Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A mid afternoon rant on....

POPCORN! Yep. Popcorn. Microwavable popcorn anyway. Im fond of convenience in certain things-popcorn being one of them as its a quick and easy and fairly inexpensive snack. But lately, microwavable popcorn has seriously been bugging me!!! Not only have I gotten bags that wont pop, but bags that arent fully popping. I mean bags that leave behind half a bag of kernels even after the popping has stopped....And its not just me! Or rather my microwave. So, I have decided that this next shopping trip Im buying a jar of kernels and popping them myself. And since its going to be plain Jane popcorn, Im going to use a bunch of different things to jazz it up. Hey, my mom used to do it...
Heres some recipes/add ins and tips Ive found.

This one doesnt sound so healthy, but the fact that there is chocolate in the title and its in a patriotic bowl sold me. Im a sucker for red, white and blue. And chocolate.

Chocolate popcorn:

  • 2 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 cup peanuts (optional)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Oil a 10x15 inch baking pan with sides.
  2. Place popcorn and peanuts into a large, metal bowl, and set aside. Stir together the sugar, corn syrup, cocoa powder, and butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Stir in the vanilla, then pour over the popcorn. Stir until the popcorn is well coated. Spread the popcorn into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring several times.
  4. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool to room temperature. Break into small clumps, and store in an airtight container.
Caramel popcorn: think Ill add peanuts to this one.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 quarts popped popcorn
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place popcorn in a very large bowl.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
  3. Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces. 
Kettle corn:
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, stir in the sugar and popcorn. Cover, and shake the pot constantly to keep the sugar from burning. Once the popping has slowed to once every 2 to 3 seconds, remove the pot from the heat and continue to shake for a few minutes until the popping has stopped. Pour into a large bowl, and allow to cool, stirring occasionally to break up large clumps. 

Spicy popcorn:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup popping corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Heat oil in deep pot over medium high heat. Add corn. Cover pot and pop the corn, shaking pan often. Remove from heat. Drizzle with melted butter. Combine spices in a small dish and sprinkle the blend over hot corn. Serve.

A few other "toppings":
Garlic salt
Parmesan cheese
Dry taco seasoning mix
Dry ranch-style seasoning mix
Lemon pepper
Italian herbs: oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, and crushed rosemary.
French herbs: marjoram, thyme, summer savory, basil, rosemary, sage, and fennel
Cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg

From the popcorn board:

To pop popcorn on a range-top, assemble the following:
  • A 3 to 4 quart pan with a loose lid that allows steam to escape
  • At least enough popcorn to cover the bottom of the pan, one kernel deep
  • 1/3 cup of oil for every cup of kernels (Don't use butter!)
Heat the oil to 400 - 460 degrees Fahrenheit (if the oil smokes, it is too hot). Test the oil on a couple of kernels. When they pop, add the rest of the popcorn, cover the pan and shake to evenly spread the oil. When the popping begins to slow, remove the pan from the stove-top. The heated oil will still pop the remaining kernels.
Add your spices AFTER popping.

Did you know....?
You can re-pop unpopped popcorn kernels? (thats quite a POP!! hahaha) Just soak the ones left in the bowl in water for a few days in a tightly closed container in a dark place. Test a couple kernels after a few days and if they pop, great, if not, soak some more!! So much for me getting irritated with the microwaveable kind!
Theres a national popcorn day? Sort of? Some say its January 19th, others say whatever date the super bowl falls on.Who cares? Its a great treat!

  • Americans consume some 16 billion quarts of this whole grain, good-for-you treat. That’s 52 quarts per man, woman, and child.
  • Compared to most snack foods, popcorn is low in calories. Air-popped popcorn has only 31 calories per cup. Oil-popped is only 55 per cup.
  • Popcorn is a type of maize (or corn), a member of the grass family, and is scientifically known as Zea mays everta.
  • Of the 6 types of maize/corn—pod, sweet, flour, dent, flint, and popcorn—only popcorn pops.
  • Popcorn is a whole grain. It is made up of three components: the germ, endosperm, and pericarp (also know as the hull).
  • Popcorn needs between 13.5-14% moisture to pop.
  • Popcorn differs from other types of maize/corn in that is has a thicker pericarp/hull. The hull allows pressure from the heated water to build and eventually bursts open. The inside starch becomes gelatinous while being heated; when the hull bursts, the gelatinized starch spills out and cools, giving it its familiar popcorn shape.
  • Most U.S. popcorn is grown in the Midwest, primarily in Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri.
  • Many people believe the acres of corn they see in the Midwest during growing season could be picked and eaten for dinner, or dried and popped. In fact, those acres are typically field corn, which is used largely for livestock feed, and differs from both sweet corn and popcorn.
  • The peak period for popcorn sales for home consumption is in the fall.
  • Most popcorn comes in two basic shapes when it's popped: snowflake and mushroom. Snowflake is used in movie theaters and ballparks because it looks and pops bigger. Mushroom is used for candy confections because it doesn't crumble.
  • Popping popcorn is one of the number one uses for microwave ovens. Most microwave ovens have a "popcorn" control button.
  • "Popability" is popcorn lingo that refers to the percentage of kernels that pop.
  • There is no such thing as “hull-less” popcorn. All popcorn needs a hull in order to pop. Some varieties of popcorn have been bred so the hull shatters upon popping, making it appear to be hull-less.
  • How high popcorn kernels can pop? Up to 3 feet in the air.
  • The world’s largest popcorn ball was created by volunteers in Sac City, Iowa in February, 2009.  It weighed 5,000 lbs., stood over 8 ft. tall, and measured 28.8 ft. in circumference.
  • If you made a trail of popcorn from New York City to Los Angeles, you would need more than 352,028,160 popped kernels!

Now go eat yourself some tasty popcorn!

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