The story here is quite funny.
To begin, you'll need to know that I am originally from New Mexico and now living in North Carolina. After visiting 32/50 states, I have yet to find the variety and quality of food that NM offers. NM is also more affordable than most of the states when it comes to decent food. With that being said, some days I just want New Mexican everything. Saturday was one of those days.
I decided to explore the internet for traditional New Mexican cuisine, when I saw the recipe for sopapillas (found here on newmexico.org). I have never made this delightful fried bread, and so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I thought sopapillas were calm and delicious and that the recipe seemed fairly simple. Apparently they can light up your world. See flames below.
*Another important thing to mention is that I rarely fry anything.
An hour after committing to this "culinary" challenge, the dough was ready, oil was in the pot, and all I had left to do was to let the oil heat to 400 degrees and throw in the dough.
A Rookie's Mistake
I have no cooking thermometer and little experience with frying. My Mammaw on the other hand was a southern belle that could have read the temperature of the oil with her mind. I like to credit her with a genius mind regardless of topic. Anyways, I had to turn to alternative methods to read the 400 degrees needed. I Googled it: How to heat oil to 400 degrees on an electric stove.
Bad internet sources are everywhere, and I found the most relevant piece of advise that I soon realized deceived my New Mexican hopes and dreams.
The winner suggested to hold my hand over the pot every few minutes and if it was hot enough to pull my hand away after 3 seconds, this would indicate the oil had reached 400 degrees. This is what I followed and it ended in fire, embarrassment, and a lot of mocking from my dearest husband. I'm glad he keeps me accountable...usually.
So moving on, after about 20 minutes of applying this method (which works for heating water not oil), I was discontent with how long it was taking the oil to heat on high. That's when it happened. The flame of shame appeared atop my pot as my hand was about to drop in the dough.
I want to mention that although I've burned many items, this was the only house fire I had caused in my 10+ years of cooking. The flames got higher, and I told my Hubby, "Do something!!!" in my most calm, angelic voice. He came to the rescue (as always <3). We took the pan outside, and I called the fire dpt. (they're great). They laughed hysterically, called the oil nuclear, and said they would encouraged their wives that they didn't mind charred grilled cheeses anymore.
The night ended and I just laughed with my hubby for a few hours about the first day of our 12th month of marriage. I'm thankful God protected us from harm, and I was beyond amused with the idea of nuclear for the rest of the evening.