So this actually should have been posted yesterday, but I allowed myself a little break since I have blogged everyday for the last 10 days [which I have never done]. My lack of writing/blogging yesterday wasn’t a day without research, just a day without sitting behind the computer. Yesterday I made homemade carmel corn. It wasn’t hard, took a little over an hour, & a lot of….ehm…sampling, along the way.
I used this recipe, but as I was reading it I noticed the creator said she was afraid of popping popcorn herself so she used the bagged stuff. This got me thinking about how scared we get to take risks in the kitchen sometimes & how because of our modern-day “convenience” society, we forget that things that are packaged have to be made. Those boxes of cereal…yep they have to be made before they go in the box. Those toasted pastries…yep, those have to be made too. Nothing that comes from a grocery store or a farmer’s market or even a restaurant is over your head. Something like Beef Wellington, maybe a little ambitious to try if you have never even made spaghetti sauce from scratch, but hey…nothing is over your head.
So here is where today’s topic comes in….you ready? Stop being scared of popcorn. Just go for it. I am not without my kitchen fears. I have yet to attempt homemade bread. Yeast & I do not get along, but I keep thinking to myself…people made all their food from scratch all those years ago. Up until the 50’s when convenience, packaged food hit the stores shelves, nothing was pre-made. Our grandmas & great grandmas had to make everything. If a big machine can make bread, I can certainly make bread. If spaghetti can come out of a can or popcorn from a bag, you can make it yourself. You will not only save money, but your waist line will start to dwindle & who doesn’t want that.
The key to cooking from scratch or even semi-scratch is to take your time. Don’t be an over-achiever & have all 4 or 5 burners going at the same time. When you first get started, just work on one thing at a time. The biggest kitchen catastrophes happen because you have too much going on at once. Focus on one element of one dish at a time. Don’t try & get a main course, 2 sides, & dessert all done at the same time. Cooking can be fun & therapeutic, if you slow down & take your time. Plus the more you do it, the better you will be at cooking & soon boxed helper & cheese will be a distant (& disgusting) memory.
So tell me, what is it that holds you back? What food has you quaking in your boots? Is it cooking from scratch? Not roasting the chicken all the way through? Seriously…I want to know what your kitchen fear is. Comment below if you would please or hop over to Instagram or Facebook & tell me there. Who knows…you may get a step by step walk through for cooking your meal.
As for popcorn…it is one of the easiest things you can make yourself & a lot cheaper than buying bags you will very likely burn in the microwave. About a cup of organic popcorn kernels (please go organic here, if you want to know why check this post out) & 1-2 tablespoons of oil or butter or butter substitute like earth balance. Using a flat bottom skillet or large pot, over high heat add the butter/oil & when it is melted, dump the kernels in. Keeping your skillet on the heat, shake it around to make sure the kernels are in a single layer. Every 30 seconds or so shake them around. The moment the first kernel pops, put a lid on the skillet & continue shaking the pan. This process happens very fast & if you don’t have a lid you will be dodging a skillet of flying corn [trust me on this one]. Make sure you shake your pan/skillet around frequently to keep the popped kernels from burning, but also to move the unpopped kernels to the bottom. Once the popping slows down to 1 or 2 per second, remove from the burner & dump into a bowl. That’s it. The biggest thing to remember is to use an oil or butter (I learned it doesn’t work very well on a stove top without something), use a lid, & shake while it cooks. While you are eating your homemade, cheap-as-can-be popcorn, head over & tell me what you kitchen fear is.