Monday, October 29, 2007

Kitchen Lessons

Though it was good, I may not have even posted about this Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup from La Dolce Vegan. But dear reader, I'd like to share with you a couple of things I learned in the process of making it - one of them rather benign and the other quite serious (and more than a little bit embarrassing). OK... if now you're thinking fire... you got it. So read on.

We decided to make this soup for dinner last night because it sounded simple and delicious - essentially potatoes, yams and red lentils with a base of vegetable broth and coconut milk, and flavored with curry paste. You add a can of coconut milk at the end, so we got all the way through making the soup and opened the cabinet... no coconut milk. It's a pantry staple; I could've sworn we had a can in there but nope, all gone. You've heard it before but I'll say it again. Always make sure you have all your recipe ingredients on hand before you start cooking. Of course there's nothing that says you can't wing it and adapt, so if you're willing to do that maybe it'll be OK. We ended up using soy milk instead and sprinkling a little toasted coconut on top. A little steamed broccoli rounded it out. Not exactly the flavor we anticipated when we started but still pretty good.

But about that coconut. It's flammable. Seriously. I put some coconut flakes on a piece of foil in the toaster oven and promptly forgot about it for just a few minutes. Darlene was sitting on the couch and I was talking to her with my back to the toaster oven when all of a sudden she looks past me and says, "Fire!". I spun around and sure enough, there are real live flames inside the toaster oven. It's a small toaster oven, but still. I turned it off, opened the door and blew on the flames like you'd blow out a candle. Not effective. Meanwhile Darlene was grabbing a box of baking soda with which to throw on top of the fire. But since it was completely inside the toaster oven we weren't sure how to go about that particular task. So I grabbed the fire extinguisher from under the sink and pulled the pin. Now there was only a little bit of coconut to begin with so by this time the flames were dying down a little. I stood there with the fire extinguisher ready for what seemed like a long time but what was probably only 30 seconds, during which time the fire dissipated and burned out. I'm glad I didn't end up using the fire extinguisher but I'm glad we had it. And would you believe that after cleaning things up I attempted to toast more coconut in the same toaster oven? This time I stood there and watched it continuously and it only took about 90 seconds before it was nice and golden brown. So be careful toasting coconut. And keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen just in case.

7 comments:

Rural Vegan said...

Wow, I would not have guessed that coconut could burn the house down. Glad disaster was averted!

Vegan_Noodle said...

Yikes! Glad it wasn't worse than that. Definitely a good lesson to learn....maybe I'll share for my saftey minute at work :-)

Veggie Cookster said...

Wow, glad everything turned out alright for you on this one. I've never experienced a kitchen fire, but they do sound scary. Thanks for the reminder to keep the fire extinguisher nearby. :)

VeggieGirl said...

oh my goodness gracious!! who knew that coconut could be so dangerous (and flammable)!?!?! I'm SO relieved that no one was hurt, and that you WERE able to enjoy the soup after all :0)

aTxVegn said...

Oh, no, Chris! I'm glad it wasn't too serious. I've burnt plenty of food, but never set it afire!

maybepigscanfly said...

Oh wow- I'm glad that everything is ok. While reading your post, I could totally relate. First- I always start making things and then find out I'm missing an ingredient I swore I had. And also I'm always causing problems in the kitchen. I must burn my hands at least 3 times a week. And yes, I have lit my bathrobe on fire before (and not the only flames I have caused). Luckily I got it out right away- but needless to say you're not alone and don't be embarrassed!

Cherie said...

Awwe, at least you can hopefully laugh about the mishap now that no one was hurt!! That soup sounds good.