There was a fabulous chili recipe I’d found online recently, and I was so excited to finally get to use it this weekend for a chili contest. I hadn’t even really noticed until I was shopping for the ingredients that this is a vegan chili (that’s right; I totally ignored the URL; I was fixated on the ingredients).

First things first: The recipe for this fabulous chocolate chili can be found at — and don’t laugh! I used to live in Las Vegas. My mind doesn’t default to “vegan” or “vegetarian” when I see “veg.” So. As usual, I wanted to put my own spin on the recipe, so I did a couple of things slightly differently than how they were written… And, actually, I did one thing a LOT differently than how it was written, though not on purpose. But we’ll get to that later.

Since this was for a charity event, I doubled the recipe. It looked something like this:

Garlic, onions, and carrots cooking down in olive oil.

I mixed it up by using several different bean types.

Aren't they beautiful?

This would have been a lot of mincing. I love modern technology....

Unsweetened chocolate; I put 1.5 times the specified amount.

Two great tastes that taste great together!

Adding the strong coffee.

Time to simmer!

I let this sit and simmer for a bit, then transferred it to a crock pot to cook for a few hours. The house smelled amazing. When I decided to taste the chili before taking it to the competition, this is what it looked like:

What I want to write here is a glowing description of the amazing wonderfulness that was this chocolate chili. Unfortunately, I cannot. I took one bite and that sucker was so hot, here is what I looked like:

Still, some people like that kind of thing, so I took the chili in, anyway. I did feel remarkably betrayed by the recipe, which didn’t even wink about being spicy. The chili DID win “spiciest,” and a couple of people really seemed to like it. Everyone else saw it as a novelty, and I don’t tend to spend as much time and effort creating novelties.

It wasn’t until I got home this afternoon that I realized what I’d done. See, the recipe calls very clearly for “2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced,” but I read it as, “2 cans chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced.” Huge, ridiculously important differentiation. D’oh!

At some point, I will make the chili again. It smelled terrific, and was so pretty. The day wasn’t a total bust, though. Michael and I ate at The Bavarian Grill, where the food was terrific as usual, but the service was lousy. They were fairly busy, but Michael postulated that perhaps we were being discriminated against because of our 1980s wear. We were headed down to a skate party featuring Dallas party band Live 80, and stinking roller-skating break dancers! I kept picturing myself trying to do some of those moves and kicking out my teeth. Fortunately, that happened to no one on our watch.