Monday, December 7, 2009

Doorbells and sleighbells and schnitzel with noodles

I love popcorn so much that I even get excited when we get tin buckets of the bright orange cheesy stuff from neighbors at Christmastime. Adam wont ever go near it. Actually, no one else in my family will either. Popcorn snobs. I could eat popcorn all day, everyday.

My favorite popcorn of all time, however, has to be homemade parmesan popcorn. In fact it’s on my list of favorite foods. Why yes, I have a list. Not necessarily in order of preference:

1. Mom’s enchiladas

2. Mom’s chile relleno

3. Roast chicken with vegetables

4. Peanut butter (Natural and creamy, please. I’ll never be too old for PB&J)

5. Vegan chocolate mousse/pie (Dead serious.)

6. Parmesan popcorn

7. Shrimp ceviche (Rock shrimp, wherever possible)

8. Espresso brownies (two of my favorite foods in one dish!)

9. American bacon (I’m talking farm stand, thick-cut, fresh, high-quality streaky bacon made from pigs that eat normal pig food and have room to run around and act like pigs. A parallel statute applies to the chicken at number 3.)

10. Sliced cold cucumber with sea salt, Tapatio and lime (eaten out of a small plastic bag on a beach in Puerto Vallarta with a Corona, preferably)

11. Guacamole with freshly made tortilla chips (I like the kind they make at King Ranch in M-town)

12. Guinness gingerbread with cream cheese frosting (Yes, it has Guinness beer in it. And yes, it’s extremely delicious.)

13. Aunt Jesse’s carnitas

14. Fried cheese curds from Wisconsin (and in Wisconsin)

15. My mother-in-law’s dark chocolate cake with 7 minute frosting

Notice that many of the foods on this list are directly connected to a person or place. So, in addition to these items appealing to the taste buds in my mouth, I have an affection for them that extends beyond what I can physically experience… But perhaps these types of physical and psychological attractions to food are intrinsically intertwined and almost interchangeable as we progress along in our histories anyway—i.e., food physically tastes good because it recalls a fond memory and one can recall a fond memory because of food that tasted good.

Does anyone else have a list? Share, please!

I’m kind of bummed that I can’t really make half of the things on mine for the next 6 months for mere lack of acceptable ingredients. (No Tapatio, no cheese curds, very few Mexican chilies--Hubby says he saw jalapeños but I have yet to witness one with mine own eyes… what kind of place IS this?) But maybe I’ll be inspired to add new things to my list while we’re here!

Anyway, back to the popcorn--because there is a short story behind it that puts it on my list. (And they do sell popcorn in London!)

When I was little my parents would buy parmesan cheese in a green can. (Remember?) My dad would dump a few handfuls of this stuff into a giant bowl of stove-top popped popcorn and I’d get to help toss it with my grimy little-kid hands as he poured buckets of melted butter over the mix. Then the four of us (my parents, and brother and I) would cuddle up in my parents' bed and watch movies. Sometimes we were even able to move my mom's big 80s hair aside long enough to actually see what was playing.

I've updated my family's popcorn recipe. I thought, instead of parmesan cheese out of a can, how about some freshly grated parmigiano reggiano instead? And a little bit of sea salt? And maybe instead of vats of butter (not that I’m always against vats of butter per se), how about a half and half ratio of good quality olive oil and butter? Done and done. I also recommend you pop the popcorn yourself over the stove like my folks did. Few things smell better than freshly popped stove-top popcorn.

Parmesan Popcorn
Makes 4 cups popped popcorn, enough for roughly 2 generous servings
Reduce calories by not reading this blog... oops... I mean... by using air-popped popcorn instead. It is healthier and air-poppers aren't too expensive either. We own this one.

• ¼ cup popcorn kernels
• 1/3 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon melted butter
• sea salt to taste
• vegetable oil to coat the bottom of a large pot

Over low heat, pour vegetable oil into a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Test the pot to see if it’s hot enough by dropping in one popcorn kernel. If it pops, carefully add in the rest of the kernels. Place lid on pot and shake pot back and forth over burner frequently until all kernels are popped.

Place popped popcorn in a large bowl and top with cheese and sea salt. Mix lightly. Drizzle over butter and olive oil and mix again. Serve immediately.

Stay tuned for Christmastime baking! Hooray!


Adam said...

I have a list:

1) Any French wine vintage 2007 or earlier that's red.

2) Guinness

3) Carnitas, the best so far are the ones that began this blog.

4) My wife's ceviche, preferably with a hint of mint.

5) My mother's lasagne, with ham. And maybe pepperoni.

6) A perfectly seared, +2" in thickness NY cut, steak frites, with either ample thick ground peppercorn in the sear or a well made peppercorn and cognac sauce, made from heavy cream and not milk.

7) Baked desserts with ice cream (apple pie, brownies, etc). Real vanilla complete with specs.

8) Bangers and mash. Cumberland sausages, with a thick gravy, but not too much. Accompanied with item #2

9) Tacos. Street ones. None of those whale sized things in flour tortillas.

10) Coq au vin. Made by myself. Homeland style, marinating overnight in a half bottle of wine to a full soak. Then cooked for at least 2.5 hours with boquet garni, carrots, and mushrooms. Served with roasted carrots, maybe potatoes or asparagus, in all of its purple glory.

No, this list is not in order.

Amanda said...

1) Avocados, sliced fresh and salted with sea salt

2) Peanut Butter. Creamy. All-natural.

3) Eggs. Any style. Preferred runny.

4) Cilantro. I could eat it by its self.

5) Any food that is made from its origins. Authentic. Its all amazing when done right.

Andrea said...

Nice, guys.

"None of those whale sized things in flour tortillas." Amen.

Amanda--I love cilantro too! Isn't it interesting how people either love or detest it? I have a few friends who wont come near anything having to do with cilantro...

Andi C said...

nice list! the guinness gingerbread sounds fantastic!!! have you found cheese curds yet? they shouldn't be too hard to find, i know they're popular for topping chips with gravy. try googling it, i'm sure you'll find something.

Andrea said...

Thanks Andi! I will totally google it and see if I can find some. Haven't come across any yet--do people eat poutine here? (Fries covered with gravy and cheese curds.) Seems like something you'd find in a pub!

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