I used to cringe at the word “domestic”. To me, the term implied a docile housewife whose goal in life was to please her family members and keep the home in order. It seemed condescending. Since developing an interest in cooking, however, I’ve changed my mind about the word. Being able to feed myself (and others) well is empowering, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying time at home.
Beyond that, while I’m living as a single woman, learning how to cook what I like to eat without any other palates to accommodate is a welcome challenge. I eat what I want, when I want! Sitting down to enjoy a plate of food that I made all for myself is a thrice daily triumph.
It turns out that stovetop popcorn is what I often like to serve myself. I love it because I can make as much or as little as I want. It’s a healthy, whole grain snack that costs mere pennies to make. Once popped, it’s consumed pretty much immediately, so I don’t have to worry about my beloved crunchy ‘n salty snack food going stale. Fresh popcorn is always minutes away, and I like knowing that I can always pop some up during impromptu entertaining.
My parents always made popcorn on the stove and taught me how early on, so I consider myself a popcorn connoisseur of sorts. Fun fact: I nearly burned my house down while making stovetop popcorn at age 10 (lesson learned: do not leave hot oil on the stove unattended!). I have always preferred stovetop popcorn to that greasy, microwavable, artificial ingredient-laden abomination that calls itself popcorn. Seriously, the fake butter flavor chemicals in microwave popcorn are so toxic that factory workers have developed “popcorn lung“.
Stovetop popcorn is such an easy, healthy, quick and tasty snack that it’s something I want everyone to know how to make at home. I’d like to give Mark Bittman a high five for selecting popcorn as the first recipe in The Food Matters Cookbook, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to encourage my fellow members to try it. You’ll find his recipe below, but I never measure the ingredients; just add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and toss in a small handful or two of kernels, depending on the size of the pan. I hope you’ll try it!
- 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I prefer to use coconut oil or olive oil)
- 1⁄2 cup popping corn
- 2 to 4 tablespoons butter or olive oil, optional
- Salt and other seasonings, optional (I added chopped dark chocolate and chili powder)
- Put the vegetable oil in a large, deep pan with a lid. Turn the heat up to medium, add 2 kernels of corn, and cover.
- Once the kernels pop, remove the lid and pour in the remaining popcorn kernels. Cover and shake the pot, holding the lid on. At this point, I like to remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for a minute before continuing.
- Cook over medium heat, shaking the pot occasionally, until the popping sound stops after about 5 minutes. Based on the sound, take the pot off the heat around the same time that you would take a bag of popcorn out of the microwave. Meanwhile, if you’re using it, melt the butter or gently warm the olive oil.
- Quickly pour the popcorn into a large bowl; sprinkle with chopped chocolate immediately, or drizzle with butter or olive oil if you like. Sprinkle with salt and seasonings (like chili powder) while tossing the popcorn. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 8.
Make it vegan: Use olive oil rather than butter, and chop up your favorite dairy free chocolate to add to the popcorn instead.
Preparation tips: I honestly don't measure ingredients when I make popcorn. I just pour in enough oil to cover the pan, let two kernels pop, and then pour in a small handful of kernels. If you're new to making stovetop popcorn, you might want to try Mark's recipe as given so you can get the feel of it.
Serves 2 to 4
- In a small glass container or brown paper lunch bag, combine 1⁄4 cup popping corn with 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Fold the top of the bag over a few times.
- Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes on high, until there are 4 or 5 second pauses between pops. Open the bag or container carefully (beware hot steam).
- Toss with your seasonings and a drizzle of butter or olive oil or serve as is.
Recommended popcorn seasonings:
- Finely chopped dark chocolate, or dark chocolate chips, and chili powder (and maybe a dash of cayenne pepper)
- Chopped fresh herbs
- Black pepper
- Curry powder
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Cayenne or red chile flakes
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Brown sugar
- Finely ground nuts or shredded, unsweetened coconut
- Chopped dried fruit