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All We Can Eat
Posted at 02:45 PM ET, 10/03/2011

Carla Hall tackles some truly tough kitchen disasters

About a week ago, Carla Hall introduced viewers of “The Chew” to what will likely become her signature segment on the daytime dishsoap opera — a sort of Ms. Handywoman fix-it segment that the former Wheaton caterer calls “Gon Be Moments.” Too bad Hall’s debut kitchen disaster — overcooked green beans — didn’t impress some critics.

Deputy Food editor Bonnie Benwick, during a multi-person Twitter pile-on last week, flashed her most disapproving recipe-tester face and noted, “Overcooked green beans? On scale of kitchen disasters, maybe -2? Ramp it up, @carlahall!”

As “The Chew” enters its second week (with a nice shot of adrenaline from a favorable New York Times mention), Hall was good enough to put on her Ms. Fix-It hat and tackle a few hypothetical kitchen disasters served up by Benwick and Food editor Joe Yonan.

For the record, Benwick rates these Moments in the 7-9 range. Hootie!

I’ve made a stir-fry with greens from the farmers market, and I didn’t clean them well enough. Now the dish is gritty. What should I do?

Hall’s answers to this and two other disasters are after the jump.

Hall: Fortunately, it’s a stir-fry, so I would assume it’s a quick cook, and the greens and other veggies still have texture. Sacrifice a box of stock, if you have one on hand, and pour it into a large bowl. Stock as opposed to water, because you want to retain some of the flavors of the stir-fry. In small batches, dunk the stir-fry mixture into the stock while agitating it a bit and allowing the grit to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Transfer the “cleaned” mixture to another bowl. Continue until all the mixture has been washed. Quickly reheat the stir-fry in a hot skillet without adding more liquid. It will be different, but dinner is saved. If the stir-fry is too overcooked, turn it into a soup.

The chili peppers I chose to put in a stew are spicier than I had intended, and now it’s blow-your-head-off hot. Is there anything I can do to tone it down?

Hall: Well, I must say that I ate a really hot pepper at a restaurant, and it just about ruined the rest of my meal. The server gave me honey, which cooled my mouth right down. For this Gon Be Moment, I’m going to suggest adding honey to the pot. Honey as opposed to sugar, because you don’t taste the sweetness as much. I would also add more diced potatoes to absorb some of the heat. If it’s still hot, but bearable when serving, serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.

My cookie dough is spreading, but I refrigerated it and I’m using parchment paper to line the baking sheets. What else can I do?

Hall: The butter was probably over-whipped. You could call the cookie a florentine-style or lace cookie, which are crispy-thin. Hey, no one knew what you were going for but you. The other thing you could do is add some old-fashioned (uncooked) oatmeal. Adding flour may make the cookies cakey. Trust me, this has happened to me on more than one occasion.

By  |  02:45 PM ET, 10/03/2011

Categories:  Chefs, Television, Recipes | Tags:  Tim Carman

 
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