5 Secrets of a Fix-It Cook

Burned dinner? Don’t toss it! A simple switch in direction can take a dish from flop to fantastic.

By Tamar Adler from Reader's Digest Magazine | March 2013
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If your dish is too salty...

Make topped toasts (also called crostini). Every ingredient is a star when placed on garlic-rubbed toast, and bold flavors are balanced out by the bread.

If your cake breaks...

Make a trifle by layering salvaged cake pieces with fresh whipped cream and fruit in a pretty bowl.

If you burn vegetables...

Turn them into a side dish. In the Mediterranean, charred vegetables are drizzled with good olive oil and enjoyed as a delicacy. Soft vegetables, like eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini, can become a version of baba ghanoush. Mix together the flesh, a little of the skin, olive oil, and tahini for a smoky dip.

If you burn meat...

You meant to make barbecue, right? Salvage what you can, and mix it with a quickie BBQ sauce (ketchup, molasses, and vinegar). Call it smoked, and it’s suddenly intentional.

If your dish is too spicy...

Use it as a salsa or chutney. In condiment-intensive cuisines—like Mexican, Thai, and Indian—the strong flavors of the sauces are used to enhance the flavors of simple foods like rice, eggs, beans, and tortillas. Use a spare amount of your spicy dish to make a plain food taste better.

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