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Various Basic Trinities


heidih

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I thought I was composing a brilliant document early this morning (9am Los Angeles) when my nose told me something was up. Stepmother (there must be a DSM-5 diagnosis for her) was sauteeing onion. followed by cabbage. It drew me into the pit of various "Holy Trinities".  Mirapoix and similar. Serious Eats did a decent piece in 2014. As I get older I am appreciating the more subtle tastes of things (example zucchini) without background noise.  Your thoughts?

 

https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/05/all-about-mirepoix.html

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I've been thinking about this concept of trinities a bit lately (not the humorous diversions).  I think an interesting trinity is the Singapore/Malay version - shallots, garlic and dried shrimp.  It's the basis for quite a few dishes - including a whole category of dishes labeled "belacan" (pronounced bla-chen) which is basically a sambal made with the trinity, plus belacan (hence the name) which is shrimp paste, and chilis plus seasonings.  Tonight, I made a black pepper prawn dish that is very common in Singapore - most of the time it can be sickeningly sweet and one note, but the way it should be is the trinity, along with a lot of black pepper, maybe some curry leaves and a touch of sweet soy sauce + oyster sauce + rice wine.

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18 minutes ago, heidih said:

interesting - will explore.  Strong black pepper can be under appreciated. Dried shrimp  are in the house, 

Strong black pepper is common all over Asia. Several Central Vietnamese dishes revolve around it.

 

Soak the dried shrimp before using!

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On 6/29/2020 at 3:53 AM, liuzhou said:

Round here it's garlic, ginger and chilli.

 

I guess when I learned about, and even took cooking classes about "Chinese" cooking (as if there's any one Chinese cooking), it was always garlic, ginger and scallions.

 

Since I cook a fair amount of Spanish rice based dishes, the sofregits/sofritos are often trinities of garlic, peppers, and tomato. Surprisingly, onions are often not considered essential to paellas.

 

Italy, for me, is onion, carrots, and celery. Garlic makes an appearance when necessary, but probably less called for than Americans think (see Marcella).

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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12 minutes ago, weinoo said:

I guess when I learned about, and even took cooking classes about "Chinese" cooking (as if there's any one Chinese cooking), it was always garlic, ginger and scallions.

 

Yes, generally, but when I said "round here" I was referring to my part of China - Guangxi, Hunan, Guizhou and Sichuan. Definitely garlic, ginger and chillies, except when it's chillies, chillies and chillies.

Guangdong and Beijing can do what they like! 😂

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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13 hours ago, KennethT said:

I've been thinking about this concept of trinities a bit lately (not the humorous diversions).  I think an interesting trinity is the Singapore/Malay version - shallots, garlic and dried shrimp.  It's the basis for quite a few dishes - including a whole category of dishes labeled "belacan" (pronounced bla-chen) which is basically a sambal made with the trinity, plus belacan (hence the name) which is shrimp paste, and chilis plus seasonings.  Tonight, I made a black pepper prawn dish that is very common in Singapore - most of the time it can be sickeningly sweet and one note, but the way it should be is the trinity, along with a lot of black pepper, maybe some curry leaves and a touch of sweet soy sauce + oyster sauce + rice wine.

 

Now I am irritated that I sold Malaysian book that @Abra gave me and the one I picked up off the wire rack at grocery store in Sydney. I was "divesting". 

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On 6/29/2020 at 1:53 AM, liuzhou said:

Round here it's garlic, ginger and chilli.

 

When we lived in India, it was easy to buy garlic & ginger paste if you were a cheater, but no dish seemed to start without it.

 

My office was the floor above a great restaurant, and you could always smell the start up: Hot oil, then the blast of sautéing garlic & ginger paste. Glory.

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PastaMeshugana

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Definitely my base of soffritto is onion, carrot and celery. Italians are garlophobic, the garlic is only whole and when has a little bit of color you take it out. Sometimes my soffritto has a little pancetta in it. 

 

My other trinities are: butter, sage and pancetta if I want to dress pasta my northerner grandmother style. 

Garlic, oil and peperoncino Southern style (I never chop the garlic 😁 so we can discard it) 

Oil, garlic and anchovies is my other

scallion, ginger and chillies too

Edited by Franci (log)
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14 minutes ago, Franci said:

Definitely my base of soffritto is onion, carrot and celery. Italians are garlophobic, the garlic is only whole and when has a little bit of color you take it out. Sometimes my soffritto has a little pancetta in it. 

 

My other trinities are: butter, sage and pancetta if I want to dress pasta my northerner grandmother style. 

Garlic, oil and peperoncino Southern style (I never chop the garlic 😁 so we can discard it) 

Oil, garlic and anchovies is my other

scallion, ginger and chillies too

 


Butter, sage and pancetta sounds incredible! I’m planning some fresh pasta for tomorrow for guests, and that sounds like a lovely option. 

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PastaMeshugana

"The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd."

"What's hunger got to do with anything?" - My Father

My first Novella: The Curse of Forgetting

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6 hours ago, Franci said:

Italians are garlophobic

 

On 7/16/2020 at 1:56 PM, weinoo said:

Garlic makes an appearance when necessary, but probably less called for than Americans think (see Marcella).

 

I think that if allowed to generalize, Italian cooking avoids overwhelming flavors - be it garlic or spices.

That said, I found that in the area of Naples (maybe the rest of Campania), cooks are willing to have a potent amount of garlic, when it suits the dish. I had some delightfully unapologetically garlic-forward dishes of clams, beans and tomato sauces. Many dishes had no trace of garlic, of course.

 

Edited to add this related video which I just happened to watch. I always enjoy watching this video series.
press C after playing to turn on subtitles.

 

Edited by shain (log)

~ Shai N.

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In Ashkenazi Jewish cooking, the trinity is onion, more onion and a little garlic :P  Jokes aside, my Polish grandma and my mother both made ample use onion, both caramelized and sauteed. At some point schmaltz fell out of fashion in Israel and was mostly replaced with margarine or oil. My grandmother was an excellent cook and gardener, the dishes she made relied on fresh and flavorful vegetables (cabbage, celery and celeriac, parsley roots, carrots), herbs (parsley, celery leaves, lavage) chickens (home grown during a long period) and fish, to be used as stock or ingredients.

My Czech/Hungarian grandmother on my father's side used a trinity of poppy seeds, walnuts and apricot jam - she was more of a baker than a cook :)

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~ Shai N.

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3 hours ago, shain said:

 

I think that if allowed to generalize, Italian cooking avoids overwhelming flavors - be it garlic or spices.

That said, I found that in the area of Naples (maybe the rest of Campania), cooks are willing to have a potent amount of garlic, when it suits the dish. I had some delightfully unapologetically garlic-forward dishes of clams, beans and tomato sauces. Many dishes had no trace of garlic, of course.

 

Indeed, with two thoughts. 1. - Sage can often be a brute; it needs to be used in proper quantities. 2. Southern Italy will often not be afraid of heat from chilies ( @Franci?).

 

2 hours ago, shain said:

In Ashkenazi Jewish cooking, the trinity is onion, more onion and a little garlic :P  Jokes aside, my Polish grandma and my mother both made ample use onion, both caramelized and sauteed. At some point schmaltz fell out of fashion in Israel and was mostly replaced with margarine or oil. My grandmother was an excellent cook and gardener, the dishes she made relied on fresh and flavorful vegetables (cabbage, celery and celeriac, parsley roots, carrots), herbs (parsley, celery leaves, lavage) chickens (home grown during a long period) and fish, to be used as stock or ingredients.

 

The food of affliction. But whoever first decided that margarine was better for us than duck or chicken or goose fat, needs to be thrashed with a head of cabbage.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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1 hour ago, weinoo said:

 

Indeed, with two thoughts. 1. - Sage can often be a brute; it needs to be used in proper quantities. 2. Southern Italy will often not be afraid of heat from chilies ( @Franci?).

 

 

In my area, in Puglia, even being South, people are not used to chilies at all. My parents and extended family tolerance to chilies is to the point that I barely feel it. Some people like it but it’s a personal preference. Chilies usage is scattered, depending from the area food traditions (Calabria, Campania). 

 

4 hours ago, shain said:

 

 

I think that if allowed to generalize, Italian cooking avoids overwhelming flavors - be it garlic or spices.

That said, I found that in the area of Naples (maybe the rest of Campania), cooks are willing to have a potent amount of garlic, when it suits the dish. I had some delightfully unapologetically garlic-forward dishes of clams, beans and tomato sauces. Many dishes had no trace of garlic, of course.

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed the video, they have nice ones 😁 Yes, I think you are correct, Italians are a little like the Japanese in the sense that they want the quality and freshness of the ingredients to speak and you cannot “cover” the flavor of good ingredients overwhelming them with unnecessary spices. Definitely some part of Italy will use more garlic, but if you read 90% of the recipes, they will use the whole garlic and remove from the oil after it takes some color. I realize that even me, after many years out, I am not doing things the Italian way anymore. Sometimes I use too much soffritto in my ragù, Italians would use much much less than a foreigner will do, or onion to start a risotto, it’s barely there.  

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14 minutes ago, Franci said:

 

In my area, in Puglia, even being South, people are not used to chilies at all. My parents and extended family tolerance to chilies is to the point that I barely feel it. Some people like it but it’s a personal preference. Chilies usage is scattered, depending from the area food traditions (Calabria, Campania).   

Yeah, those are the regions I was thinking about. Not fully southern! I love the Calabrian chilies!

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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So, we're into page two of this thread and no mention of the Cajun/Creole Trinity? Onions, celery, and bell pepper. The start of many classic dishes. 

That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

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2 minutes ago, chileheadmike said:

So, we're into page two of this thread and no mention of the Cajun/Creole Trinity? Onions, c elery, and bell pepper. The start of many classic dishes. 

 

We are far too cultured and polite to mention bell peppers!

 

I apologise from.the heart of my bottom for just so doing!

 

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

"No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot"
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The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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I guess we were poor enough when I was a kid we didn't have a trinity, we had a duo -- onions and bacon grease. We grew peppers, both the hated green bells and bananas and jalapenos and some tiny little green ones that were hotter'n hell, but generally ate them either raw or pickled. Mama only rarely cooked with celery, and I don't remember there ever being garlic bulbs in the house, though there was a shaker of garlic salt or powder.

 

Don't ask. Eat it.

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I do not hate green bell peppers. In fact, I like them very much - raw and cooked, but they don’t like me anymore, so I use the more ‘mature’ red bell peppers with the celery and onion for my gumbo.

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9 hours ago, Duvel said:

I very much like peperonata, but make it not very often. Our household uses bell peppers mostly in samfaïna (which contains quite some amount, even if the English wikipedia entry suggests otherwise) and escalivada (a mix of roasted and skinned peppers and aubergines). The latter is a great topping for flatbread, sometimes with sardines added, known in Catalunya as coca de recapte
 

My personal favorite, however, is simply roasted yellow peppers (roasted until the skin is black), skinned and mixed with the best anchovies you can buy. A bit of garlic and some olive oil. Best eaten at room temperature with some bread and a good wine.

 

Yes indeed. Have had it these various ways in restaurants in Spain.

 

I think it's also (or at least peppers are also) an important ingredient in sofregit.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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16 hours ago, weinoo said:

 

I think it's also (or at least peppers are also) an important ingredient in sofregit.

 

Strangely, no. The Catalan sofregit is just comprised of tomatoes and onions (or garlic). I asked my MIL, if she knows sofregit with peppers and her answer was "you can put it, but its more of a sofrito then". So, acoording to her the Spanish sofrito might contain peppers (which contradicts some recipes I found online), but it also contains variable amounts of different onions,  carrots, celery, garlic, even herbs - so maybe it doesn't matter to have pepper in there as well 😜 

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4 hours ago, Duvel said:

 

Strangely, no. The Catalan sofregit is just comprised of tomatoes and onions (or garlic). I asked my MIL, if she knows sofregit with peppers and her answer was "you can put it, but its more of a sofrito then". So, acoording to her the Spanish sofrito might contain peppers (which contradicts some recipes I found online), but it also contains variable amounts of different onions,  carrots, celery, garlic, even herbs - so maybe it doesn't matter to have pepper in there as well 😜 

 

Yeah - the 3 or 4 or 5 books I just glanced at show bell pepper as a potential ingredient, but it's all about the onions and tomatoes. And plenty of good olive oil.

 

The first one that I see online when I googled sofregit:

 

Quote

This sofregit is the Catalan version of the classic sofrito that is the foundation of many, many authentic Spanish dishes, including the spicy sauce that anoints skewers in the photo. It’s a simple sauté of onion, tomato, and bell pepper that basically bubbles together low and slow on the stovetop until everything literally melts together.

 

 

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Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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