This may be a bit off the normal focus of this blog, but I think it is important to talk about. Well, OK, important to admit guilt. In the course of writing about this, maybe I can prevent someone experiencing the same level of “excitement”.
As some of you may know, I am a serious foodie, ( it’s what got me back into farming/gardening) and enjoy trying new things. I was in this type of mood the other evening when I decided to “step it up a notch” as Emiril would say.
I was sauteing some nice beef fillet’s for my wife and myself. But I wanted to make these special and add some unique flavors to the dish. Since I had some very nice Brandy getting all lonely in the cabinet, I decided I would Flambe the steaks. For those of you who know what Flambe is, you can probably see this coming.
As the steaks reached the correct time to produce this effect, I had everything ready. The brandy was slightly warmed and in a small cup to prevent an entire bottle from flambeing ( is that a real word?).
What I failed to do was look above the cooktop into the vent, where my wife had a stack of printed out recipes, and clipped recipes from magazines clipped together and held with a magnet. Serious mistake!
As I began the process, the steaks, ignited as expected with a large ball of momentary flame which then burned out nicely. What I had not anticipated was the paper stack in the vent immediately also igniting! Have you ever tried to put out a stack of flaming paper?
Well, I did successfully knock the flaming paper pile down (right into the gravy) just as the breaker for the fan blew and the smoke alarm went off. Not from my steaks mind you – from the papers!
Once we got everything calmed down, we surveyed the damage. Mashed Spuds and Gravy – Junk. At least the Steaks were covered! Wiring for the vent hood fan and light was melted, as was the timer we also had sitting in the vent. The aluminum mesh filter also cooked badly.
Luckily, once the damage was all checked, all we had to do was replace some of the wiring with some new spliced in wires. WE WERE SO LUCKY! Whew!
- When trying new techniques – check around for potential hazards
- If flame is involved, have a fire extinguisher handy ( I was read to use mine if needed)
- Have someone near watching in case you need help
If you are doing cooking this holiday season, please be careful. I want you to be with me next year too. I admit I started this blog and podcasts so you could learn from me – but this almost went to far.
Photo By Jenene from Chinatown, New York City, USA (Flickr: banana flambè) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons