Pop Popcorn in a Pan for More Flavor

In terms of convenience, popcorn in the microwave always wins against the old way of popping corn in a covered saucepan.  Sure it’s easier, but taste is sacrificed, and there is a high risk of burnt or dried out popcorn kernels that ruin the popcorn experience.

As John and Michael will attest, the worst part of microwaved popcorn is the fake butter taste, which is acceptable with the first few handfuls, but quickly becomes a turn-off near the end of the bag.

Surprisingly, it’s almost as easy to pop popcorn on the stove, and real butter makes all the difference in the world. It’s actually a lot of fun to pop corn, with the great sounds and smells. The only real problem with this popcorn is that it’s too good. The boys want me to make popcorn at least 3 times per week.

What you will need:

  • 2 Tablespoons oil (peanut or coconut is the best)
  • 1/2 Cup popcorn kernels (Orville Redenbacher)
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Salt (Morton’s Sea Salt)
  • 3 quart saucepan
  • rubber spatula

What you will do:

  1. Have a rubber spatula ready at hand.
  2. Using a 3-quart or larger saucepan, turn heat to medium-high. Put the oil and popcorn kernels together in the pan, and put the lid on tight.
  3. When the first kernel pops, shake the pan back and forth.  It doesn’t require hard shaking.  You’d think that on high heat, the popcorn would burn, but it doesn’t.
  4. Keep shaking until it the pan begins to fill up with popped corn and the popping slows down.  With a 3 quart saucepan, the popcorn will lift the lid, and a few kernels may pop and fly around the kitchen.  This is part of the fun.
  5. Turn off the heat, then dump all of the popcorn into a large bowl.  Use a spatula to scrap remaining pieces of kernels into a sink or trash can.
  6. Turn heat back on to medium, put butter in pan, and swirl it until it foams up.  When it bubbles up, it spreads onto the popcorn better.
  7. Drizzle the butter onto the popcorn from as high as you can reach with the pan.  Mix the butter into the popcorn with the spatula, sprinkle on Morton’s Sea Salt, and stir again.
  8. Serve with a Coke, and enjoy the show.

New Mexico Guacamole

guac1Guacamole is a balance of delicate flavors.. A big secret of great guacamole was revealed to us in a small café on the High Road to Taos, where the guacamole was made tableside, by a woman whose family had lived in the small village for hundreds of years.  After slicing up the avacado, she chopped a tomato, and put the pieces in a sieve to drain the juice, while she mixed the rest of the ingredients. “Tomato juice and avocado don’t go together,” she said.

  • 2 avocados, ripened
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 serrano chile pepper, finely minced
  • 2 Tablespoons onion, finely minced
  • 1 small tomato, peeled, chopped, and drained (preferably a Campari tomato)
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped (optional, especially if you hate cilantro)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt (Morton’s Sea Salt is cheap and pure-tasting)
  • black pepper to taste

Cut avocados in half, remove the pit, then scoop the flesh into a bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients, except tomato. Mash all the ingredients together, leaving a few small chunks of avocado. Stir in the drained tomatoes.

Serve with fresh warm tostada chips  (Tostitos Restaurant-Style Tortilla Chips are easy to find).

guac

Picking Avocados

Choose avocados that are bright green, but just beginning to turn dark.  Leave them in a plastic bag overnight, until they begin to dark with touches of light green,  or no light green at all.  If you squeeze them and they are slightly soft, refrigerate them. They will be ready to make into guacamole for at least a week, but don’t wait too long!