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M-J de Mesterton

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Pasta all'Uovo

I use a wooden clothes-drying rack when I make pasta all'uovo (egg noodles).  My recipe: four cups of flour, five medium eggs, one teaspoon of salt and 1/3 cup of water, all mixed together into a stiff dough. I employ a Kitchenaid pasta-rolling attachment and a Kitchenaid pasta cutting-wheel to create these fettuccine-style strips. When they are sufficiently dry, the noodles are boiled for two minutes in salted water or diluted chicken-stock. Any excess pasta is stored in a tall container. ~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton ©2014
Pasta all'Uovo with Bolognese Meat Sauce
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Elegant Soup and Pasta Dishes

Miso Soup with Tofu 


M-J’s Original Recipe

Boil three cups of egg noodles  in  ten cups of chicken broth diluted with water, or water to which some chicken bouillon concentrate has been added. I used two tablespoons of Tone’s brand chicken base (Tennessee and Iowa, USA), available at Sam’s. Mix one tablespoon of flour with three tablespoons of the broth, and stir it into the simmering soup as a thickener if desired. Add a half-cup (or more to your taste) of chopped green chiles either from Hatch of New Mexico or El Paso brand (Texas) in cans. Then, when the egg noodles or pasta strips are soft, in about thirty minutes, stir-in a half-cup of sour cream.

© M-J de Mesterton 2010

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"Sauté overcooked pasta in butter or olive oil until browned. A little butter won't kill you, but an Italian, when faced with mushy pasta, might!"~~M-J

How to Salvage Overcooked Pasta

How do you tell when your pasta is overcooked? Break apart a strand of spaghetti or a piece of pasta,  and if you do not find a whitish dot in the centre, it is overcooked.  Al dente (to the tooth) pasta will feel somewhat firm in its very core, rather than soft all the way through.  How can you find out when your pasta is cooked enough? Italian cooks sometimes throw a piece of spaghetti at a wall, and if it sticks, they know it is sufficiently boiled.
Instead of dumping your overcooked pasta–the result of an emergency elsewhere while you should be watching the pot–drain it well and sauté it in butter, then add grated cheese if you wish. It will have a toasted flavor and stiffen up a bit if you brown it as shown. Sautéed in butter or olive oil, overcooked spaghetti or pasta can have a nice texture. You may even add the sauce of your choice after it is browned. A little butter won’t kill you, but an Italian, faced with mushy pasta,might!


Elegant Penne Alfredo con Pollo


Here is a classic white sauce to enhance pasta dishes. It is used in northern Italian lasagne (and is called balsamello in Italy), classic macaroni and cheese and Greek pastitsio, as well as in many French dishes.

Sauce Béchamel was named for King Louis XIV's head steward, Louis de Béchamel, Marquis of Nointel 
(His surname has also been spelled Béchamiel and Béchameil)   Marquis Louis de Béchamel was also a French financier and patron of the arts.At his Hôtel de Nointel, Louis de Bechamel commissioned murals by famous French painter Jean-Antoine Watteau.

Sauce Béchamel

4 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of milk
One half teaspoon of salt
Cayenne or white pepper

Optional: one small onion, minced

Melt the butter in a saucepan and, if using the onion, sauté it until soft but not browned. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for three minutes. Heat the milk and add it slowly to the mixture, stirring it until thick and smooth. Cook for a further five minutes. Yield: one cup of sauce. This béchamel sauce many be thinned while still hot, if desired, with the addition of more milk.


Wash thoroughly a whole head of celery, by cutting the bottom off and bathing the stalks in a sink filled with water. With French chef’s knife, chop finely. Include the celery leaves, which are packed with flavour. In a large pot, melt two tablespoons of butter. Put the chopped celery in, and add a teaspoon of salt, one half-teaspoon of cumin, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Saute until bright green and almost soft. Stir in a tablespoon of cornstarch (cornflour), which has seven grams of carbs. Saute for two more minutes, and then add one cup of cream and two cups of water. Simmer for ten minutes. Serves six. This soup is a good accompaniment to croques monsieurs for luncheon.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, February 2006

M-J's Cream of Celery Soup was the Only One on the Internet in 2006

Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton 


M-J de Mesterton's Golden Protein Peanut Soup, an Elegant Vegetarian Luncheon Dish

Eight cups of water

Two tablespoons of peanut butter, creamy or crunchy

One 8-ounce packet of Shirataki noodles

7 ounces of  firm tofu, cut into cubes

One teaspoon of turmeric

Two tablespoons of cornstarch, mixed into a slurry with

Four tablespoons of soy sauce

Red pepper flakes (optional)

One tablespoon of Himalayan salt

Chop the shirataki noodles into one-inch bits.  Cut the firm tofu into cubes. Put these two protein-sources into a pot with eight cups of simmering water. Add turmeric, red pepper flakes and  Himalayan salt. In a measuring-cup, mix four tablespoons of this soup with two tablespoons of peanut butter, then incorporate it into the soup with a wire-whisk. In the same  cup make a slurry by stirring four tablespoons of soy sauce into the two tablespoons of cornstarch (corn flour). When it is smooth, stir this into the soup. Simmer your golden protein peanut soup for at least ten minutes, stirring frequently to keep the ingredients from collecting at the bottom of the pot. This recipe serves six people, and makes an elegant soup for luncheon.

Total calories in one entire pot of M-J's Golden Protein Peanut Soup: 450

Total Grams of Protein in the entire pot: 34

Carbohydrates: about 40 per pot

Recipe and Photograph of Golden Protein Peanut Soup Copyright M-J de Mesterton © 2010

 Elegant, Easy and Quick to Make Soup from Dry Pantry Ingredients and Water


As a child, my household had split pea soup on Thursdays in the Swedish tradition. Sometimes, following that same inherited tradition, we even had pancakes or waffles for Thursday supper. Split pea soup is delicious and full of protein. Served with either toast or grilled cheese sandwiches, it makes such a hearty supper or luncheon that one doesn't miss a meat course. Split peas are still under a dollar per pound.

In Sweden, yellow split peas are used for ärtsoppa, as well as a ham hock. Those ingredients are difficult to find. What follows is a much simpler recipe. Vegetarians may omit the ham or bacon.

Starting the Soup after Sautéeing the Bacon and Vegetables

Photo Copyright Elegant Survival 2008
Split Pea Soup

Two tablespoons of butter

1 or 2 ounces of chopped raw bacon or cooked ham (small "smokies" sausages, cut in tiny bits, also work well)

1 lb. of split peas, any color

One medium onion

Three stalks of celery, finely diced

One or two carrots, finely diced (optional)

1 teaspoon of thyme, savoury or herbes de Provence

Two quarts of water

Salt and pepper to taste. I use Himalayan crystal salt.

Sauté the bacon and onion in the butter. Add diced celery and carrots, cooking the mixture for five minutes. Make sure all of the bacon is crisp, or you'll have blobs of fat floating in the soup (they don't brown once the water has been added). Pour in the water and split peas. Bring to a boil, and stir well, Simmer for two hours and stir often. Add water as necessary. This is good prepared in a crock-pot. Double the recipe to freeze portions of your split pea soup for the future.

Copyright M-J de Mesterton, March 2008 
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Split Pea Soup, Swedish Pea Soup, Elegant Soup, Elegant Luncheon



Photo and Recipe Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2007

I devised this soup for an elegant luncheon.

Potage Printanière aux Petits Pois

One 16-ounce bag of frozen petits pois, or tiny green peas (be sure to use the frozen variety for their intense colour)

Three cups of hot water

Herbs: savoury or herbes de Provence

1/3 Cup of sour cream or crême fraîche

Salt to taste

In a blender, mix together the hot water and frozen small peas until they are like soup. Pour the
mixture into a pot and heat it to simmering. Add a half-teaspoon of savoury or herbes de Provence, and a third-cup of crème fraîche or sour cream. Stir with a wire-whisk until the bits of cream are fully incorporated into the green soup. Heat again till just boiling, and serve. This recipe will make four bowls of Potage Printanier aux Petits Pois. Double the recipe by repeating the first step and adding the results to the pot, while repeating  the other ingredients as well. Add salt to your own preference. I use 
Himalayan salt. This soup may be served either hot or chilled. A small spoonful of sour cream or crême fraîche in the center of each bowlful will act as a garnish.


~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, March 2008


Carrot Vichyssoise, as Created by Chef Albert Stockli of New York's Four Seasons Hotel, Circa 1960

2 cups of peeled and diced white potatoes

1 leek, white part only, sliced thinly

1 1/4 cups sliced carrots 3 cups chicken stock (broth)--if you are vegetarian, vegetable broth is a suitable substitute

1 teaspoon salt

A dash of white pepper

1 cup of heavy whipping-cream

Clean the leek carefully, as garden soil can collect between the tightly layered sections. Slice the white portion only.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, add the potatoes, one sliced leek, carrots, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer this for 25 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Let it cool. In an electric blender, purée half the vegetables and liquid at thirty seconds, then pour into a large bowl. Repeat process with second half of the soup. Chill the carrot Vichyssoise, and stir in the cream, pepper and salt before serving. Serve in 4 chilled bowls. Consider a contrasting garnish of finely chopped parsley or chives. Chef Stockli used shredded carrot.



Here is my original recipe for a cold summer soup:

Gazpacho Verde

Two large yellow sweet peppers (capsicums)

Two large cucumbers

Two ripe avocados

One 6-ounce can of Herdez Salsa Picante Verde (or any hot, green chile sauce if Herdez is unavailable)

One cup of water

One tablespoon of lime juice (or lemon, in Europe)

Seasoning salt of your choice 

Blend all of the above ingredients till very smooth. Pour into tureen and chill. Yield: four large bowls of cold soup. Garnish with a spoonful of sour cream or crême fraîche. 

Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2006

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Shirataki Fettucine Alfredo for Low-Carbohydrate Diets

Preparation: put a package of shirataki noodles in a strainer and rinse very well. In a pot or pan, melt some butter and cream cheese until bubbly. Add the shirataki noodles and stir well, continuing to cook over a low fire until the mixture adheres to the noodles.  Add a bit of water or cream if necessary. Grate as much Parmesan cheese as you would like to put into the noodles, mix it in and cook for another minute just until the cheese has been incorporated into the shirataki fettucine.  Optional: add some chicken bouillon powder, parsley and red pepper flakes. Serve with more grated cheese on top. Sure, it has a completely different texture from fettucine Alfredo made with traditional egg pasta, but you're on a diet, remember? But, this low carb fettucine Alfredo may make you forget that you're on a slimming regimen.

© M-J de Mesterton February 25th, 2010

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 Shirataki Noodles on FoodistaShirataki Noodles

Elegant Pasta with Walnuts

Boil your pasta in chicken stock or water that has been flavoured with bouillon concentrate. Sauté a chopped garlic clove in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add chopped walnuts and stir until lightly browned.  Drain the pasta when it is al dente ("to the tooth").  Pour the heated oil with nuts and garlic into the pasta and mix well to coat.  Grate Parmesan cheese and mix the shreds into the pasta, tossing lightly. Stir well and grate more Parmesan cheese onto the top of your elegant walnut pasta. This dish is useful for an elegant luncheon or buffet, and for a simple dinner accompanied by green salad. If you can find high-protein pasta, it will make a good substitute for meat. Elegant walnut Parmesan pasta can remain at room-temperature for many hours, and ought to be served that way. 

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton 1992 


Chicken Soup with Spaetzle

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.