I mentioned last night that I had a little mishap when trying to pour quinoa out of a plastic bag. I really hoped the mess would be worth it in the end. I was using the quinoa to make a pear, quinoa, and spinach salad I found on Pinterest. In my classic fashion, I chose to make my own little alterations to the recipe, and I ended up paying for it.
I copied and pasted the ingredients from the original recipe, crossing out the items I either didn’t use or changed entirely:
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 ripe but firm pears, diced
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped 1/4 cup fresh chives
- 2 cups and 1 tbsp fat free vegetable broth
1 tbsp walnut oil 1 1/2 tbsp pomegranate vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
I’m not a fan of raw onion, so I ditched it altogether. I forgot to add chives to my grocery list, so I thought I’d make do without them. I’ve never heard of walnut oil–thus, I have no clue where one might purchase such an item. In its place, I used a teaspoon of olive oil. I cut it down to a teaspoon because I didn’t want the dish to be too oily (note to self: if it calls for a tablespoon of oil, it’s because it needs a whole effing tablespoon of oil). Lastly, I have also never heard of pomegranate vinegar. Therefore, I went with the only vinegar I own: balsamic.
Despite the changes I made, I still had confidence it would at least be edible. After all, I love everything I put in it. How could I not like it? When I dished some up for lunch today, I clung so tightly to my pride that I forced three whole bites down before I finally admitted that it was awful. Just awful. And no, I don’t think it was the recipe. It all boils down to my idiotic shortcuts–AKA “laziness.”
I need to remind myself what I’ve been told by many a decent chef: start simple. If a recipe calls for things I’ve never heard of, I need to put it in my “parking lot” of things to return to only after I’ve gained the skills that will allow me to take on new things wisely.
I have also made this vow to myself: from this moment on, I will never again make a choice to substitute and ingredient without knowing, 100%, without a doubt, that it’s not going to ruin the recipe.