Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Restrictor Plate Cooking

Everyone knows how much I love love love the new apartment. I guess it's fairly standard around these parts, but compared to the last two places I've lived in this town, it is genuinely a wonderful home. Being so nice, it makes me *really* wish I could afford new furniture--a nice home needs nice furniture. But as much as I'd like to have a sweet leather couch and a couple of club chairs, it's not the priority right now. We can get by on the old stuff for now.

However, that's not to say that I can't do some sort of necessary modifications to the place.

Everyone also knows how awesome I think it is to finally have a gas stove/oven. I like to cook, and I'm constantly surprising myself with how much fun it is to use a gas stove that works like a champ compared to the old electric P.O.S. model at the old house where only two burners at a time would work. Cooking is fast and easy, but there isn't a lot of time for dilly dally, and there is much less margin for error. It's much easier to burn stuff on a gas stove.

Anyhow, the favorite weapon in my culinary arsenal has got to be my Lodge cast iron griddle. It makes the absolute greatest grilled cheese sandwiches in the world. But man does not live on grilled cheese alone--so I use it to grill brats, burgers, sausage links and patties, bacon, ham, french toast, pancakes--the list goes on and on.

However, using that bad boy on the open flame creates a bit of smoke, even if I'm not burning my food. We have a pretty powerful exhaust fan built into the hood over the stove, but sometimes it doesn't seem like it's up to the job. Burgers are especially prone to this phenomenon.

So about every other time I'm using that pan, the smoke detector goes off. It drives me nuts. And it's especially bad if I'm cooking in the early afternoon because that's just about the time Rob is getting to sleep after working the graveyard shift. Lucky for us, our smoke detectors are in tip-top condition, because they go off with ear-splitting consistency. I can guarantee that we will never die in a fire in this apartment.

The problem is, the smoke detector is only about twelve feet from the stove, as the grease flies--much too close. The only solutions I've come up with so far are to turn on the ceiling fan in the dining room area and use the rear burner on the stove so less smoke escapes the exhaust fan. But even that doesn't work every time. Just this weekend I was cooking a burger and the damn smoke alarm went off again.

Maybe turn the heat down and cook stuff longer and slower? Maybe try re-seasoning my griddle? I don't know how else to cut down on the smoke.

I guess my next plan, short of ripping the smoke detector out of the ceiling, is use the Nascar method and put a restrictor plate on the damn thing, Talladega-style. Yep, I'm gonna get me a roll of Alabama Chrome, climb up on a ladder, and silence that smoke detector once and for all so I can cook my bacon without alerting the entire neighborhood every time I do so.

Yep, duct tape on the ceiling. I think it probably goes better with the old furniture anyways.


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