Saturday, March 24, 2012

May the Odds Be Ever in Your Flavor!

This week brings one very exciting movie release and the start of many Sunday evenings glued to the TV. First and foremost was Friday's release of The Hunger Games! Yes, I saw it and I loved it. Although I'm not proud of it, I also may have elbowed a few tweens for the perfect viewing seat. I was, however, proud of myself for sneaking in several bags of delicious flavored popcorn! Movie theatre fare is mediocre at best and overly expensive. I decided to BYOP (that's bring your own popcorn, not Pinot). Popcorn is the obvious choice for movie watching, and I certainly didn't go hungry at The Hunger Games, but it will also come in handy for tomorrow's long-awaited return of Mad Men and next week's premiere of Game of Thrones. Whether it be herb butter, Old Bay Seasoning, caramel, coconut or truffle oil, there are dozens of ingredients that you can use to spice up an ordinary bag of popcorn. To be extra prepared, I made one batch of sweet and one batch of savory popcorn. It came as no surprise to me when my husband requested a S'mores flavored Popcorn. I've mentioned his obsession with s'mores before but I knew things had gone too far when he proclaimed that, had he been in the Hunger Games, surviving on s'mores would be a priority. For the savory popcorn, I decided on a chili-lime combo. I really liked them both, but I seriously cannot stop eating the S'mores popcorn. I just hope this stash will make it to next Sunday. May the odds be ever in my favor!

S'mores Popcorn
makes about 10 cups
1 bag freshly popped popcorn, cooled
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 Tablespoons butter 

1/4 cup light corn syrup 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
2 cups mini marshmallows
4 graham cracker sheets, crushed
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Combine the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and cook on medium-high heat until boiling (about 5 minutes). It will have a caramel color and consistency. Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda. (Mixture will foam up, which helps coat the popcorn)

2. In a very large bowl combine the popcorn, marshmallows and graham crackers. Drizzle the caramel over the popcorn, gently stirring with a large wooden spoon. Continue to stir until the caramel evenly coats the popcorn mix. Spread mix out onto the baking sheet.
3. Microwave chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl in 30 second increments, stirring often until melted. Use a spoon to drizzle chocolate over popcorn, then set aside until chocolate cools. Break pieces apart and enjoy! Store popcorn in an airtight container for about a week.

Use a natural microwave popcorn without butter or flavorings

Wait a minute, this is really starting to remind me of something.....Yes, a Jackson Pollock painting!! Anyone see the resemblance? (Pollock on the right)

Get the recipe card here.
And now, for a savory popcorn with a kick...

Chili-Lime Popcorn
makes about 10 cups
1 bag freshly popped popcorn, cooled
lime zest from 2 limes, juice from 1
1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted butter
Pour popcorn into a large bowl and set aside. Melt butter, then add lime juice, zest, chili powder, cayenne powder and salt. Slowly drizzle butter mixture into popcorn, mixing until thoroughly coated. Stir in cotija cheese. Serve immediately.