For each question, imagine you made one of these classic cooking mistakes. How would you recover from it? Pick the best answer to take your cooking conundrum to a culinary success.
If your soup is too salty you should dilute with water/stock and add a splash of lemon juice or vinegar.
You could also try adding something starchy like potatoes, rice, or noodles to soak up the excess salt. And acids like lemon juice or vinegar can help balance the extra salt and mask the unwanted flavor.
If your herbs are starting to wilt you should shock them in ice water and pat them dry.
You can also use this technique to perk up wilting salad greens.
If your egg whites won't whip, stop and let them come to room temperature.
You can also try adding 1/4 tsp. of cream of tartar to your egg whites.
If your dish is too spicy you should add dairy to neutralize the heat.
You can also add a splash of lemon juice/vinegar or a bit of sweetener to balance the flavor.
If your soup is too thin you should add a slurry and bring to a simmer.
A slurry is made by mixing cornstarch with water. You can also use a roux to thicken it, but never throw flour or cornstarch straight into a soup. Another option: Add starchy vegetables (like potatoes) to thicken a soup.
If your melted chocolate clumps up (also called seizing) you should add a small amount of vegetable oil and stir.
Chocolate will seize if water gets into the melted mixture.
If your hollandaise sauce breaks you should whisk the broken sauce into a small amount of hot water.
Hollandaise is a delicate sauce and will break if it is overheated. Keep your sauce on a gentle water bath to prevent it from breaking.
If your homemade mayonnaise breaks you should whisk an additional egg yolk into the mixture.
An additional egg yolk can act as an emulsifier and bring the mixture together. P.S. Always use room-temperature eggs when making mayonnaise; eggs that are too cold can prevent mayonnaise from coming together.
If your sauce is too sweet you should add a splash of lemon juice or vinegar to balance out the sweetness.
Acidic ingredients like lemon juice add tartness to help balance the sweetness. You can also try balancing the flavor with additional salt.
If your cake is stuck to the bottom of your pan you should let it cool completely and then submerge the bottom in a warm water bath.
Always prep your pan for success with nonstick spray and parchment paper, and then cool your cake and run a knife around the outside before trying to remove it. But if your cake is still stuck, you can try the warm water method.