Thursday, October 23, 2008

Butcher Block Flambee

Intrigued? You should be. And it's a good one. This could only happen to me.

So, today I decided to make hot chocolate. Not hot cocoa, but hot chocolate. There is a difference. I could tell you what it is, but why don't you look it up yourself? I'm feeling a little lazy.

I made hot chocolate to take to Redheaded Snippet's hockey game (we won 5-0, btw). I have a recipe that I really like and is really easy to make. There I was, happily measuring and stirring when inspiration hit! Peppermint extract! I could add a little peppermint to the hot chocolate. Genius!

So, I got the little bottle of pepperminty goodness out of the cupboard, took the cap off, and set it on the counter to grab a measuring spoon. Now, there was a paper bag sitting on the counter as I had just made bacon shortly before, had used the bag to set the bacon on, you know to soak up the grease, and had suddenly decided to make the hot chocolate before taking the time to throw the bag away. But that didn't get in my way, I just set the uncapped bottle on a clean part of the bag.

Here comes the good part. Reaching for the bottle to measure some into the pot, I accidentally knocked it over (I think I was looking at the measuring spoon to make sure I had the right one instead of where I was reaching). The peppermint extract flowed from the bottle all over the paper bag and into the flame of the stove burner and, being 87% alcohol, went up in a most impressive whoosh of flame, setting the entire peppermint extract-soaked paper bag on fire. Flambee!

Fortunately, being a fire fighter's wife, as well as an idiot who can't seem to work a toaster oven without setting it ablaze, I am well-trained in kitchen fire procedures and protocol. Thinking quickly, I grabbed a large, heavy skillet lid and set it on the flames to smother them. Crisis averted. Sure, there are scorch marks on the beautiful Butcher Block countertop, but I didn't have to put my husband through the humiliation of having his very own fire department come to his house to put out a fire started by his silly wife accidentally flambee-ing her countertop, and I still have my eyebrows so I'm not complaining.

Oh, and there was just enough extract left in the bottle to flavor the hot chocolate perfectly. That was some delicious chocolate--Flambee!


Leila said...

This is just like something I would do! And I pride myself on putting out fires too! But my husband isn't a firefighter, he's a writer, so I wouldn't embarrass him professionally by burning the house up :)

(By the way I still can't read your blog. I'm just guessing at what the post was about.)

As for pizza, the simpler the better. It's all in the technique, honed over years of helpful suggestions from the masses (i.e. my kids).

Make the simplest possible dough: flour, water, salt, yeast. You may use potato water if you have some. You may add a smidge of olive oil if you like. Don't use much yeast -- let it rise slowly once.

Open a can of crushed tomatoes or use your nice light homemade sauce.

Get your mozzeralla, shredded, and your parmesan, ditto.

Get your pepper for your sauce and your oregano (dried) for sprinkling.

Get your toppings.

Crank your oven (oh -- your oven! jealous sigh) to 500* and put a rack on the lowest shelf.

Oil a pizza pan and sprinkle some cornmeal on it. Roll and stretch your dough nice and thin after letting it rest on the counter for a bit.

Put on a thin layer of sauce, cover with m., sprinkle with p. and o., add toppings, bake.

For my oven I set the timer for 6 minutes. (I have convection, so there!) Then I give the pizza a turn and go for 2 more minutes or until the bottom crust is nice and dark.

Turn it out on a board and cut and enjoy!

I'm going to blog about this with pictures someday soon, but hopefully this will keep you going until then :)

Amy said...

I have to agree with leila's pizza recipe with a couple of additions/variations. I recommend using WHOLE MILK mozzarella. It can be hard to find, but they usually have it at Wal-Mart in a full block. You have to shred it. I usually do 3/4 whole milk, 1/4 part-skim. Also, I have found the pizza cooks best when you put it directly ON the pizza stone, which has been sitting in the oven and has gotten very hot. This can be difficult- you have to have a pizza peel, and spread cornmeal & flour on it, and assemble the pizza directly on the peel. You can't let it sit too long there! Then you give some quick, straight jerks to slide the pizza quickly off the paddle and onto the stone. Takes some practice but it is SO worth it! Mmmm. My pizza is very yummy.