I never thought I would purchase a machine like those ever in my life. I'm not really a gadget girl. I'm very old fashioned when it comes to specialized cooking utensils. No egg slicers, mushroom cleaners or apple dividers in my kitchen drawers. No room.
But I have to admit that I'm very in to Gerta and Fred Cuisinart now--although there's still no room--and I have wonderful hopes for them in the future...
My kids adore Fred and my daughter feels incredibly proud of being able to make popcorn all by herself (don't call family services, I do keep an eye on her), and my husband and son LOVE eating it while watching Dinosaur Train for the 100th time.
We had been happily snacking on popcorn for the last couple of months. It's a relatively easy, healthy and friendly food to satisfy the snacking urge that for some reason is highly contagious in this Nation (I guess it's my kids' favorite "meal").
I would pop it myself from organic corn (there's a controversy about the health risks of eating GMO corn, so I just rather play it safe) and olive oil. It usually resulted in a burnt first batch of corn kernels, a lot of time spent in preparation, too much oil added and quite a mess. Or I would buy it already made, but wasn't happy with the kind of oil or the amount of salt used, and it's relatively expensive.
I'd also been developing new fall recipes for Three Tablespoons and was inspired by my daughter's recent discovery and love-at-first-bite of Cracker Jacks. I thought there could definitely be some healthier versions of the baseball game classic and I've been working at it baking using batches and batches of popcorn every day. In summary, Fred has been busy at work.
Without a doubt, there's something fascinating about popcorn. The pop sound and the magic-trick effect of grains popping into white little flower-looking crunchy mild things is fun and a bit hypnotizing. My daughter says they look like little eggs hatching into tiny white birds. Curiously, in Mexico, we call popcorn "palomitas," which means "little doves." I guess she wasn't the first one to think that way! Another name for popcorn in Spanish is "rosetas de maiz," which means "corn rosettes," and I agree with the poetic comparison.
When air popped, popcorn is rich is fiber, low in fat, has some protein and is a whole grain that possesses a nice amount of polyphenols (antioxidants). It's gluten free and it's neutral flavor and fun consistency are great assets. It can go sweet, salty, spicy, hot, and/or sour with amazing versatility.
The following is a recipe to have around for Thanksgiving. It can be served with the hors d'oeuvres, during dessert or in small favor bags accompanying the guests back to their homes with a bit of Thanksgiving lingering in the spice mix.
PIE SPICE POPCORN
- Vegan, dairy, egg, nut, gluten and soy free
- Super ingredients: spices and organic corn
3 oz. (1/2 cup) organic popcorn, unpopped
1.5 oz. (3 Tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Pop the popcorn according to the directions in the package. Air popping it, if possible.
In a small bowl or cup mix the olive oil, maple syrup, vanilla and all the spices.
Makes about 6 cups.