“Was that a teaspoon or a tablespoon?”… “Help, I added too much salt!”… “I ran out of cinnamon, now what?”… We’re all familiar with that hit-your-head moment when you’ve realized you might have ruined dinner due to empty spice jars or over-seasoning. These are typical and easy-to-make mistakes that can befall even the most confident cooks. But please back away from the garbage disposal—we have a few simple tips and tricks to counteract common seasoning slip ups and save just about any dish.
Tip number one: Even if you’re in a hurry, PREPARATION work counts. First set out and measure all ingredients separately before you mix anything together. The small glass dishes, also known as custard cups, in the PYREX® 6-OUNCE DESSERT SET are perfect for measuring out dry spices and herbs, and the easy-to-read red lines on a PYREX® 1-CUP MEASURING CUP show exactly how much liquid you do (or don’t) have; plus the spout offers control when adding liquid little by little.
You can always add more, but you can’t take it out. When seasoning a dish to taste, be sure to add just a little bit at a time. However, if your shake was more of a pour, fear not.
In general, you should stick to exact measurements when baking, but if your cookies come out just a little too sweet (for most), there are ways to heighten other flavours.
When someone asks you if you like it mild, medium or spicy, you should always answer on a sliding scale. Spicy to one person could be bland to the next, and vice versa. You can add more kick, but how do you tone down a high-intensity dish?
Yes, it flat-out does! They’re NOT the same. Baking soda is pure bicarbonate of soda. It must interact with an acidic ingredient (like lemon juice or buttermilk) to work its leavening magic. Baking powder consists of baking soda along with an acidifying agent and a drying agent. So you can be substitute baking powder in place of baking soda (just use a little more), but not the other way around (unless you don’t care about that light and fluffy texture). Next time you’re baking and have run out of baking powder (or if its expired – which will SERVE poor results), simply mix 1 part baking soda with 2 parts cream of tartar. And your dish will rise and shine.
If your dish is just a little too watery, you can always make a simple roux with cornstarch or flour mixed with a small amount of water. Stir until dissolved, then add a little bit at a time to thicken to the right consistency.
Spice rack not living up to the demands of your cookbook? Here are a few handy herb and spice substitutions to help you out of any seasoning-related tight spot:
Okay, we will now admit that there are times a dish just can’t be fixed. If it’s burnt to a crisp, tastes like the ocean or sears off too many of your taste buds, your best bet might be to scrap it and start over. Or depending on the ingredients, maybe just treat the dog…he’ll probably think it’s delicious!
YOUR TURN: How do you remedy minor seasoning missteps?
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