Thursday, April 15, 2010

Garlic Popcorn/Kettle Corn

When I was living in Rome my friend Ashley introduced me to home made popcorn. In all honesty, I didn't even know it was possible to make popcorn without some sort of fancy device-I actually never even thought about it. But thanks to Ashley and the technique that she introduced to me, I eat popcorn on a daily basis. And we use olive oil instead of butter! You might be thinking, "Olive oil? That sounds disgusting/weird/wrong." But I assure you, it's so right. So below is my recipe for garlic popcorn (which I prefer to dip in sriracha of course) and also an easy recipe for kettle corn. Enjoy!

Garlic Popcorn

What You Need:

1 LARGE pot, and a lid
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons oil
lots of salt (to your liking)
3 teaspoons garlic granules
olive oil for drizzling on top

First add the 2 tablespoons of oil to your large pot with the heat on high. Add the popcorn kernels, and the fun begins. Continually swirl the kernels around the pot so that they don't burn. This is very important! (Unless you like burnt popcorn). Once the first couple of kernels start to pop, put the lid on the pot and continue to swirl the kernels around. As more and more kernels start popping, shake the pot so that the popcorn on the bottom of the pan doesn't burn, and I mean SHAKE. Once the popping gets to only a couple pops per second, remove from heat and keep shaking until the kernels stop popping. Remove the lid and add to a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil all over the top, sprinkle with salt and some of the 2 teaspoons of garlic granules. Mix so that the freshly oiled layer of popcorn goes to the bottom of the bowl and repeat the oil, salt, and garlic step. Keep repeating until you think it's seasoned and oiled enough. Voila! I highly recommend dipping your popcorn in a little plate of sriracha, if you like spicy things. It's soooo good.

Kettle Corn

What You Need:
1 Large pot with lid
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
sprinkle of salt

In the pot, on high heat, add oil and popcorn kernels. Continually swirl the pot. Once the first kernel pops add the sugar and swirl like crazy to incorporate the sugar. Keep shaking and swirling the pot like crazy over the heat, if you don't keep it moving the sugar WILL burn. Once the popping slows, remove from heat and continue shaking. Remove lid and add to a bowl. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and mix, and you're done!

Easy Pad Thai

Yesterday I had an intense craving for Pad Thai, so I decided to make it for dinner. I didn't have the time to go to an asian market to get the correct ingredients for Pad Thai, so I improvised, and it turned out pretty well! My boyfriend Brett even liked it, and he's the world's pickiest eater.

Chicken Pad Thai Recipe

Chicken Ingredients:
Chicken, diced into 1 inch thick pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon of sriracha or chili paste
1/2 tablespoon corn starch

Pad Thai Noodles:
1 package of rice noodles
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely diced
1 egg, scrambled
1 cup bean sprouts (optional)
chopped scallions for garnish
crushed peanuts for garnish

Pad Thai Sauce:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup thai spicy chili sauce (a combination of chili, rice wine vinegar, garlic, and sugar)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
2 teaspoons sriracha or chili paste (depending on how hot you like it)

Mix the 2 tablespoons soy sauce, clove of chopped garlic, 1 tsp chili paste or sriracha, and corn starch until well incorporated. Add the chicken and leave it to marinate for at least an hour.

In a large bowl soak the rice noodles in warm water and set aside for about 20 minutes, or until noodles are al dente.

Meanwhile, make the pad thai sauce. Add the 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1/3 cup thai spicy chili sauce, fresh lime juice, 1 1/2 tablespoons honey, fish sauce, and sriracha or chili sauce, mix well and set aside.

Once noodles are al dente, drain and drizzle a bit of vegetable oil and mix well so the noodles don't stick together, then set aside. In a wok or large saute pan on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and once it's warm add garlic and shallots and let saute about one minute.

Add the chicken along with the marinade to the pan and saute about 3-5 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked add the al dente noodles and pad thai sauce. Cook in the pan using a lift and fold motion to move the noodles (so they don't break apart). If the pan gets too dry you can add more vegetable oil or soy sauce. Once the noodles are starting to get softer, push to one side of the pan and add the whisked egg to the other. Scramble the egg in the pan and slowly incorporate with the other noodles. Then add the optional bean sprouts. Cook the noodles until they are soft, but be careful not to over cook them.

Place in a serving dish once they are done and garnish with scallions, crushed peanuts, and lime...and MORE SRIRACHA!!!

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