Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Food Matters Project: Seasoned Popcorn

This is week two of the brand-new Food Matters Project, the brainchild of Sarah of 20somethingcupcakes and Kate from Cookie + Kate. When I read the mission - cooking through The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman who espouses eating more plants, fewer animal products and processed foods, and the positive impact of those choices on us and our planet - I was in.

Each week we will all - here's the 'we', just over a dozen fellow foodie bloggers - cook the same recipe, posting our interpretations and adaptations. This week we were assigned Mark's Seasoned Popcorn Recipe. [Recipe is below.*] Click here for the line-up of recipes.

Given that I don't own a microwave, I went with option number one and used olive oil at a lower temperature. It reminded me of those "magical foil" popcorn poppers from when we were kids - okay, maybe from when I was a kid as I know there are bloggers in their 20s on here! - Jiffy Pop, or something like that. With each pop the excitement rose until the popcorn was pushing the lid off my pot to cheers and claps of glee. Yes, we are easily amused in my household!

But in all seriousness, this was an easy mid-afternoon snack on a lazy weekend afternoon. To spice it up, I dumped the popcorn into a paper bag with some pink Himalaya salt, curry powder, and ground cumin and let Dylan shake it. Yummy.

And because the boys started devouring the popcorn - right out of the paper bag - before I could take a photo, I'm using a cute little clipart I found at Must add "take photo of food" to my list of things to do before serving the ravenous monkeys.
*The Original Recipe: Seasoned Popcorn
Yield: 4 to 8 servings. Time: about 10 minutes

Toss the popcorn with extra ingredients while it's still warm and the seasonings will stick pretty well, even without adding any more fat. You can even cook popcorn in olive oil as long as ou lower the heat as needed to keep it from burning.

2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup popping corn
2 to 4 tablespoons butter or olive oil, optional
Salt (and other seasonings if you like)

Put the vegetable oil in a large, deep pan (6 quarts or so). Turn the heat to medium, add 3 kernels of corn, and cover. When the kernels pop, remove the lid and add the remaining corn. Cover and shake the pot, holding the lid on. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally, until the popping sound stops after 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter or gently warm the olive oil if you're using it.

Turn the popcorn into a large bowl; drizzle with butter or olive oil if you like, and sprinkle with salt while tossing the popcorn. Serve immediately.

OR Microwave popcorn (yields 2 to 4 servings). In a small glass container, or a brown paper lunch bag, combine 1/4 cup popping corn with 1/4 teaspoon salt and fold the top of the bag over a couple of times. Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes, until there are 4 to 5 seconds between pops. Open the bag or container carefully, because steam will have built up. Toss with your seasonings and a drizzle of butter or olive oil or serve as is.

Garlic popcorn: Use the optional butter or oil and as you melt or heat it, add a tablespoon minced garlic and cook until soft and turning golden. Strain the garlic bits out as you pour the butter over the popcorn—or not.

Popcorn seasoning ideas:
chopped fresh herbs
black pepper
curry powder
ground nuts or shredded coconut
chopped dried fruit

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