Sometimes you can spend all day cooking a meal that would be the envy of any great chef just to have it ruined by something as small as the gravy being too thin or the soup too salty. There are tricks around the most common of kitchen gaffs that might help you salvage your meal and your pride. Salty Soup You've just made some of the best chicken soup on the face of the earth, but it still needs something. So you add a little salt and take a taste. No, that was definitely not it. Now your soup tastes like a portion of Utah real estate and you have to start over. 'Not really. Peel a good sized potato and add it to the pot. The potato will absorb a lot of the excess salt. This works on 90% of the soups you will ever make, except—ironically—on potato soup. Too Much Heat Your eyes are watering and the water you just drank is now steam coming out of your ears. You might have added too much spice... Try adding some hot water and a potato—this might help a bit. If you're making chili or a soup of some sort, try adding more of the other ingredients to help distribute some of the heat. That failing, put "Dante's Peak" on the TV and throw a volcano themed party. Burned One Too Many Times Every kitchen should own a wooden spoon. It is critical to have one on hand for soups and sauces. Not only will the wood not scratch the surface of the pots and pans you paid too much money for, but it will save your bacon if the game goes into overtime and you don't stir as often as you should have. The trick to saving burned gravy, soup, etc. is to not scrape up the burned bits. Your gravy is only burned on the bottom. Pour it ever so gently into another pan using the wooden spoon to keep out the caked-on bits in the pan you are pouring from. Add more of whichever liquid the recipe calls for (milk, broth, etc.). Hopefully this will help out. You should have recorded the game or paused the DVR while you were cooking. Too Thin? To solve the age-old question of what to do with thin sauce... Conventional wisdom states to either keep cooking it until it thickens (condenses) or to add a little flour. Both take a little more skill than it sounds. What's easier and gets the same result? Pour a glass of cold water and add 2 - 3 heaping spoonfuls of cornstarch. The mixture will have the look of watered down skim milk, but have the magic of Aladdin's lamp. Add a little at a time and allow the cornstarch/water mixture time to heat up. As it heats, it will thicken. Basically, the cornstarch will take on the flavors you are mixing it with, but don't overdo it. These four tips should help you right along and save you from having to make the same meals over and over again. Remember, these are just like any other kitchen skill, time and practice will perfect these kitchen maneuvers, so be patient. Bon Appetite.
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