Chef Stockli’s Carrot Vichyssoise

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.


Simple, Elegant Cheesecake

Elegant Baked Cheesecake, Adapted from the Kraft Foods Recipe


1 cup of HONEY MAID Graham Crackers, processed into crumbs
3 tablespoons  of white sugar
3 tbsps. of melted, salted butter
2 pkg.  (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 16-ounce container of BREAKSTONE’S or KNUDSEN Cottage Cheese
1/2 cup of white  sugar
1/4 cup of white flour
1 tsp.  of vanilla (either pure or imitation vanilla will do)
3 eggs

MIX crumbs, 3 tbsps. sugar and melted butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 325°F for 10 minutes.

INCREASE oven temperature to 450°F.

BEAT cream cheese and cottage cheese in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add 1/2 cup sugar, flour and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing just until blended after each addition. Pour mixture into crumb-crust.

BAKE your assembled cheesecake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F; continue baking it for 1 hour. Slip a thin knife into and around rim of pan to loosen cake; let cheesecake cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight to achieve the classic cheesecake texture.

What is Fromage à la Crème?

Cream cheese! It’s wonderful stuff, and so versatile that it is used in both desserts and savoury dishes. Fromage à la Crème

M-J's Pineapple-Cream Cheese Dip
M-J’s Pineapple-Cream Cheese Dip

Here is my original recipe: pineapplemjdemestertonDole Pineapple Tidbits, No Sugar Added

One can of pineapple as pictured

One pound of cream cheese

One tablespoon of honey or sugar of your choice


Drain pineapple bits as well as possible by dumping the can contents into in a sieve and pressing with a bowl. Spread pineapple bits on a baking sheet, and drizzle with honey or sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden brown.

In a mixing bowl, combine pineapple with cream cheese until smooth.

Use as a spread for crackers.

~~M-J de Mesterton, Copyright January 2009

Sautéed Swiss Chard and Pine Nuts

M-J's Sautéed Swiss Chard and Pine Nuts
M-J's Sautéed Swiss Chard and Pine Nuts

Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2007

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 and Elegant Survival, January 2009

Elegant Canapes and Dessert: Pâte à Choux; Choux à La Crème; Petits Choux au Fromage

Croquembouche: Photo and Recipe Copyright Elegant Survival, 2008 (click image to enlarge)

Two Cups Makes about Forty Choux or Puff Shells

In a two-quart, heavy saucepan, boil one cup of water,
Six tablespoons of butter,
One teaspoon of salt,
One teaspoon of sugar (OR one 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, depending upon whether the choux-paste will be used for cream puffs or savoury cocktail offerings),
and a pinch of nutmeg.

When butter has melted, remove pot from heat.
Pour into the mixture one cup of flour. Beat with a wooden spoon until the lot is blended.
Put pot back on cooker at high heat, and continue to beat until the contents separate from the sides of the pot. Remove pot from heat again.

Now, you will need four large eggs.
Making a well in the potful of paste, break one egg into it. Beat it into the mixture, and repeat with the following three eggs, one at a time. Continue beating by hand until the paste is smooth.

You are now ready to fill a pastry bag and squeeze the paste onto a buttered baking sheet. In the absence of a pastry bag, you may use a gallon-sized, disposable zipper-bag like Zip-Lock, cutting off a 1/2 inch at one corner of it to emit pâte à choux. If this is still a problem, you may use a spoon to drop the paste onto the baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 425* Fahrenheit.

Use the pâte à choux while it is still warm.

Form the pâte à choux into one-inch diameter circular mounds, 1/2 inch high. Space them two inches apart.

Brush each mound very lightly with beaten egg.

Bake for about twenty minutes. When the puffs are double their original size, golden brown and crusty, they may be removed from the oven. Make a 1/2 inch slit on the side of each puff to release steam.

I like to fill these puffs with Crème Pâtissière, or pastry cream:

In a 3-quart mixing bowl, beat
One cup of granulated white sugar into
6 egg yolks. Continue beating until the mixture is pale yellow.
Add one half cup of full-fat milk.
Beat in one cup of sifted white all-purpose flour. Mix this very vigorously until the small lumps of egg-yolk disappear into the flour and sugar.

Boil 4 cups of full-fat milk. Add it gradually, in a small stream, to the egg and flour mixture, while stirring. Pour the mass into a heavy 6-quart saucepan and set the stove burner on medium high heat. Stir with a wire-whisk or an electric mixer, careful to include the mixture at bottom of pot. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a spatula at intervals. When this reaches the boiling-point, turn down the heat to low, continue to beat for 2 to 3 minutes in order to cook the flour thoroughly. Don’t let the custard at the bottom of the pot get scorched.

Remove from heat, and incorporate one tablespoon of butter and one teaspoon of vanilla.

Choux à La Crème

When the crème patissière is cool enough, use it to fill choux. Dust choux with powdered sugar, drizzle with melted chocolate or with hot caramel sauce.

Crème patissière will keep in the refrigerator for a week, or may be frozen.

Petits Choux au Fromage

To make these savoury cheese puffs: omit the sugar, add a half-teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and add a cup of grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese to the warm pâte à choux. Bake at 425*F for about twenty minutes or until golden brown. Pierce to release steam from each cheese-puff.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2008