We have all messed up a meal a time or two in our lives. This includes the professionals. I am a Home Cook which although I haven’t graduated from Culinary school, Home Cooks are now being recognized as professionals. They are being granted television shows and competing with the best of them out there. Your grandmother might not have had a television show but she was probably the best cook that you know. However, even grandma has screwed up a dinner or two. What she didn’t tell you, was how to save that meal. You can save it? Yes you most certainly can. There are ways in which you can turn around the mess you made in the kitchen so that your dinner still goes as planned. Let’s start saving the day shall we?
First things first, you must follow the recipe. I know you might have seen someone else put a little sprinkle of this or a splash of that in the soup but if it is not listed in the ingredients section, do not add it. This can cost you time and taste. Simply follow the instructions provided. This will guarantee you an outstanding meal.
Have you ever had a meal that was way too salty? My eyes begin to squint just thinking about it. All is not lost if you have over salted your dish. There are a few ways in which you can fix it. If it has a soupy or saucy texture then you are most certainly in luck. You can fix the pot of cabbage, collard greens, chili, and more. One method that I have always used is the potato method. Peel and quarter a potato and drop it right into your pot. Let it simmer with your food for about 15 minutes. It can sit in there longer if needed. What you don’t want to happen, is you don’t want to potato to disentegrate in your food. You simply want the potato to absorb the excess salt in your dish and then remove the potato before serving.
If you have made a dish too salty, spicy, or added too much of a seasoning try using broth or water. If you want to retain the flavor but breakup the seasoning then broth is your friend. Vegetable broths and chicken broths are miracle workers in the kitchen. Be sure to purchase the broths that say low sodium or better yet no sodium so that you can salvage your meal. Add the broth let it simmer for a few minutes and then taste it to see if there is any difference.
Now what if you’ve burned the meat. Here’s something you can do with the meat. You can cut off the burned pieces and chop it up to make something like chicken salad. You can also add it to chili or use it as a salad or potato topper. Make sure that it is chopped up really fine so that no one knows that it was scorched to smithereens. You can also chop it in a food processor. However, if it is too tough to comfortably chew then it might just have to be tossed but it should work.
Allow sugar or honey to be your friend if your dish is too spicy. This can help to balance out the taste of the food and it better. If you don’t want to use sugar due to health concerns then you can use honey or even agave nectar which can be found at your local grocer.
Now let’s talk about cooking that meat on the stove. Sometimes it might come out overcooked or mushy. This might be due to overcrowding the pan. Your food needs room to cook. If you have a lot of meat to cook I suggest using two skillets. This will help save you time and it will ensure that your food comes out better.
What if your sauce has curdled? This can be a real pain in the kitchen. If your sauce has curdled it is best to strain it through a seive or muslin. If you don’t know what those two things are then I can guarantee you that you might be making many mistakes in the kitchen if you’ve ever tried to make a sauce or gravy. Right now would be an excellent time to google seive and muslin and purchase them right away.
Sometimes a meal can contain way too much garlic. We mean well but if the only thing you can taste in a meal is garlic, then its not a great meal. If you have found yourself in this pickle then parsley flakes are your friend. Take the parsley flakes and add them to a tea infuser and drop the tea infuser directly into your food. The parsley will absorb the flavor of the garlic salvaging the taste of your meal.
Many of us go wrong in the kitchen because we are using the same seasonings over and over again. There is so much more to the kitchen life besides Old Bay, lemon pepper, and seasoned salt. Next time you are in the grocery store try picking up something new like curry, onion powder, white pepper, and more. Fresh herbs are also wonderful to cook with you can start using herbs like cilantro, oregano, parsley, and more in your meals. It’s important to add flavor to meals. You get flavor by using things that do not contain salt so try something new. Here is a good pairing table in which you can use when cooking. You don’t want to use all of these things together, just try to add them over time as you follow your normal cooking recipes.
|Beef||Bay leaf, cayenne, chili, curry, dill, ginger, mustard, paprika, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme.|
|Pork||Allspice, basil, cardamom, cloves, curry, ginger, marjoram, mustard, oregano, paprika, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme.|
|Lamb||Basil, cardamom, curry, dill, mace, marjoram, mint, oregano, paprika, rosemary, turmeric.|
|Allspice, anise, bay leaf, cayenne, curry, dill, ginger, marjoram, mustard, nutmeg, paprika, parsley, pepper, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme.|
|Fish||Allspice, anise, basil, bay leaf, cayenne, chives, curry, dill, fennel, ginger, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, tarragon, thyme.|
|Fruit||Allspice, anise, cinnamon, cloves, curry, ginger, mace, mint, nutmeg, pepper.|
|Vegetables||Green Beans — Dill, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano.Beets — Allspice, nutmeg.Broccoli — Mustard, nutmeg, sage.Carrots — Dill, nutmeg, parsley, rosemary, thyme.
Cucumbers — Basil, dill, parsley.
Eggplant — Oregano, parsley.
Mushrooms — Garlic, sage.
Peas — Marjoram, mint.
Potatoes –Chives, cumin, dill, fennel, garlic, mace, rosemary, tarragon.
Squash — Cardamom, ginger, nutmeg.
Tomato — Allspice, basil, cloves, cumin, fennel, marjoram, oregano.
|Rice||Chives, cumin, curry, nutmeg, parsley, saffron, turmeric|