Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Air-popped Kettle Corn
Growing up, Mum made popcorn on a rare occasion and it definitely was something that we looked forward to. Of course in those days, we just called it "popcorn" and had no idea that what Mum was making actually had a name... kettle corn!
I remember on Sunday afternoon's when my brother would get out the projector and he and my sister would tape a large white sheet to our living room wall, and we'd set up the pillows and Mum would make the popcorn and sit and watch home movies of our different trips around the world.
What wonderful memories of Mum getting out the "big pot" and melting a bit of butter and oil and putting in the popcorn kernels, then popping on the lid and standing there; my brother and I also sharing "space" in our teeny tiny kitchen in Hong Kong. We'd stand and wait for that pivotal moment... The moment when that very first kernal would "pop".
Then Mum would hold the lid to the pot and start "jiving". She'd hold the handle and with one hand on the lid and the other on the handle, she'd start moving the pan over the heat lifting it higher off the heat the more (and faster) the kernels popped removing from any heat the moment the popping slowed down. Then she'd move the pot to a cold element and leave the lid on for "just another minute" in case more would pop; and there were always a few that still popped and I thought Mum was SO smart!
Once it stopped popping, the lid was removed immediately "to stop it getting soggy", and it was moved to a big bowl, then more butter was melted into the pot and poured liberally over the steaming popcorn, this was followed by white sugar or salt and then a good "toss".
Great memories, and time together with Mum in the kitchen. But because it was a bit of an undertaking, and we were out of the house as much as we were, this rare times were just that, rare. Then one year while we were vacationing in Penang, Malaysia; we had a break in and our beloved projector was stolen and so our Sunday afternoon home movie time was over.
I often think back to that time and get a lump in my throat, some of the movies I can still see so clearly in my mind. Where the film is now, if Mum still has them tucked away in a box in her vast basement, or if they are long ago dumped in a garbage heap by theives who could not find any use for family vacation movies, I don't know. But what I keep locked in my heart are the memories of all of us sitting on cushions in the living room, watching movies, laughing, memories shared, and a big bowl of popcorn which seemed to bring us together.
After I moved to Canada, I discovered an air popper; this changed my popcorn eating experience and I made it a lot more often; especially when I was modeling and learned that plain popcorn was a "free food" and could have some without too much fear of calories.
Our movie nights have changed to a Friday or Saturday night, my husband and I snuggle up on the sofa and consider it a date night. We can watch movies in the comfort of home and not have to worry about others invading our "personal space", and we can have fresh homemade kettle corn made in the air popper.
Usually, I buy a ready made kettle corn powder mix from the supermarket and sprinkle it liberally over well buttered air popped corn; but this past weekend I did not have any in the house and was reduced to making my own kettle corn mix.
It was surprisingly easy and very fast and the taste was fabulous. In fact, we still have some left over popcorn which I put into a Ziploc bag and have a handful each time I'm in the mood for a little snack; and truth be told, the flavour is getting even better since I first made it!
Here's what you need:
1/2 cup corn kernals
1/4 cup butter (or stick margarine)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp water
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1. Pop the popcorn in the air popper, set aside
2. Melt the butter, oil, sugar, salt, and water in a pan and let cook until it comes to a frothy boil and begins to thicken
3. Pour over the popped corn and stir very well making sure you get all the corn at the bottom mixed in.
Serve immediately and enjoy!