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Missing ONE ingredient

Scoutmaster Jan 21, 2013 12:11 PM

Don'tcha just hate it when you're all set to make something or the mood suddenly strikes you and you realize you're missing one simple ingredient for which there is no substitution. :<(

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  1. ttoommyy RE: Scoutmaster Jan 21, 2013 12:38 PM

    There's ALWAYS a substitution...or one can just leave it out.

    Now that I've said that, let the debate begin!

    3 Replies
    1. re: ttoommyy
      Babyducks RE: ttoommyy Jan 22, 2013 03:30 PM

      Made a pumpkin pie once and didn't realize I didn't have ground cloves. Worst pie ever!

      1. re: Babyducks
        ttoommyy RE: Babyducks Jan 23, 2013 07:10 AM

        Really? I guess it just has to do with personal taste. I can take or leave cloves. I think I wouid be fine with a pumpkin pie that had just cinnamon, ground ginger and nutmeg.

        1. re: ttoommyy
          Babyducks RE: ttoommyy Jan 23, 2013 02:15 PM

          I didn't think it would make that much difference either, however the pie just tasted flat.

    2. scubadoo97 RE: Scoutmaster Jan 21, 2013 12:40 PM

      Depends if you can get by without it. Sometimes yes and sometimes no

      1. foodieX2 RE: Scoutmaster Jan 21, 2013 12:41 PM

        It really depends on the dish but there is rarely things I don't make because I am missing one thing.

        Unless it was flour and I was making bread I can usually make do.

        Why not tell us the dish and what you are missing as a challenge?

        1. e
          EngineerChic RE: Scoutmaster Jan 21, 2013 12:54 PM

          Yes, I do hate that. And sometimes it is something that you really HAVE to have. Like ...

          Shortbread cookies - but no butter in house
          Beef Stew - but no onions in the house (or garlic)
          Chili - but you're out of chili powder

          This is why I love having a big freezer, but even so, it doesn't work for everything. I mean, I can be craving a spinach salad and that freezer isn't going to help me have spinach on hand (at least not spinach that I'd put in a salad).

          1. i
            INDIANRIVERFL RE: Scoutmaster Jan 21, 2013 01:01 PM

            Turmeric when I am making a curry.

            Tarragon when I am cooking fish.

            And for me, there are no substitutes for bacon and butter.

            1. alliegator RE: Scoutmaster Jan 21, 2013 01:03 PM

              I'm a lucky duck in that a Super Target is about 2 minutes from my abode. If I'm missing something, I'll just go grab it or a substitute.

              1 Reply
              1. re: alliegator
                Perilagu Khan RE: alliegator Jan 21, 2013 01:06 PM

                Yeah, there's a store close by. It's still a bit of a pain, but not a menu-scrapper.

              2. m
                masha RE: Scoutmaster Jan 21, 2013 01:04 PM

                Isn't that what neighbors are for? Not to borrow 5 lbs of potatoes or a porterhouse steak, but if it's just an onion or a stick of butter, I'd borrow one from a neighbor.

                (Growing up it seemed like we were always 1 egg short when we went to bake cookies. The neighbor who typically loaned us the egg was repaid with interest -- i.e., not just the return of the egg, but also some of the cookies.)

                7 Replies
                1. re: masha
                  Perilagu Khan RE: masha Jan 21, 2013 01:07 PM

                  Right. Fortunately, we live in a neighborhood where this marker of civil society remains intact.

                  1. re: masha
                    alliegator RE: masha Jan 21, 2013 01:10 PM

                    I'll use this method, too. I'm in a condo complex where everyone knows everyone because we're thisclosetoeachother. I tend to be fresh herb central because it's plain to see on my terrace. But a bottle of good beer gets you a handful of whatever you need.

                    1. re: alliegator
                      1sweetpea RE: alliegator Jan 21, 2013 01:42 PM

                      I hate it when I think I have all the ingredients to make something great, but then discover that the herb(s) called for are dried up or soggy in my fridge, or the last onion in the house looks good from the outside but is mush inside. On the weekend I was all set to make a West African chicken stew with peanut butter. I opened up my jar of roasted, unsalted peanuts that I had been storing in the fridge. They smelled rancid. Had to run out for fresh peanuts. Grrr. The most annoying thing was that once the meal was cooked, the chopped peanuts as garnish were totally unnecessary. The stew on its own had great eye appeal. Yes, the garnish was pretty, but made no difference in taste.

                      1. re: 1sweetpea
                        ttoommyy RE: 1sweetpea Jan 21, 2013 01:51 PM

                        "The most annoying thing was that once the meal was cooked, the chopped peanuts as garnish were totally unnecessary. The stew on its own had great eye appeal. Yes, the garnish was pretty, but made no difference in taste."

                        Which is exactly why unless it is an integral part of a dish (no flour and I am making a cake or no ground beef and I want a beef hamburger, for example) I don't fret. I just either substitute something similar or leave it out all together.

                        1. re: 1sweetpea
                          alliegator RE: 1sweetpea Jan 21, 2013 02:00 PM

                          Hmmm, I'm intrigued by the chicken stew, please tell me more :)
                          I grow the herbs for that simple reason. When you need them, they've turned to sludge. I'm really into Thai and Vietnamese cooking. The herbs are not so much garnish, but part of the recipe. And the terrace jungle was born. I live in Texas, so the climate is ideal. No peanuts out there, though :)

                        2. re: alliegator
                          cheesecake17 RE: alliegator Jan 21, 2013 04:15 PM

                          Usually there's a substitute. But if not I've got great neighbors and a few stores down the street. I'm a very big list maker and menu planner so I usually have what I need.

                        3. re: masha
                          iL Divo RE: masha Jan 24, 2013 01:34 PM



                        4. g
                          GH1618 RE: Scoutmaster Jan 21, 2013 01:46 PM

                          No, because if it's a simple ingredient, I'll dash over to the supermarket to get it.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: GH1618
                            Scoutmaster RE: GH1618 Jan 21, 2013 08:23 PM

                            Today I wanted to make a savory cheesecake (see Giada's red pepper cheesecake). Wouldn't ya know it, I'm out of eggs, which never happens, but I didn't pass my egg lady's house this weekend. Neighbors are not close by and the nearest grocery store is about 5 miles.

                            1. re: Scoutmaster
                              GH1618 RE: Scoutmaster Jan 21, 2013 09:04 PM

                              The less convenient the shopping, the more important the planning. I try never to run out of my preferred brand of eggs myself, but sometimes it happens. Worse things can happen is my outlook.

                          2. jmcarthur8 RE: Scoutmaster Jan 21, 2013 08:43 PM

                            Cilantro. If I am out of cilantro, my Mexican-ish dishes just don't have the right oomph. So, it's go to the store (which is only a 5 minute drive), or make something else.
                            Or send the hubster, who loves running errands (bless his heart).

                            1. Musie RE: Scoutmaster Jan 22, 2013 05:24 AM

                              I'm quite often one egg short, and this usually happens on one of those nights where I just get the urge to bake something. I live in an isolated area, the local shop is closed by 8 and it's a little late to be bothering neighbours. So I substitute, and so far without any poor results.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Musie
                                hyacinthgirl RE: Musie Jan 22, 2013 12:55 PM

                                I would have no idea how to substitute for an egg in a baked good! That's very impressive to me. What do you do?

                                1. re: hyacinthgirl
                                  firecooked RE: hyacinthgirl Jan 24, 2013 08:17 AM

                                  Depends on what kind of baked good, but for muffins I just add a little more liquid and a little more fat to replace 1 of the 2 eggs (an egg is about 2 oz of liquid).

                              2. Sooeygun RE: Scoutmaster Jan 22, 2013 05:56 AM

                                Missing one (well, part of one) ingredient was how I 'invented' my favourite cookies. Didn't have as much peanut butter as called for in the recipe for peanut butter cookies, so added some extra butter and a package of chopped peanuts.

                                Now I add the full pb amount AND the chopped peanuts and choc chunks.

                                1. p
                                  Puffin3 RE: Scoutmaster Jan 22, 2013 06:09 AM

                                  If I'm making 'BB' and I forgot to pick up the chuck I don't think I'd bother. It's a matter of how important the ingredient is to the dish right? No white pepper?

                                  1. c
                                    cgarner RE: Scoutmaster Jan 22, 2013 06:11 AM

                                    I know this feeling well:

                                    I had cleaned out the spice cabinet ditching stuff that hadn’t been used and realized that both my baking powder and baking soda were kinda old and tossed them too.
                                    Forgot to replace them at my next shopping trip
                                    Then promised my daughter blueberry muffins for her birthday
                                    Ya… I don’t have a recipe for muffins with out EITHER baking soda or baking powder… so off to the store I went
                                    (not my idea of a relaxing Sunday morning)

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: cgarner
                                      cheesecake17 RE: cgarner Jan 22, 2013 06:18 AM

                                      I recently tossed my baking powder and soda. Was planning to make a cake, realized I didn't have any. Ran to the store, didn't but either one in the basket till husband called and asked if I bought everything on the list!

                                      1. re: cgarner
                                        sciencediet RE: cgarner Jan 24, 2013 12:30 PM

                                        Just for future reference (not that this will ever happen again), they do exist---look up kosher for passover muffins. Lots of eggs, and of course you could use regular flour instead of cake meal and potato starch. They are pretty heavy, though.

                                      2. hyacinthgirl RE: Scoutmaster Jan 22, 2013 12:59 PM

                                        This happens to me all the time with spices I swore I had, but never seem to be there when I go to add them to the dish. In those instances, I'm the queen of finding some substitution and that may well mean changing the flavor profile of the dish, but it often makes for "I will never not add this new spice again!" discoveries.

                                        It has also led to me grabbing apples and making a quick applesauce to use in place of the butter I thought we had but didn't for a sweet bread I was baking.

                                        I think I'm with ttoommyy, there's alwys a substitution. Except I don't always know what that is....

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: hyacinthgirl
                                          pine time RE: hyacinthgirl Jan 23, 2013 07:24 AM

                                          When we were starving student newlyweds, our food budget was maximum of $10 a week (decades ago, mid-70s). OFTEN didn't have the $$ for basic ingredients, so I improvised, too. Now I laugh that 1/2 of the recipes I tried never got a fair trial 'cause no way they tasted the way they were supposed to!

                                        2. mamachef RE: Scoutmaster Jan 23, 2013 02:48 PM

                                          In college, I had a roommate who had the habit of raiding my egg carton and leaving a dime in the egg's place, so that when I wanted to make a cake or something, I wouldn't have the proper number of eggs, but I did have a nice bright shiny dime that did absolutely nothing for me. Coupled w/ classes and exams, this was just about enough to make me homicidal, and she never understood why I got so mad about it. Needless to say, the arrangement didn't last.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: mamachef
                                            Perilagu Khan RE: mamachef Jan 23, 2013 03:13 PM

                                            I hate dime-dropping eggheads.

                                            1. re: mamachef
                                              cheesecake17 RE: mamachef Jan 23, 2013 06:38 PM

                                              Or a husband who puts away a mostly empty egg carton. I like to cut away the empty sections so I know what's left. He, apparently, doesn't.

                                              1. re: cheesecake17
                                                Perilagu Khan RE: cheesecake17 Jan 24, 2013 08:12 AM

                                                The Khantessa does that. Dashed clever of her.

                                              2. re: mamachef
                                                alliegator RE: mamachef Jan 24, 2013 10:09 AM

                                                I deeply admire the fact that you didn't take out any revenge on this blatant pilferer. On my last day in that apartment, I probably would have taken a dozen eggs into her room and launched them at whatever struck my fancy.

                                              3. JonParker RE: Scoutmaster Jan 23, 2013 03:10 PM

                                                Just this week I started to make stroganoff, and realized I was out of tarragon, which to me is an integral part of the flavor. I ended up substituting thyme, which wasn't bad. Then I realized I was out of egg noodles, and ended up serving it over elbow macaroni.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: JonParker
                                                  mamachef RE: JonParker Jan 23, 2013 03:51 PM

                                                  Oy. It's just amazing when this stuff happens, especially when it involves something you didn't buy "because you knew you had some." I did this not long ago, getting my julienne on and chopping away for a pan of fried noodles, and lo and behold I had no noodles, and no rice either. I know it doesn't seem possible, but it happened.'

                                                2. KaimukiMan RE: Scoutmaster Jan 23, 2013 10:15 PM

                                                  Reading the thread on what to spread on toast I was glad i was out of one key ingredient because I had many of the rest and the evening would have turned into a long slow delicious end to my new years resolutions. Alas, I was out of bread.

                                                  There are times I think this website should come with a warning label from the surgeon general's office.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                    hyacinthgirl RE: KaimukiMan Jan 24, 2013 12:14 PM

                                                    I tried reading it over my lunch hour so that I'd already be eating. Didn't help, just made me want to have an all day lunch.

                                                  2. iL Divo RE: Scoutmaster Jan 24, 2013 01:31 PM

                                                    yes I do hate that and it happens all too often to me.
                                                    no cake flour (and I'm making a cake)
                                                    no cream of tartar (and I'm making frosting for sugar cookies)
                                                    no baking powder (and I wanted to make biscuits)
                                                    no baking soda (and I'm making ginger snaps)
                                                    no ground nutmeg (only have whole with no rasp for gnocchi)
                                                    no cilantro (Asian meal)
                                                    no cumin (how can that even be possible?)

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