Even a Domestik Goddess must confess to the odd kitchen episode which is, shall we say, less than stellar. A mild cuss word may escape her lips, and one of her dear old reliable Corningware casserole dishes may be lifted from the oven with a ring of something that can be be described as… welded-on charcoal.

Yes, okay, last night I burned the dinner.

In my defense, I plead an unfortunate congruity of a persistent telemarketer on the phone, an old dog projectile-vomiting all over the living room carpet, and a temperature-sensitive sauce warming under the broiler. We’ve all been there…

A faint-hearted cook might have been tempted to throw out the crispy-dark food — without removing it from the blackened casserole dish.

But let me tell you, it was tenderloin!

And the sauce was one of those delightfully simple recipes that produce the most wonderfully complex melange of mouth-watering flavours!

“Too Good To Burn” Maple Marinade Sauced Main Dish

Combine equal amounts of maple syrup and balsamic vinegar (say, ½ cup of each). Warm it gently, stirring in Dijon mustard to taste (I use a rounded teaspoonful).

Marinate your beef, chicken, pork, tofu, shark steak, etc. in this sauce while you get the rest of supper ready (peel veggies, pour vino, whatever you need to do).

Remove the meat/protein from the marinade sauce and refrigerate the marinade while you cook the meat/protein in whatever way you normally would — grill, broil, pan-fry, etc.

Place the meat/protein in a pan or casserole dish and pour the reserved marinade over top. Warm on the stove top or in the oven.

Anyway, the oven was just a bit too hot, still, from roasting the tenderloin…

Between trying to remain ladylike with the persistant salesperson on the phone (do I sound like someone who wants to discuss my insurance needs right now?) and chasing a gut-heaving dog around an off-white area rug with a wad of paper towels in hand, the dish stayed in the oven too long.

It happens…


A sharp knife takes the extra-crispy bits off the beef, and the sauce hides the scars. Easy-peasy…

But then there’s the blackened ring around the vintage Corningware. That’s got to get cleaned off, somehow, and my secret weapon here is salt.

Ordinary table salt.

Moisten the burned-on food, cover it well with salt, let it sit until you work up your courage to tackle it, then scrub with a good tough cloth. It won’t leave nasty little scratches on the casserole dish (which would make food inclined to stick all the more easily in future). And no nasty chemicals are needed!

Sometimes you can’t get it all cleaned up the first time, if the food is really charred on. When that happens, fill the dish with water and dish soap, let it simmer gently on the stove for a half-hour or so, then try again.

Truly, if this burned-food removal method didn’t work, would I be exposing my embarrassing kitchen boo-boo in such a public way?
I think not!

Find more of my favourite recipes here!

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. domestika

    Hey, it happens to the best of us, HouseDad — the trick is to recover with good humour… somehow… and try to salvage both the pot and the meal! :)

  2. terancedubya

    Awesome. It takes a special kind of person to admit when something did not go as planned. It takes an even specialer one to find a good solution to a nasty problem like that. Nice job. I’ll be using that bit of magic in the kitchen very soon.

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