“I really need to include a section for ‘Ingredients I Don’t Have’ in these blog posts. It’s becoming a thing.”

I said this to Laura as we were talking on the phone while I was trying to cook. She was driving home from a long day of #teacherlife and I had just returned from a trip to Wholefoods. I went to Wholefoods specifically to gather ingredients for Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime, and Green Chile (from the Plenty cookbook) and still came away light-handed.

Huh.

I think maybe I don’t like to food shop.

Or maybe it’s that I’m easily distracted by packages of vegan GMO-free marshmallows with bow-tie-wearing-cartoon-marshmallow-dudes and delightfully-emphatic-orange-haired-adolescent-cartoon-girls pictured on them:

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7Non-Bone Char Sugar! From Chicago! And perfect for camping!

These tumid little puffs caught my eye while I was scouring the baking aisle for cardamom pods after realizing that I had no idea what a cardamom pod looked like or whether Wholefoods sold them.  Google was helpful in demonstrating what I was actually looking for, but was unable to tell me where I could find them. Sometimes asking a real-life human for help is hard.

5FYI: they are located in the Indian spice section. I found them while I was looking for chick peas. Random and racist.

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Also: who runs out of chick peas? Seriously!

(Also, also: Remember that time someone invented an app that allows you to select your local grocery store and then type an item to find its location in  said store instead of wandering around said store for hours/days/months looking for said item? I’m not the only one suffering from this first-world problem. Get on it, tech assholes. We are waiting.)

As previously stated, I decided to make Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime, and Green Chile for dinner two nights ago. I’m not going to share the recipe here (get the book, it’s so pretty!), but will say that I chose to make this specific dish because I thought it would be super simple.

It was.

Except for when the recipe called for sliced lime.

3The above is my attempt at “standing each lime on a chopping board and cutting down the sides of the fruit, following its natural curves, removing the skin and white pith” and trying to “quarter the limes from top to bottom, and cutting each quarter into thin slices, about 1/8 inch thick.”

Close enough?

The recipe also said to “place the cardamom pods into a mortar and work with a pestle to get the seeds out of the pods”. Welp, considering the fact that I didn’t own a whisk until a few weeks ago, that certainly was not going to happen. Even if I did miraculously own a mortar and pestle, I didn’t buy the cardamom pods because 1. $12.99 for a bag of alien-esque spices seemed ridiculous and 2. I had powdered cardamom at home (or so I thought).

In addition to zero cardamom (I substituted cinnamon), I was one lime short and couldn’t find tahini (nor was I able to locate bulk sesame seeds to make my own). I also decided to substitute sweet potatoes for butternut squash and goat kefir for Greek yogurt. Basically, I was making something totally different.

The end result? This delicious little disaster:

2Don’t let the (no comment) sauce fool you–it was quite tasty. Such savory, tangy and spicy goodness!

Just watch out for the jalapeños.

Until next time,
Rachel