Monday, May 12, 2014

Popcorn Without a Microwave

If you are of a certain age you will likely remember making popcorn on the stove top.  Some oil in the pot, add the kernels, put the lid on, and start shaking vigorously so those kernels wouldn't burn.  If you were smart, you would start the butter melting before beginning this process so that it would be ready to pour over your popped kernels.

Nowadays, most people just grab a box of microwave popcorn while doing their grocery shopping.  Those microwave popcorn bags are so easy - a couple of minutes in the microwave and you have a piping hot bag of popcorn, all self-contained.  Eat and toss the bag.  Nothing to wash up except, perhaps, your fingers.  And, as long as you don't eat too many bags a day, likely fairly safe.  Not great for the environment, but oh so tempting.

Except, we don't have a microwave.  Yes, you read right.  We don't have a microwave.  When we bought our house it didn't come with one.  Although we had one in the townhouse, it wasn't used too much ... except for making popcorn.  Once we read about popcorn lung, we really didn't want to use it for that either.  So, new house, no microwave.  No problem.  After reading how little difference there was between heating water on a stove or in a microwave (we're talking 0.087 kWh for a microwave compared to 0.095 kWh on a stove top), it wasn't about money savings.  Time is certainly a savings from the microwave perspective, but if you plan things right there really isn't much difference there either.

Does this mean we no longer eat popcorn?  Of course we do!  In fact, a couple of Christmas seasons back Santa gave the family the best present ever - he got us the Lee Valley Whirley-Pop popcorn popper.  With this popper we can have popcorn in approximately 3 1/2 minutes.

1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 cup popcorn kernels into the Whirley-Pop.  On the stovetop, medium-high, turning that little handle ever so slowly.  The sizzle of steam, and a few seconds later the kernels begin to pop.  At that point, we just turn the stove off and we're done.  It's that simple.  I'd show you how much we get, but it gets eaten so quickly it's hard to even capture some of the finished product (those orange bits are grated cheese!).

We make popcorn at least once a week.  Friday night is popcorn dinner night :) ... by Friday I just don't have it in me to be creative in the kitchen.  I want a break, but I don't want to order in.  Popcorn is a fairly nutritious food source, if made right.  High fiber, high protein.  The grated cheese adds more protein and dairy.  We often have this with a fruit smoothie to balance everything out.  The perfect lazy end to the week.

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