Monday, July 9, 2012

Garlic Parmesan Popcorn

When I was little, my family had this awesome air popper for making popcorn. I loved that thing. I can still remember the whirring sound it made as it spit out fluffy clouds of popcorn goodness. It even had a section on top for melting butter. My brother and I would stand right next to it and marvel, eagerly holding the bowl until the last of the kernels floated down from the yellow plastic spout.

In high school, my girlfriends and I used to set up the TV outside and watch movies on the lawn once the summer sun went down. (Notably one particularly giggle-inducing viewing of Witness with Harrison Ford... oh, memories...) We passed around a giant bowl of the microwave stuff, but it would have been so much better if we'd done ourselves, I'm sure. With no air popper in sight, what's a girl to do? (Pop Secret Homestyle, is what we did, for the record, and I still stand by that choice.)

But I didn't know until adulthood that no fancy, bulky gadget is needed. Homemade popcorn is super simple to make, and it takes about the same amount of time as those convenient microwave bags, even if it is a little more hands-on. Kids will love this as much as I used to love our air popper!
Here's how it goes:

Basic Homemade Popcorn

3 Tbsp. canola oil
pinch fine salt
1/2 c. popcorn kernels

Grab yourself a wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid. (I use my 5.5 quart enameled Dutch oven.) Add canola oil, salt, and popcorn kernels to the pot. Pop on the lid, leaving it slightly ajar to allow steam to escape, but still shield you from violently popping kernels.

Heat over medium heat, shaking occasionally to allow popped corn to rise to the top and unpopped kernels to sink to the bottom. Continue cooking and shaking every so often until popping slows and almost stops. Remove from heat and shake a bit to allow any rogue kernels to pop before transferring to a large bowl.

While your corn is popping, melt your butter and grab salt so everything will be ready when the corn is popped. (I'm an instant gratification kind of girl, as you probably know.)

It's great just like this, but if you want to guild the lily, just a couple of extra ingredients will make it extra special.

Garlic Parmesan Popcorn

8 c. popped popcorn (one recipe of the above Basic Homemade Popcorn)
4 Tbsp. butter (okay, 5...)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced or put through a press
1/2 c. finely grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. dried parsley (optional, but it does make it pretty)
salt (and pepper, if you're like me) to taste

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden, about 3 minutes. Pour over the popcorn and stir to coat evenly. Stir in parmesan and parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Now, go forth and movie night it up!

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