A Simple Pasta Dish

An experimental dish with few ingredients, less preparation and cooking time.


Spaghetti or any pasta you like

Ground beef
Garlic cloves
Basil leaves

How to:

Cook pasta per package directions.
Mince garlic cloves (the more, the better). Cube the tomatoes.
Chop the basil leaves finely (but dried basil leaves will also do the trick, again the more, the better.)

Braise the beef in a pan for a few minutes. When it oils, set it aside and throw in the minced garlic. Mix.

Add remaining ingredients, cover and let cook for a few minutes. Serve over hot pasta plus garlic bread.



Side dish: Words for the day
Tomato/es (n): Tomate/n
Basil (n) : Basilikum
Garlic (n): Knoblauch
Ground beef: Hackfleisch (Germany), Faschiertes fleisch(Austria)


Umami, The fifth taste (A.k.a. MSG)

Our tongue has been used to foods that are sweet, salty, bitter, sour and also spicy. We even learned that our tongue has different areas of taste maps. Technically, there were only 4 (spicy being a sensation) but a fifth taste emerged, referred to as Umami, Japanese for 'beautiful flavor' or 'good taste.'

Umami taste can be found in many foods such as walnuts, grapes, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, seaweed and parmesan cheese. But the most common we are familiar of is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) or Vetsin. It is also in soy sauce, fish sauce and ketchup.

In 1907, Professor Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo Imperial University started his experiments regarding the taste apart from the 4 common flavors known to man. He knew that umami can be tasted in dashi stock (soup out of kelp which is used as base for many Japanese dishes). Prof. Ikeda extracted glutamic acid (glutamate) from the konbu broth, crystallized it and called it 'umami,' coined from the Japanese word umai (delicious).

(photo and other info courtesy of http://www.glutamate.org/media/discovery_of_glutamate.asp)

Contrary to popular belief that MSG is unhealthy or full of chemicals, glutamate is in fact an amino acid which plays an important role in the body's metabolism. MSG enhances the flavor of food, so if raw food contains saltiness and you added MSG, it becomes saltier naturally. No need for salt which contains 1/3 more of sodium, a mineral linked to certain health risks.

Nutritionists recommend that we eat foods that are low on fat and sodium, that means less salt...so next time you cook consider omitting salt, don't worry that food will taste bland, all you need is a dash of MSG!


Beef, broccoli and mushroom

Beef, Broccoli and Mushroom

When cooking dishes, I keep in mind that the kids will like it best. This dish is a hit because soft mushroom is Alexie's fave while brocolli is the veggie that Charlie eats most. As for Daniel, well he eats almost anything (lol), so this is for him too.

Mushroom buttons
Broccoli head
Soy sauce
Oyster sauce

How to:

1. Cut the beef into cubes. Braise them for a few minutes. Add a little water and some soy sauce afterwards and leave in the pan on low heat.

2. Peel and chop the onions, cut mushrooms and brocolli into serving sizes.

3. . Throw in the onions and let them cook, leaving the onions with the beef will allow it to be tender faster.

4. Put then the veggies and season with pepper, add oyster sauce and some more water, cover. Turn off the stove as the veggies get crispy-cooked because of the heat. Best served when the beef are really tender almost falling off...


Side dish: Word for the day

Mushroom(n): Champignon (cham-pi-nyon)


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