< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://caltechgirlsworld.mu.nu/" /> Not Exactly Rocket Science: A short recipe

Thursday, January 27, 2005

A short recipe

(at the request of a friend)

Uncle Sam's Perfect Popcorn

Popcorn (real popcorn, not that fatty, salty, crappy microwave junk) is a tradition in my family. All you need to make it is a pan with a lid, oil, salt, and popcorn (butter/margarine optional, see below)

1. If you've never made stove-top popcorn before, choose your pan first. It should be a medium saucepan (I use a 3 qt ) with a fairly substantial bottom (eg. not a cheap pot) to spread the heat more evenly. It NEEDS to have a well-fitting lid.

2. Measure your popcorn. The appropriate amount of popcorn kernels is enough to cover the bottom of your chosen pan with one full layer of kernels, more or less. This usually works out between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of kernels, but YMMV, so check for yourself by pouring kernels into the clean, dry, cool pan to measure, and then pour the measured bit back out into a measuring cup or some other such device, so you know how much popcorn your pan will make.

3. Now you're ready. Put the pan on the burner and add enough oil to cover the bottom with a thin layer (1/8 inch?) Eyeball it. Put 3-5 kernels of popcorn into the pan. When they start popping, you're in business. Set the stove to medium to medium high. This is important because you'll get nothing but burned kernels if the oil is too hot.

4. Let the oil heat until the test kernels begin to pop (watch out, they fly!), then add the rest of the kernels you measured out and put the lid on. Shake the pan horizontally to distribute the kernels evenly across the bottom of the pan. Popping will commence shortly. Keep shaking intermittently

5. When the lid begins to raise off the pan and popping slows, dump the contents into a large bowl. Add salt liberally. If butter is desired, melt in warm pan and pour over kernels.

I prefer plain popcorn with a little salt. Using corn oil enhances the popcorn's natural flavor, and a little salt really kicks it up. Of course, shaking on spices or even a little black pepper is good too, depending on your tastes. Colored kernels are also fun, and not much more expensive than plain white or yellow.


At Thursday, January 27, 2005 6:09:00 PM, Blogger Dave said...

My favorite is garlic salt and cayenne pepper!

At Thursday, January 27, 2005 10:36:00 PM, Blogger Dash said...

Wow, haven't done it that way in a while. Thanks for reminding me. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on there - good stuff.

At Thursday, January 27, 2005 11:31:00 PM, Blogger Jay Solo said...

I haven't made regular popcorn in perhaps 10 years! I used to use a 5 quart pan, popped to overflowing, pured into a salad bowl and drowned with butter. I use little or no salt on popcorn over which I have control. I've also never been that creative, though I did try making a taco flavored popcorn recipe once. Eh.

For a long time I resisted microwave because of the added cost, and for a long time popcorn was a staple cheap meal for me. That bowl would be supper many nights when I was eating on $10 a week back when $20 would still have been cheap for most people.

When I lived with my stepsister, my making real popcorn was decidedly too messy for her kitchen I was paying half of, and I had more money, so I stopped.

At Thursday, January 27, 2005 11:38:00 PM, Blogger HCL said...

Two new tips for me: cayenne pepper and parmesan cheese. Thanks, guys. A tip for you: substitute bacon drippings for oil. Southern YUM!!

At Friday, January 28, 2005 12:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hickory flavored salt. If it ain't smoky, it ain't a snack.

At Friday, January 28, 2005 5:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the memories.

That's the way my mother used to make it when I was a little boy about an ice-age ago. She used to let me "help" her shake the pan and add the salt. The popcorn was wonderful, as was the company.

Parkway Rest Stop

At Friday, January 28, 2005 10:51:00 PM, Blogger Queenie said...

Ooh! That's my favorite way to make popcorn. F**k this microwave noise, I like it made in hot oil, thank you. My toppings of choice? Salt and habanero or chipotle sauce instead of butter. Spicy and dee-licious.

At Monday, January 31, 2005 9:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My college roommate and I used to make popcorn (cheap snack to go with the cheap beer we used to buy). We would roll down the sides of a big paper grocery sack until the bag was about 12 inches deep or so, pour in the popcorn, salt it up, and serve the popcorn in the bag. One less bowl to wash!


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