Thursday, 31 March 2011

Elegant Gourmet Fruit Smoothie

An elegant fruit smoothie always has a pleasant, inviting colour and flavours that blend together marvellously.
This one contains four strawberries, a few chunks of pineapple, and a small section of banana, all of which can be processed while frozen if necessary, with the addition of water and yoghurt.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Vegetable and Cactus Gardens

Ground-Cover Under Fruit Trees

Ground cover under fruit trees, beyond the mulching ring, can help to conserve water and regulate temperature, promoting the health of your deciduous food-producing investments.
Ideally, non-organic ground-cover would be used, since it does not compete with the tree for water and helps to maintain a healthy level of moisture in the dirt below it. Pebbles can look very elegant indeed, creating subtle plays of light that change throughout the day and evening, while protecting fallen fruit from pests.

Plant Sunflowers Now

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Elegant Hummus bi Tahini

Elegant Hummus bi Tahini Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2009 

Please see Elegant Bread for M-J's pita recipe. 
M-J’s elegant recipe for hommos bi tahini, hummus bi tahine, tahina or whichever way you prefer to spell chickpea and sesame dip: mash the chickpeas and add sesame paste, preferably a very liquid one with lots of natural oil in it, and squeeze into this mixture the juice of a lemon, add salt, red pepper and olive oil to your taste. Mix until almost smooth. Serve hummus bi tahini with warm pita bread, Moroccan olives, shawarma, and whatever else you have on your meze table. Hummus is a perfect dip for summer entertaining. And without the very inelegant addition of raw garlic, which no one will miss, this dip is more socially acceptable. The lemon component is very refreshing, the sesame paste is tasty, and the garbanzos (chick-peas) are light and airy. Combining these simple ingredients results in a magical dish that is very popular at parties.
©M-J de Mesterton

Late Georgian Style Tea Service

A classic silver tea set for the elegant gourmet, as seen in many films and in grand English houses: Mappin & Webb of Sheffield's Late Georgian Style.
Elegant Late Georgian Style Tea Service by Mappin & Webb of Sheffield, England

Elegant Smoothie

Green Vegetable Smoothie, an Elegant Gourmet Way to Start the Day

M-J's Elegant Green Vegetable Smoothie
Celery, cucumber, radishes, yellow hot peppers, lemon juice, and yoghurt or buttermilk blended together make a health-promoting morning tonic.
©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Gourmet Cucumber Salad

A simple salad with cucumbers as its main ingredient, with celery and feta cheese chunks, dressed in a plain vinaigrette with pimientos, is a beautiful component of an elegant summer luncheon.
-M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Gourmet Smoothie

One carrot, two yellow Cubanelle peppers, a quarter of a lemon, peel and pulp included; two celery stalks, five radishes, and a cup of buttermilk whirled together in a blender or food-processor make an elegant morning smoothie. This particular concoction is loaded with vitamins A and C. 

Elegant Smoothie

Choux Farcís, or Stuffed Cabbage L'Estaminet des Ramparts á Mougins

((Côte d'Azur) 

Choux Farcis 

Tempes de Cuisson: 2H I/2 

Marché pour 10 personnes: 

600 G d’epaule de veau 

600 KG de róti de boeuf 

1 KG de côtes désossées de porc 

4 ouefs entieres 

2 bonnes poignées de Gruyère rápá 

1 bonne poignée de riz long 

3 choux moyens de Milan (verts et frisés) 

80 G de buerre 

Oignons,Ail, Sauge, Bouquet Garni, Sel Poivre 

I cuillère á café de noix muscade 

Epluchez les choux en enlevant les feuilles trop vertes. Faites blancher 15 mn dans une eau bouillante et salée. 

Egouttez et laissez refroidir. Dans trios cocottes différentes, faites cuire á feu doux vaindes: le boeuf un peu plus que saignant (½ lr), le veau avec des oignons et le bouquet garni (I h), le porc avec ail et sauge (1 h ½). 

Vous pouvez faire cuire les viandes et les choux la veille. 

Mixez les trios viandes avec leurs jus. Ajoutez á ce mélange les ouefs entiers, le gruyère et le riz préalablement cuit durant 10 mn. 

Eventuellement, ajoutez de la noix de muscade. Choisissez deux belles feuilles, une vert et une blanche par exemple, et disposez-les de manière á y placer la farce, Rabattez pour obtenir une boule. Rangez les coux farcis dans un plat á four, en les serrant pour qu’ils ne s’ouvrent pas. Mettez une noix de buerre sur chaque pièce, un verre d’eau au fond du plat et recouvrez le tout. Laissez cuire pendant1 h ¼ (th.7). Au sortir du four, versez le coulis qui aura mijoté 10 mn. 

(Recette de Georgette, L’Estaminet des Ramparts á Mougins) 

Elegant People Avoid Raw Garlic Like Vampires

Anti-Garlic Chefs, Elegant People after My Own Heart

Truly elegant and considerate people DO NOT EAT RAW GARLIC, nor do they sabotage their friends by inserting it into their cuisine. I thought this was common knowledge, proper etiquette and behaviour comme il faut among civilised cooks and those who entertain in elegant fashion. But, I have seen a new website that claims to be "elegant gourmet" while dishing out recipes that contain as many as "six cloves of raw garlic." Heaven help the unwitting "gourmands" who end up reeking in the office or home for as long as a week after ingesting those poisonous concoctions.

In England, household staff are required to never ingest raw garlic or onions, in order to not offend those who live in or visit the home. Butlers especially are fired for such breaches in common, traditional etiquette. Why, then, is the culinary world bent on sabotaging our very lives with raw garlic in the most unlikely of dishes? Certainly, raw garlic is used by some classes of people in many European countries. Provence, for instance, where we have an 11th-century ruin, has among a certain faction of its population many adherents to the raw-garlic lifestyle. They keep to themselves, though, and don't really mix with the elegant stratum of society. Tourists are bidden to partake of the stuff in some traditional Provençale peasant cuisine, however, and they announce their presence by bearing that tell-tale aroma.

There is an increasing awareness, among chefs and those who employ them, of the trouble caused by the "stinking flower".  An anti-garlic movement has been in existence for a at least four years.  Notables such as actress Monica Bellucci have been outspoken in the cause. Here is a Sicilian chef/restaurant-owner whose anti-garlic stance has made the news:
Filippo La Mantia
©M-J de Mesterton

Chateau Lalinde

Lalinde lies on the border of the Black and the Purple zones of the Perigord region, in other words it is surrounded by oak forests and some of the most renowned vineyards in the world. It is also in the heart of the Dordogne valley, known for its thousand and one castles, medieval fortresses, its bastides, the prehistoric caves of Cro-magnon man and troglodytes, its honey coloured villages and markets, sunflowers, tobacco barns and maize fields, and friendly people! 
The limestone cliffs and gently rolling hills offer endless opportunities for the artist, the photographer, the hiker, the fisherman or the cyclist, and the foie gras and other duck specialties, the truffle and walnut products of the region make this a paradise for those who love to eat well.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Elegant Cheese Log with Wine

No wonder this glass of burgundy has a heart-shaped bit of candle-light on it!
My elegant cheese log, rolled in chopped almonds, is made from two shredded cheeses, butter, summer savoury, and 
Fromage à la Crème

Elegant Gourmet Baking Day

Baking day comes once a week at our house. If I have dough left, it goes into the freezer for baking later in the week.
©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Pizza Dough

M-J uses her recipe for fougasse to make an elegant, thin pizza crust.

Elegant Brioche Burgers

My elegant gourmet hamburgers are made with brioche buns for a soft and rich eating experience.
©M-J de Mesterton

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Elegant Vegetable Smoothie

Elegant Smoothie
M-J's Elegant Green Vegetable Smoothie
Celery, cucumber, radishes, yellow hot peppers, lemon juice, and yoghurt or buttermilk blended together make a health-promoting morning tonic.
©M-J de Mesterton

Plant Root-Crops Mar. 27th & 28th

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Health-Hazards Everywhere, Unless You Take Care

Finally, things that I have been phobic about for years are coming to the fore of health-reportage. Sure, I was ridiculed for being too careful and fastidious, but then I never got ill.

I have the habit of intercepting restaurant menús as soon as waiters attempt to lay them upon my silverware and/or plate, knowing that they are never sterilised between uses, even if they are made of plastic (they are invariably greasy and fingerprint-laden, and often have bits of someone else's food adhering to them). And if any portion of what's in front of me has been covered by the germ-carrying units a priori, asking for a clean place-setting. My long-standing quip about there being "food on the menú--wipe it off!" is borne out and amplified in this first example of germ-infested places.
©M-J de Mesterton 2011

Friday, 25 March 2011

Food-Storage Information Site: Still Tasty

Still Tasty
"The Ultimate Shelf-Life Guide"
Elegant Pantry

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Elegant Strawberry Dessert

Elegant Strawberry Dessert

M-J's Elegant Egg Dish

M-J's Pain Brioché, Made at Home for Toast and Croques Monsieurs

Grated Havarti waits on a toasted slice of M-J's home-made brioche. A fried egg will top this assemblage.
M-J's Elegant Brioche Egg Dish is Now Ready to Serve

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Dry-Climate Garden

Elegant Strawberrries and Cream

Angel Food Cake with Strawberries and Cream
Sam's Club is currently offering glorious, large strawberries for about $2.24 per pound, and what is more simply elegant than strawberries and home-whipped cream, served with angel food cake?

Late Georgian Style Tea Service

Late Georgian Style Tea Service by Mappin & Webb of Sheffield, England

Art Nouveau Style Silver Service

A silver service in the Art Nouveau style, created by Mappin & Webb; Sheffield, England

Cactus Collection

Monday, 21 March 2011

Elegant Radish and Cucumber Salad

Elegant Radish and Cucumber Salad, the Height of Simplicity in Two Complementary Colours
Elegant Radish and Cucumber Salad

I made this delicious radish and cucumber salad with a crinkle-cutter. I dressed it with a combination of white wine vinegar, oil, honey, Himalayan salt and ground green peppercorns. This salad benefits from an hour of marination in the aforementioned vinaigrette. Elegance is not found in dishes with too many ingredients, rather, an elegant entrée or salad is composed of as few ingredients as possible, prepared to their best advantage. The hackneyed pop-culture phrase "simple but elegant" holds no sway at Elegant Survival, because elegance  and simplicity are natural partners, just like these radishes and cucumbers.

©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Radish and Cucumber Salad

I made this delicious radish and cucumber salad with a crinkle-cutter. I dressed it with a combination of white wine vinegar, oil, honey, Himalayan salt and ground green peppercorn. This salad benefits from an hour of marination in the dressing.

Elegant Radish and Cucumber Salad

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Traditional Bridal Gown at Vogue Patterns

A few months ago, I wrote about wedding gowns, and how they now resemble swimsuits with trains. Here is an excellent example of the traditional, dignified bride's dress, from Vogue Patterns.

Traditional Bridal Gown at Vogue Patterns

A few months ago, I wrote about wedding gowns, and how they now resemble swimsuits with trains. Here is an excellent example of the traditional, dignified bride's dress, from Vogue Patterns.

Avoiding Microwave Popcorn is Easy

I've just read Prevention Magazine's list of "seven foods that should never pass your lips"--in other words, seven foods to avoid. Microwave popcorn, which contains chemicals that can damage your lungs, among other things, is on the list.

Elegant Survival  has found that the stirring popcorn makers make the best fluffy stuff. Here is what I posted a few months ago on the subject:

The stirring popcorn maker by West Bend, Stir Crazy, available at Target for $19.99, makes wonderfully fluffy popcorn every time. This model is superior to the analogous product made by Presto, which costs ten dollars more at Wal-Mart and has a very weak bowl and useless lid. This popper is much more well-made. Instead of popping the corn in vegetable oil, I use coconut oil for a more health-promoting snack, then sprinkle Himalayan salt on the fluffy,  fibre-rich stuff.
One of the better bagged raw popcorn brands is Wal-Mart's Great Value. I find that it is superior to that of Orville Redenbacher. Pop Secret is good too, though it tastes a little less corny.
©M-J de Mesterton

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Elegant New Baby Gift

The perfect gift for a new baby: Louis XIV engraved silver spoon by Reed & Barton.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Elegant Home-Made Brioche

With a Kitchenaid stand-mixer and the proper brioche pan, this one made in Europe from easy-release silicone, elegant gourmet brioches are made at home with ease.
©M-J de Mesterton 2011

Proper Brioche Texture

This is what brioche, the famous Viennese and French coffee bread, looks like inside when it is made properly.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Leave the Pill Supply for Those in Japan Who Really Need It!

Sources of potassium iodide pills in the U.S. have been depleted by reactionaries who unscientifically believe that they may need to fight residual radiation that, in their imaginations, could travel here from Japan. Meanwhile, there is serious need for them over there in that small, stricken country.

The very idea of radiation reaching them is ludicrous. And they probably would not have thought up this "threat" had the slight chance of tsunami on west coast shores last Friday not been suggested!

UPDATE, March 19th: Infinitesimal traces of radioactivity have entered southern California as of yesterday, but they are not substantial enough to warrant the ingestion of potassium iodide pills. Save your pills for a nuclear situation that is more close to home.

San Jose Mercury News: Very Low Risk of Nuke Contamination on West Coast

 "Japan's Nuclear Safety Agency has stored potassium iodide to distribute in case of high radiation exposure, and the U.S. Navy is giving it to military crews exposed to radiation as they help with relief efforts in Japan. But government and independent experts say that Americans have little to fear from any radiation released by the damaged Japanese nuclear plant.

"You just aren't going to have any radiological material that, by the time it traveled those large distances, could present any risk to the American public," said Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Greg Jazcko.
Other governments echoed that warning.
"We do not expect any health risk following the nuclear reactor releases in Japan, nor is the consumption of potassium iodide tablets a necessary precaution," British Columbia's health ministry told the public Tuesday."

Elegant Decorating: Larry Risko, New York Artist

Elegant Decorating: Larry Risko, New York Artist
By M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Gieves Dinner Suit, 42

Elegant French Curtains

Two spring rods and two accurately-measured panels with sewn pockets at the tops and bottoms make a lovely set of French curtains. This pair is constructed of a traditional utility-mesh material that lets cool air in from the window.
©M-J de Mesterton

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Planting Days Santa Fe

  • Seeds for plants with a long growing season should be started indoors during the periods shown below.
  • Seeds for plants sown in the ground should be planted during the periods shown.
  • When no dates appear in the chart, that starting method is not recommended for the particular vegetable.

Planting by the Moon?

Above-ground crops are planted during the light of the Moon (new to full); below-ground crops are planted during the dark of the Moon (from the day after it is full to the day before it is new again). Planting is done in the daytime; planting at night is optional!
This chart includes the most popular crops. For others, consult your local cooperative extension.
ZIP Code or City,State
50% probability of frost free after May 22 (at PECOS NATIONAL MONUMENT, NM climate station).
CropStart Seeds IndoorsMoon-favorable DatesStart Seeds in the GroundMoon-favorable Dates
BeansMay 22-Jun 5Jun 1- 5
BeetsMay 1-Jun 12May 1- 2
BroccoliMar 27-Apr 10Apr 3-10May 1- 8May 3- 8
Brussels sproutsMar 27-Apr 10Apr 3-10
CabbageMar 27-Apr 10Apr 3-10May 15-29May 15-17
CarrotsApr 17-May 1Apr 18-May 1
CauliflowerMar 27-Apr 10Apr 3-10May 15-29May 15-17
CeleryMar 27-Apr 10Apr 3-10
CornJun 5-12Jun 5-12
CucumbersApr 24-May 8May 3- 8May 29-Jun 5Jun 1- 5
LettuceApr 10-24Apr 10-17May 15-Jun 5May 15-17
MelonsApr 24-May 8May 3- 8Jun 5-12Jun 5-12
Onion setsApr 24-May 1Apr 24-May 1
ParsnipsMay 1-22May 1- 2
PeasApr 10-24Apr 10-17
PeppersMar 27-Apr 10Apr 3-10
Potato tubersMay 22-Jun 5May 22-31
PumpkinsApr 24-May 8May 3- 8May 29-Jun 5Jun 1- 5
RadishesMay 15-29May 18-29
SpinachApr 10-24Apr 10-17
Squash, summerApr 24-May 8May 3- 8May 29-Jun 5Jun 1- 5
Squash, winterApr 24-May 8May 3- 8May 29-Jun 5Jun 1- 5
TomatoesMar 27-Apr 10Apr 3-10