SingleParentChef.com

This site is geared toward providing easy recipes, tips and tricks for parents who are on their own.

Mom or Pop do some Popping.

My first post for SingleParentChef.com will be a simple, yet very popular treat: homemade popcorn. 

There's a good chance that if you're new to getting food on the table for your kids, you've learned the names of the employees at all of the fast food joints in your area.  This habit of bringing home junk food will be hard to completely break at first since there are some techniques that you'll have to learn. In line with that, I thought it a good idea to start with something that's somewhat easy to make and a sure-fire hit with the kids.

In order to make this recipe you'll need the following:

Hardware:

  • a large 2-4 quart pot (with lid) - NOT non-stick.
  • a stove - either gas or electric.
  • a microwave oven - for melting the butter.
  • a measuring cup - 8oz size will do just fine.
  • a microwave safe coffee mug
  • a large bowl - the size you'd use to put a bag of chips in.
  • measuring spoon - tablespoon size is all you'll need.
  • Pot Holder - make sure this is well padded, if you're not used to the heat of a stove, the steam, etc. that comes up from the pot can be somewhat daunting; so the thicker the padding of the pot holder, the less disruptive these elements will be when you're popping away.

Software:

  • 1/3 cup popcorn - you don't need to get those brand name jars - I get the house brand in a 4 lb. plastic bag; it's at least 1/2 the price and works well.
  • 1-2 tbsp butter - with salt; don't use margarine - it reacts in a rather strange way with the popcorn that melts the kernal's meat instead of coating them and leaving them intact and crunchy!
  • 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil - peanut or safflower (they don't smoke/burn easily).
  • Salt (to taste) - I like Kosher salt but the standard kind with the girl and umbrella on the box will do okay.

The Process:

First of all, BE CAREFUL!  The pot gets very hot when you do this so I wouldn't recommend doing this as a family project the first time. Although the kids love to put the starter kernals in and stay nearby when the popping ensues, you want to be comfortable with the process first.  Just be mindful that the oil can splatter and some kernals can pop even when you think all the percussion has ceased.

Okay, now with the PSM out of the way, let's get the materials in place and start popping.

  • Place the bowl on a counter top nearby. 
  • Place the butter in the microwave safe bowl or coffee mug and cover it with a wet paper towel (it can tend to splatter) and put it in the microwave, setting the timer to 30 seconds on high.  DON'T START THE MICROWAVE JUST YET.
  • Pour the popcorn into the measuring cup.
  • Place the pot on the stove and turn the burner to high.
  • Immediately pour the oil into the pot.
  • Carefully place seven (7) kernals into the pot as it's heating and cover the pot.
  • At this point do not go to the other room to check the baseball score or take a pee (have one of the kids do that for you ;-)
  • Listen carefully and count the kernals popping.  When the seventh kernal has popped, open the lid and pour the rest of the popcorn into the pot.  NOTE: Be sure you hold the lid with the pot holder.
  • Immediately put the lid back on with your pot holder on top and while holding the handle of the pot, shake it to and fro over the burner in a relatively quick mannner.
  • Almost right away you should start to hear kernals popping.  If all goes as expected, the popping should get fast a furious within a minute.  You'll know that you're near the end as the popping slows.  As a general rule, once the pops get 2-3 seconds apart, you should turn the fire all the way off and take the lidded pot over to the bowl.
  • Empty the contents of the pot into the bowl (sometimes a renegade kernal will pot at this point). Put the pot back onto the stove along with the cover. DO NOT PUT THE POT HOLDER ON THE STOVE OR ANY WHERE NEAR IT - THEY BURN!
  • Hit the start button on the microwave.
  • As the butter is getting melted in the microwave, pour salt to taste onto the popcorn.  It is very important to put the salt on the popcorn right away before the butter is drizzled on so that the salt is distributed evenly and sticks to the popcorn.  Otherwise, the salt will tend to stick to the kernals coated in butter and not at all to the rest.
  • Once the butter is completely melted, drizzle the butter evenly over the top of the popcorn and right away pick up the bowl and shake it in such a way as to disrupt all of the kernals.  Do this for about 15-20 seconds.
  • Now, and this is very important, go into the TV room and watch TV with your kids while enjoying the popcorn.
  • Depending on how many people will be eating this delectible treat, you may have to repeat this process.  Just be sure to wipe the cooled pot with a paper towel so as to prevent the straggling kernals from burning.
  • That's about it, I recommend watching the accompanying video so as to enhance your understanding and my YouTube.com views. Otherwise, that's it!

Enjoy!