No substitutions allowed!

Tisk tisk.

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.

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2 thoughts on “No substitutions allowed!

    • Well, this particular substitution sure didn’t! But I would like to go on believing that’s how some of the world’s greatest recipes came about. 😉

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