Popcorn is one of my favorite foods (if you can call it a food). The smell – just think about it. It instantly makes you hungry, even if you thought you weren’t. At work or at home the smell will linger in the air. Like a candy bowl , its a great way to get people to come talk to you at work. Everyone loves popcorn. And it disappears from the bowl/bag way too soon – you know what I’m talking about.
There are many ways to eat popcorn – the traditional microwaveable bags, jiffy pop for camping, movie theater popcorn with butter flavored oil, and… stove top popcorn. Now stove top popcorn may be old news to many of you, but it’s a brand new concept for me. I have long thought of buying an air popcorn maker (they’re so expensive!) but luckily my friend Abbie introduced me to this new concept a couple weeks ago. I think I’ve made popcorn almost every other night since then.
It’s cheap, you have complete control over how much sodium, fat (butter or olive oil), calories, and sugar goes into it, there are no preservatives, you can pronounce all the ingredients AND it tastes better. No more having to worry about 90 calorie cardboard. How fantastic is that?
The other great thing about making your own popcorn is that there are endless flavor possibilities. Feel like something sweet? Use clarified butter (see note below), cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg. Feel like something salty? Just add some olive oil and salt. You could add curry, paprika, cayenne pepper, etc. Personally, I like my popcorn with a hard cheese and some herbs so this “recipe” includes sage and grated pecorino romano.
1/3 c popcorn kernels
2-3 tbs sage
1/3 c hard cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs olive oil, plus more for seasoning (or clarified butter, see below)
1. Add 2 tbs olive oil and a few kernels to a medium sized pot over medium-high heat
2. Once the kernels pop, add enough popcorn kernels to cover the bottom of a 3 quart pot (approximately 1/3 cup) and cover.
3. Once the kernels begin to pop vigorously, gently shake the pot back and forth to keep the bottom kernels from burning.
4. Listen carefully to the pops. Once the popping slows to several seconds between, remove the pan from the heat, take off the lid, and pour the popcorn immediately into a large bowl.
5. Add seasoning to popcorn, mix well, and ENJOY!
Note about butter: Movie theaters use butter-flavored oil, which has a lower water percentage than butter so it makes popcorn less soggy. You can make clarified butter at home, which removes the milk solids and has the same effect.
1. Melt down 2 sticks butter in a glass container in the microwave until it has all liquefied.
2. Remove the container from the microwave and let sit for a few minutes.
3. As the butter begins to cool, it will separate into 3 layers. Skim off the top layer of foam, then slowly pour the clarified butter (the middle layer) into a heatproof container. Throw away the bottom layer of milk solids.
4. Use 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter for your popcorn;
You can refrigerate the rest and use for sauteeing or pastries; will keep for several months.