Yesterday was 4/20.
4/20 is a big deal around here.
Every year across the nation but especially in my town, thousands of people who have never touched a particular botanical substance before succumb to peer pressure, light up, inhale, and promptly have a panic attack. Then they dial 911.
It was a very busy afternoon in the Emergency Department.
At work yesterday, as I scuttled around in the skunky haze–passing scores of stoned teenagers sleeping it off in the hallways and hours away from my next meal, I got to thinking about munchies.
(They tell me smoking certain plants can give a body the munchies. Goodness knows I don’t need the help!)
Thinking about munchies got me to thinking about my favorite snacks.
Thinking about my favorite snacks got me to thinking about this:
Garlic Butter Parmesan Popcorn.
And now I’m gonna tell you how to make it.
Preheat your oven to 350º
The oven? You ask. Why do you need the oven? It’s popcorn!
Trust me on this. Preheat the oven. You will use it soon, I promise, and you will be glad you did.
Next, pull all these guys out of your pantry and refrigerator.
Popcorn, Peanut oil, Butter, Garlic, Parmesan, Salt and Pepper
Speaking of popcorn, check this out.
It came in the hospital Christmas goody bag, and while it’s no Orville Redenbacher it isn’t it purty, all red-and-white-and-blue and patriotic for the Christmas Season? Although, I agree, it was an odd color choice, considering.
Okay, back to the story.
I like to pop my popcorn on top of the stove. I think it comes out tastier and richer. Also, I don’t have an air popper. If you do have an air popper I welcome you to use it, in which case you won’t need the peanut oil. Probably I should have an air popper. Think of all the calories I would save by not using oil to pop the popcorn in! But then, I would just use that as justification to use more butter.
You can never have too much butter on popcorn. That’s a rule. Write it down.
Anyways, pop some corn.
To pop corn on top of the stove, use your largest, roomiest pot. Heat it up over medium to medium high heat, and pour in a tablespoon or two of peanut oil. When the oil “shimmers” (you know what I mean…like a heat mirage on the desert) pour in about 1/3 to 1/2 half cup of popcorn kernels. You want about 6 cups of popped corn in the end. Cover the pan to keep the corn in the pot and not all over your kitchen, and cook until the popping stops. Shake the pan occasionally to keep the popcorn from burning,
While the popcorn is popping, melt 4 tablespoons of butter.
(Why are there no photos of these steps, you ask? Well, let’s just say that hypothetically I got engrossed in taking photos of the melting butter and forgot to shake the popcorn so that it began to burn, and then decided I didn’t particularly like any of the photos I took of the melting butter, and then realized that not only did I forget to shake the popcorn pan but also forgot to take pictures of it, well….what’s a girl to do?)
While the popcorn is popping and the butter is melting, mash up the garlic. You can do this by finely mincing it, or you can do what I did and use a microplane. So long as the end result is a glorious garlic paste.
(If you are being stretched a bit thin between the butter and the popcorn and your camera which by now has probably become alarmingly slippery, wait til the popcorn and butter are finished, set them aside, and then mash the garlic. The actual order of things at this point is of very little importance. I feel the need to mention this, just in case you are the sort of person who likes to follow recipes to the letter. I should probably explain right now that my recipes don’t have the proverbial letter. My recipes are more like outlines to give you the idea of what the end result should be like. Like Cliffs notes for food.)
Beg your hubby to take a picture of the garlic paste because he is a much better photographer than you, and because you are using one hand to hold a spoonful of the stuff, and trying to save your increasingly lubricious camera from falling into the butter with the other (by the way,”lubricious” is not a word I use every day. I picked it out especially for you).
Take the butter off the heat and stir in the garlic mash.
Inhale deeply. Butter and garlic. Ohhh. Inhale again, but try not to pass out. If you pass out, you won’t be able to do the next step.
Pour the butter and garlic mixture over the popcorn. Sprinkle liberally with salt (maybe about 1/2 teaspoon? If you use superfine salt, you’ll need less) and pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon fresh, coarsely ground black pepper is good, even more is better if you love pepper as much as I do.) If you wanted, you could add a sprinkling of dried Italian herbs at this point. Rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano–they are all divine. About 1/2 a teaspoon total of dried herbs should just about do it. I’ve never tried this with fresh herbs…although now that I think of it….hmmmm. I’d be interested to see if it works.
Stir it all up.
And spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet. You can line the baking sheet with foil if you like easy clean up. And who doesn’t like easy clean up?
Sprinkle it with grated cheese. Generous, bountiful, copious handfuls of cheese.
I used parmesan, and I used about 1/2 cup. But if I’d had more, I would have used it. You can never, ever, have too much cheese.
This is also a rule. It is possibly more important than the one about butter.
Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top of the popcorn. At this point, try not to stir or shake things up too much or all the cheese will fall off to the bottom of the pan where it will become cheese crisps instead of melting deliciously and crunchily over the top of the popcorn. Don’t get me wrong, I love cheese crisps, but it would be a cryin’ shame to miss out on the flavor of toasty cheese melted into crispy popcorn. Put the whole thing into your preheated oven and leave it alone for at least five minutes, (unless you think it might be starting to burn…speaking of which…) then stir. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes of to keep the popcorn from burning. Bake until the cheese is melted into golden brown spots on the popcorn kernels, and the butter has browned and become toasty, and the garlic has mellowed and turned roasty and delicious.
Pour the popcorn into your favorite popcorn bowl which does not photograph well because of its transluscence…
Ask your husband to step in again because he can take a professional quality photo even with an uncooperative serving bowl…
Devour and be happy. And try to get some of those delicious, golden parmesan crumbs that fell to the bottom of the pan and turned into crisps despite your best efforts…before someone else gets them all!