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Rescuing Ruined Meals

There are some meals that need to be dumped in the garbage—particularly those that are burned beyond recognition or those that are found to have spoiled ingredients—but not every food mistake has to become trash. Here are some quick fixes for meals that you might think are ruined.

Bitter Spaghetti Sauce

If you made a spaghetti sauce that is on the bitter side, don't worry. Try adding a pinch of sugar. Sugar brings out the flavor of cooked tomatoes in your sauce and combats the bitterness.

Over-salted Soup, Stew, or Gravy

Have you added too much salt to your food? There's no need to throw it out. Simply cut a raw potato into medium-sized chunks and toss them into the pot for about 10 minutes. The potatoes will soak up much of the salt. Remove the potato chunks when they start to soften, and your meal will be saved.

Garlicky Sauce, Soup, or Stew

If you've made a perfect meal but added too much garlic, just put a few parsley flakes in a tea infuser and place the infuser in your food for a few minutes. Parsley absorbs the garlic flavor, and your meal will be as good as new.

Curdled Sauce

If your cream sauce has curdled, you can save it by straining it through a fine sieve or muslin.

To save a curdled Hollandaise sauce is a bit more complicated, but it can be done. You can add 2 tablespoons of boiling water to the sauce and beat it with a wire whisk until it's smooth again; or you can set the pan holding the sauce in a big bowl of ice water, whisk until it's smooth, and then warm it very gently over lightly simmering water, whisking constantly.

If your mayonnaise curdles, beat up an egg yolk in a separate bowl and slowly add the curdled mayonnaise to it, beating the mixture all the time.

 

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