Thank you Mark Bittman! Among his list of ideas for making a more sustainable food system in A Food Manifesto for the Future, (NY Times, 2/2/2011), is a plug for subsidizing home cooking, perhaps not as lofty as stopping subsidies for processed food, but still:
* Encourage and subsidize home cooking. (Someday soon, I’ll write about my idea for a new Civilian Cooking Corps.) When people cook their own food, they make better choices. When families eat together, they’re more stable. We should provide food education for children (a new form of home ec, anyone?), cooking classes for anyone who wants them and even cooking assistance for those unable to cook for themselves.
Basic Popcorn Recipe
From a recent posting, Popcorn, No Package
Equipment: 2-quart pan with a lid. Or, use a larger pan and increase quantities.
Ingredients: 3 T high heat oil like canola or safflower/ 1/3 C popcorn/ 2 T butter/ 2 t salt. If you have a larger pan feel free to increase amounts. One third cup corn makes 6 – 7 cups popcorn, plenty for two, enough for three.
Directions: Place pan with oil over high heat/ Add popcorn/ Put the lid on and wait/ Every few moments shake the pan, either slightly off or on the burner in order to move the corn around/ You’ll begin to hear it sizzle after about a minute/ Turn heat down to medium high and continue shaking the pan, lift it off the burner from time to time/ The idea is to keep the pan hot enough to pop the corn without burning already-popped kernels/ When popping begins to subside turn the heat off, leave lid on and allow a few more corn kernels to pop/ Pour popped corn into a large bowl/ Melt butter in the same pan which is still hot, pour over the popcorn, add salt to taste and toss it all together/ This yields 6 – 7 cups of classic popped corn.
Maple Caramel Corn Recipe
Preheat oven to 250º. Over medium heat melt 1/4 C butter (1/2 stick) and stir in 1/2 C brown sugar/ Add 1/4 C maple syrup & 1/2 t salt/ Stir together and then allow to boil without stirring for four minutes/ Turn off heat, stir in 1/4 t baking powder and 1/2 t vanilla/ Stir together and pour over 6 – 7 C popcorn/ Mix thoroughly and spread evenly on a large parchment-lined casserole or baking pan/ Bake in oven for 60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes/ Pour into a bowl and I dare you to stop eating this stuff.
The low and slow baking crisps the corn and caramel making it even more delectable. Well worth the 60 additional minutes in the oven. After the baking it can be cooled, packaged and enjoyed for several days – if it lasts. Good luck with that.
I’m bummed that I tried making caramel corn at home and succeeded. I thought it would be daunting, it’s not, and now I have this caramel corn staring me in the face. Rich and addictive, it’s hard to ignore, and, oh great, it’s easy to make.