While, most cooking mistakes can be prevented by a few simple cooking basics (like reading your full recipe before starting, pre-prepping ingredients, measuring and following directions), sometimes you need to call on a miracle. We all have our off days or sometimes that amazing Pinterest recipes doesn’t quite turn out. Here are my tips on how to fix kitchen disasters:
Most cooking mistakes come down to over or under seasoning. They are easy to fix, you just need to balance the flavors.
• Too Salty?
If you’ve over seasoned a stew, soup or sauce, throw in a potato cut in half and let cook through. Once cooked, remove potato and compost it. The potato will absorb excess salt. If you are making something that cannot be cooked with potato, try add more of the all ingredients to dilute the salt.
• Too Sweet?
To balance sweetness add some acid; a squeeze of lemon juice or some vinegar will do the trick.
• Too Sour?
Add something sweet to balance out sourness; agave, fruit, stevia or juice.
• Too Bitter?
Add something acidic to help brighten up bitter foods; a squeeze of lemon juice or citrus will do the trick.
• Too Bland?
Add salt! Salt will bring out the natural flavors in food. The number one cooking sin is under seasoning; salt will bring life to your bland dishes.
• Too Spicy?
Pair your dish with something cooling. Think avocado, cashew sour cream or coconut cream.
To avoid fixing mistakes all together, start with the smallest amount of seasoning recommended in recipes. Taste your dish at every step possible and adjust seasoning from there.
2. Burnt Food?
If you’ve scorched bottom of a pot, quickly switch the contents of your pot to a new pot. This will hopefully help the burning from spreading through the whole dish.
If your dish already tastes burnt, you may be able to mask it with something acidic, sweet or extra spices. Pick something that fits your dish and start by adding a small amount.
If you’ve burnt an individual item, such as tofu steak or a baked yam, try trimming the burnt parts off.
3. Excess water when cooking grains?
If you have excess liquid in your pot of grains after they are cooked through, keep the heat on low and remove lid. Let some of the excess liquid evaporate but be careful to not do this for too long or your grains may get mushy.
4. Soggy Salad?
Make sure you dry your salad leaves or you will have a wet salad and salad dressing won’t stick to the leaves. A salad spinner is great but if you don’t have one, put your leaves in a clean tea towel, bundle them up and spin them over your head a few times. Seriously. Have a laugh at it—it makes salad making more fun!
5. Overcooked Vegetables?
There is not much you are do for overcooked vegetables but you can give them new life by making them into a spread. Puree overcooked vegetables with some seasoning and a little oil and then use the spread in sandwiches or as a dip.
6. Mushy Potatoes?
Either go straight to mashed potatoes or slice the potatoes up and toss them with oil, salt and pepper and roast them.
7. Foods not browning?
Make sure your pan is hot and I mean HOT. Before adding your ingredients, heat pan for 3-5 minutes. You should feel the heat with your hand 3 inches above the pan. Once hot, add oil. Only add ingredients to be seared once oil it hot. Oil will be shimmering once hot.Also make sure you haven’t overcrowded the pan. When browning, vegetables need lots of space to let excess liquid out. Either use a bigger pan or cook in batches to allow for ample space in pans for browning.
We all make mistakes when cooking, don’t let it discourage you. You will live to cook another day.