Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Life without a microwave

It's interesting, that's for sure, cause for my entire life, I've had one.  Living in the dorm in college, I became a queen of micro-cooking.  I've never had to learn how to do basic re-heating without a microwave.

That is, until moving to South Korea.  Microwaves exist, of course, but I don't feel like buying one since I have a perfectly good stove and I recently bought a perfectly good toaster oven (which does a great job on toast and ok job on brownies, and that's all that counts, right?).  I'll save the money and learn a few new tricks along the way!

Tonight, I learned how to pop popcorn on the stove!!!

I love popcorn but I haven't had any here since I (as stated) don't have a microwave.  I haven't even noticed microwave popcorn at the store, but that may be cause (duh) I don't have a microwave, so why bother looking?  I've seen it at the tiny westerner grocery store downtown, but didn't buy any, cause (duh) ... no, nevermind, I'm not even gonna say it again. 

Anyway, when I was living at home, popcorn was our Sunday night supper pretty much every week.  The family'll go out for a big dinner (lunch) after church, then we munch on popcorn at night.  It was a Brock tradition at my grandparent's house, and my mom, dad and I keep it alive by popping bag after bag of delicious snacky-dinner while catching up on the DVR.  It's the perfect supper when you're hungry, but not really hungry. 

Now, I know it's Tuesday night, not Sunday, but I am catching up on my tv shows online and all of a sudden I really wanted popcorn!  I bought a bag of kernels a while back, but hadn't looked up what to do with them until tonight.

Boy howdy, I'm so glad I did!

First, I looked it up on Pinterest, the holy grail of cooking and crafting (and wasting time), found this pin that leads to this post, which linked to this post, and away I went!

The basic instructions I followed from Simply Recipes:


Perfect Popcorn Recipe

  • Cook time: 10 minutes


  • 3 Tbsp canola, peanut or grapeseed oil (high smoke point oil)
  • 1/3 cup of high quality popcorn kernels
  • 1 3-quart covered saucepan
  • 2 Tbsp or more (to taste) of butter
  • Salt to taste


1 Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat.
2 Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan.
3 When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. (Count out loud; it's fun to do with kids.) This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.
4 Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper). Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.
With this technique, nearly all of the kernels pop (I counted 4 unpopped kernels in my last batch), and nothing burns.
5 If you are adding butter, you can easily melt it by placing the butter in the now empty, but hot pan.
6 Salt to taste.

Additional tips: From the comments section
a If you add salt to the oil in the pan before popping, when the popcorn pops, the salt will be well distributed throughout the popcorn.
b Fun toppings for the popcorn - Spanish smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, cayenne powder, chili pepper, curry powder, cumin, grated Parmesan cheese.

Yield: Makes 2 quarts, a nice amount for two people, or for one hungry one.


I added some garlic powder, some Jalapeno Ranch seasoning, and maybe too much salt, cause I added it to the oil, then couldn't taste it, and added more, then WHAM, oh boy, I could taste it. But it's good.  And I'm sippin water while I munch, so my blood vessels (or whatever freaks out from salt) will be fine. 

I burned a few kernels, but practice makes perfect, and I kinda like the burnt taste.  The combo of seasonings that I added were rockin!!! I'm so excited!  My mama'll be proud :) 

And I never would've learned if I'd had a microwave.  Win!

See ya!  My popcorn and I are off to catch up on Castle!

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