Thursday, July 7, 2011

Popcorn

 A word about popcorn.  As a host you may be able to live without it, but I wouldn’t want to try. 
Ah, popcorn;  Nature’s little transformer.  What other vegetable has the power to sprout multiple arms, each one able to carry ten times its weight in butter? 
There is beauty in the simplicity of popcorn.  Popcorn kernals, olive oil, salt.  There is just no reason for you to not have all of those things. 
A bag of chips will get soggy or stale depending on the climate.  If you are left with chips at the end of a party and they are miraculously neither soggy nor stale, you will feedbag them to prevent thousands of empty calories from ending up in a landfill. 
Sure, chips have their uses – dips need a hand to hold.  But they are no substitute for popcorn.  Imagine friends stop by unannounced and all you have in your fridge are some moldy vegetables and half a tub of icing.  Voila!  Popcorn makes it a party.  Imagine instead that you throw a smashing soiree and your guests devour every crumb of your delicious spread  . . . and then the second wave of guests shows up at midnight.  Popcorn is there to save the day.  Or imagine that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s royal entourage breaks down outside of your house.  Popcorn for everyone! 


“You say this is an authentic colonial delicacy?  We find this popped corn to be simply exquisite.  Do call for tea when you are in Windsor next.”


Buy yourself an air popper – they last longer than most marriages.  Corn popped in oil in a pan is unbelievably delicious, but requires all of your attention to get it to come out right – save that for a night when you’re sleeping in a cabin with no internet and board games that are missing half their pieces.
To dress popcorn, all you need is olive oil and salt – or if you want to get decadent, you could melt 3 Tbsp of butter with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, toss with popcorn and sprinkle salt to taste.
For popcorn so delicious you run the risk of biting off your own finger in a feeding frenzy, try
SUSAN’S PEANUT-BUTTER POPCORN
Pop ¼ cup of popcorn in your new air popper.  Once it’s popped, use your hands to transfer it to a second bowl.  DON’T POUR IT.  You want to make sure all those hardheaded little guys on the bottom stay in the original bowl, because the peanut-butter sauce would cause them to adhere to the popped pieces – you don’t want to lose a filling.
Gently melt ¼ cup of butter, 6 Tbsp. brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter and 9 marshmallows (or 1/3 cup of marshmallow fluff) in a sauce pan, stirring constantly. 
Pour the sauce over the popcorn and use salad tongs to toss it – you want to toss it before it hardens or separates, which means it’s going to be piping hot.


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