Wednesday, December 1, 2010

comfort food of infinite fabulosity

Today, it's raining. I would pout, but I've heard I have a terrible pout. Seriously. I try, and my mom wonders how I could possibly be her child. Y'all should see her pout. It's freaking fantastic. You really feel her pain.

Anyway. It's a really gross day today, which would be really horrible if I had to go to work, but fortunately I have the day off. So I can pout at the rain and stay inside all day sipping on my homemade mocha. Delicious.

Gross days are perfect for comfort food. You know, those few items that just make you feel...happy. If you're having a sad day or a cold day or a lazy day (or really any kind of day), these foods comfort you. They're different for every person. Maybe not every person. I'm sure some people have the same comfort foods. In my family, homemade popcorn is definitely a comfort food. It reminds me of rainy afternoons at the house when my mom would randomly make popcorn. She doesn't cook a ton of things, but she certainly makes a mean bowl of popcorn. I'm talking, pot on the stove, kernels in oil, melted butter on top, fresh twist of salt, bowl of popcorn. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Today is totally a popcorn day. Popcorn goes really well with hot chocolate. So of course, we have to have both (well, hot chocolate in the form of a mug of half hot chocolate, half coffee). Who doesn't want popcorn and hot chocolate for lunch?

mom's popcorn
(I may or may not be making up these measurements. You have been warned):

a few tbsp popcorn kernels (2T makes roughly 4-5c popped)
a few tsp butter (depending on how buttery you like it)
1-2tsp oil (I like to use canola because it's low in flavor)
salt (real, coarse, grinder salt. Not table salt. Table salt is frowned upon unless you're baking)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat (preferably one that has 2 handles) (we set the gas stove to just shy of medium, actually)- our popcorn pot (yes we have a pot specifically for popcorn) is about 9-10" (measured very accurately by comparing it to a sheet of paper with labels for holiday cards). ((((((a few extra parentheses for good measure))))))
Throw a couple kernels at the start to measure the heat of the oil. Once small bubbles start to appear around the kernels, the oil is ready! To fill the pot with popped popcorn, dump in enough kernels to cover the bottom. If you're good with self control, measure out a couple tbsp (I believe one WW serving is 3c popped). I'm not, so I prefer the dump-a-bunch-in-and-see-what-happens method.
Cover the pot! If you don't you'll have popcorn everywhere.
Once the popcorn really gets going (after a couple minutes), shake the pot (this is where the 2 handles comes in handy). Make sure to wear oven mitts as the lid will be hot. Shaking just moves everything around and reduces the likelihood of burning your popcorn.
Let it go for a few more minutes until there's about 3 seconds between each pop (just like in the microwave).
Turn off the burner and let the pot sit for a minute to reduce the chance of rogue kernels popping at you while you dump out the popcorn into your bowl.
Pour popcorn into an appropriately-sized bowl.
Put pot back on the stove and turn on. Maybe medium-low to medium heat.
Put butter into pot and melt. I like to leave it in a little extra to brown the butter, but that's personal preference. (when you tip the pot the foam in the butter will be brown. And it smells different).
Pour butter over popcorn.
Pour a little popcorn back into the pot to get up any remaining butter. Oh, the gluttony!
Grind salt over popcorn and give it a good stir. A lot of salt will go straight to the bottom so you may need a little more than you usually use. Tip: less salt will fall to the bottom if you butter the popcorn first!

mr hippo loves popcorn!

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