“If only I’d…”
That’s the last thing you want to be thinking five minutes before everyone sits down to what will hopefully be a scrumptious holiday meal. “This dish is too..” is the second to last thing.
With a little help and planning, it’s actually easy to avoid the most common cooking mistakes, according to the folks at Savory Spice, who have nearly 30 shops across the U.S. and a user friendly e-commerce site.
They’ve very graciously put together a comprehensive list of common cooking mistakes and solutions that can make a real difference whether you’re preparing a turkey or any other kind of holiday feast. We know we’ll be using them. Take a look:
5 Common Cooking Mistakes and How to Fix Them
- Imbalance of flavor and texture — For example, sweet potato casserole that’s too sweet, gravy that’s too salty, and overall too many heavy, starchy dishes. Find balance in each dish by adding contrasting and complementary elements. Add a salty and savory topping to sweet potato casserole with Parmesan cheese, Italian Black Truffle Salt, pine nuts, pancetta, fresh herbs and lemon zest. Enhance one-note gravy with aromatic, sweet, and earthy Homestead Seasoning. Make sure your menu contains a balance of colors, flavors, and lighter vs. heavier dishes.
- Lackluster mashed potatoes – After examining the science behind mashed potatoes, Savory Spice recommends that you start cooking the potatoes in cold water then bring to a boil, using a mix of Russet and Yukon Gold potatoes, rinsing the potatoes after cooking, and warming your milk before adding it to the mashed potatoes.
- Dry turkey – To avoid the all-too-common dried turkey, start roasting your bird breast side down with the legs towards the back of the oven where it’s hotter. Halfway through cooking, turn the turkey breast-side up so the skin can brown and crisp and help it cook more evenly. Brining your bird with a Turkey Brining Kit also prevents the dreaded dryness by dissolving muscle proteins so the meat loses less moisture.
- Hesitancy to experiment – Find ways to spice up old favorites and/or try out a new recipe to make it a meal to remember. Some of Savory’s favorite nontraditional twists include garam masala in cranberry sauce, Black Onyx Cocoa Powder in pie crust, Jamaican Jerk Seasoning in sweet potato casserole, Smoky Hills Cheese Powder in mashed potatoes, Good on Ya Vegan Chicken Salt in gravy – and many more.
- A little planning goes a long way — Writing out your menu, a thorough shopping list, and your preparation timeline will help your holiday be less hectic. Also, practice the principle of mise en place (French for “everything in its place”) by measuring out and preparing your ingredients before beginning a recipe.
Admit it: You’ve committed these common cooking mistakes more than once. Here’s how to get over them so no one will ever know this year.