Tips to rescue food disasters
Oh No! What do I do now?
If you burn sauce or gravy, pour it into a clean pan, add some sugar to it a little at a time to avoid the final result becoming too sweet - it takes the burnt flavour away.
TOO MUCH SALT!
• The recipe for the casserole said a teaspoon of salt but you used a desert spoon by mistake, don't throw it out and starve - peel a potato, cut into medium size pieces and add to the casserole. Simmer
and when the potato is soft lift carefully out. The potato should have absorbed a lot of the saltiness.
• Other ways to disguise saltiness is by adding a small can of tomatoes, or a little plain yoghurt, whichever is most suitable for the particular dish involved.
The best solution is not the easiest: build up all the other flavors around the salt. In other words, increase the quantity of your main non-salty ingredients and the concentration or flavor of the salt will diminish. But that's a bit like nearly re-making your dish.
Instead, if it is a soup, try adding salt-free stock or water. Or, if it is a chunky soup, remove about half the broth, leaving the vegetables and meat. Replace the discarded broth with no-salt stock or even water. More vegetables and/or meat will help decrease the concentration of salt as well.
Most cooks try to "cover up" the saltiness by adding acid (lemon, vinegar, zest, tomatoes, etc) or sweet (fruit, carrots, honey, sugar, etc). That's a bit like the fact that perfume was originally invented to cover up body odor! Depending how much too salty the dish is, you may be able to use other strong flavors to bring the perception of the saltiness down (rather like being unable to smell the person beneath all that perfume)‚Äîand you'll likely create a new dish in the process. It's worth a try if you have the time, and are willing to say it's an experiment that may or may not save you from tossing the entire thing.
• These remedies also work well on stews, soups and curries. Chatted too long on the telephone and your supper is burnt to the bottom of the pan - don't panic. Don't stir the food as this will mix any burnt pieces into the rest of the food and contaminate it all. Plunge the bottom of the pan into cold water to cool it down and prevent further cooking. Carefully remove as much of the unburnt food as you can and put into a clean pan, being very careful not to include any burnt bits, add a little more liquid continue cooking. If it still tastes burnt the addition of something like Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, spice or herbs, usually disguises it. YES, BUT NOW WHAT DO I DO ABOUT THE PAN?????
• Firstly remove as much of the burnt food as possible.
• If it is only slightly burnt on the bottom, put some water into the pan and add quite a lot of salt, soak for an hour, then wash in the usual way.
• If it is badly burnt, put some water into the pan, add salt, and bring to the boil and leave to soak for about twelve hours, bring to the boil again. The debris should wipe off. If this is not the case add more salt and bring to the boil again.
• Add hot water to the pan with a used fabric softener sheet from your laundry. Let soak and the burnt crust will lift right off.
1. If rice is fully cooked turn it off. If not let it on a low setting.
2. Uncover the pot of rice and place three slices of white bread over.
3. Cover it and let stand for about 20 minutes. Uncover take slices of bread out and discard.
4. Taste the rice, if it still has some bitterness place two more slices of white bread over it for about 10 minutes.
5. Uncover by this time your rice is ready to eat and no one will notice that it burned.
6. To get rid of the burned odor of rice, cut a big onion in half and place it next to the stove
WHAT TO DO IF A DISH IS TOO SPICY
Maybe you accidentally added too much cayenne or hot sauce. Perhaps you were heavy-handed without realizing it, those peppers were hotter than you realized or it could be that you love spice but it turns out your guests don't
Sugar can help counteract the spice in a dish. Try adding a teaspoon of granulated sugar, a spoonful of honey or even a squirt of ketchup to tone down the heat. Be careful to add only a bit at a time so you don't end up with dessert.
Although not an obvious firefighter, acid can work wonders to reduce heat. Depending on the dish, try adding some citrus juice (lemon or lime work best with most flavors), vinegar, chopped pineapples or tomato juice or sauce.
There's a reason that sour cream is so common in Mexican food and that Indian cuisine abounds with yogurt sauces (called raita) — dairy tempers spice. Stir in a tablespoon at a time of yogurt, sour cream, milk, coconut milk (a great nondairy alternative) and/or a mild cheese like Parmesan to counteract overly hot flavors.
Some people swear by adding shredded carrots or cubed or shredded potatoes to temper heat. The sugar in them helps to fight the heat while their porous texture may help to absorb some of the spice.