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
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!