Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The Self Cleaning Cycle on an Oven. Does Anyone Even Use That?!
I never had - until the other day. It's such a fancy feature on those new-fangled appliances and those who know me, know that I'm pretty adamantly opposed to high-tech features. But, our oven has suffered it's fair share of cooking accidents, run overs and, yes, even explosions.
Last week I threw some red potatoes in to bake while I was out working in the barn. They were smaller than typical baker potatoes, but I still guessed they'd need a good hour or so in the cooker. About 30 minutes later Todd hollered out the back door, "How long have those potatoes been in there?", to which I replied, "Oh, only about half an hour. Why?" "Well, one of them just exploded, so I shut the oven off." Exploded? Hmm. Even at 30 I'm still learning" a) 350 degrees is too hot to bake potatoes. b) 1 hour is too long to bake potatoes at 350 degrees and, most importantly, c) the tin foil you wrap potatoes in (which I didn't use..) helps hold the potato shrapnel in so your oven won't look like mine did.
Following the Great Potato Incident of 2010, Todd prepared a lovely dinner of grilled shrimp and quinoa. He tossed the shrimp in olive oil and spices and broiled them on a cookie sheet. Half way through the operation the olive oil started dripping off the flat cookie sheet, producing enough smoke to fill the house, setting off all three smoke alarms! (Incidentally, Colt obviously inherited my fear of fire and launched in to a full on body shaking, paranoid melt down!)
Something drastic had to be done post-potato explosion and olive oil disaster. So, the other night (after another smoke-out, 3-detector alarm) I pushed the "self clean" button wondering what it might do. The oven took charge, locked itself, set the timer for three hours and began heating to a temperature I'm not entirely sure was safe. I could see little embers glowing in the bottom of the oven! And the door was locked - I couldn't even shut it off! (Then I began thinking I should have read the manual first..) Smoke started rolling out the top of the oven filling the house and setting the detectors off again and the heat coming off the oven drove the inside temperature up to almost 80 degrees! We removed all the batteries from the detectors and opened all the door and windows in the house for the three hour cleaning cycle.
I'm happy to report that after a few olive oil induced smoke-outs, the potato explosion and the possessed self cleaning episode, all the crap in the bottom of the oven was reduced to ash that I wiped out the next morning. The oven sparkles now! I can't believe what a good job it did! I'm so sold on the self-cleaning cycle. And I'm even considering easing up on my technology ban.