Turns out, I’ve been fooled my entire life. You can pop corn kernels in a paper bag in your microwave. Like normal microwave popcorn. For the same amount of time. Without all the hydrogenated shelf stable oil crap. And you can totally reuse the bag (like, from bringing two pints of ice cream home from the corner store and then several times as a popcorn bag)!
I don’t know if anyone else has been torn about giving in to this trend in restaurants lately– $6 or more a pop for specialty popcorns like maple-bacon, chipotle caramel, truffle butter, and more variations with bacon. I imagine ones with curry and indian spices, meta-gourmet (you know, we’re so gourmet that we serve sweet breads even though they are totally ghetto? the gentrification of food?) powdered cheeses and whatnot have been done too. I have to admit, I’ve given in to it. Woe was me spending $8 on a small bowl of popcorn and a $10 cocktail.
So I’ve been making healthier things lately (have you noticed?), and so I looked into air-popped popcorn. I was convinced without a $30 contraption I’d be forced to eat fake butter flavor and pay $4/a packet for Newman’s Own popcorn (or Orville, let’s be real).
Air popper? Totally obsolete and never necessary in the first place. And yet, my family had one in the early 90’s during the low-fat craze. We’re smart people; somehow that slipped past us. So, don’t feel bad, just go get that thing out of your cabinet and rejoice in the new space you have made for a paper bag to call home. Or a new Staub pan.
I’ve been known to hoard glass jars that can be reused. This goes from jelly jars to tomato jars to salad dressings to anchovies and spices. As you can see, it comes in quite handy. Because I live in a 100+ year old house, and mice are unavoidable if you tempt them, I swapped to all glass and steel containers about a year ago to deter them from my rather large stockpile of food (we won’t go hungry from an earthquake). I also use these jars when shopping bulk at the stores around SF, for leftovers, and for taking my food to work each week–I don’t like to reheat in plastic, so having glass makes things easier to store and then eat.
Fire Roasted Pepper Popcorn Recipe
Makes 4-5 Cups
1/4 C popcorn kernels (multi colored, white, or yellow-your choice)*
1 Tbsp butter (plugra if you have it around), melted and warm
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 paper bag (bigger than lunch size but not grocery size–two bottles of wine size)
Add the popcorn kernels to the paper bag and fold the top of the bag several times to halfway. Put the bag in the micro and set it for 5 minutes. You’ll probably only need 2.5, so stay close and stop it when the pops are 1-2 seconds apart.
Add the spices to a old spice jar with a shaker lid and mix.
Place popped popcorn in a large bowl, and season it in two batches: drizzle butter over the first half and add half the seasoning. Toss, add the rest of the popcorn and repeat.
* If you are having trouble finding popcorn kernels where you live (they are normally sold in bulk) and have access to a Whole Foods Market, they usually have them in their self-serve bulk section. You can also buy them on Amazon.