I’m taking a break from grading papers to share a brief funny story with you about something dumb I did tonight.
So tonight I made some coconut chicken soup, kind of an Asian-fusion thing. You might have seen the recipe in the latest Real Simple. My first mistake was that I bought an unidentified chili pepper. This is a terrible idea for anyone except the most heat-tolerant folks. I saw these little orange chilies at Kroger; they were in the jalapeno bin, but the sign said that the jalapenos were temporarily out of stock. I sniffed one of the chilies and thought “It doesn’t smell spicy.” I bought it, but I was actually worried that I had bought some wimpy mini bell pepper (is there such a thing?) and that my soup wouldn’t be spicy enough. Irony alert.
Tonight I cut the pepper in half as the recipe instructed, and I noted that it did smell spicy after being cut. I briefly considered seeding it, since the seeds are supposed to be the spiciest part, but the recipe didn’t say to seed it, so I didn’t. I have a bad habit of slavishly following recipes, mainly because I’m afraid to deviate.
So I threw the halved pepper in the hot pot where I was cooking the onions. Almost immediately I started coughing, just from inhaling the steam. I mean really coughing. My neighbors probably thought I was in the last stages of tuberculosis. This should have been a warning sign.
The coughing continued throughout the entire cook time of the soup (including the part where I had to stick the chicken in longer because it was still pink). Still, I never took the chili out. I took the lemongrass out, because the recipe told me to, but I didn’t take the chili out. This is called legalism.
When I finally sat down to eat the finished product, you can imagine what happened. My taste buds were singed. My nose ran. I cried. But doggone it, I was going to power through it. I grabbed a Cherry Coke Zero to cool off my mouth. And I worked on that soup for about ten minutes. (Incidentally, I came up with a good nickname for a sexy redhead while I was eating. I got a big hunk of ginger in one bite, and I said, “That’s a big hunk of ginger.”)
I finally had to give up. I was suffering. I ate all the chicken out of my bowl, but I ended up dumping out a lot of the broth. I hated to throw away all the leftovers, so I put the rest of the soup in a large container. AND I TOOK THE CHILI OUT. That’s an important detail. Later, when I was packing my lunch, I hesitantly tried a spoonful of soup. It was still really spicy, but it didn’t make me weep. So I’m going to save it and try again tomorrow. I also put a big handful of croutons in the container, hoping they would counteract some of the heat. I don’t know if croutons actually have that power, but I’m trying anyway. I do a lot of magical thinking when I’m cooking.
Back to grading papers.
So relieved for you when you FINALLY TOOK THE CHILI OUT! How did it taste the second time around?
Last night when I was packing my lunch I tried two bites. There was a definite spicy aftertaste, but it seemed significantly more edible. I haven’t had a whole second bowl yet.
[…] most popular–blog posts have simply been stories about stuff that happened to me, like when I almost choked on the fumes of some spicy soup I was cooking or when I got angry and went all Hulk in my […]