There were two universal forces working to make this simple recipe pop (pun intended) into my mind. The first being that we are working toward making our home, and in particular our food purchasing habits, plastic or package free. Thus, we buy a lot out of the bulk bins and store our goods in mason jars and always end up having a ton of corn kernels hanging around. They look so inspiring just sitting there. A blank canvas of sorts. Moving towards a plastic free kitchen has pushed us to find new recipes, but more on that in another post. The second force is my effort to return to my pre-partum self and needing alternatives to chip and cracker consumption. To do so, I have been snacking on homemade popcorn with a little olive oil and finely ground sea salt. But this time, I had a hankering for something sweet for an after dinner treat. So, this is what I came up with. I used a coconut oil not only for sweetness, but also because I try to stay away from the highly processed vegetable oils, but I imagine they would work just fine if that is all you have in your pantry. But the coconut oil give such a nice subtle sweet flavor with the hint of caramelized sugars, each kernel a little pillow of sweet/salty heaven. We made this for a movie date night at home, and it was the perfect balance of sweet and savory, and we ended up making two batches.
Homemade Kettle Corn…
½ cup corn kernels
1 tbs coconut oil, heated to liquid
2 heaping tsp brown sugar
2 heaping tsp organic cane sugar
½ tsp finely ground sea salt (you can do it yourself in a food processer or coffee grinder)
Mix all ingredients together in one bowl. Then pour mixture into a simple paper lunch bag. Fold over the top 3-4 times. Pop in microwave for 1 minute and 45 seconds- 2 minutes or until popping slows. Careful not to burn. Remove from microwave, shake the bag, and season with salt again if necessary. I always end up with a lot of kernels left un-popped no matter what method I use…and no family PLEASE do not send us a popcorn popper. We are trying to get rid of our kitchen clutter. I just fold the bag up and re-pop them, easy and no waste. Crunch away and enjoy!
Eat together, toast to each other, and enjoy!
This marinated feta is actually a Greek spin on an Eastern European pub snack. It generates some nice memories of my travels through that area. I remember being in the Czech Republic, snacking on some spicy marinated cheeses while sipping on a cool pilsner. Those flavors have such a nice balance, creamy vs. bright…with some effervescence to wash everything down. Marinated feta cheese can go quite the distance when entertaining. It looks and makes people feel special. I like to serve this marinated feta with olives, marinated mushrooms, and maybe some hummus and pita as an appetizer for when we have company. It is also great over pasta with some roasted seasonable vegetables or on salads.
Marinated feta cheese…
First, find a container that you like and think is pretty, and consider the size.
Measure olive oil into about 3/4 the volume of the container. The cheese will displace some of the volume.
Then over VERY low heat, warm the olive oil and add any dried herbs that you love, some thinly sliced garlic, and peppercorns. The goal is to cook the garlic ever so slightly, and let the flavor infuse into the oil. This only takes minutes. Then set aside to cool. While cooling, cube feta and place in your container. Then, pour the olive oil over the cheese once cooled. Keep refrigerated.
Eat together, toast to each other, and share!
Hasselback potatoes…do it…
This is the better (Swedish) alternative to baked potatoes. Plus it makes for a dramatic presentation and your guests will think you are super fancy, when really they are as easy to make as a boiled egg. However, some may argue that boiling an egg is a true talent in itself. Hasselback potatoes originated in Stockholm, Sweden in the Hasselbacken Hotel restaurant.
Any potatoes you like (leave the skin on for extra crunch)
Equal parts butter and olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
Traditionally they are also served with breadcrumbs on top.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Make slices across the potatoes the short way, about ¼ inch thick (or thinner if you have the knife skills). Careful not to cut all the way through the potato. Thinly slice garlic clove and place inside sliced potato. Melt butter and whisk with olive oil. Roll the potatoes in the mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Place in oven on a baking sheet, and bake approx 40-45 minutes, or until tender. With 10 minutes left of baking time, top (and stuff) with Parmesan cheese.
You can spice up the butter any way you like, it is delicious with rosemary. Potatoes can be served with a dollop of crème fraiche or any other accoutrement, the possibilities are endless.
Eat together, toast to each other, and enjoy!
“Nothing is more necessary than salt and sun”, stated Isidore of Seville.
To maintain homeostasis, the average adult needs 6-8 grams of salt daily and 10 grams when hot or sweating is induced. Most people consume 15 grams daily, and this trend is heading upward.
Althought I tend to agree with Plutarch who described salt to be “the noblest of foods, the finest condiment of all”, consume it in its natural form rather than in Cheetos.