It is quite cold here these days. The kind of cold that manages to find its way into your bones so deep inside that the only cure is a long, scalding shower. It is gray too making everything outside a somber, monochromatic tone.
I do enjoy this time of the year with all the excitement of the holidays and the need to bundle up when exiting our warm haven. The hours that are spent indoors baking sugary sweets and coming in from the cold to have the brisk chill be washed away with a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
Even still there are times when I long for the t-shirt wearing days of Summer. I anticipate the coming warm months (in my case, being from the Seattle area, it is probably more accurate to say weeks) filled with long walks, digging in the dirt and eating fresh picked raspberries by the bucket loads.
The most anticipated event of the Summer for me is the Saturday mornings spent perusing the produce loaded Farmer’s Market. Wondering what lovely items will be destined for dinner this week, filling the empty crevices of the stroller with local, cheese and butter and picking out a warm baguette with the best intentions to save it for dinner which inevitably is eaten before we are back home. And of course for us no trip to the market would be complete without treating ourselves to a heaping bag of fresh-made kettle corn.
I am a sucker for all things sweet and salty. Really. Could there be anything better? The sugar ever so slightly adhears to the perfectly popped kernal of corn. A thin blanket of sweetness covering what’s underneath from the gentle sprinkling of salt. We savor our snack as we soak up the sun, select our produce and walk home satisfied until next Saturday.
Recently, while feeling the bone inhabiting chill, I longed for this sweet taste of Summer and to my surprise it suddenly dawned on me that I can recreate it quite easily in my very own kitchen. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of making it myself before. I guess the guy wearing something similar to a gas mask standing over a huge kettle stirring the kernels with what appears to be an ore didn’t seem translatable in my own kitchen. But let me tell you it can be done and I am going to even go so far as to say that it can be done better!
The ingredients are extremely simple but it can be a bit tricky as once the popping begins it goes rather quickly and the line between delicious and burnt is very fine. But please don’t let that disclaimer scare you off, I have made this several times since my happy discovery and although there was some smoke and the need to scrub the pan with a bit more than elbow grease, the results were always worth the small amount of trouble and danger.
adapted from Hillbilly Housewife
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
- Salt to taste (I recommend Fleur de Sel)
Over a medium-high flame, heat the canola oil in the bottom of a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Sprinkle in 2 or 3 popcorn kernels. When the kernels pop add the sugar, and then the remaining popcorn. Cover with a good lid. Shake the pan over the heat while the popcorn pops. When the popping stops, remove the pan from the heat. Immediately pour the hot popcorn into a bowl. The popcorn will be hot and sticky so be very careful not to burn yourself. The popcorn should be lightly coated with a beautiful amber caramel. Salt the kettle corn to taste and serve. Makes a large bowlful that doesn’t stick around long.
Kettle corn is even more enjoyable when you wash it down with a Cuba Libre.