Monday, February 3, 2014

Pop Secrets

R-2 is a frequent guest at chez Wutzke
Every Friday night, and sometimes Saturday as well, we sit down for Family Movie Night. The kids get to pick a movie, or we watch the movie version of whatever chapter book we've just finished so they can compare the book to the movie. A big part of movie night is the popcorn and treat, and I've perfected the art of stovetop popcorn making. You'll never go back to that bag of microwave popcorn again! (Unless you're my husband, and then you'll buy it when I'm out of town.)

Step 1: Disregard the directions on the popcorn container. They'll make you use too much popcorn so that there are a bunch of unpopped kernels when the majority of the popcorn is ready, or you'll pop it all and it will be burnt. Ask J how we know this.

Measure out 1/3 c. of popcorn kernels and set aside. Add 3T of oil to a sauce pan, I like to use coconut oil. I know that it's super trendy, but I swear I won't make you serve it with a side of quinoa or sprinkle kale chips over the top. In this case, it really just lends a good flavor and having a healthy fat to boot is not a bad thing. If you don't already use coconut oil, I really like the Nutiva brand, and you can get a big ole container of it at Costco.

It's solid, but melts very quickly in the pan, so turn your burner to about medium and let it melt. While it's melting, sprinkle about a teaspoon of good salt over the oil. This way, the salt gets kind of impregnated into the popcorn to make it perfectly seasoned instead of just salty. While the oil is heating up, put one popcorn kernel into the pan of oil.

When that kernel pops turn off the heat, add the rest of the popcorn kernels to the pan and then count to 30. Seriously. Stand at the stovetop and count to thirty. Out loud if you need to. Then put a lid on the pan, turn the heat back to medium and listen for the pop, pop of the kernels. If you don't have a vented lid, leave it just a tiny bit off-kilter so the steam can escape. Give the pan a gentle shake every 20-30 seconds, and leave it on the heat until you hear a pause between pops of about 2 seconds. Turn the contents out into a large bowl. From here you can doctor your popcorn however you wish.  Plop a tablespoon of butter into the now empty hot pan so it can melt and drizzle it over the top, sprinkle with endless seasoning combinations, add a little shake of sugar to create kettle cornor drizzle with homemade caramel sauce for a really special treat.

Why, yes, I do frequently balance dishes on the edge of my counter. I lead quite a thrilling life!

In addition to the popcorn, we always have a treat on top; some leftover candy between holidays (before I toss it) or York 'pepper patties' that I keep in the freezer because they're always a win. Just a few treats in a bowl of popcorn with a big glass of ice cold 'fridge water' to wash it all down and you've got movie night dessert.


Perfect Stovetop Popcorn:

1/3 c. popcorn kernels
3T cooking oil-I prefer coconut
1/2 -1 t. salt (optional, but really does make it better)

1T melted Butter or preferred toppings

Heat oil in a large saucepan and sprinkle with salt (to taste), add one kernel to the heating pan. When that kernel pops, turn off heat, add the rest of the corn and wait for 30 seconds. Return to heat until 2 seconds between popping sounds and then turn contents into large bowl and season as desired. Enjoy!

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