Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Cooking makes you cold.

I'm chilly.

I'm chilly because it's 33 degrees out despite the 11 mph wind from the SSE, and I got home hungry.

I saw a bowl of red new potatoes on the counter, and thought I'd just bake a few right up in the microwave.

Now, a couple of Christmases back, Holly's mom gave us this really cool baked potato thing that was basically a double thick cloth back that you could fit about three bakers in, fold it over, and bake them in the microwave, and they come out incredible. They cook faster, and they come out fluffier. Damndest thing I ever saw. Something about retaining just enough of the steam that boils out of them to help properly bake them.

Or whatever.

Anyway, I wanted the thing.

And it was in the laundry hamper, right on a pile of my daughters' and my own occassionally skid-marked undies and dirty socks. I ain't cookin' potatoes in that, 'til it gets a goodly cycle in the Whirlpool on Hot.

Well, hell-- what's an oven mitt but some quilted cloth, kinda like that potato-cooking bag?

So I sat 5 new potatoes on one oven mitt, and covered them with the other. I didn't want to put them in the oven mitt, because... Um, I just didn't. Hell, I don't know why.

And I set my 'wave for 5 minutes and some, and sat down to surf.

The 'taters finished by evidence of the ding, and I smelled something kinda pungent. Hm. Musta been something on one of the oven mitts, that heated up. I kept surfing. Ten minutes later, it seemed worse.

I opened up the microwave, and got my potatoes from two smoking oven mitts. Actually, the proper word is "smoldering." Opening the microwave made one of them go into a low flame. After a visit to Mr Sink for some expedient fire extinguishment, I realized that we were soon to be hearing from Mr. Fire Alarm, damned quick, if I didn't do something. As it was about 1 AM, that would mean that I would be visited by Faces Like Walnuts, and Mrs. Bitchy-Pants.

I got to work.

Front Door: Flung open.
Back Door: Flung open.
Bathroom stink fans: On.
Ceiling fans: Turned on to Warp-Factor-4-Mr.Sulu, Scotty-can't-you-get-me-more-power?.

Took about 10 minutes of that fresh breeze blowing through to get the stench out.

The potatoes were just right, though.

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At Friday, January 04, 2008 2:14:00 AM, Blogger Canadian Girl said...

I betcha those oven mitts have (had? I assume they're garbage now) a heat-reflective layer in them, a silvery fabric that I believe contains some kind of metal. Great for protecting your hands from the heat, but not so great inside a microwave.

I once had oven mitts that melted the first time I used them. Some moron had decided that 100% polyester fabric would be a good choice of material. The bits of melted plastic never did come off the cookie sheet. I'm thankful it was the cookie sheet and not my hands!

At Friday, January 04, 2008 8:22:00 AM, Blogger William the Coroner said...

I cook lots of things cajun.

Cajun chocolate chip cookies.
Cajun chicken noodle soup (that was a bad one)
Cajun bacon.

Cajun = Blackened. I should pay more attention.

You learn to take the battery OUT of Mr. Smoke Alarm.

At Friday, January 04, 2008 8:50:00 AM, Blogger Carteach said...



The funnest part is when it goes
'foof' as you open the nuker door...

At Friday, January 04, 2008 2:38:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

You learn to take the battery OUT of Mr. Smoke Alarm."


At Friday, January 04, 2008 3:15:00 PM, Blogger Less said...

I still refuse to have a microwave... Oh, and BTW, I hate potatoes.

At Friday, January 04, 2008 3:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lesson learned once or twice: Get off the damn computer and into the kitchen when cooking something.

Popcorn: burned. Onions: burned. Biscuts: burned.

At Friday, January 04, 2008 3:57:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

That's how I am when using the broiler. I seem to get most of recipes from The Better Homes & Gardens ADD Guide To Traditional -- Hey! Let's Go Ride Our Bikes! cookbook.

At Friday, January 04, 2008 4:00:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

And Les? Potatoes? Really?

What's your stance on beans?

At Friday, January 04, 2008 4:14:00 PM, Blogger Not Afraid to Use It said...

Oh my god, you actually ATE them after that!?!? You must have really had a craving! LOL

I heard that to bake potatoes in the oven, but to cut down on the cooking time, you put a clean nail in the center of each potato. The heat through the metal nail cooks it from the inside out. They are supposed to be fabulous.

At Friday, January 04, 2008 7:19:00 PM, Blogger Barbara said...

Chilly despite the wind from the southeast? I'll have you know that well southeast of you, that wind was freezing pipes all over the place.

Including mine. The windchill factor had it at 17 degrees yesterday and I was getting spewed by well water under pressure while I worked on fixing the damned thing.

At Friday, January 04, 2008 7:23:00 PM, Blogger JPG said...

Good story, Mateo.

Not Afraid - -
Good tip. Even better is to stop at the kitchen gadgets counter in a department store and look for "Potato Nails." These are made of aluminum, about five inches long - - Some look just like a big ol' wood nail, and some have a square section and a triangular handle.

The aluminum conducts heat VERY quickly, and it cools rapidly, preventing burned hands.


At Friday, January 04, 2008 10:10:00 PM, Blogger Christina RN LMT said...

Try waving a broom frantically thisclose to the smoke alarm, works every time!

Yes, I've had LOTS of experience...

At Saturday, January 05, 2008 12:32:00 AM, Blogger Sevesteen said...

The clean nail for potatos should be aluminum--I use gutter nails or aluminum skewers.

At Saturday, January 05, 2008 5:38:00 AM, Blogger phlegmfatale said...

Well, at least you had those hot 'taters to keep you warm!

At Saturday, January 05, 2008 1:44:00 PM, Blogger HollyB said...

Matt, I get my potato nails at the Kitchen Collection on the Square. They're in the back, with all the other kitchen gadgets, not up at the front with all the frou-frou. They're only about 98 cents each and made in the USA.

At Saturday, January 05, 2008 3:56:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Holly, friends: I appreciate your offers toward using hardware to cook 'taters. And believe me: I've used 'em. Aluminum, steel, iron-- I've done the deal.

But here's the thing: while they do make your conventional oven or your bed of coals cook faster, without any doubt, they simply don't make your potato any better.

I'll let that sink in.

Not. Any. Better.

And I'll utter some more sacriledge for you: using that silly little quilted cloth potato-cooking bag (mine has little frogs on it, so I feel entitled to call it silly) in the stinkin' microwave, my baking potatoes are just as good, if not even (gasp) better, on average, than conventionally-baked potatoes.

Again, I'll give y'all a minute to call me a blasphemer.

All I can say is: try it. It's amazing, and it's fast, and it doesn't overheat your kitchen (in fact, it seems in my case in the winter time to cool it off.). :)

Sure-- for cooking potatoes over a campfire or on the grill, I'll foil 'em up and shove a nail through 'em. But for kitchen use, gimme a double-walled cloth bag and a 1000 watt Tappan microwave.

At Saturday, January 05, 2008 9:09:00 PM, Blogger X_LA_Native said...

I would be visited by Faces Like Walnuts, and Mrs. Bitchy-Pants.
That funny. I think I shall steal it. Properly attributed though.

Just found you through last month's "Perspectives" piece. I'm a new fan.

At Saturday, January 12, 2008 1:43:00 PM, Blogger Kate said...

Okay, I have to ask...William the Coroner says he makes cajun chocolate chip there a recipe that can be shared? I didn't see an email to write to ask him directly!

At Saturday, February 09, 2008 2:14:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To bake your potato in the microwave oven, first wash the potato and pat dry. Next, slice the skin to avoid potato explosion while cooking. rub the potato with a bit of olive oil. Rub the potato with a pinch of salt (large grained kosher or sea salt works best). Wrap the potato in Saran or Glad Wrap. Place potato in microwave oven, either on a microwave safe plate (like Corningware) or on the oven floor. Cook on high for 5 min. Poke with sharp knife to test if done. Repeat cooking until knife glides through potato effortlessly. Unwrap potato, slice, add condiments, eat.


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