Nine cooking mistakes & nifty ways to avoid making them!
The kitchen is one of the mostly widely used rooms in American homes. It is often the heart of the home and the place where families and friends come together to make and share food. Yet, it’s also the place we tend to make mistakes. Want to keep your kitchen operating smoothly? Use these nifty organizational tips!
Mistake #1 – When you have to stop midway through the recipe for a store run to get more eggs or sugar. Before you begin cooking or baking, read through the list of ingredients to make sure that you have everything you need.
Mistake #2 – When your cake doesn’t rise because you measured incorrectly. It is easy to make measurement mistakes when rushing. Instead, take the time to prep ahead. Create an assembly line of carefully measured ingredients to be used in your recipe. Wipe spills as you go.
Mistake #3 – When your guests arrive but dinner isn’t ready. Some recipes fail to add in the actual amount of time it takes to mince the onions or to wash and cut the carrots, etc. Always add in extra time for meal prep and for clean-up. Consider other factors, too, such as variations of oven temperatures which may cause recipes to take longer than expected.
Mistake #4 – When your arm hurts and it’s taking forever because you only have a manual hand mixer. A task, such as creaming butter and sugar together, may take a really long time to manually mix. Make sure you have the adequate tools required to ensure a positive outcome and to cut down on your loss of time.
Mistake #5 – When your cookies look funky because you replaced self-rising flour with all-purpose flour. Know that all ingredients are not equal. If you plan to substitute, do your research. Tip: It’s not advisable to sub self-rising flour for others, since a leavening agent has been added. If you must, find a recipe that calls for both baking powder and baking soda and omit the baking powder and salt. (Add the baking soda.) If you need self-rising flour but do not have any, you can make your own. Combine 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1 tsp. baking powder and ¼ tsp. salt.
Mistake #6 – When your recipe says it feeds six but in reality only serves four. Do not simply rely on reading the number of servings. Judgements may vary. Always look at individual portion sizes. If unsure, prepare several side dishes or offer appetizers to help fill people up. In a pinch, consider plating the dish so there is enough to go around.
Mistake #7 – When you mix the dry ingredients with the wet and realize you should have sifted the flour first. Avoid these “oh no” and “whoops” moments by reading the recipe through several times and following steps sequentially.
Mistake #8 – When you get eggshells in the cake batter. The shells are hard to see and can be impossible to get out. Always crack eggs into a separate bowl before adding to the batter. This way you won’t have to waste time fishing out the egg shells. Plus, you can discard eggs that do not appear fresh. Tip: Expert chefs learn to open eggs with one hand. They center the egg in the palm of their dominant hand, tap the egg firmly to crack it open, and hold it face-down over a bowl using the forefinger (the finger next to the thumb) to stabilize the back of the egg during separation. Practice makes perfect!
Mistake #9 – You finished cooking but you are too tired to clean up.Cooking and baking require energy and attention. Get in the habit of cleaning up as you go. There are several important benefits. These include freeing up countertop space in which to work, avoiding cross contamination, maintaining organization to avoid mistakes, being in control, and feeling less overwhelmed as you go.