Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Popcorn! What's not to love? When we hit the road I usually have popcorn in tow. I love that it is loaded with fiber, full of flavor and easy to make and travel with. When I went to Europe this fall I made 2 huge bags (those extra large Ziplocs) and put them in my suitcase. As we munched on popcorn on our Italian roadtrip from Lake Como to Naples, I freed up room in my suitcase for all that stuff I bought! I usually have a large container along on the volleyball trips, and at home it is the perfect afternoon snack. I generally make Kettle Corn for the trips because it is a crowd pleaser and I think most people like my Kettle Corn because it isn't overly sweet, but I love the simple salted popcorn for every day. I know my mom hates it when the discussion goes this direction, but, because it is loaded with fiber, it really helps the digestive process which is great when you are traveling!
I have always been a White Cat Corn fan, then I discovered the Amish Popcorn and both of these are great for basic, salted popcorn. They are what is called hull less corn. It is very white and pops white, and the hull is so thin it sort of disappears. After all these years of making Kettle Corn with these kernels, no one has ever complained. But then one day I was cruising the blogs (I really need a life) I found a blogger, Savory Sweet Life who had made Kettle Corn. Of course I was intrigued, not by a recipe, there really aren't too many ways to mix popcorn, sugar, salt and oil, but she opened my eyes to a new type of popcorn, Mushroom Popcorn. I could hardly believe her photos of the popped corn, they were huge! So without wasting a minute I hopped on to Justpoppin.com and ordered my very own Mushroom Popcorn. It looks just like any yellow popcorn, but when it pops, POW, it is round and fluffy! I took a large container of my famous Kettle Corn to the Big South Qualifier this weekend (imagine 1,000+ volleyball teams playing on 114 courts for 3 days) and everyone was awed by those big fluffy kernels. The white is hull less and the yellow is my new favorite, fluffy, Mushroom Popcorn!
Up until this point I told everyone my delicious popcorn was because of my Whirley Pop Popcorn Popper. I have had this particular popper for about 5 years. It is all aluminum which means it heats up quick. It has a stirring mechanism built in which keeps the corn moving, and I simply wipe it clean after each use. It is dented, greasy, has a broken nut and is perfect! I found a new one last year at Bed Bath and Beyond after Christmas and had one of those coupons laying around so I bought it on the cheap, but I have yet to take it out of the box.
It takes years to get one as seasoned as mine, you cant just toss that away. Besides, at this point I am a pro, I know how to pop a batch without it falling apart and the inside is well seasoned so it takes little oil. Here is my secret recipe (okay, not a secret), but you cannot make this as yummy as mine in a pan. Trust me. That sugar has got to keep moving or it will smoke and burn. Again, trust me, I have lots of experience in kitchen fires. (Wait until I blog the potato chip fire!) But speaking of popping in a pan, the trick the JustPoppin website has is one I have been doing since childhood. Dropping a few kernels in while the oil heats and waiting for them to pop. I can feel that anticipation from my childhood, and trying to catch that popcorn flying out of the hot oil. Great memories.
1 Whirley Pop
1 T Corn Oil
1/2 cup popcorn
2 T sugar
Heat the Whirley Pop and oil over medium high heat with 3 kernels of popcorn in it. When they explode, add all the corn and sugar and whirl like crazy until the popping slows. Remove from heat and salt generously. YUMMMMMM!