Commentary: Correcting Kitchen Flops
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OOOPS!  Have you ever said that while cooking in the kitchen and you have ended up with making a mess instead of a meal? Tammy wanted some help with over spicing chili. Here are a few tips on how to handle some common kitchen flops:

 

  • Over spicing/salting soups, stews, chili, etc.-adding more liquids such as stock (beware if you have over salted- commercial stocks can be very salty), the liquid from the vegetables you are cooking alongside your dish, extra tomatoes if it’s the right kind of soup/stew, add a few pinches of brown sugar- won’t de-salt the soup but will help cover the saltiness or add chunks of raw potato and partially cook before removing. I am skeptical about this method of lowering the saltiness, though I don’t really know because I have never tried it.  When I have over salted a soup I either add more stock or tomatoes.
     

  • Over spicing/salting sauces- I have this as a separate tip from soups and stews because a sauce’s consistency is more noticeable than the thickness of a soup or stew.  Over spicing/salting a sauce again requires the addition of more liquids to dilute the spiciness/saltiness, but then you have a sauce that is too thin.   Here is a quick repair to a too thin a sauce: for every added cup of liquid to your sauce, stir thoroughly together 1 T cornstarch w/1 T cold liquid for a thinner sauce or 2 T cornstarch w/2 T cold liquid for a thicker sauce and whisk into the simmering sauce. Bring back to a boil, re-taste, serve.  The additional liquid that you add can be fruit juice (like pineapple or apple for a ham), wine, water or more stock- remembering that commercial stocks are salty. You can also under season the item you are serving the sauce over.
     

  • Misc. dishes- once you have stirred your ingredients together and you find that there is a problem with the seasoning: go light on the cheese topping, add more cooked pasta, rice or potatoes.
     

  • Too greasy- if possible, refrigerate over night and remove the hardened fat before re-warming, use a spoon to skim off all visible grease, slurp up with a baster, or waded up paper toweling wicks up grease quickly.  If you put an ice cube or two inside the paper towel the grease will clean to the paper towel more easily.
     

  • Undercooked meat- slice as you normally would and lightly heat in a skillet with a little bit of stock, serve with the “broth” that was created in the pan.  This works for all cuts of meat.
     

  • Overcooked potatoes- mash even with their skins on and add a little cheese on the top and bake to melt the cheese
     

  • Overcooked pasta- no hope, turn your sauce off and start again.
     

  • Undercooked pasta- re-boil water and return to the pan for a few more minutes or drain and toss pasta with sauce and cook together, either in the oven as a baked dish or lightly stirring on top of the stove.
     

  • Stuck together pasta- throw the clumps away, cook more, remembering to add pasta to rapidly boiling water and stirring frequently- toss waiting cooked pasta w/olive oil, cover with foil and keep warm in a 200 degree oven.
     

  • Burned or scorched on the bottom of the pan- boy, I’ve done this when I am doing lots of things at one time or I have walked out of the kitchen for a moment.  Remove from the heat immediately.  You should be able to avoid a scorched taste by carefully pouring into another pan w/out scraping the bottom. Remove the scorched pan from the kitchen- preferably to the back porch to be taken care of after the meal is over and the guests have left.
     

  • I know the list is endless of the mistakes that can be made in the kitchen yet, THE KEY to all kitchen mistakes falls under what I call “kitchen secrets”.  You don’t have to confess your mistake.  Some of my cooking mistakes are simply re-named: it may have started out as a casserole, but ended up as a soup due to the addition of liquids.  Be creative!

 

 

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