Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How to Pop a Joyful Snack

As a kid, my mom and aunts would make popcorn in a pot. What an exciting food, you put little yellow kernels in a pot, heat it up and they explode - Ping ping pop pipipipi - into lovely butterflies and mushrooms, with the odd old maid left at the bottom (unpopped kernels). I love popcorn terminology!

As a teenager, our family dabbled in microwave popcorn, but luckily, I have rediscovered the pot-made method since then and have never looked back.

Here is what to do:

1. In a pot with a lid, heat a mixture of olive oil and canola oil over medium-high, enough to cover the bottom of the pot (I find canola oil alone leaves the popcorn flavourless and using only olive oil overpowers the butter/flavour at the end). For one person, usually 1/4 cup of kernels is a good serving, for more people make sure your pot is big enough and multiply.

2. When oil is ready, pour in kernels, put the lid on and swirl to fully coat the kernels (drop in a test kernel - if little bubbles form it's ready).Now just wait for the popping to start

3. When the pinging slows (2-3 seconds between pops), take it off the heat.
As you can see i put a little too much in this pot, the picture below is 1/3 cup.

4. Pour these lovely puffs into a bowl and dress with your favourite flavours.

5. Eat with abandon!

My three favourite flavourings are: Drizzled with delicious melted butter and sprinkled with salt, Drizzled with balsamic or white vinegar and sprinkled with salt (this combo is not just for potato chips) or the rebar recipe meg makes (Meg can you post this recipe we don't seem to have it on the blog yet - it must be an oversight.).

In the UK, popcorn is loved in the theatre salted and sweet. I'm not sure if the sweet is sprinkled with sugar or if it a buttery style syrup. I know it's not caramel corn. This might be interesting to try.

Does anyone know how it is made? Has anyone tried it this way?

Try your own flavourings - maybe cumin, curry, crushed wasabi peas, a sprinkle of sugar, hot sauce, a little juice from the pickle jar. Or try a tasting of every flavour you can think of, you don't have to commit to a whole bowl of one flavour.

Try out a new popcorn flavour next time you pop!


Meg said...

Cool popcorn pics Michelle! I share your love of popcorn for sure. It's my favourite snack – it's easy, I almost always have some in the cupboard, and I tell myself it's really healthy. Sometimes I just pop it with olive oil and only add salt, no butter, which is delicious and may actually be healthy I guess.

Lately my favourite topping is butter melted with minced garlic and cayenne stirred in while heating it. Mmmmm.

And of course that Rebar recipe is heaven – the sage and chili powder, garlic, butter. I think it's definitely the most-used recipe in that book for me. I promise to post it here the first chance I get...

I can't believe I've never tried adding vinegar - salt and vinegar is my favourite flavour of chips. That'll be next for me.

Now I feel like making popcorn instead of dinner, thanks Michelle!

Laura said...

I especially like the picture of the pot of popcorn - all that goodness can't be contained, obviously! I'm not so sure about some of the flavourings you mentioned (pickle!), but I'm into trying some new ones!

I remember my family used to have a popcorn-making machine, that was a transitional stage from pot to microwave. Did you ever have one? I remember thinking popcorn seemed so complicated - it's great that it's actually fairly simple. And healthy! Um, perhaps without the butter!