Saturday, July 16, 2011

Exploding Pasta, Anyone?

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 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 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.


Brian Miller said...

hehe...i permanently scarred one of our pans not too long back cooking pasta...has all these black half moons on it now...smiles.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Trust your gut!
I shook a bottle of ketchup really hard without noticing the lid wasn't on. Yeah, it hit the ceiling.

H said...

Ooops! It makes for a funny story though.

Life@Cee said...

It was spectacular! My worst kitchen disaster actually occurred with a BBQ grill. Let's just say I'm lucky to still have all my hair, eyelashes and eyebrows.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I can't think of a huge debacle, but it was only really in the last year that I was able to make grilled cheese sandwiches and pancakes, two of the easiest things to make, probably. I'd made cornish game hens, broiled salmon, etc., etc., etc., but burned grilled cheese and pancakes. Blech.

I like for recipes, because I can read the comments and see suggestions people have made. Really helpful!

I've heard of the Blue Parrot, but haven't been there.

Amanda Lee said...

I have made many, many shall we say, mistakes, in the kitchen. The dumbest one was forgetting to turn on the oven one Thanksgiving.... Is having three children under five a good excuse?

About the boat to put in the boat slip -- I think our budget won't be allowing a motor boat OR a sailboat. Maybe a rubber raft?

Arlee Bird said...

I guess my biggest kitchen disaster was when I was about 5 and decided to make a Surprise Cake while my mother talked to a neighbor in the back yard. The biggest surprise was the mess my mother found when she came inside and there was no cake.

Tossing It Out

Cheryl said...

I had visions of your entire kitchen ruined. Thank gawd you only added such a small amount of water. I can't believe you still managed to salvage dinner. That's superhero material.

Off the top of my head I can't think of any disasters. Then again, it's been a hell of a long time since I actually cooked. I do have pots just like Brian's but my husband is responsible for those. Not that I couldn't do as much damage, it's just that I'm on strike. said...

LOL! Great story. I once yelled at hubby for not listening to me about the microwave settings and promptly set it incorrectly
melting the plastic dish inside. Hmmm! :O)

notesfromnadir said...

Not knowing the ratios can be a little problematic! Once I tried to make biscuits from scratch & just guessed at the ingredients. I ended up w/ rocks!