gastronome
Popcorn II

Last year, I posted my method for home-movie popcorn. I still make that variety, but I've been playing around with silly toppings again lately, and found a few more that I think are winners.

I'm reprinting the method - but if you want the original parmesan/paprika toppping, you'll have to go back to the original post!

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Drop a single kernel of popcorn in. When it pops, your oil is hot enough. Add the rest of the popping corn, cover, and shake. You needn't shake violently - a gentle back and forth rocking will do. Enjoy the sound.

When popping slows to 1-2 pops a second, turn off the heat and turn the popcorn into a bowl big enough for tossing 4 quarts of popcorn. Important: you need to dress the popcorn while it's still really hot. If you need a few minutes, pop the bowl into an oven that's set to 200F.

Curried popcorn - enough for a batch made with 1/4 unpopped kernels
1 tsp pumpkinseed oil
2-4 tsp olive oil
2-3 tsp Sri Lankan curry powder
Salt

While the popcorn is still hot, drizzle the pumpkinseed oil slowly. Toss popcorn well. Add 2 tsp olive oil, and toss. Add curry powder. Toss. Add the remaining olive oil, and more curry powder & salt to taste. Toss. Stop with the salt and curry powder just before one bite is perfect - the spices will build as you eat the bowl.

Silly Japanese popcorn - enough for a batch made with 1/4 unpopped kernels
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2-4 tsp olive oil
2 tsp powdered sushi vinegar
1-2 tbsp of your favorite sprinkle (I used a simple Nori one)
Salt

While the popcorn is still hot, drizzle the sesame oil slowly over it. Toss popcorn well. Add half the powdered sushi vinegar and a generous shaking of sprinkle. Add 2 tsp olive oil, toss well. Adjust sprinkle, salt, and vinegar powder levels to taste. (Particularly nice with an Asahi.)

Posted by shock at 08:44 AM

cardamom-date snack cake

When I bake it always looks like a flour bomb has gone off in my kitchen. It's worth it though. This spicy little cake from the November 2004 Cooking Light filled my house with the scent of fall/winter/holidays. When I served it to Dan and Carol and Dan's parents we accompanied it with cups of hot tea, though a tall glass of cold milk would wash it down nicely as well. The dates make the cake extremely moist and tender, so I used a bread knife to cut it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare cake, coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.

Lightly spoon 2 cups all-purpose flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine 5 tablespoons butter, softened, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1 cup applesauce, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 3 large eggs in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist. Stir in 3/4 cup chopped pitted dates. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

To prepare topping, combine 1/3 cup sliced almonds, 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons butter, melted, stirring with a fork until blended. Sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan. Yield: 16 servings.

Posted by astraea at 01:04 AM

apple bran buttermilk muffins

Muffins are an I-love-you morning comfort food for me. I love waking up early enough to make them for guests or a boy that I like. Apparently Canadians eat muffins as a sort of stereotype: there's even a UK chain called "The Canadian Muffin Co."

I've been fiddling with apple muffins lately -- I think this buttermilk recipe is just about perfect.

Makes 12 muffins.

1/2 c. butter (room temperature)
3/4 c. white sugar (or a combination of white and brown)
1 egg, beaten
1 c. cultured buttermilk
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. diced apple -- about 1 apple in small (1/4 in.) dice
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. bran
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon


Preheat oven to 375 F

Prepare a muffin tin, either by greasing the insides of the cups with butter or by using paper cupcake liners. If you have a good muffin pan, just greasing lightly is enough for these.

Blend together butter, sugar, and egg until smooth.
Add buttermilk, salt, apples, and mix well.
In a second bowl, stir together flour, soda, and cinnamon.
Add dry ingredients to wet, folding just to moisten. For muffins to come out right, you want the batter to look a bit lumpy.
Spoon batter into greased muffin cups.

Bake at 375 F for about 20 min.

----
Notes: The apples must be cut quite small for the muffins to hold together when you take them out of the pan. These are worth buying buttermilk for, substituting milk + lemon juice won't provide the same flavour. If you don't have bran, you can use (1 c. all purpose flour + 3/4 c. whole wheat) instead.

Posted by naomi at 09:55 AM

popcorn

I think i've perfected my home-theatre popcorn recipe. I pop mine in a pan with olive oil on my gas stove, but i bet an air popper would work, too. What are your favorite popcorn toppings when you're making it at home?

Serves two people who really want to get their popcorn on.

You'll need:
1/2 cup popping corn
3-4 tbsp good olive oil
1-2 tbsp butter
salt
good fresh parmesan
a bit of paprika

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Drop a single kernel of popcorn in. When it pops, your oil is hot enough. Add the rest of the popping corn, cover, and shake. You needn't shake violently - a gentle back and forth rocking will do. Enjoy the sound.

When popping slows to 1-2 pops a second, turn off the heat and turn the popcorn into a bowl big enough for tossing 4 quarts of popcorn. Important: you need to dress the popcorn while it's still really hot. If you need a few minutes, pop the bowl into an oven that's set to 200F.

Using a microplane grater (this is important), start shaving parmesan over the popcorn. Alternate with sprinkles of paprika and salt. Halfway through, when the popcorn is cooling, drizzle the melted butter and keep tossing the popcorn and shaving the cheese. Taste often, and stop when you think you want just a touch more cheese and salt - when you're eating handfuls, it will add up.

If you're using an air popper, i'd use a bit more butter, and combine it with a bit of olive oil.

Serve with hot chocolate or beer, and a big glass of water - and enjoy the show!

Posted by shock at 10:54 AM