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M-J de Mesterton

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Elegant Vegetables

M-J's Green Beans with Walnuts in Miso-Honey Glaze

Petite green beans (France) are sautéed in red chile oil (see my recipe, lower-down on this page), partially-crushed walnuts are added and lightly-browned; then a teaspoon of miso, a half-teaspoon of honey are mixed with a third-cup of water and stirred into the pan or wok to coat the string-beans and nuts. This flexible recipe is based on one 12-ounce bag of tiny frozen green beans. The honey is added to the glaze not for sweetness, but for flavor and sheen, so be careful not to overdo it. If you don't have red chile oil, just use vegetable oil and red pepper flakes.

©Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2013


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 easy to grow, and is a well-known liver-tonic.
©M-J de Mesterton



A Summer Day's Harvest 


 Elegant Home-Grown Yellow Squash or Marrow, Coated with Beaten Egg,

Cornmeal and Panko, 

then Fried in Health-Promoting Coconut Oil


Radishes with Soft Butter, a Traditional Component of Breakfast in France

Radishes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow in your own garden. They like cool weather, and flourish underground, reaching maturity in sixty days or less. Radish greens can be a spicy, nutritious addition to salads.


Below: M-J's Elegant Green Vegetable Smoothie

Cucumber, Celery, Broccoli, Parsley, Jalapeño Pepper, Yoghurt, Water and Lemon Juice


 M-J's Elegant Spinach Salad

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


Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

Steamed broccoli is set in a buttered Le Creuset baking dish and covered with M-J's Swiss cheese and Dijon sauce. Raw broccoli may be steamed in this baking dish by filling it 1/4 full with water after buttering, and laying in the broccoli, then covering with foil and baking for fifteen minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the foil and add the cheese sauce of your choice. Bake until lightly browned.
©M-J de Mesterton 2012

Elegant Greek Salad

A simple and nutritious salad is made with lettuce, cucumbers, cilantro, olive oil, vinegar, and feta cheese.
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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

M-J's  Elegant Spinach and Artichoke Casserole


One tablespoon of butter, your preference

A 14-ounce can or two small jars of artichoke hearts such as Cara Mia brand (the jarred, pickled artichoke hearts are as appropriate for this recipe as the lightly-brined ones found in cans)--you will distribute half of these, broken into in pieces, at the bottom of an elegant baking dish, which has been spread with the tablespoon of butter. The other half will be used to dot the spinach leaves when they have been added to the baking dish.

A large bag, approximating half-a-pound, of raw, organic baby spinach (it can be found at Sam’s Club in a one-pound plastic tub from Taylor Organic of Salinas, California--I use half a Taylor tub for this recipe.) This baby spinach is almost always washed three times and ready-to-use, therefore I do not wash it a fourth time, as the spinach should be dry in the baking-dish to avoid being soggy. But, follow the directions on your bag of baby spinach to determine whether or not you need to wash and dry it. Arrange this baby spinach on top of the artichoke heart pieces. Evenly distribute the remaining artichoke pieces on top of the spinach-leaves.

Mix the following ingredients together and beat until smooth enough to pour over assembled artichokes and spinach, which have been arranged in a large baking dish:

One half-cup of mayonnaise, your choice of brand and style

Eight or more ounces of cream cheese, brought to room-temperature

One egg

One half-cup of buttermilk or regular milk

About one ounce, more or less according to your taste, of grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

White or Green Pepper,  fine-ground

Ladle this creamy mixture over the spinach-artichoke assemblage. Top it with a bit more Parmesan cheese if desired, and bake for thirty minutes at 350F or a moderately hot oven. ©M-J de Mesterton



M-J's Purple Cabbage Salad

Red or purple cabbage, sliced thinly and mixed with feta cheese,
yellow tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, cilantro and salt makes an elegant salad.
I grew this purple cabbage and the yellow pear tomatoes.
It is best to let this dressed salad sit at room temperature
for at least an hour, so that the cabbage softens a little.
©M-J de Mesterton

Baby Beet from the Home Garden

Elegant Diced Vegetable Salad



Eating yams or sweet potatoes every day is believed to be one of the reasons  the people of Okinawa, Japan, have the longest average life expectancy in the world.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the yam is “neutral” in nature–somewhere between yin and yang. Its properties can help to tranquilise the mind, preserve youthful skin, nourish the spleen, stomach, kidneys, aid in digestion, and contribute to a feeling of fullness, something that can aid both dieters and poor people.

Yams contain vitamin B6, which can soothe the mind as well as boost immunity. Rich in linoleic acid and fibre, yams not only help to alleviate constipation, but can also reduce cholesterol build-up blood vessels, a process which helps prevent arteriosclerosis and thrombosis.

The yam is rich in protein, vitamins E, A and C, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Although its vitamin B1 and B2 content is six and three times higher than that of rice respectively, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of yams produce only 99 calories, a one-third the amount that rice contains. Because yams are alkaline foods, they can help decrease body fat. Acid foods lead to fat-storage in the human body. Yams and sweet potatoes also contain lycopene, which is believed to help prevent prostate cancer. A hormone-like, anti-inflammatory  compound called dioscin exists in both yams and sweet potatoes, as well as vitamin C and carotenoids.

Sweet potatoes and yams have the same qualities, even though they are from different families, so substituting the root-vegetable known as sweet potato for yams is perfectly acceptable and will yield the same health-results when eaten. If the yam or sweet potato is too sweet for your liking, there are several ways to incorporate them into your diet that will make them seem less so. For example, a well-scrubbed yam may be chopped into slivers, fibrous skin and all, and added to a stir-fry. Adding soy sauce to sweet potatoes and yams will give them a more balanced taste.


The shirataki noodle, which contains soya and yam flour, is considered an excellent weight-loss food because it is low in carbohydrates while being high in glucomannan, a high-quality fibre (fiber).

A stir-fried dish of shirataki noodles, yams, onions, ginger, pineapple and peanuts is pictured here at Elegant Cuisine.

~~M-J de Mesterton, January 2nd 2010

Shirataki, the Perfect Weight-Loss Food

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Elegant Vegetable Soup with Miso

I used the poaching-liquid from a batch of chicken-breasts, a tablespoon of miso, home-grown beets, parsley, poblano peppers, carrots, celery and a packet of shirataki noodles made from soy to make this health-promoting soup. Following the example of French chefs through the ages, I did not let the liquid from poaching chicken go to waste.
©M-J de Mesterton

The elegant vegetable soup is ready to serve. 



M-J's Elegant Autumn Potato Salad
Like the potato salad that my Swedish grandmother used to make for me, this dish relies upon some bacon, vinegar, and an onion.

Peel, quarter and boil eight medium sized potatoes, or ten small ones. Salt the boiling water. Alternatively, add some Maggi or Knorr chicken bouillon powder.
Boil the potato chunks for fifteen minutes. Drain but do not rinse them. In your cooking pot, sauté eight strips of bacon, finely chopped. Remove the bacon bits with a slotted spoon. and reserve in a small bowl or cup. Empty out  half of the bacon fat. Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil (I use peanut oil) and two tablespoons of vinegar (I use malt vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar). If you have it, a tablespoon of concentrated apple juice can be added to this dressing mixture. You will adjust the vinegar and oil to your taste after the initial mixing of all ingredients. Add the potatoes, one finely diced small onion (red, white or yellow), and one diced, unpeeled apple. Grind some pepper into the mixture for taste, and check for salt. Mix gently. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature for  best flavor.

~~Recipe and Photo of Autumn Potato Salad Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2008 

Update, September 2009

Leave the potatoes unpeeled for a rustic yet more nutritious potato salad.~~M-J de Mesterton 2009


Onions, Carrots, Hot Peppers, and Ginger-Root



A Composed Salad of Carrots, Daikon Radishes and Romaine Lettuce 





Cook one head of separated Swiss chard leaves in rapidly boiling, salted water (blanch them) for two minutes. Drain and dry the Swiss chard leaves, then chop them into bite-sized pieces with a French chef’s knife. In a hot frying pan, put three tablespoons of olive oil and one half-teaspoon of powdered red chile or one half-teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper.  When the  oil has turned red, add a quarter-teaspoon of Himalayan salt, and one-half cup of pine nuts (piñon, pignolia).  Cook until pine nuts are toasted and reddish, then remove from the oil. Add the chopped chard and sautée until soft enough to eat. Toss the Swiss chard with the toasted red pine nuts and serve. This makes an excellent accompaniment to chicken.
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2007

Swiss Chard Leaves: Elegant and Inexpensive Substitutes for Corn Husks

Making tamales at home is made less expensive and more elegant by using Swiss chard leaves instead of the now-expensive dried corn husks. You will need a bag of masa made especially for tamale-making, and a pot with a metal stand or steaming basket inside of it. Tamale filling is up to your own taste and creativity. Chopped green chiles combined with Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese is tasty as a vegetarian version of tamales. Chopped or shredded, leftover roast beef or pork,  spiced with some red chile powder is a meat-eater’s treat.  Spread masa and water mixture onto a leaf in a rectangle (bags of masa come with such instructions). Lay filling on masa, and roll together the contents to seal it. You may tie ends together with string.  Swiss chard tamale wrappers will be edible after you have steamed the tamales for forty minutes. This is a prudent, tasteful  and nutritious method of preparing tamales.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton , January 2009



 Elegant Potatoes

An energy-efficient way to slow-cook food is the Rival Original Crock-Pot, which uses about as much electricity as a light bulb.

High Praise for the Lowly Potato

Potatoes: the much-maligned tubers aren't guilty of fattening us. The added fats in potato-preparation are the culprits. Spuds contain a "resistant starch" that aids in burning body-fat. This humble vegetable that grows low on the ground is high in nutrients.

A potato supplies more potassium per ounce than a banana. Potassium helps to regulate blood-pressure and blood-sugar. Potatoes also contain vitamin C, B-6 and about 60 anti-oxidants.

M-J's Recipe for Golden Brown Potatoes

Peel and cut into quarters or eighths, as many potatoes as you think you need for dinner. The cut potatoes should resemble chunks or nuggets. One potato per person is a safe bet; the leftovers can be re-heated and eaten the next day.

Boil water in a pot, with salt or chicken bouillon to your taste. Add the potato chunks and boil them for twenty minutes. Drain potatoes and then sauté them in butter or the fat of your choice until brown. Alternatively, you may coat the potatoes in lemon, olive oil and salt, then bake them on a cookie sheet until brown. A good way to evenly distribute the coating is to put the potatoes, oil and seasoning in a Zip-Lock bag and shake gently, being careful not to break the potato chunks.
Baked or sautéed, these potatoes are soft on the inside, and crispy on the outside.
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2008


Capsicums, chiles, chile peppers, peppers--all are names for a wonderfully health-promoting food that is high in vitamins. 

 Red Chile Oil 

I like to eat brown rice with stir-fried vegetables, and I dress up that dish with red chile oil. Instead of using vegetable or peanut oil, I use organic coconut oil to make my own, as it contains more-beneficial fatty acids. 

 Take a handful of dried, red chiles and break them into pieces. Wear gloves while doing this, because you may accidentally touch your face or eyes. Put these into a blender with some soy sauce and a lot of coconut oil, softened or liquefied.  Other additions, optionally, are peanuts, sesame seeds, or almonds. Blend the combined ingredients until you have something resembling Szechuan hot chile oil. Your home-made hot chile oil will be tastier, safer and better than the imported versions.

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Cabbages and roses . . .

"It is the cabbage which surpassses all other vegetables. It may be either cooked or raw; if you eat it raw, dip it into vinegar. It promotes digestion marvellously."
Cato the Elder writing in On Farming 2,200 years ago.

Cabbages and roses . . .

"It is the cabbage which surpassses all other vegetables. It may be either cooked or raw; if you eat it raw, dip it into vinegar. It promotes digestion marvellously."
Cato the Elder writing in On Farming 2,200 years ago.

Posted on February 8, 2010 at 11:25 AM 

An energy-efficient way to slow-cook food is the Rival Original Crock-Pot, which uses about as much electricity as a light bulb.

Posted on February 8, 2010 at 11:25 AM 

An energy-efficient way to slow-cook food is the Rival Original Crock-Pot, which uses about as much electricity as a light bulb.