Thinking back, I should have seen the omens. My husband refused to cook dinner with lamb the other night, saying such a burnt offering would be a horrible waste of expensive meat. I wasn’t in a mood to cook (yes, I know that sounds unbelievable – but what a week it’s been!), so we did something else instead. This afternoon I put up a pot of brown rice and started to saute onions and green peppers for a Brazilian chicken dish. Then, all of a sudden, I had to pee. I really had to pee. I kept standing there though, swirling onions and peppers and wondering – just wondering – if I could get away with running upstairs to do the business and then dash back down again in time.
I decided to give it a try. Why not take the pan off the heat, you ask? Alas, I have no answer. The gods had decided! I dashed, peed, wiped, washed and ran back down to a slightly carmelized batch of onions. Not bad, a little Cajun but nothing worse. Wouldn’t hurt a thing. I dumped in diced, canned tomatoes and stirred. Then in went the coconut milk. What god wouldn’t like that, I ask you?
I tossed in diced chicken thighs 15 minutes later, checked on the rice and cut up broccoli. Tossed that into another pot with a steamer. By then the rice was done. I thought I’d move the rice to the back burner and get the veggies going on the front. Did that, then went upstairs to play with my computer while dinner continued to bubble away downstairs.
15 minutes later my kitchen timer beeped and I walked out onto the second floor hallway, which was already dense with hazy, acrid smoke. Oh, no! I ran the rest of the way downstairs and into the kitchen. No flames, but one of the pots was smoking its life out, the pot of broccoli I’d put up. Oh SHIT! I figured I’d forgotten to add water to the pan beneath the steamer basket.
My husband is very good at times like this. I was throwing myself around, cursing and moaning the loss of dinner karma but Aram just went upstairs and came back down with a fan. He spent a good amount of time setting it up just right, so all that bad, smoky air would suck right out of there.
Then, he made the magical discovery. I thought I’d exchanged the rice and the broccoli on their respective burners, but had not. So, the broccoli was still waiting to be turned on and the rice had a two-inch burned crust on the bottom. More swearing and moaning from yours truly, followed by fan placements and words of encouragement from the hubby. It was just rice. Really, it was okay. Pots clean out. And, look! The kitchen was starting to air out, see?
I cooked up another batch of rice and ended up checking it every five minutes. I turned the burner on underneath the broccoli and in 10 minutes we were sitting down to dinner: Brazilian chicken with rice and broccoli. Pumpkin bread for dessert.
I have a burned pot downstairs. Maybe I’ll just light a candle next to it, bow deeply, and leave it at that.