Well….It’s not all that bad. Just don’t ask me to read or write, or conduct a mature and intelligent conversation (finance, politics, technology…none of that) in Spanish, and I’ll be fine. Unfortunately, there are recipes I would like to try that aren’t in English. And this has lead to some interesting discoveries. Let me explain….
Not too long ago, my husband and I went to La Santaneca, my favorite Salvadorean restaurant. To be fair and honest, I haven’t been to too many. But, this is the one I grew up on so I’m rather fond of it for reasons beyond the taste of the food. Somehow, I had let nearly a year pass since my previous visit. And so, I felt compelled to order all me favorites. (“ME” what? hehehe…I kinda sound like a pirate. I meant to say “my favorites” sorry.)
Pan Con Pavo (bread with turkey aka turkey sandwich- but it also comes with a special gravy ‘n’ stuff), Yuca frita con chicharron, (fried yuca and pork), Platanos Fritos con frijoles y crema (fried plantains with cream beans and cream – similar to sour cream), and of course a Pupusa! That’s what I ordered.
My husband ordered 3 Pupusas.
Oh and we each ordered a Tamrindo Grande (Large tamarind water).
We probably should have sat at a larger table.
Needless to say, I was full after dinner. And that’s when I sadly remembered that the Salvadorian pastry shop Rico Pan (Yummy Bread) was just down the block on the corner. Ooooooo I wanted some semita alta (tall….. semita?). But at the same time, I really didn’t…..soooo full! I simply asked my husband to drive slowly as we passed the bakery’s window so I could stare longingly.
I decided I would simply go online, do some research, and make my own seminta alta. Easier said than done. First, the recipes I found seemed to all be for semita pacha (flat…..semita) Which in my opinion, can often taste like two sheets or sugary cardboard with a pineapple preserve filling – very dry. Occasionally, you may encounter one that isn’t cardboard like, but actually enjoyable. Semita alta on the other hand, has a tall fairly moist cake that accompanies the pineapple preserve between the sheets of cardboard (just to be clear, its not actual cardboard).
Now, I never encountered semita alta until I was already an adult. As a kid, all semita was semita pacha. I’m not sure when the better one came along. Perhaps I wasn’t the only one who felt semita had a cardboard like texture. Or, my family was hiding it from me (not cool).
Now problem number 2 is that most of the recipes for semita (despite not being for the kind of semita I wanted) are not in English. So, I struggled to read through them. And well….deciphering the ingredients was more challenging than I thought it would be. But, despite my overly literal translations, I think I got some of it figured out
- harina fuerte (strong flour) = bread flour
- harina suave (soft flour) = pastry flour
- Royal (royal) = Royal brand baking powder
- Levadura -la que usan en las panederias (leavener that they use in bakeries)= yeast – in what form?…I don’t know.
Now it took quite a bit of time for me to figure that much out. So, I tried looking for semita recipes in English. And the ones I found….they were…well most obviously translated. Some of them called for “soft flour,” “strong flour,” “integral flour” HUH???!!!! and the use of a “mixing robot” hmmmm……are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Well, It looks like they do exist in real life….
So, I guess I’ll just put making semita on the back burner for now. At least until I get my hands on my own mixing robot. (They couldn’t have meant electric mixer or anything. right?)