Opportunity for you to laugh at my expense

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.