Quinoa “Popcorn”

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Many American cooks are familiar with quinoa, tiny little seeds that can be cooked like grain. Quinoa is certainly good for you, offering more fiber per serving than either brown rice or corn, and also packing a nice little punch of protein. But did you know Continue reading

Rum Caramel Corn

WIN_20160528_161718While I look forward to summertime and love my garden, I’ll confess to enjoying a bit of air conditioning and an indoor breeze under a ceiling fan after playing in the dirt under the hot sun. I’ll also confess to feeling hungry after working in the garden, and unfortunately there’s nothing to harvest from the garden just yet!

Today I sated my post-gardening sweet tooth with this easy recipe for Rum Caramel Corn. I used a banged up old pot to cook the caramel. Boiling caramel may (or may not) cause a harmless, slight discoloration inside of a pan. To clean the pan in which you boiled the caramel, here’s an easy tip: fill the pan about 2 inches deep with water, and bring the water to a boil on the stove. When the water is boiling, add about 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the pan. Immediately cover the pan and remove from heat. After about 15 minutes, when the water is still warm but comfortable to touch, scrub the inside of the pan. Voila! The caramel residue will wash away.

WIN_20160528_155729Ingredients (Makes 15 cups)

15 cups air popped popcorn

1/2 cup real butter

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

2 tablespoons light molasses

1 teaspoon rum flavoring

WIN_20160528_160950Directions

Step 1) Combine butter, brown sugar, light corn syrup, and molasses in an old saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Step 2) Allow caramel mixture to boil gently for 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in rum flavoring.

WIN_20160528_161707Step 3) Spread popcorn on baking sheets lined with waxed paper. Carefully drizzle the caramel mixture over the popcorn. Use a metal spatula to gently lift the coated popcorn. This spreads the caramel onto more of the popcorn, and also helps to prevent sticking.

Enjoy when cool!

 

Truffle Popcorn

WIN_20150520_121235When I think of indulgent foods, I think of chocolate… champagne… popcorn…

Popcorn?

This, my friends, is not just any popcorn.

While some folks will grudgingly admit to a secret chocolate stash, or a secret bottle of a top shelf liqueur, my confession is a small bottle of truffle oil and an even smaller tin of truffle salt. It’s not that I won’t share… I will, and I do. It’s just that, if I leave these glorious items in plain sight, one of the budding cooks in my house will surely do something unintentionally heinous, like use truffle oil to grease a pan for pancakes, or dump truffle salt on a frozen pizza.  [Shuddering] Hence, the secret location.

WIN_20150520_121431Truffle oil is akin to vanilla flavoring, in that each of these items contains the same primary flavor compound as the real thing, without the hefty price tag. Are the flavors exactly the same? The consensus is “no.” In fact, some celebrity chefs are downright disdainful of truffle oil, and will only cook with true truffles. With the elusive fungus fetching up to $3,600 per pound… and I am NOT joking… I’ll take my chances on the rumored difference in flavor!

Truffle salt, made by infusing salt with bits and specks of black truffle, is less controversial and just as delicious. My little tin of truffle salt was a gift from my husband, purchased at a Seattle-based shop called Sugarpill. It made me smile… my husband knows me well!

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So… pop up about 8 cups of air popped popcorn. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter, and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of truffle oil. Drizzle this fragrant mixture over your popcorn, and sprinkle lightly with truffle salt. You’ll never think of popcorn quite the same way again!