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Recipe writers often repeat directions without considering whether that instruction is the best way to make the dish. Here are some common mistakes in recipes:

  • Don’t flour the meat before browning. Many stew recipes call for tossing the meat in flour before browning in fat. But the flour easily burns and adds an off taste to the dish. The best way to make a stew is to dry the meat with paper towels, brown the meat in fat, saute the onion and vegetables, and then add the flour to thicken before adding any liquid.
  • A paper bag is not necessary for roasting a pepper. Just cover the charred pepper with a lid so that the pepper skin can steam for easy removal.
  • Use a wide saute pan or fry pan instead of a narrow sauce pan to make caramel. The sugar is more likely to crystallize in a smaller pan; I use a 4-quart saute pan to brown the sugar for making caramel sauce.
  • Peel the skin off of garlic before roasting. When the skins are left on garlic cloves, they are a sticky mess to remove after cooking. I peel the head of garlic, then submerge in olive oil and slow-roast at 275 degrees for 20 minutes. Also, there is no need to cover the garlic while baking.
  • Don’t dice potatoes for boiling. When the potatoes are cut into small pieces, they absorb more water. I leave the potatoes in large pieces. Yes, the potatoes take longer to cook, but the mashed potatoes are creamy, not watery.
  • Yeast does not need to be proofed. Just add the yeast to the dough.
  • Turkey is overcooked if the internal temperature is 180 degrees. Turkey is moist, delicious, and perfectly cooked when the internal temperature is 155 degrees.

What mistakes have you found in recipes?