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7 easy solutions to fix 7 kitchen mistakes

March 2, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Most of us feel like we have very little time to put a meal together. And when we try hard and mess it up, it's enough to make you turn to take out. "Being a good cook, you have to make a mistake, but we always say, never make it twice," explained Billy Strynkowski, the executive chef from Cooking Light magazine.

Mistakes aren't lost on Strynkowski, who has been a chef for 25 years. He's pretty much done it all, like overcrowding the pan.

"I always say that if you're in a large crowd and you're really tight, you're miserable. Well, food is miserable too," Strynkowski said.

Provide breathing room because vegetables won't roast, they will steam.

"Spread out your vegetables. Give it some space," Strynkowski said.

Also, give them time to cook. Saute or roasted, drizzle some olive oil and seasoning. Use two pans if necessary. This is true for proteins as well.

Not having the pan hot enough is another no-no.

"We're not sealing in all the flavor and all the juices," Strynkowski said.

This results in subpar taste, so get pan and oil hot enough so you hear a slight sizzle sound.

Food needs time along with heat. The third mistake is turning too often.

"You never really get the internal temperature correct if you keep doing that. It's going to take longer to cook, and eventually you're not going to have anything that's juicy," Strynkowski warned.

After cooking meat, many cut and serve immediately, which is a very bad idea.

"We don't want the blood winding up on the cutting board," Strynkowski said.

Let meat rest five minutes or more if it's a roast. He also suggests turning it over to let juices stay inside the food.

Another mistake is slicing meat the wrong way, resulting in a tougher, chewier taste.

"What we want to do is we want to cut across the grain, not with the grain," Strynkowski said.

With the grain, it will also look less moist. Strynkowski said that you might have to slice it a few ways to figure it out.

When utilizing toasted nuts in a meal, they're often neglected. So cook low and cook slow, but don't walk away from them as they'll burn.

A similar rule goes for caramelizing onions.

"We like to cook this nice and slow with as little fat and oil as possible," Strynkowski said.

"You're going to get rewarded by beautiful caramelized onions."