The Pasta Cometh__d

 The Pasta Cometh

         Over the Christmas holidays I received a pasta machine as a gift. It is a simple device. It is manually operated and nothing more than 2 wheels with grooves. It was beautiful, shiny and elegantly sitting on the counter waiting to be explored. The little grooves on the dial of the machine look like little mouths that keep saying “Try me!” They are most certainly waiting for the wonderful dough which will be made into pasta.

Pasta had been around for a long time. Almost every nation has its own version of pasta. When we mention pasta, we only think of Italian, but when we say noodles, and then everybody understands it is the long strand, stringy, dough which can be cooked up with soup, sauce, baked and anything you can imagine. Continue reading

A Russian Love Story

The morning air of Moscow is crisp. The morning cleaning crew just finished their first round visit with the water truck. There is scarcely any sound on the street. An occasional pedestrian broke into the street scene like aspirations. You do not know if they are real. The dawn is just about to break and there comes the light sound of footsteps from a young visitor. You can tell he is a tourist through the curious expression on his face. He was looking at the architecture of the building, pointing his camera towards the intriguing patterns and designs.

He was also tired from the morning walk and he was looking for a place to rest his feet. Downtown Moscow is dotted with café which opens for 24 hours. He came up to a corner café, looked at the outside menu and counted his money in his pocket. Looking through the big glass window he can see a young girl getting ready for the day’s activity.

She must be working through the night, the poor soul. You could see the tired expression on her face. There she goes again, it is the 3rd time she is rubbing her eyes to clear away the monotony. She turned and she noticed the traveller. She smiled. A smile that was mixed in with a kind of shyness, an innocent kind of shyness like the ones you meet with your first puppy love.


She got eyes like an angel. The eyes can touch the inside of your soul. She has such slender fingers, fingers that can be so neat and well proportioned. She must be an artist working to pay her way through college. Look at the complexion on her face. The milky smooth skin looks so delicate that commands you to look at her with admiration. She is working so hard. She is looking at me, again, that look and a bursting smile that can melt anyone’s heart.


What a lovely boy. He has this innocent look and yet his sight cannot cover the passion lies within. He must be a stranger in town. He has this little boy loss air around him. He must have a good sense of humour. You can tell from the smirk on his lips. Is he smiling at me? What am I going to do if he comes in and talk to me? Should I answer or should I ignore him? There he smiles again.

The next day, the young man showed up in front of the café in the morning. He passed his smile and exchange for the same warm salute from the girl. Nothing was said. He was scared and too shy to go in. The girl was waiting and she keeps sneaking looks at him.

The third day, he has to make up his mind and do something if he wants to know the girl. He is leaving Moscow the next morning. He looked, he stared. He circled around looking for the simple courage to approach his angel. She was shooting encouraging smiles his way. She was also too shy to make the approach or to invite him in for a coffee to break the ice. 

He left Moscow with a wonderful image of the girl he would like to know. He might have left his future in Moscow.          She was disappointed. He stopped to come. Was he just an imagination?  She also might have witness her future walking away with the young man.

Thirty years later, the same street corner, the same building, the same café, the young man has approached his middle age. He came back to Moscow to reminisce the memory of a perfect woman who he might once have a future with.           

The young girl, married with children, will break into deep thought of a young boy she felt so close to and the sweetness of a dream which almost happened.

President David’s Choice –A Steak Well Cooked

There are ways to ensure a steak is cooked well.

Steaks need to be marinated before they are cooked.

It does not matter what kind of marinade you choose. The main idea is to use the marinade to loosen the tissue of the piece of meat. The most commonly used ingredient is oil. You can use salad oil, olive oil, peanut oil or any kind of oil you desire. If you have a meat tenderizer (the device looks like a brush with retractable needles). You can break down the tissue by perforation. Then rub the oil on your steak with your garlic, pepper, chilli pepper, crushed basil, oregano, onion powder, soya sauce, tobacco, frank’s hot sauce, Worchestershire sauce and other exotic spices you can image. One word of caution, do not add salt at this stage. Salt will draw the moisture out of the steak resulting dryness. When it is done, let the marinade work for at least an hour.

Your grill has to be hot enough that you cannot put your hand over it for more than 5 to 10 seconds. By all means pre-heat your grill. If you are using a BBQ, watch out for the ash white color on the grill.

Familiarize the softness of the steak to the touch. Generally speaking, the doneness of the meat is in direct proportion to its softness to the touch. When the meat is well done, they are stiffer. If you close your thumb and your index finger of your left hand, you will see a bulge. Then you can use your right hand index finger to feel the degree of softness of that bulge by touching around it. Identify this softness. This degree of this softness can be compared with the doneness of the steak on your grill.

Patience will yield a great product. Once your steak hits the grill, let it sit there untouched for at least 1 or 2 minutes. Do not move the steak all over the grill hoping they will cook faster. You should move the steak 4 times during the whole cooking process. You place the steak on the grill, you turn the steak 90 degrees to get the cross hatch mark, then you flip the steak onto the reverse side and then cross hatch again.

During all these times, the steak should remain relatively stationary. You determine the doneness of the steak through finger touch. For a medium rare steak, it should take 4 minutes on each side the most. There is no identical cook equipment in the world. You need to test and find out the best timing for yourself.

Have a little brush and a container of soft butter standing by. Brush the steak with some clarified butter before serving. During this time, you can add your steak spices on top of the steak before you call it finished. The steak spice should have salt in it and that would give your steak all the flavour it desires.

“A steak is a definite tool to carve through a man’s heart.
A mean steak grants you the throne to a submissive male.
Ladies, work your magic.” … DW

President David’s Choice — Steak


Most people are confused about the kind of steak they purchase. The above diagram would serve as a guide line to demystify some of the names of steaks.

As a general rule, the muscle that got more exercise would be tougher in texture. The front of the animal would get more exercise than the hind side of the animal and consequently the meat from the front of the steer will be tougher.

Chuck steaks are sometimes called clouds. The fore limbs of the steer perform most of the supporting work and they receive a lot more exercise. The meat texture will be a lot tighter. Intensity and fat bring out more flavour. Meat like this should be cooked slow and with steam or water moisture. Braising is a perfect way. Briskets are mainly smoked and they produce wonderful corn beef.

What we should be concentrated on should be the meat from the sirloin section. It is easy to remember sur = after. So sirloin is the part after the loin. From this section we get the T-bones, Porterhouse steaks. Tenderloin is a straight piece of meat that does not contain much marble (fatty tissue) and you have to pay attention when you are cooking them. Thus you would have bacon wrapped tenderloin to allow fat from the bacon to compensate the dryness.

Personally I believe people have the absolute right to decide their taste. There are people who love blade steak and sirloin tips for they love the bite of meat. Other would not be satisfied unless the steak is fork tender. So, do not listen to any food critic or follow the food show host to the T. There is no definite recipe. The French did it the best. All the ingredients in a recipe are general guide-lines. They should be modified to your own liking.

To be continued, “A Steak Well Cooked”