When GOOD Recipes Turn out BAD

It doesn't happen very often, but every once in a while you find a recipe from a cookbook or online that looks terrific and it just comes out BAD.

Not that is was your fault, you followed the directions exactly and bought the best ingredients, but it was just lousy. All that hard work for nothing, not to mention the price of the ingredients.

Before I choose a recipe I always read reviews from people who have made it so I know it is tried and true. I never make anything less than a 5 star rating.

The nice thing about using recipes from food blogs is that you really get an honest opinion from the blogger, usually a home cook, like me, who has tested it out on her/his friends and family before posting the recipe and finished product.

I have been looking for healthier lower fat recipes lately (you wouldn't know it from the mac n cheese and all the cakes I made this month!), and was browsing Serious Eats and found this simple, inexpensive, easy weeknight side dish. The title of the post was "Eating for $8."

I followed the recipe exactly, however, mine came out more like a soup, not looking like the nice mashed potato consistency that the original recipe showed.
What did I do wrong? Nada. It's just one of those things.

Here is the original photo of the pureed chickpeas......(how I hoped it would turn out).

and here is mine, a bland gop of ceci soup.

For the crispy shallots
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
Vegetable oil for deep-frying

For the puree
1 15.5-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Make the crispy shallots: Place the shallots in a small saucepan and cover with vegetable oil. On low heat, bring oil to a simmer. Maintain a low, steady heat until shallots are golden brown, then remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain.

2. Make the puree: Place the chickpeas, water, olive oil and ground cumin in a food processor or blender. Blend until texture is creamy and uniform, adding more water if necessary, 1 tablespoon at a time. Transfer to a saucepan over a low flame and heat through. Season to taste.

3. Serve puree sprinkled with crispy shallots. If desired, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

The cumin gave the chickpeas an odd taste and the only redeeming flavor was the delicious fried shallots, which would be amazing on just about anything. To which my husband asked "can you please put these on more things?".

Ok, enough complaining for one day.

What have you made that didn't come out like you thought it would? Do tell.

*a note on 1/16: I received an email from the author of the recipe who retested the recipe and this is what it should look like. I still can't figure out what I did wrong, perhaps it was the brand of chickpeas used. Thanks!


Patsyk said…
I stopped by to look for your crustless quiche recipe... and I found this post! Yikes! I hate when things like that happen... sometimes it just isn't meant to be.
That just stinks. I have done some baking where things have come out terrible but then again it could have been my baking skills. I wonder if there was a misprint and it should of been 2 cans of chickpeas? It sounds like a lot of water for one can.
did you put the whole 1/4 cup of water right away? I make hummus all the time - this seems very similar....as a soup it looks pretty good to me.
kat said…
Oh, I have too many things turn out wrong to even remember specific ones. It's so frustrating when it happens
Maria said…
Sorry it didn't turn out like you planned, we all have this happen!!
Lisa and I once saw a recipe for a vegetarian brunswick stew that looked good. The stew was inedible. Yuck! - John
LaDue & Crew said…
Funny you should ask. Hubby wanted a blueberry pie for Christmas. I have a fantastic recipe, but for some reason I thought there had to be a better one out there. I ended up using a recipe from Martha Stewarts site, except it was her brothers recipe. I followed it to the T and it came out like soup and the flavor was just not happening. In the beginning I knew I needed to add a bit more flour, as some of the berries were larger, so I added an extra 2 Tbs. After a few slices were tried I even carefully pulled all the filling out and tried to thicken it up, then put it back in the pie shell. But it was too far gone. It was so disappointing. Blueberries are expensive, as well as butter for the crust!
StaceyEsq said…
Morning, Stacey! What a great topic for discussion!

Nora Ephron, the multi-talented writer/director, includes a wonderful recipe in her thinly-veiled autobiography, "Heartburn," for bread pudding that she obtained from Chez Helene's in New Orleans. I couldn't wait to try it and was incredibly disappointed when it turned out like soggy (and not very tasty) tiramisu.

I tried to make the recipe years ago when I wasn't very adept in the kitchen, so I think I might try to make it again. I have found that recipes that used to seem very complicated/difficult are now a breeze!

Enjoy the snow!

Bob said…
Man, I hate that! I had it happen recently with a quiche crust. That was so very disappointing.
Pam said…
This happens to all of us. I just made a soup that turned out looking like mush. UGH.
Anonymous said…
Oh-oh. I had a very disappointing mocha brownie experience this week, I relate to your post... I suspect there is some kind of typo in the recipe. Like the extra water. Not that you would want to make it again to check :-)
SarahB said…
Alfred Portale's Coq au vin. It took 2 DAYS to make, a million steps and tasted bland. I have made better Coq au Vin in 45 minutes!
Anonymous said…
Oh I've had plenty of things that haven't worked out. A couple of months back I found a recipe for apple jellies that looked divine. I followed the instructions to a T but it became clear after a while that these babies were just never going to set. As to why? who knows - there was probably something that the recipe didn't capture vis a vis the type of apple, stage of ripeness, level of pectin or somesuch. I didn't worry too much about it, though, but just rebranded the mixture as apple butter and moved on!
Anonymous said…
My semolina ravioli turned out horribly last weekend!! Like biting into pieces of cardboard. So much work went into them, too. Pfffft.
Giff said…
I just made the spinach, ricotta and meat lasagna from the Jan Gourmet mag -- followed recipe quite closely and was very disappointed with results. It was dry and the top layer was poorly thought out. A lot of good flavors in there, of course, so it's not like it was inedible, but it could be so much better.
Chef E said…
hey Stacey...I would love to follow this blog, do you have a 'follow this blog' button on here, maybe I did not go down far enough?

This sounds great! Spud is right, I am working on making sure if I post a recipe I mention to the tee instructions, and possible things I might have done differently...this look good.

I was wondering, did you do a Jersey gathering already? Deborah from JB said she got an invite, but there are people asking me if we could do one in March or so...Thanks for this recipe!
~m said…
i can't make gravy... but i assume that's my fault.
Karen said…
Well it looks like it turned out to be a tasty soup even though it's not what the recipe was supposed to be!
kaye said…
OH NO!! What a horrible experience. I can completely relate to your post, since I just made my own birthday cake yesterday and it turned out SO NOT how I expected. It required a homemade wet caramel (did you know there is wet and dry caramel making processes??)that didn't turn out the first two times and not really even the third time but I used it anyway...grrr. Then the frosting was WAY too sweet and I think I made it too thin as well. Okay, maybe some of the mistakes were my own and not the recipes but I hate it when you expect a recipe to turn out a certain way and then it so does not!
Good luck on future recipes!
*Hugs* Sorry it came out wrong. I hate it when that happens. My recipes tend to fail more with desserts. Cookies and custards and caramels have a strong tendency to not be the right consistency for me.
Anonymous said…
That is strange. I hate when something ends up disappointing. I wonder if it was the chickpeas you used? I know I've had to vary the amount of liquid I add based on the brand because some of them are bigger and more watery than others. I really like the Whole Foods organic house brand. The peas are small and firm, so they don't disintegrate when you cook them.
I know your dissapointed,and your "faux mashed potato's didn't turn out, but honestly, your "soup" looks delicious!!
Anonymous said…
I think I'm confused at what the recipe is supposed to be? What is it? Is it a puree that's supposed to hold together? Like a side dish...argh now I'm curious or lame!
Melissa said…
I posted a short while back about the cover recipe from October's Bon Appetit and how it was expensive and came out really badly. Ugh. Hate that.

You seem to take it in stride though. :)
RecipeGirl said…
Ug- that's too bad. :(

I recently tried a Martha Stewart soup recipe (you would think you could trust anything Martha), and it was just plain icky.

Sometimes I think that if magazines happen to get a good photograph of something, they'll go ahead and publish the recipe anyways even if it's just 'okay.'

Thx for your support of my healthy journey :)
Michele Humes said…
Hi Stacey,

I'm the author of the chickpea puree recipe. I take recipe testing very seriously--so seriously, in fact, that I retested the dish right after I read this post.

Just to be sure I wasn't making subconscious adjustments, I called up a friend, sent her the recipe, and made sure she took a photo of the finished dish.


I'm sorry it didn't work out for you, and if there is something unclear in the instructions, I would appreciate your feedback.
tavolini said…
Probably just needed less water--my hummus has gotten quite soupy for the same reason!

You are smart to only do the 5 star recipes--I have made some AWFUL soups from allrecipes. Sometimes I wonder if the reviewers actually made the dish or are just guessing ;)