Monday, January 4, 2010


After college, I decided that popcorn did not have to be made in a microwave covered in yellow, salted trans-fats. However, it took me a while to figure out how to make popcorn just as tasty as the gooey disgusting kind that comes from a paper bag.

I tried regular stove top popping. This requires some skill, patience, and the right vessel (I use a nice large saucier). It turns out nicely, but you need a high smoke-point fat like peanut oil and plenty of practice using a lid as a shield against over-excited kernels. Plus, there is a good amount of clean up involved.

You might ask why I didn't try one of these stovetop popcorn contraptions. I live in a studio apartment...there's no room for that unitasker.

DIY microwave popping was next. Throw some kernels in a paper bag, staple it shut and hope for the best. This never seemed to give me a high enough kernel yield. Plus, it seemed like cheating.

Air popping was the next logical solution. I dropped some dough on a used air popper and it turns out to be almost exactly what I wanted.

I use a mixture of yellow and blue popcorns - both organic and locally produced by the Pennsylvania Dutch. It adds some variety of texture and flavor.

Remember to use a big bowl to catch the popcorn - you'll need it to distribute the toppings later.

After some topping experimentation, I've found that equal parts butter and olive oil, microwaved for 40 seconds and mixed with a pinch of sea salt works well.

Shake it up. Then add another sprinkle of salt and/or black pepper. Shake it again (but not too vigorously this time).

Potato Leek Soup

This recipe is unbelievably easy (read: you can buy everything at Trader Joe's), and makes for a good couple of meals because it reheats so well. Non-pureed soups often don't reheat well because the chunky ingredients tend to get soggy after sitting for a while.

Saute leeks --> diced potatoes --> wait for a touch of color --> season --> veggie broth --> add whole peeled potato -->

45 minutes --> remove and finely dice cooked whole potato --> immersion blender! --> add dairy (cream, buttermilk) and potato pieces --> serve with chives

Eat with fresh bread (made in the same dutch oven earlier that day).

Original recipe courtesy of Alton Brown.