Kitchen fires happen. But I never thought one would happen to me. Recently, while in the midst of teaching a cooking class and multitasking between recipes, I suddenly detected the aroma of something burning. That's when I remembered the pan of tortillas I had placed under the broiler to lightly toast.
I quickly grabbed the oven door to retrieve the tortillas, and was greeted with a giant ball of fire in the oven! I had never seen an oven fire before — what a shock.
On impulse, I slammed the door shut, turned off the oven and then turned to face my students. Their cooking teacher had not only burnt the tortillas to a crisp but set off a spectacular fire as well.
Once the disaster was thwarted, the students' initial excitement and shock quickly turned to smiles and pleasantries as the incident took on a humorous flair. After pausing for a few moments to discuss fire prevention, it dawned on me that they still looked hungry. So I did what any diligent instructor would do — I opened another package of tortillas and started over again. Yes, we put them under the broiler, but I had several eyes watching them this time.
Kitchen safety is a serious issue, and today's questions pertain to it:
It always looks so dramatic to see a chef flame a dish. I want to make crepes Suzette for a special event and think I can do it all except the flaming part. Any suggestions?
If you are planning on flaming a dish, never pour any form of alcohol from the bottle into a hot pan. The stream of alcohol could ignite, and the flame could extend up to the bottle, causing the bottle to explode.
Always pour the correct amount of alcoholic beverage into a measuring cup and add that to the pan. The liquid needs to be warmed before it will flame. Ignite it carefully and let the alcohol burn off. And remember that every kitchen needs a fire extinguisher just in case of emergencies.
I am wondering how to properly wash sharp knives, especially after they have been used to cut up chicken or other meat. I want them to be clean but don't want to put them in the dishwasher. Can you tell me the best way to clean them?
You are correct — knives should not be washed in the dishwasher. It would damage the handle and dull the edges. Also, never drop sharp knives into a sink full of soapy water to let them soak; it is possible someone could cut their hands if they immerse them in the water. However, it is fine to dip a knife into hot, soapy water and wash it with a dish cloth. Then rinse it thoroughly under hot, running water, carefully dry with a clean towel and put it away.