SaltyRaisins finds that “ignoring (or, rather, intentionally neglecting) certain steps while cooking can really add unexpected benefits to overall flavor of a dish.” There is a certain serendipity that can come from neglect. “I was browning chicken in olive oil for some arroz con pollo, and I had a phone call that took my attention completely from the matter at hand,” says SaltyRaisins. “Came back to find the meat had a seriously wonderful brown crust that ‘made the dish.’”

nofunlatte credits benign neglect for creating a lovely form of yogurt: “I made some homemade yogurt last week, using up the whole milk and cream I had leftover. The instructions said to incubate for 4-6 hrs, but I let it go for 8.5 hrs. What a great, thick, substantial product!” says nofunlatte. “I ate the ‘skin’ and used the rest for vanilla frozen yogurt.”

HLing had a similar experience creating a dish he now calls “forgotten green beans.” “One time I was heating up my All-Clad dry, while French-cutting the green beans,” he says. “Something took me away for a while, and when I came back, I realized the pan was dangerously hot.” Thinking quickly, HLing turned off the flame and put some olive oil in. “It was almost smoking,” he says. “I then just put all the beans and some crushed garlic in. Hearing the explosive sizzle I quickly put the lid on and walked away. 10 minutes later I opened the lid, and found the beans to have a pan-seared quality as well as the plump juiciness that came from the closed lid, and have been perfectly cooked through even though the flame was off and stayed off when the beans went in.”

Board Link: Ignoring your food

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