The forecast is for rain, rain, rain, to the point of flooding. Even at noon the skies are dark and foreboding, and you need to turn on the lights in the house just to find a chair. People in low lying areas have been evacuated, and the rest of us are told to stay indoors. It’s definitely time to find a good movie on the telly, and sit down to a massive bowl of popcorn.
Freshly popped corn, so delicious, homemade and delicious, but not the stuff of the factories that is loaded down with queer smells and toxins. The real thing is not only better in flavour, but in nutrition as well. Look ma, no hydrogenated fats!
|Only fresh garlic will do.|
I use an air popper, but one of those whirly gadgets that go on the stove works well too. For the spicy butter topping, I rely on a microwave, but there’s no reason you couldn’t use a small saucepan on the stove.
½ cup popcorn kernels
1 clove fresh garlic (or more)
¼ cup butter
2 teaspoons Greek Oregano
1 teaspoon chili flakes (or to taste)
1 scant teaspoon coarse salt (or less)
½ cup good quality olive oil, preferably Greek
1 inch chunk good quality Parmesan cheese, grated
|My wonderful gadget.|
You have to use fresh garlic for this. There is no cheating with the jarred stuff, which always tastes rancid, anyway. I use organic, as I don’t quite trust the garlic coming out of China. My instincts cause me to shudder when I see it. Anyway, years ago I bought this wonderful Italian gadget meant for a variety of tasks, but especially for slicing garlic.
The machine has a two way blade which can slice garlic into potato chip thin pieces. Oh glory. If you don’t have one, you could take a potato peeler to a clove of garlic.
Years ago, I made myself a bowl of this popcorn with three garlic cloves. The next morning I was bundled tightly in my quilt, fast asleep, only to be rudely awakened by my teenage daughter, frantically opening a window, muttering about whatever it was I ate the night before. Apparently the house was saturated with my fumes. (She claimed.) Since then, I’ve restricted the amount of garlic, begrudgingly.
|Adding a good olive oil improves the nutrition.|
Get your ingredients assembled before hand, because this process moves along quickly. Grate the Parmesan cheese, and have it ready to go.
Add those garlic chips to a clear heat proof container, then the butter, and the chili flakes. I pour the oregano into the palm of my hand first, then rub my palms together, releasing the oregano into the mixture. Pop into the microwave for one minute. Watch carefully.
You want to use a clear container so you can see how the garlic chips are cooking. You may need to go for another minute, but maybe you’ll only need another ten seconds. Stay there and watch. As soon as they become slightly gold, remove from the microwave, or the heat, and add the salt. The salt will cause another boil up, so be careful. Add the cool olive oil. Stir.
As the popcorn is coming out of the hot air popper, spoon the butter mix over the popped kernels and then finally pour the rest of the mix onto the popcorn. I love this mix so much that I push popcorn into the empty butter container, and smoosh it around with a spoon to catch every last molecule of good stuff. Add the grated Parmesan and give the popcorn another good stir.
Find a good movie, maybe a glass of red wine. If you have a fireplace, see if you can’t coax someone into making a toasty fire while you’re slaving in the kitchen. Be cautioned though that you will fight over the garlic chips. Crispy, golden and massively tasty, they’ll make you wish you had this bowl all to yourself.
Oh, who needs summer patios and sunny evenings when you have this fabulous popcorn to take your mind off the weather and road closures?
I will get back to Allison’s birthday party in my next installment. But since that was an al fresco affair, and this weather no longer permits such niceties, my soul went to this hot buttered garlic popcorn recipe instead.
Don't you wish you had some of this right now? You'll never go back to that metallic balloon contraption filled with toxins ever again! Stay warm and dry.