Elegant Survival

Stylish Living on a Shoestring
Since 2006

M-J's Miscellany

M-J's Simple Pain de Mie Recipe

Posted on July 3, 2016 at 10:35 AM
Making two 13" pain de mie loaves takes the same amount of effort and oven-energy as one 13" loaf--and, given the versatility of this delicious bread, you will be glad to have an extra one at hand in the freezer.I have simplified the ingredients and method for making this French bread, which was Julia Child's stand-by loaf making for canapés, breakfast toast, and sandwiches. My version of the classic bread recipe appears below. ~~M-J
  • Two Pain de Mie Loaves
  • 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm milk or buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated yeast
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup of lukewarm water
  • 7 cups of white flour (unbleached "white" flour is ideal), plus another, separate cup for possible use during kneading process--different conditions may require more flour--so you need to have a total of 8 cups of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1.5 standard sticks of butter, sliced into about ten or twelve pieces to more easily incorporate it into dough-mixture 

  • YOU WILL NEED TWO 13"-long Pullman pans, also known as a pain de mie pans. These specially-constructed pans with lids are non-stick; they will not need to be greased (click here for my source). 
  • M-J's Notes
  • Pain de Mie simply means, directly translated from the French, "Bread of the Center", because it is not supposed to have a deeply browned exterior or a pronounced crust. In fact, if you see a recipe for pain de mie that instructs you to pull the lid off during baking to 'brown the top", ignore that suggestion. If you prefer a crust, just leave the lid off during baking and you will have what is simply called a sandwich loaf. One of the beauties of an authentic pain de mie is that, when using this bread for canapés or tea sandwiches, there is no dark crust that needs to be removed, which is a tedious and sometimes problematic process. This doesn't mean that the edges cannot be trimmed if you wish. Pain de mie also makes perfect grilled cheese sandwiches, croques monsieurs, and panini.

M-J's Pain de Mie Method

  1. Combine all of the ingredients, beginning with the lukewarm  milk, yeast and sugar, gradually adding flour, salt and butter;  knead this mixture to form a smooth, soft dough. I always use a standing mixer with a dough-hook attached, but it's not necessary. Kneading is good exercise.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured or greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for at least one hour or until doubled in bulk. In cooler kitchens, this may take an hour and a half.
  3. Punch-down the dough, divide in half, transfer it to a flour-dusted counter, shape it into two 13" rolls, and fit them into the Pullman pans--each of these dough-rolls should leave room in the pan to rise until triple in bulk. Cover the pans with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise to within an inch of the tops of the pans, 45 minutes to 1 hour. (The dough will likely rise a further inch in the oven. Do not worry that it will touch the lid of your Pullman pans, because the heat of baking and the nonstick quality of these vessels will prevent the top crust from sticking, as you will discover when sliding the lids off after baking.) Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  4. Remove the plastic, and place the Pullman pan covers on the pans. Bake the bread for 50 minutes. Remove your pans from the oven, let cool for ten minutes, then slide-off the lids. Turn the two loaves out of their pans onto a rack and allow them to cool completely before slicing or storing. These pain de mie loaves freeze well.
  5. ©M-J de Mesterton

Laura Shaffer, Las Vegas' Most Elegant Singer

Posted on May 18, 2016 at 12:55 PM

                  Please Visit the Laura Shaffer Page, Midnight Refrain

Elegant, Simple Dessert

Posted on May 22, 2015 at 6:25 PM
Strawberries and Whipped Cream: a Simple, Elegant Dessert
Please Visit the Elegant Cook, by M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Garden Furniture

Posted on May 4, 2015 at 2:35 PM
Plastic furniture is all right indoors, especially if it is in the high-styled modern idiom, and was created by or emulates that of 1950s and 1960s designers such as Eero Saarinen. But outdoors, one ideally will have garden or patio furniture made from wrought iron or of teak-wood, which will not deteriorate from exposure to the elements. Wooden and iron furniture exists in perfect harmony with landscaping and nature, especially when made in greens, browns, and other earth-tones.

Here is my Princeton, New Jersey garden courtyard, where I had outdoor dining furniture by the now-defunct, elegant wrought-iron furniture company Lyon-Shaw, and a smaller chat-table in iron, wicker and tile, by Alfresco Home.
My Elegant Patio Furniture Blends with the Garden

Tea Talk

Posted on March 3, 2015 at 10:30 AM

Tea Gatherings, Explained 

("High Tea" is a Workman's Supper, NOT a Formal Tea as per the Common Misinterpretation of the Term)


Afternoon Tea, Explained ("High Tea" is Merely a Workman's Supper)

 Hosting a Tea Party; Formal Tea; the True Definition of "High Tea" is "Workingman's Supper"

Reine de Saba

Posted on February 15, 2015 at 4:35 PM

I made this classic Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba) cake using Julia Child's recipe, which I found in The French Chef Cookbook, page 285. I believe it is also somewhere on the web. It's a good dessert for those who love almond cake with chocolate icing.

©M-J de Mesterton

Haricots Verts

Posted on February 3, 2015 at 10:25 PM

Rich in probiotics (miso), medium-chain fatty acids (coconut oil), omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts), chlorophyll, vitamin K, manganese, fiber, folate, vitamin C, and honey, M-J's elegant vegetable dish is prepared in a wok and ready within eight minutes.

Nutritious Home-Made Fettuccine

Posted on February 2, 2015 at 2:30 PM

Home-Made Egg-Noodles Alfredo Style: an Inexpensive, Delicious Accompaniment to Chicken or Beef, or a Meal in Itself, Served with a Salad

Cook egg pasta until al dente (not quite soft); drain. Add grated Parmesan cheese, butter, and cream or a mixture of milk and cream to coat the noodles. Sprinkle on a dash of nutmeg. Cook, stirring lightly, for an additional minute or two until soft, adding more cream as needed. Cover and keep warm until serving. As long as the noodles are not overcooked, they may be reheated later with a little more cream.

©M-J de Mesterton 2015

Steak au Poivre

Posted on January 23, 2015 at 3:30 PM

Thin slices of sirloin tip beefsteak are coated with salt and cracked black pepper, then sautéed in butter. To make the sauce on which the cooked steaks are presented, a third-cup of flour is browned in the pan with a bit more butter, and stirred until brown. Gradually, brandy and cream or milk are poured into the pan, and the mixture is whisked until smooth. A hand-blender may be employed to integrate the brown bits and smooth the sauce.

©M-J de Mesterton 2015

M-J's Drinks Party Tables

Posted on June 29, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Elegant Dessert

Posted on May 8, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Green Beans with Walnuts

Posted on February 12, 2014 at 3:15 PM


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

Petite green beans are sautéed in red chile oil, 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.

©Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2013

Happy New Year 2014

Posted on December 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Have a happy new year, dear readers!

Merry Christmas

Posted on December 14, 2013 at 11:05 AM

M-J's Brioche Recipe

Posted on February 12, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Cote Rotie

Posted on October 22, 2012 at 9:50 AM

From Terroir France, the French Wine Guide:


"Côte Rôtie is one of the oldest vineyards in France. It was set up by the Romans. The Côte Rôtie with its hills bathed in sun, produces a warm, robust, full-bodied, richly colored red wine. Harsh and dark when they are young those wines become softer and develop with age an excellent bouquet. Two grape-varieties dominate the production, Viognier and Syrah. Link to Article

Wines of Côte Rôtie are often considered as the best Côtes du Rhône."

See also Gregory dal Piaz on 2012 Northern Rhone Wines

Luncheon Salad

Posted on March 8, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Elegant, Balanced Luncheon Salad: Lettuce, Poached White-Meat Chicken, and Orange Peppers (Capsicums), Dressed with Lemon and Olive Oil Vinaigrette ©M-J de Mesterton

M-J's Brioche

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 10:05 AM
See Elegant Cook for M-J's Original Brioche Recipe

M-J's Elegant Spinach Casserole

Posted on January 30, 2012 at 8:15 AM

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