The Best Popcorn Recipe, Bar None

The Best Popcorn You Will Ever Make | roxie & lou
(Popcorn image (c) Bill Ebbeson.)

Weird fact about me: I’m kind of obsessed with popcorn.

Would I say it’s one of my favorite foods? Probably, once I found and tweaked this recipe. I’ve always liked it, but this recipe took it to a new level and swore me off of the standard microwave popcorn forever.

And the best thing? This recipe is so easy.

Ingredients:

  • Unpopped popcorn kernels (amount depends on size of your paper bag)
  • 1 paper bag, any size from lunch bag to grocery bag
  • Olive oil or your favorite oil of choice
  • Kelp powder (available at your local health food store)

Recipe:

  1. Fill your paper bag with enough popcorn kernels to cover the bottom. Try not to to put too much in there – you won’t believe how much it will expand.
  2. Coat it in olive oil. Be generous – having too much in there isn’t going to hurt anything.
  3. Close and fold over the top of your bag a few times – you want to make sure that the force of the popcorn popping doesn’t open your bag inside the microwave.
  4. Put your bag in the microwave and turn it on high for anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes, depending on your microwave. Listen to the kernels popping; if there’s more than a few seconds between pops, you’re probably done.
  5. Take it out – caution, it will be hot! – and dump into a bowl. (I tend to use a large mixing bowl, as you will need a little extra room for the next step.)
  6. Shake your olive oil over the popcorn and then shake the kelp powder over it. Kelp powder, which is from seaweed, doesn’t have that tangy taste of too much salt, so you can be generous with it. Then, shake the bowl enough for the popcorn to turn over – and repeat the olive oil & kelp powder treatment. Shake it once more and repeat one more time, for a total of three applications of oil and kelp powder. (This is usually enough for me, but if you like yours to be really coated, feel free to repeat a few more times.)

And you are DONE. Sometimes, I serve it with fruit and cheese and that’s what we have for dinner. Lots of times, it’s my lunch.

Either way? It’s delicious and the best popcorn I’ve ever had.

there’s something cathartic about baking bread.

Recently – thanks to my avid viewership of the Great British Baking Show via PBS’ Roku channel (a plea: please show us the previous seasons, PBS!) – I’ve been fascinated by the idea of baking bread.

Let’s start at the very beginning: cooking/baking and I have a difficult relationship. I have a lot of Southern background in me; therefore, food = love, in my mind. Biscuits? Gravy? Macaroni and cheese? Mashed potatoes? Anything fried? Anything sweet? Yes, please.

However, my waistline does not agree with this ideal eating plan, so I don’t bake sweets and try not to even buy them. I like the idea of cooking more than the actual process, just as I like the idea of baking. The Great British Baking Show introduced me to the non-sweet side of baking: breads, savory pies, etc. In particular, it introduced me to the idea of baking from scratch – starting with yeast and using the old world recipes.

So, after reading a recipe on the Kitchn that inspired me, I started with a 50-50 loaf: half-white, half-whole wheat. I should say that this recipe is not for those who are short of time: it took 5 hours from start to finish. Starting with yeast and warm water, I took advantage of the Florida heat and didn’t even have to put the bowl in a warm area to rise – the heat in my house took care of that.

While I would love to have a KitchenAid stand mixer (blue or green, if you’re buying), the fact remains that we don’t have enough counter space or interest to make it a sensible purchase. So, I hand-kneaded the bread, and let me tell you: there’s something cathartic about it. You have to put a LOT of effort into it – but be careful about overkneading. (Trust me, I did not get there: if anything, I was afraid it was being underkneaded.) I wouldn’t say that you can knead your troubles away, but it doesn’t hurt.

Also, I didn’t realize that there were special instructions for making your bread into a loaf shape: again, another article on the Kitchn saved me on this. But here’s a picture of the loaves as they went into the oven:

Please ignore my dirty oven.
Bread in the oven. Please ignore my filthy oven.

And here’s a picture of the finished loaves (already half-eaten, as I forgot to take a picture before we cut into them).

Finished bread!They were insanely delicious. For someone who is a so-so cook, I made a great loaf of bread.

We just finished them up today (with a little help from my mom) and I will be baking another loaf this weekend. I bought some raisins, so we’re either having cinnamon raisin bread, or if we’re out of cinnamon, just plain raisin bread.

(The ultimate goal is to make a braided loaf – a challah-like loaf, if you will – but I want to get my bread-baking confidence up first!)

Have you baked bread before? Did you find it surprisingly easy? Or will you never bake it again?