and lower casings without one), thread and fabric. 

M-J's Original Recipe: Elegant Pink Lemonade Chicken

M-J’s Pink Lemonade Chicken

25 Feb 2008
M-J’s Pink Lemonade Chicken
I invented this dish for a dinner party guest, French teacher Laurie, who was pregnant with twins. She loved it. Other guests did as well, so I have made my Pink Lemonade Chicken for many buffet dinners. Now, I am inspired by my dear nieces and nephews who are expecting babies soon, so I am publishing this recipe for the first time. The ingredients are simple and few, and you may adjust the amounts according to taste.

Four-to-six pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
One 16-ounce can of frozen pink lemonade
One tablespoon of cornstarch
Salt or celery salt to-taste
Water, two or three cups
Poach chicken breasts in a mixture composed of  2/3 of a 16-ounce frozen pink lemonade juice and two or three cups of water.
When it is thawed, the pink lemonade turns to thick syrup. One large can will be sufficient for four-to-six pounds of chicken. Reserve a third of the can for a final sauce.
Cover the boneless, skinless chicken breasts and simmer slowly in the pink lemonade for an hour or more. You may add salt or celery salt, but remember, this dish is created for those with delicate stomachs, so please don’t add garlic or onion flavorings. The liquid will reduce and the whole pieces of chicken should become lightly browned. Remove from heat and place on top of two sheets of waxed paper to protect your cutting board.  When the chicken breasts are cool, slice them into medallions with a very sharp knife. The liquid left-over in the poaching pan will be used to make a sauce.
Sauce for Pink Lemonade Chicken
Into the pan, pour 3/4 cup of water and a teaspoon of cornstarch, which has been mixed with a tablespoon of water. Add the 1/3 can of remaining pink lemonade syrup. Cook till it becomes a sauce. Pour some of it on the base of your serving dish. Arrange the slices of chicken in a circular fashion. When you have finished arranging the chicken slices, drizzle the rest of the pink lemonade sauce over them.
Recipe Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2000

Josephine Baker, Pioneering Entertainer

As an American in Paris...Josephine Baker made it her life's mission to be able to return to a United States that was racially unsegregated.
Here is her official website; it has been over a hundred years since the humble birth of Josephine Baker, trailblazing singer, dancer, and activist. Here is an excerpt from her official website:
Josephine served France during World War II in several ways. She performed for the troops, and was an honorable correspondent for the French Resistance (undercover work included smuggling secret messages written on her music sheets) and a sub-lieutenant in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. She was later awarded the Medal of the Resistance with Rosette and named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French government for hard work and dedication.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Poaching Chicken

Add water and the flavouring of your choice to boneless chicken breasts. Here I have used miso and a little Maggi chicken and tomato bouillon powder. Simmer for forty minutes, cool and  freeze for future use, or slice and use with sauce or gravy. I will return at the next opportunity with an original recipe or two, employing poached chicken breast meat.
~~M-J de Mesterton