Thursday, December 25, 2008

Flambee or Flambe?


Over the past couple months, Sr. Caprice has been trying to teach me how to cook. I thought I mastered the art of microwaving, however I quickly discovered that God did not present me with the passion for the preparation of processing provisions. As Sr. Caprice explained, I was the cause of the catastrophe.

It all started a couple months ago after everyone came back from their day out (and my free-day in the Monastery - are we EVER going to give this place a name?). Sr. Caprice freaked out because of a bug that was found in the hallway. She grabbed a can of Raid in one of the closets and nearly asphyxiated us by spraying nearly the entire can on one small harmless ant. She thought it was empty and mindlessly left it on the kitchen counter during one of our cooking sessions. The next day I was going through one of her cookbooks and saw a really cool recipe for Carmelized Bananas (also called flambe - I pronounced it like flum-bee, like a bumble bee). I wasn't sure what a 'flambe' was, but caramelized bananas sounded like a great treat on ice cream for a hot summer day.

So when she and Mother Frangelico went out to do the gardening, I was in charge of making lunch. Normally for lunch we have sandwiches or leftovers, which I heat up in the microwave - no problem, right? Wrong!

The Recipe:

4 bananas
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. cognac
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. Tia Maria
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 2 oranges
Rind of 1 lemon, sliced
Whipped cream
Place bananas, brown sugar, cognac and lemon juice. Marinate 15 minutes. Heat butter and sugar, cook until caramelized. When golden brown pour in orange juice; mix well. Cook 2 or 3 minutes. Stir constantly. Add banana mix to orange mix; add lemon rind and cook 1 minute. Pour in Tia Maria and flambe. Cook 1 minute on high. Add whipped cream and cinnamon.

Doesn't that sound just scrumptious? I found all the ingredients except for the Tia Maria. I had never heard of 'cognac' so I wasn't quite sure what it was, but I found a nearly full bottle hidden in one of the cupboards, way behind the good bowls on the very top shelf in the kitchen. I combined the bananas, brown sugar, cognac, and lemon juice. Since I am not able to use the stove or oven yet, I heated everything in the microwave. When I took them out, it looked a bit runny, so I added more of the cognac stuff and put it back in the microwave. It turned a light shade of brown, which I figured was carmelized. I added the brown sugar & orange juice and put it back into the microwave for 2 minutes.

As the flambe was cooking, I started setting the table. I found a drawer full of candles & holders and thought it would be a nice touch for a quiet lunch. However, I went to check on the flambee and looked - it was still cooking. I thought that was odd, but quickly dismissed the thought and continued to set the table and get the rest of lunch ready.

After I had the plates & silver set, I lit the candles. I heard some sputtering in the kitchen so I went back to see how the bananas were doing. I placed the candles on the counter, pulled the mixture out of the microwave and put it on the counter. When all of a sudden the entire thing exploded! It looked like a fireworks show. The kitchen quickly went up into flames!

I quickly grabbed the fire extinguisher on the counter & started spraying the mixture and anything else that was flaming. The fire billowed from the can - it looked like a fire-breathing dragon! It set the drapes and towels on fire. I looked at the canister I was holding - it was the can of Raid!

I couldn't reach the water from the sink because of the fire so I pulled one of the fire extinguishers off of the far wall, pulled the fire lever on the wall next to it, and hoisted the extinguisher on my hip. But by this time, the entire kitchen was engulfed in flames and the little fire extinguisher did nothing, not to mention I couldn't see & could barely breathe! I ran out of the kitchen into the hallway to get a breath of air - smoke & fire billowed from the kitchen.

I conceded trying to fight the flames and ran out of the Monastery. Mother Frangelico and Father ran over to see if I was okay. The fire trucks and ambulance came in about 2 minutes, but by that time, the entire first floor of the Monastery was in flames and it was heading up to the 2nd story. We all looked in horror at the sight.

After explaining all of this to Mother Frangelico & Father, my days of 'preparing' any meals is over. I have been completely banned from the kitchen, with the exception of peeling potatoes, which I will be doing for the rest of my LIFE!

(And, please pray for Sr. Perpetua! I can not imagine the horror she must be feeling to be in a strange country, not understand the language, and not understand why you are being detained. AND I am seriously praying that a firing squad is NOT issued! We need angelic protection and we need it fast!)


Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

In April I am going to be a Nun in the Sound of Music where we have to sort out the Problem of Maria. But it sounds like she isn't nearly as serious a problem as you have in your monastery!

Brother Juniper said...

I will be praying for Sr. Perpetua's speedy return.

Brother Juniper said...

I will be praying for Sr. Perpetua's speedy return.