NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Help! It's a Kitchen Disaster!

Help!  It’s a Kitchen Disaster!


            It happens to the best of cooks and often with a dish you have prepared dozens of times.  Something goes wrong and what you have created is not what you planned to cook.  Often, it takes only a small change to salvage a kitchen disaster.

            It’s too spicy!  Adding too much spice to something is a very common occurrence – especially when working with high temperature ingredients such as chili peppers.  To take away some that excessive heat, add sugar or butter – about a tablespoon at a time – to bring a better balance to the flavor.

            It’s too sweet!  If you find your dish is just way too sweet to handle, try adding some lemon juice. It should neutralize the damage.

            The rice is burnt!  If you smell your rice burning take the pot off the stove and immediately set it in some cool water. This will stop the burnt taste from spreading.  Next rescue whatever good rice is left by scooping, without out stirring, the top portion of rice off and place in another container.          

            The veggies are mushy!  If you cook fresh veggies for too long, they can turn into the consistency of baby food.  To rescue, immediately toss the mushy vegetables into a bowl of cold water, gently drain, sprinkle cheese on top and then broil for a few moments – there is a good chance the veggies will regain some stability.

            The pasta is soggy!   The next time your pasta boils for a moment or two too long, try this – heat up a pan and sauté the pasta in olive oil for a few minutes. This will firm up the outside and help with the texture.

            The soup is too salty! Dilute food that is too salty by adding more liquid and a small amount of sugar to balance out the flavors. Adding a peeled, raw potato to a stew, sauce or casserole can sometimes absorb salt in a dish as the potato cooks   This isn't a guaranteed solution to an over salted dish but you've got nothing to lose, except a potato.

            The gravy is lumpy!  Fix lumpy gravy by passing it through a sieve, or strainer. Also, you can puree it with a blender.

            The melted chocolate is lumpy!  Melting chocolate at too high a temperature (without using a double boiler) or accidentally adding just a few drops of water will make it seize up and turn into a dull clump. Depending on how much water got inside or how badly the chocolate was scorched, you might be able to revive it by adding some cream or butter and heating in a double boiler. The fat will help balance the mixture and return its smooth texture.

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