We’re on vacation again. This time, on the New Jersey shore, chilling beachside with part of my extended family. We’re packed into a tiny, er, rustic, home that’s long been a favorite of my mother’s, and swapping (more or less) cooking duties. It’s no High Hampton Inn experience (doing dishes are a prime leisure activity here, and I have to mix my own drinks) but it’s always fun to see family and sit down for some meals.
I’m working out of a heavily worn kitchen, though this year they’ve put in a new stove. Lo and behold, though, it heats with the power of a Bic lighter. Tonight it took me an hour to boil a pot of water for corn. Talk about slow food!
As I’m with my family and I’m relaxing (or at least trying to), I won’t be blogging very much. I’ll leave you with a little story from a week ago, back home in Brooklyn, when I almost burned my eyebrows off.
I was making my usual spaghetti alle vongole, and I had just added the wine, covered my trusty Le Creuset, and given it a good shake to settle the parsley and garlic. I then lifted the lid to take a peek, and suddenly there were flames in my face. I leapt backwards, and in doing so, dropped the cover on the floor, shattering the little black knob on its top.
I watched as the flames licked the inside of the pan and I waited. I was pretty sure they would burn themselves out. Plus, I had no idea what I was supposed to do. Somewhere in the kitchen we have a fire extinguisher, but I wouldn’t have been able to find it then.
Sure enough, the flames subsided, and I exhaled. The only explanation I could come up with was that the pan was dirty. Just before cooking the clam sauce, it had been holding that week’s Blognese sauce. Usually, when I make my Bolognese, I skimp off much of the fat from the beef about midway through the cooking process. That way, it is a bit healthier, and the little orange pools of fat that congeal when the sauce cools never materialize. That weekend, I had forgotten to decant the fat, and the pan was full of those rich and delicious deposits.
I had been a bit lazy about washing the pan out, and I think there must have been beef fat still lining the inside of the pan. That’s the only way I could explain the flames. Do you have any good stories about near disasters in the kitchen? If so, I’d like to hear them.