Perfect Popcorn and Variations
When I was a kid, I used to clamor for my father to make popcorn whenever we watched movies or just needed an evening snack. He popped the corn in a pan, with oil, and then dished it out into smaller bowls. This has remained one of my favorite all-time snacks, and though I've tried air-popped and microwaved corn, the oil-and-pan method remains my favorite.
The Perfect Popcorn recipe posted by Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes has revolutionized the way I make popcorn. Before I started using this method, I always ended up with unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bowl, but that doesn't happen anymore. "Mom's method of making popcorn not only pops almost every kernel, it also prevents the kernels from burning," writes Elise, and I can verify that it's true.
If you're looking for a way to enjoy popcorn but cut the calories that comes from the oil, Claire Sundstrom of Diet Blog offers a method of popping and flavoring the corn that uses a microwave, flavored cooking spray, and seasoning to spice it up.
Kelly of Kelly the Kitchen Kop makes her popcorn with coconut oil, which she says has many health benefits.
Everyone loves this popcorn and it reminds me of how old-fashioned movie popcorn used to taste before they stopped using coconut oil (because it was more expensive than the cheap heart-killer fake oils they use now), and the flavor isn’t overpowering. It also keeps very well in freezer baggies for many days without becoming stale. (I don’t know exactly how long because it doesn’t last long around here.) I’ve even sent it to our friend, Nick, in Iraq and it travels quite well!
For the most part, I am a traditionalist when it comes to popcorn. I like mine popped in oil and tossed with salt. I might toss in a little bit of melted butter, but not necessarily -- I generally find the oil keeps things lubricated enough for my taste. But there are plenty of ways to change up the flavor of popcorn, and here are some ideas to get you started.
Susan Russo of Food Blogga offers up a Maple Walnut Popcorn variation that she recommended for the 2010 Oscars festivities. With the movie awards season in full swing, this would still be a terrific recipe to mix up as a snack to serve alongside snarky commentary and awards-race handicapping. It would also be a great Superbowl Sunday snack.
Another sweet popcorn variation worth a try is the White Chocolate Popcorn recommended by Sharon Pierce McCullough and Kristin Finch on Mommie911. Their recipe includes instructions on how your kids can help with preparation of this treat.
Lisa Baker Morgan of Simple Pleasures: French Cooking Recipes is a big fan of truffles, and she incorporates their earthy flavor in popcorn that she recommends be paired with a French red wine. She describes this as "A simple, deliciously addictive, idea." I have to admit...I've never seen such an extensive list of suggested wine pairings for popcorn, but hey...if you're a fan of both, it's worth a try!
What's your favorite popcorn preparation? Share your ideas in the comments below.
Photo credit: Photo by VeggieFrog, shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License