Leah’s Note: I’m off enjoying San Diego with my Husband and dear friends! Thanks to my mother for offering up a guest post! I expect some curry corn on our next trip to Montana!
Popcorn: The sweet, the savory and the decadent.
Hi, I’m L4L’s mom, some of you may already know me as The Kitchen Witch. Leah asked me to do a guest post and I was very excited to do so. I tossed around some different ideas about what readers for L4L would like for a guest post, generally speaking I don’t eat as healthy or as organic as Leah, but we do have a few things in common: we are the masters of leftovers, we snack in between meals, and we love our wine. I don’t have any fabulous recipes for wine (that’s for the experts), Leah is always posting great meal and leftovers recipes so I decided to share a snack recipe. I’m going to post on my favorite snack: Popcorn. Oh give me the salty crunchy snack over the sweet snack any day! Not only that, my popcorn is healthy, I have 3 versions and none of them use butter!
My love of popcorn is all my Dad’s fault! I can’t remember everything about my childhood, but my memories, which started around age 5 or 6, began in our neighborhood of Waldorf, Maryland. I’m not so sure I remember that’s where we lived, but my mom told me so many times that now I think I remember. Anyways, I do remember our house, it was a ranch style house (of course I didn’t know that is what that style was called but I knew it was single level). It had olive green siding and a carport. Our dining room was papered in black and white scrolls and my parents had built a bar and covered it in fake plastic stones. A giant globe of a lamp sat on the bar, looking like some alien egg. In the kitchen my mom had canisters that were shaped like mushrooms, covered in splattered paint that she had made in ceramics class. We also had a ceramic frog that held our scrubby pad in its mouth.
My sister and I shared a room (I did have my own room for awhile, but evidently I missed my sister, so I moved back in with her..shhh don’t tell her). We had bunk beds in our room, I had the top bunk, of course, I was the BIG sister. Every night I would climb up on top of my olive green toy box and jump up to my top bunk and feel like I was on top of the world. Really, there was nothing more cool than having the top bunk. And seemingly every night after I went to bed, I would hear my dad go into the kitchen. I’d hear the rattle of pots and pans and then the noise of a pot being set on the stove. Soon I would hear the clickity click of popcorn kernels being poured into the pan and in less than 3 minutes I’d hear the poppity pop of popcorn. It wouldn’t take long before that glorious smell drifted down the hall, through the cracks of my door and straight up my nostrils. What kind of torture was that? What parent would do that to their child night after night? How was I supposed to sleep when I knew my dad had made popcorn? I never ever remembered falling asleep at night but I always remembered the smell of popcorn at bedtime.
You’ve probably figured out by now that all this was taking place in the early 1970’s, not only were there mushroom canisters, bars in every home and olive green was in vogue, but so was going to the drive-in theater. I don’t remember how often we went, I don’t even remember what movies we saw. What I do remember was my dad would always making popcorn whenever we went to the drive in movies. The big pot would come out, followed by the clickity click of popcorn kernels, soon followed by the poppity pop and the smell. The smell of the popcorn, the anticipation was almost too much. My dad would take a double lined paper bag and put the copious amounts of popcorn in it, pour melted butter over it, salt it well, roll up the bag and shake shake to distribute all that buttery and salty goodness. He would pop up two bags full, one for mom and dad and one for us kids.
Years later, I still love popcorn, but with the invention of microwave popcorn I stopped making my own. No more clickity click of the kernels hitting the pot, no more poppity pop of the kernels trying to escape. Oh sure the smell was still there and there was still some poppity pop behind the whirring noise of the microwave, but it’s just not the same, plus it was too easy. I made all my popcorn in the microwave until recently. We built a small cabin in the Rocky Mountains and our small cabin does not have a microwave. I cannot do without popcorn so on a whim a bought a Whirley Pop. I’m not trying to plug a particular product, I’m just sayin it changed my popcorn popping life. It brought back the fun of making popcorn. It is designed with a wooden crank handle that turn these little arms inside the pan. When your popcorn starts to go poppity pop, you crank the handle, no more shaking the bejeezes out of it. I loved it so much I bought another one for my home. Once I started popping my own corn again, I started experimenting with flavoring it. I’m going to share 3 of my favorites: kettle corn, curry corn and truffled corn.
The Sweet: Kettle corn
It used to be that you had to wait for the fair or a carnival to come around to get kettle corn, now it comes as microwavable too. Making it on the stove top is so much better, more true to the “kettle” part.
In a large pot (or a Whirley Pop) with a tight fitting lid, heat the oil and popcorn up over medium high heat. When you hear the first signs of the poppity pop, sprinkle the sugar and salt over the top of the kernels. Be very careful, the popcorn will do everything in its power to escape. Shake the pan vigorously (or turn the crank of your Whirley Pop) for about 3 minutes. When the popcorn popping slows way down or stops, immediately remove from heat and pour into a giant bowl. The popcorn will stick together in some clumps as it cools.
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup white popcorn kernels
- 1/4 sugar
- 1 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
Did you know if you went to the movies in Europe and bought popcorn, you would get sweet (kettle) popcorn?
The Savory: Curry Corn
Anyone who reads Leah’s blog knows that she is a big fan of curry, this recipe is for her.
- 3 tbsp. canola oil
- 1/3 cup white popcorn kernels
- 1 tsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
In a mortar and pestle mix the curry powder, cumin seeds, sea salt and cayenne pepper, crush lightly.
Heat a small non-stick pan over medium heat. Once it is warm, add the curry mix and toast until it becomes aromatic, about 30 seconds.
In a large pot (or a Whirley Pop) with a tight fitting lid, heat the oil and popcorn up over medium high heat. Shake the pan vigorously (or turn the crank of your Whirley Pop) for about 3 minutes. When the popcorn popping slows way down or stops, immediately remove from heat and pour 1/2 of the popcorn into a giant bowl and 1/2 the curry mixture and mix well, then add the remainder of the popcorn and curry mixture and mix well.
The Decadent: Sea Salt and Black Pepper Truffled Popcorn
Hands down my favorite popcorn of all time. It seems insane to put truffle oil on the lowly popcorn, trust me it’s worth it. Perfect for gift giving if you can bear to give it away!
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/3 cup white popcorn kernels
- 2 – 3 tsp. white truffle oil
- Fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
In a large pot (or a Whirley Pop) with a tight fitting lid, heat the oil and popcorn up over medium high heat. Shake the pan vigorously (or turn the crank of your Whirley Pop) for about 3 minutes. When the popcorn popping slows way down or stops, immediately remove from heat and pour 1/2 of the popcorn into a giant bowl and drizzle it with the truffle oil, grind some fresh black pepper and sea salt over it, mix well. Repeat with the
I have a few more ideas : savory jalapeño popcorn, a pizza popcorn and a sweet chai popcorn, what do you think? Any other ideas?