The Elegant Cook

M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Cook Notes

Spaetzle-Chicken Soup

Posted on December 28, 2015 at 2:40 PM

I chopped some red onion, celery and carrots, and sautéed them in olive oil. I added the other usual ingredients: chicken bits and a lot of bouillon, then a few cups of homemade spätzle that I had stored in the freezer. I created more flavour with red peppercorns and dried parsley. Similar soups appear on the web. This is my own version of chicken soup with dumplings--tiny ones called spätzle that are nutritious and slightly al dente. My mother, Lorraine, introduced me to this nutritious pasta named after sparrows. It is traditional fare in Alsace-Lorraine, Switzerland and Bavaria. There are many delicious ways to serve this economical ingredient, including with haricots verts and bacon, with walnut pesto, and with cinnamon, nutmeg and butter. Click Here to Read M-J's Main Website, Elegant Survival

Low-Carb Green Chile Cheeseburgers

Posted on August 16, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Gallo Dry Salame

Posted on February 9, 2014 at 12:50 PM

America's best dry salame has been made in San Lorenzo, California, near San Francisco, by the Gallo company, since 1910. This Italian-style sausage is perfect with red wine, French bread and cheese.

Saint Albray cheese, a perfect complement to dry salame, French bread and red wine. It slices beautifully and is mild and moist, but still retains its body despite its creamy nature. Saint Albray's enduring success comes from its distinctive taste. As a young soft ripened cheese, St. Albray resembles a rich and mellow Camembert, but with a less intense flavor. Within its mysterious aging process, St. Albray develops the hearty, robust flavor of a traditional washed-rind cheese. Its ivory center contrasts well with its colorful rind. Serve Saint Albray with a Pinot Noir or other red wine such as Chianti.

Elegant Taco Salad

Posted on August 14, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Low-Carb Dessert

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 10:55 AM

My latest low-carb dessert consists of egg whites, Splenda, vanilla and cream.

©Jeanne "M-J" de Mesterton

Elegant Cheeses of Ireland

Posted on April 11, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Ballyshannon is a flavourful Cheddar style cheese that is soft and properly crumbly at room-temperature.
Dubliner, also made in Ireland by Kerrygold, is a rich, mild and clean-tasting cow's milk cheese.
©Jeanne "M-J" de Mesterton, 2012


Irish Cheese Roundup


Ardrahan- From Kanturk in County Cork, this farm makes semi soft cow’s milk cheese in plain and oak-smoked versions.

Ardsallagh Goat’s cheese- From Carrigtwohill, near Cork city, this family run cheese-producer specialises in goat’s cheese (soft and hard) and yoghurt made with milk from their own goat herd. Ardrahan also sell their goat’s milk.

Bandon Vale- Also from Cork, this is a commercial cheese-producer making a range that includes Vintage (a mature and nutty cheese), Murragh (Irish Cheddar) and Glandór (mellow Red Leicester).

Baylough– A hard-pressed and waxed, aged cheese made with milk from a herd of  Friesians and Red &White Dutch cows. They make oak-smoked and plain flavours as well as a version which contains garlic.

Beal Organic Cheese- The organic dairy farm of Beal Lodge is located in County Kerry produces organic "farmhouse"cheese and yoghurt. It is one of about 25 Irish organic dairies. Beal Lodge hosts a pedigreed herd of Holstein cows, which produce Wensleydale-style Beal cheese and a cheddar-style cheese.

Bellingham Blue- A soft blue cheese made with raw cow’s milk at the Glyde Farm in Castlebellingham, County Louth, Ireland.

Blarney- Made by Kerrygold, Ireland’s most famous butter producer, Blarney cheese (named after the famous Castle in County Cork) is a mild, semi-hard cheese made from cows' milk, which resembles Gouda. Kerrygold also makes Ballyshannon and Dublin cheeses.

Blue Rathgore- "Vegetarian" blue cheese made from goat’s milk in County Antrim of Northern Ireland (home of Dunluce castle and the spectacular Giant´s Causeway).

Boilies- Small, fresh cheese-curds which are  hand- rolled and come in glass jars, where they are combined with oil and herbs. They can be used in cheese-salads or spread on wafers and breads. Boilies are produced at  Ryefield Farm in Cavan.

Burren Gold- This cheese is made in the Burren region of County Clare. Friesean cows graze on wild grasses in the fertile valleys in between rugged limestone hills, producing the milk for Burren Gold, a Gouda-style cheese. The cow’s milk is unpasteurized, which puts it into the "farmhouse" cheese category. Some cheeses made there are flavoured with nettles & garlic, fenugreek seed, black pepper, cumin and another variety is oak-smoked.

Cahill's Irish Monastic Cheeses- Made by 3rd generation family of artisanal cheesemakers located in County Limerick. They are known for their Irish Whiskey Cheese (an aged cheddar) made with Kilbeggan Whiskey. Cahill's cheeses include Cahill’s Kilbeggen Irish Whiskey, Ballyporeen Cheese with Irish Herbs, and Ardagh Chalice Wine Cheese.

Carlow Farmhouse Cheeses- These are Edam-style cheeses made with raw milk from a single dairy herd. They come in plain and flavored (Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil-Garlic, Nettles & Dried Onions, Black Pepper, Chili and Cumin) versions.

Carrigaline Farmhouse Cheese – Another very popular cheese in Ireland, Carrigaline has a  buttery texture and is an artisan cow’s milk semi-soft cheese made by Ann and Pat O'Farrell in County Cork (Carrigaline) under the ruined castle “Rock.”

Carrigbryne Farmhouse Cheese- see “St Killian”. Carrigbryne Farmhouse also makes Irish Brie & St.Brendan Brie.

Cashel Blue- Roquefort-style cheese made in Tipperary by the Grubb family, this is may be Ireland’s most famous cheese. Cashel Blue cheese is an ingredient used at Ireland’s top restaurants and featured in Irish cookbooks.

Clonmore Goat's Cheese- Distinctive hardcheese made by Tom and Lena Biggane in Charleville, Country Cork. Clonmore cheese is becoming popular internationally.

Coolea Farmhouse Cheese- Gouda-style cheese made with aged cow’s milk in Coolea, the hill-country near counties Cork and Kerry. Founded by a Dutch cheesemaker and now run by her son, Coolea is now considered one of Ireland’s classic cheeses.

Cooleeney Farmhouse Cheese- Camembert-like cheese made from unpasteurised cows' milk in Moyne, County Tipperary by the Maher family. Brands include Cooleeney, Gort na Mona, Maighrean, Dunbarra Garlic & Dill, Dunbarra natural and Dunbarra Pepper- Camembert-like cheese made from unpasteurised cows' milk in Moyne, County Tipperary by the Maher family. Brands include Cooleeney, Gort na Mona, Maighrean, Dunbarra Garlic & Dill, Dunbarra natural and Dunbarra Pepper

Corleggy Farmhouse Cheese- The farm is located on the bank of the River Erne, between Cavan and Fermanagh counties. Quivy and Corleggy are goat´s milk cheeses, and their cow´s milk cheeses include Drumlin Traditional, as well as Garlic and Red Pepper, Cumin, Smoked and Green Peppercorn varieties.

Cratloe Hills Cheese- Sean & Deirdre Fitzgerald make fantastic sheep's milk cheeses at their farm in County Clare, halfway between Shannon and Limerick. They make two cheeses- mild (nutty and semi hard) and mature (hard and drier), both with 100% sheep's milk .

Croghan- Soft and hard raw goat’s milk cheeses made in Blackwater, County Wexford.

Crozier Blue- An artisanal product made in Tipperary county by the Grubb family (Cashel Blue), this is a semi-soft, blue cheese made from sheep’s milk.

Derreenaclaurig- True artisan cheese made by Harry van der Zanden in the charming Kerry village of Sneem. The tiny production is made with milk from his Jersey cow herd. Limited-production cheeses by Mr van der Zanden range from plain and aged to cumin-flavoured, garlic-flavoured, and are offered in local farmer’s markets and restaurants.

Derrymore Cheese- Farmhouse cheese made at Claremorris in County Mayo.

Desmond- made in Schull in West Cork (same producer as Gabriel cheese). Desmond is a hard, raw-milk cheese.

Dingle Peninsula Cheese- Made in Kilcummin Beg, Castlegregory, in County Kerry. This raw cow's milk cheese is unique in that it is flavoured with seaweed. Owners Maja Binder and Olivier Beaujouan are luminaries among Ireland’s gourmet food fanatics.

Dubliner – Ireland’s most widely-sold Cheddar by is made in Ballineen (West Cork) by Carbery Natural Cheese. Dubliner is also made by Kerrygold. Dubliner cheese is matured for 12 months and has a slightly sweet flavour.

Durrus Farmhouse Cheese – this award winning cheese is made in a pretty section of West Cork, near the hamlet of Durrus. Owner Jeffa Gill was one of the artisan cheese pioneers of Ireland, who, together with Giana Ferguson of Gubbeen, and has been making cheese since the late 1970s--long before the ancient tradition of farmhouse and artisanal cheese-making began its renaissance. Durrus is round-shaped, aged, semi soft cow's milk cheese.

Fermoy Natural Cheese (Cais Dubh)-a cheese company in County Cork (considered to be Ireland’s artisan food capital) where Frank and Gudrig Shinnik make a Gouda-style cheese called Cais Dubh.

Gabriel- made in the Schull section of West Cork. Hard, "fruity" tasting raw-milk cheese, reminiscent of Gruyere in texture.  Bill Hogan and Sean Ferry of West Cork Natural Cheese make Gabriel and the popular Desmond cheese.

Gubbeen – Giana and Tom Ferguson produce Gubbeen cheese at their farm  in West Cork, just outside the picturesque hamlet of Schull.  They make both smoked and unsmoked artisan cheeses with cow's milk from their own herd.

Hegarty´s Cheddar- Dan and John Hegarty’s famous cheddar is made with their own Freisan herd’s milk in Whitechurch, Co. Cork. Excellent.

Killeen Farmhouse Cheese- This gouda style cheese is made by Marion Roeleweld (who is also a traveling cheese consultant for brands like Mossfield Organic Gouda) at the Killeen Millhouse in Ballyshrule (County Galway in Connemara). They make goat's cheese, plain cow's milk cheese, and herb and garlic flavored cheese.

Knockalara - award winning feta-style cheeses made in County Waterford near Cappoquin, by Wolfgang and Agnes Schliebitz. Knockalara produces Dromana Natural, Pepper, Sesame and Fine Herbs flavours, as well as Waterford Feta and Knockalara sheep’s milk cheese, which one may purchase cleverly packed in olive-oil.

Knockanore - Eamonn and Patricia Lonergan have been making their famous cow’s milk cheese in Ballyneety, County Waterford for decades. Knockanore cheeses come in plain, garlic and herbs, garlic and chive,black pepper and chive and oak-smoked versions.

Knockdrinna – Boutique cheese producer in Stoneyford ,County Kilkenny making a wide variety of cheeses from cow, goat and sheep milk. That includes Knockdrinna Gold Goats Cheese, Knockdrinna Meadow Sheeps Cheese, Lavistown Cheese, Knockdrinna Snow, Knockdrinna Fresh Pesto with Goat's Cheese, Knockdrinna Fresh Goat Log, Knockdinna Goat's Greek style soft goat´s cheese.

Lavistown Cheese – see Knockdrinna

Milleens- A fine farmhouse cheese made in the lovely Beara Peninsula of West Cork.

Mine-Gabhar- Organic cheese made by Luc and Anne van Kampen.

Mount Callan- Founded by Michael and Lucy Hayes in 2000 in County Clare, Mount Callan makes aged cheeses with cow’s milk from their own herd of Montbelliard cows and is produced during summertime through the traditional Cheddar process.

Oisin Farmhouse Cheese- These organic goat’s milk cheeses are made at a farm run by Rochus & Rose van der Vaard in County Limerick.

Old McDonnell's Farm- Located in gorgeous Glen of the Downs in Wicklow, this farm producesmany foods including goat’s milk cheeses.

Orla – Organic cheese made at the Manch Estate in Ballineen, County Cork. Orla is an unpasteurized, semi-hard cheese made with sheep’s milk. They also make ricotta, a cooked cheese.

St Tola Goat´s Cheese- from County Clare, these are both hard and soft goat’s cheese made employing the traditional French method. St Tola cheese is quite popular, and is an ingredient used in many top Irish restaurants.

St Killian- this Camembert style cheese is made from raw cow's milk and vegetarian rennet by the Carrigbyrne Farmhouse in County Wexford.

Wicklow Blue- A delicate blue brie produced in the peaceful countryside of County Wicklow, Ireland, by John & Bernie Hempenstall.

That's a general roundup of elegant cheeses made in Ireland.

©M-J de Mesterton 2012


Savoy Serrano Salad

Posted on February 20, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Marinate finely-sliced Savoy cabbage overnight, in white vinegar and olive oil. Add pickled serrano peppers, cut into pieces. This simple salad is an elegant accompaniment to meats and traditional Mexican dishes. Variation: use lime juice instead of vinegar. ©M-J de Mesterton 2012

Elegant Low-Carb Taco Salad

Posted on February 20, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Low-Carb Green Chile Burger

Posted on February 20, 2012 at 8:45 AM
Shape and fry hamburgers (I use a Green Pan from Belgium), then array them in a baking dish. Spread a light layer of mayonnaise over the burgers. Cover them with chopped green chiles (Hatch or Old El Paso brands, for example). A few shreds of chopped pickle may be added to the chiles. Bake for fifteen minutes. Remove from oven and top with shredded cheese (I used Colby-Jack blend here). Bake again until the cheese atop your green chile cheeseburgers is melted, or browned if you prefer. These green chile burgers are so sumptuous that they are edible without buns, making them a low-carb main dish.

Recipe and Photos Copyright ©M-J de Mesterton

M-J's Elegant Spinach Salad

Posted on February 19, 2012 at 6:05 PM

M-J;s Spinach Salad features bacon, toasted walnuts and Parmesan cheese, in a balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing.
©M-J de Mesterton 2012

I sauté the walnuts and bacon bits in olive oil, to which some balsamic vinegar and seasoning salt have been added. When this mixture is combined with fresh baby spinach, its warmth wilts the leaves to a pleasant degree. I then dress the elegant spinach salad with more vinegar and oil.
©M-J de Mesterton 2012

M-J's Spinach and Artichoke Casserole

Posted on January 29, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Assembling an Elegant Spinach and Artichoke Casserole: Line Bottom of Baking Pan with Butter. Spread with Artichoke Pieces and Fresh SpinachPhoto_Copyright_M-J_de_Mesterton_2012

Spinach and Artichoke Casserole is Topped with Cream Cheese and Mayonnaise Mixture, then Sprinkled with Grated Parmesan

M-J's Elegant Spinach and Artichoke Casserole is Topped with Cheese Mixture and Ready to Baked

See ELEGANT VEGETABLES for M-J's  Elegant Spinach and Artichoke Casserole Recipe