The Elegant Cook

M-J de Mesterton

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Still Life with Fruit
Always have fresh fruit on the table for an elegant, health-promoting breakfast.
Elegant Orange Vegetable Smoothie, a Morning Tonic
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.  

M-J's Scandinavian Style Cinnamon Toast

Cinnamon Toast, Scandinavian Style


I soak some day-old home-made bread in milk, cream, a dash of salt, cinnamon and sweetener for a half-minute, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, then bake it on a buttered baking sheet in a low oven (250*) until lightly browned and dry. Let it sit overnight in the oven for a real crunch. Optionally, you can remove the toast after baking it for an hour, and re-coat it in the milk, cream and cinnamon batter, sprinkle it again with cinnamon and sugar, then bake again for as long as you believe necessary. This toast is usually dunked into coffee, as it is usually very sturdy and crunchy.

©M-J de Mesterton 2010


Home-Grown Tomatoes, Beaten Eggs, Parmesan and Cheddar Cheeses
Cooked in Butter and then Broiled for a Minute
Go to Elegant Luncheon for M-J's Quiche LorraineRecipe
Scottish Oat-Cakes, Updated
2 cups of Oatmeal
½ cup of regular or unbleached flour
1/3 cup of buttermilk
¼ cup of hot water
1/2 teaspoon-full of Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon of crushed flax-seeds (optional; these seeds make the oat-cakes more health-promoting, and they add nearly no calories)
1/2 teaspoon of aluminum-free baking powder, such as that made by Rumson  or Bob's Red Mill
¼ cup of melted butter
1 teaspoon of coconut oil

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Pat this mixture into a baking sheet until flat and about 1/8 inch thick. Heat your oven to 350 F.
I sometimes use a wafer iron or a quesadilla machine, and cook the oat-cake mixture until it stops steaming and releases from the iron easily. Bake until oatcake is brown and as crisp as possible.
Variations: add two teaspoons of sugar and/or ground walnuts.
©M-J de Mesterton
The Elegant Cook 

M-J's Elegant Pain Brioché Egg Dish

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 
Tarte Bourbonnaise

Tarte Bourbonnaise, Created by Taillevent for King Charles VI of France

Photo from Certi'Ferme, France

Photo from Certi'Ferme, France
Quiche, which is said to have originated in Lorraine, was preceded by such cheese tarts as this 600-year old one, prepared by Taillevent  for the Well-Loved King Charles VI of France.

Tarte Bourbonnaise

Short pastry (dough made with flour,  lard and butter–see my Apple Pie recipe),  for a one-crust pie or tart

2 cups of cream

1 egg-yolk

1 tablespoon of flour

4 whole eggs

1/2 teaspoon of salt

Cayenne pepper to-taste

1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

2 cups of shredded or grated Gruyère cheese

2 tablespoons of butter


Roll short pastry dough and line a pie-plate or pie-pan with it.  Make a series of tiny holes all over the dough with a fork. Line the dough with parchment or foil and fill with dry beans, then bake in a hot 425* oven for ten minutes. This step prevents the crust from puffing up during baking. Empty the pie-shell and let it cool.

In a saucepan, cook the cream until it scalds, not quite boiling. Let it cool.

In a large bowl, beat the egg-yolk into the tablespoon of flour. Beat in the two whole eggs, and gradually add the scalded and cooled cream. Beat this mixture until smooth. Add salt, nutmeg, and Cayenne pepper. Spread the Gruyère cheese evenly around the bottom of the crust. Pour the smooth custard from the bowl into the pie shell to cover the cheese. Sprinkle the two tablespoons of butter over the top in little bits. Bake in a moderately hot 375* oven for about forty minutes. If the pie puffs up too much, just pierce it with a fork. Serve Tarte Bourbonnaise warm; this recipe is enough for six people.

M-J de Mesterton, 2008

Cook Your Own Elegant English Muffins

M-J's Elegant English Muffins, Cooked on the Griddle

6 cups of unbleached white flour

2 tablespoons of yeast

One cup of warm water

One cup of buttermilk

One tablespoon of honey or agave nectar

One tablespoon of salt (Himalayan, sea, or regular salt)

Two tablespoons of butter

Shortening or lard to grease the griddle

Cornmeal or masa for dusting

In a large mixing bowl, mix the yeast with one cup of warm water, one tablespoon of honey and two cups of flour. Let it sit for fifteen minutes to half an hour. Add the buttermilk, salt, butter and honey.

Gradually incorporate the remaining four cups of flour into the existing mixture. Knead on a hard surface for a few minutes until all  ingredients are well-blended. Form this dough into a ball.

Set your dough-ball in a buttered  bowl, covered, in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

Sprinkle your work-surface with flour. Flatten out risen dough and fold it over itself, making two layers, which you will now flatten together into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Using an empty tin, cut out approximately twenty English muffins.Dust them on both sides with masa or cornmeal.When they have risen to double their height, place them on a hot griddle-pan that has been greased with shortening or lard. Cook the muffins for ten to twenty minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. These muffins are best left to cool completely before splitting open and toasting them.

Copyright M-J de Mesterton

The Elegant Cook ©2010

 Elegant, Home-Made English Muffins

M-J's Eggs Vienna

An old friend of mine used to make this dish for me in the 1970s. I published my recipe for the unusual breakfast offering on Elegant Survival in 2006; it was for a long time the only recipe for Eggs Vienna on the internet. I shall reconstruct it here at The Elegant Cook:

Eggs Vienna for Two

Prepare four slices of streaky American-style bacon until they are crisp. Poach two eggs in two cups of boiling milk, until they are soft. Toast two slices of white bread or English muffins, then butter them. When all three components are ready, place one piece of  toast in each of  two soup-bowls. Place two slices of  bacon on top of each piece of toast, then top that with a poached egg. Pour the remaining hot milk, in which the eggs have been poached, into each bowl.

Copyright M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Eggs


Eggs, Nature's Perfect Food

Huevos, by Spanish Court Painter Diego Velásquez

Eggs are nutritious, convenient, useful in thousands of recipes, and are a relatively inexpensive source of high-quality protein. One large egg, which represents less than 4 percent of the total daily calorie intake of a person who consumes 2000 calories per day, provides 10 percent of the Daily Value for protein, 15 percent of the Daily Value for riboflavin, and 4 percent or more of the Daily Value for several other nutrients, including vitamins A, B6 and B12; folate; iron; phosphorus; and zinc. Eggs also provide choline, which is  essential in the human diet, and is credited for helping to create healthy babies during pregnancy. 

Because the percentage of the  recommended  daily amount for many nutrients provided by an egg is greater than the proportion of total calorie intake that the egg represents, the egg more than pulls its weight nutritionally. Most of the vitamins and minerals in eggs are found in the yolk; protein, however, is found in both the yolk and the white. Recent research indicates that egg eaters are more likely than non-egg eaters to have diets that provide adequate amounts of essential nutrients. This seems to be partly due to the nutritional contribution of the eggs themselves and partly due to the fact that the inclusion of eggs in the diet is an indicator of a desirable eating pattern that includes breakfast.

Eggs don’t cause heart disease, as the medical industry previously believed. And here is more good news: a research team at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge determined that women on a weight-loss regimen who ate an egg with toast and jelly each morning lost twice as many pounds as those who had a bagel breakfast with the same number of calories without the accompanying egg.

Eggs can be prepared easily, in a variety of ways. They keep well  in the refrigerator for about three weeks, and therefore an individual can easily use up the dozen eggs in a carton before they spoil. Because most egg recipes involve short cooking times, eggs are convenient for the person with little time to prepare meals.

Eggs have several important physical and chemical properties that help make recipes work. They thicken custards, puddings and sauces; emulsify and stabilize mixtures such as mayonnaise and salad dressings; coat or glaze breads and cookies; bind ingredients together in dishes such as meat loaf and lasagne; eggs are used to clarify coffee and soups; retard crystallization in boiled candies and frostings, and as leavening in baked goods such as cakes, cookies, soufflés, buns and sponge cakes.

Eggs are economical, especially when compared to other high-protein foods. For people who are trying to balance their budgets as well as their diets, serving eggs occasionally instead of meat, poultry, or fish is very economical.

Another stellar feature of eggs is that they are a functional food—that is, a food that provides health benefits that go beyond basic nutrition. Eggs contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, two components which are believed to have enormous health benefits. Speaking of functions, eggs have traditionally been used for facial cleansing and skin-tightening masques. A classic fine art painting medium, egg-tempera, which is used very little today, is created by  mixing pigment with raw eggs.
Huevos Rancheros-
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.


Preparing Elegant and Nutritious Huevos Rancheros




The Elegant, Nutritious Radish 

A most health-promoting vegetable, the refreshing, piquant radish is eaten in France (often at breakfast) with soft butter as a dip. The nutritious radish is a well-known liver-tonic.
©M-J de Mesterton
 Stainless Lux, an Affordable Way to Juice Lemons, Oranges and Limes--Photo ©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Huevos Rancheros

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.




Frittata with Merguez, Havarti, Tomatoes and Yellow Capsicum