Pantry Update #13: Semolina and Farina

Terminology around foods across languages and cultures is so confusing.

In Canada, no one would know what you meant if you said “farina” which is, apparently, the English term for what I have only ever called Cream of Wheat, which is a brand name. It’s the same coarseness as what is called semolina, and I often wondered about the difference. I gather from various sources that the difference is the variety of wheat, with semolina being yellow and made from hard wheat and farina is white and made from soft wheat.

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Dry-fried salt & pepper vegetables

So. When you get salt & pepper shrimp at a restaurant, they serve it on vegetables. I have successfully made the shrimp, and I’ve made dry-fried beans, so when I realized I had onions and green pepper to stretch the few green beans I had into enough for two people, I applied my collected experience into making the vegetables they serve under salt & pepper shrimp.

It was easy. And it was glorious.

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Pantry Update #9: Fish curry

I decided to do a pantry update with just one dish, so I could write down all the details of a highly successful experiment. Although I was working without a recipe, I was following tips from the colleague who recommend the brand of fish curry masala, and cross-pollinated those tips with the instructions from the side of the box of masala. I was very happy with the result: a flavourful sauce and perfectly cooked fish.

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Grilled Greek Salad

When brainstorming dinner plans (as we drank our breakfast coffees) I said I was thinking of perhaps roasting vegetables. Fronx said he would rather have something crunchy, like a Greek salad. Vegetables and low effort was the main motivation for me suggesting roasted vegetables, so I agreed that Greek salad was also good.

But thinking about romaine lettuce reminded me of the fantastic grilled meal we’d had over at Ole’s in the summer …

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Mapo tofu

Morgan has been on a mapo tofu kick since he went to Mission Chinese when he was in San Francisco. Even before he got back from that trip, the Lucky Peach newsletter landed in his inbox, including the mapo tofu recipe from Mission Chinese!

The very tasty recipe is here:
http://luckypeach.com/recipes/mission-chinese-foods-mapo-tofu/

After sourcing all the ingredients (except the beef fat), Morgan invited me over to prepare it. We made it using a technique best described as “pair cooking”, a reference to “pair programming”. In pair programming, often one person is at the keyboard doing all of the typing, and the second person formulates and talks over ideas with the person typing.

Mapo tofu going in for a close up
Mapo tofu going in for a close up

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Kimchi Chicken Stew

Our friends Mike and Morgan made an experimental batch of kimchi which I personally found lacking the crunch of previous batches. I pumped up its fizz and flavour by keeping it closed up tight in the fridge for a week, but it was still on the soft side.

What do you do with a jar of lovingly made, perfectly tasty, but slightly underwhelming kimchi? Make a stew! Kimchi stew was something I had heard of, but never had. The closest thing I’d had was a chicken version of gamjatang, from the Korean restaurant Core, which I occasionally crave.

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