They used to joke that I couldn't even boil water. They did have grounds for that accusation, but that's a story all by itself. If I forget to write it, remind me by saying, “Tell us the one where you made your own molten lava.” This week, I learned that I also can't boil oil. It explodes.
I've only been cooking for about nine years, which when you're 46, isn't really that long. I've mostly learned how from cookbooks and cooking shows. I'm a complete Food Network addict, and I've learned chopping techniques, how to bloom spices, why dips and guacamole and the like need to “marry” and how to perform that ceremony, and I have a lot of fun, easy recipes that are staples. But about once a week I like to try something new. This week I wanted to make aglio olio sauce. I've had it in the legendary Blue Parrot in Lafayette, CO (nearby town, only about a ½ hour drive.) It's an olive oil and garlic sauce, so I figured it would be pretty simple, but I didn't know the ratios.
I read several recipes, but settled on one from cooking.com. Not Joe Blow's recipes, but kitchen tested, expert approved REAL recipes. I read the directions and thought, huh, pour water into boiling oil, that doesn't sound right. After all, when I'm done with the griddle after cooking bacon and then pour the grease into a ceramic bowl (once it's completely cool, emphasis on COMPLETELY cool) it will splatter and hop around if there are ANY drops of water anywhere near it. So I'm DOUBLE checking the recipe, and it truly does say, “Remove oil from heat. Gradually stir in one cup of water.” Well, alrighty, I'm no expert, so let's try just a ½ teaspoon of water. It bubbles, it bubbles over, it catches the gas stove flame on fire (we're talking CONFLAGRATION here folks) and I reach for the lid to cover it up, and then it EXPLODES. Garlic slices flying, oil taking off for outer space, splitter-splatter ALL over my kitchen. I'm up against the fridge, still waiting for that chance to cover the, um, problem. That time doesn't come. About ten minutes later, after nothing has exploded for a while, I reach over, turn off the burner, and cover the pot.
I will say, it was a damn good dinner, all things considered. We didn't need the full cup of “sauce” at all, I just poured about a half of the half that was left, and the pasta (angel hair) was just fine. The zucchini I'd steam/stir fried with Vidalia onions was equally delish, and the grated asiago over all of the above mentioned parts sealed the deal.
After doing the dishes, I wrote a scathing review of the “Sure To Explode” Pasta. My unfortunate cleaning teenager had to deal with the grease spot on every cabinet, counter, and floor space. Yes, I tipped her.
The motto my friends is, “Trust your instincts” and certainly NOT cooking.com. Just sayin'.
What's your worst kitchen disaster? Please share. I'll be back with more, because though this one was entertaining, it certainly wasn't the worst thing I did in a kitchen.