Today is a BIG DAY for Crowded Earth Kitchen! We’re flying from Chicago to Amsterdam (with a quick stop in Dublin) to kick off our exploration of the food cultures of ten European countries! Getting off the ground on an international flight is an adventure unto itself. After presenting a small suitcase full of documents and identification forms, enjoying an extended stay in the line leading up to a cheerful encounter with the Transportation Safety Authority, and getting a good cardio workout dancing through the boarding gate mosh pit, travelers arrive at their first destination… an airplane seat designed for a Leprechaun, into which a traveler is expected to contort herself for the next eight or ten hours, without giving too much thought to the fact that the seat cushion is also a floatation device.
At least there is good popcorn. That’s right, popcorn. Anyone who is familiar with Chicago food culture knows about Chicago Style (deep dish) pizza and Chicago Dogs, but Chicago Style popcorn has quite a cult following of its own. Don’t believe me? Check out the two (that’s right, two) Garrett’s Popcorn stands in O’Hare Airport. You don’t even need to wait for a sample (though it would be a shame to miss out) – the long lines will be enough to convince you that I’m not making this up.
True Chicago Style popcorn is a mixture of ultra rich caramel corn and ultra rich cheese corn – delicious, but nutritionally, well… it’s delicious. In the simple recipe below, we’ve lightened up this classic popcorn blend to offer satisfying sweetness and savory cheesy flavor, without requiring two hours of penance at the gym.
Ingredients (makes 8 cups)
8 cups air-popped popcorn
6 tablespoons butter, divided
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons brewer’s yeast (Cheesy flavor! High in protein! High in fiber!)
Step 1) Divide popcorn into two bowls.
Step 2) Drizzle 2 tablespoons of melted butter over one bowl of popcorn. Sprinkle with brewer’s yeast.
Step 3) Combine remaining 4 tablespoons butter and brown sugar in a small sauté pan. Stir over low-medium heat until mixture bubbles and caramelizes, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and drizzle mixture over second bowl of popcorn.
Step 4) Serve popcorn in separate bowls, or mix together for a more authentic, Chicago Style blend!