Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No substitution for Dots!

So, as of late I have really been channeling my inner grown-up. I'm 27, it's about damn time. I've been trying to keep the house clean and more importantly, I now cook. Everything I have made in the past, let's say 10 months? has come out wonderfully, much to the surprise and delight of my family and friends...until last night. When I went off-recipe. 

Now for a little background information: 

In my cooking I've never really felt it was necessary to learn how many teaspoons made up a tablespoon, or really what can be substituted for what. If a recipe tells me that I need 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt, I'll measure it out exactly, no throwing in salt all willy-nilly; that's how I wake up with puffy eyes and a dry mouth. Pretty much the only item that I will "eye-ball" when cooking is olive oil, because I love it and in my opinion, I've never used too much. 

Last January I started the South Beach diet and fell in love with quite a few of the recipes. I found it was a very successful regimen for me: it was easy, I lost a ton of weight, and so I stuck to it for quite awhile...until I became so comfortable in my relationship and in my kitchen that I just started eating pretty much whatever I wanted. So now super happy, but 12 lbs heavier (oops), I'm looking back at the healthier recipes in my repertoire. We both are. Well, I'm making them and Will's eating them, but whatever. (Side-note: So help me, he'd better not start losing weight before I do or I may start slipping heavy cream into his portions. What?)

This is the first time I've made this chili in 2011 and I was so excited for it. So of course, being me, I follow the ingredients to the letter (and I realized I have it almost memorized due to how many times I made it in the first few months of 2010). So as I'm double checking the recipe, I find I do not have 1 tablespoon of chili powder. I don't have any. Well, dammit. I was flustered. I hate having to leave something out due to my own oversight. Aha! I'll substitute something! I know! Cayenne pepper! Yes, that has a kick! It will be delightful. Knowing that cayenne has a bit more of a bite than chili powder, I knocked it down to 1 teaspoon instead. 


Clearly I was wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. My mouth is still slightly burning from my lunch leftovers. I think it actually got hotter over night. I even added greek yogurt to it, trying in any way possible to cut the heat. I succeeded...sort of. I am not a huge fan of things being hot just to be hot. And this chili...well it's almost there. I could kick myself. But the chili already did that for the throat.

Needless to say, Will will be getting all of the leftovers.

Personal lesson learned: stick to the recipe. Now, go forth and make this chili! But don't use cayenne. And if you do? Use 1/4 of a teaspoon (according to Tina. Since I no longer trust myself.).



  1. I "wing" it a lot with recipes, but I've had them turn out HORRIBLE as a result - not all, mind you, but enough to know that I need to follow instructions. I'm excited to try this chili - looks yummy!

  2. Oh, Dorothy. I love you for this.

  3. Ugh. I have been there. Since getting married I have tried to start cooking. I was feeling very confident and eyeballed the amount of cumin needed for a recipe and the salmon ended up tasting like feet. TERRIBLE!

  4. I love how you started this blog entry. I'm 29 and I've recently decided to "own" being a grown up! Yikes. More cooking, fewer Trader Joe's frozen dinners. It's an adventure, isn't it!?