Sunday, March 6, 2011


I kind of find it therapeutic, actually. Put on some music, have a little drink.  It's very different to cooking in a school kitchen. It's like having a massage, really.

-Jamie Oliver speaking about cooking at home for his family 

The music is on, the drink is poured. Let the massage begin! Jamie Oliver cracks me up. He is a very earnest bloke and I really admire his work. His heart and soul are truly in the right place. I am trying to imagine cooking at home as a massage and while I would not quite phrase it that way I get what he means. It is relaxing and keeps you loose and toned, both stimulated and at peace. On a good day at least! 
This week my cooking mind went blank. End of winter ingredient options are not that exciting any more. I don't know where it came from exactly, but I started having a craving for popcorn. Not the stuff you make in the microwave, but the stove top version made from whole kernels. 
This is the way I made it as a kid, in a wide pot with a coating of vegetable oil at the bottom, heated high until the three or four test kernels I had thrown in would pop. My rule of thumb then is to cover the bottom of the pot with a single layer of kernels, cover and shake. If the popping gets too frenzied and you are concerned about burning, move the pot off the flame for a few seconds periodically to allow the heat to come down. 
Popcorn can be found in farmers markets and health food stores.  It would probably be worth going organic on this one if you can. My Grenada spice mix (sea salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and bay) was still beckoning me so I sprinkled that on top of my popped corn with a little drizzle of melted butter. What a treat! Surprisingly, the cloves in the spice mix really stood out and tasted amazing on the popcorn. I could not stop eating it. (Maybe that is not such a good thing?)  Other spice mixes would work equally well. Try curry powder or chili powder or even a blend of dried herbs. 
Popcorn with wine? Why not? It makes a great snack or party appetizer. The seasoning can be whatever you want and you could make the case that it is healthy or at least not heinously UNhealthy, so enjoy!

I totally agree with Jamie Oliver. I find cooking extremely therapeutic - the chopping, dicing, mincing, etc. It's hypnotic. It relaxes me and just puts me completely someplace else, mentally. It's my "go to" drug so to speak.

I am tired of microwaving popcorn. In fact, I use the microwave less and less and would just love to get rid of the thing already. Next time I make popcorn, I will definitely use this method, especially since it means I don't have to go out and buy a new popcorn maker. I never would have thought of just cooking it on the stove, in a pot. Love this idea.

I would not get crazy over a wine pairing of course. Anything will do - just decide what you are in the mood for, and what the setting and occasion are. For a night curled up with a good book or movie, I would sip on something comforting - red perhaps that's rich and "warm". I might even pour myself a snifter of cognac or armagnac, especially if it is a chilly night. If this is part of party starters, I'm drinking Prosecco or Cava. If the boys want to enjoy it for their poker night or baseball game with the guys, a seasonal beer might be fun, e.g. Sam Adams Summer Ale on a warm night.

For this particular fun snack idea, I would not pair with the ingredients but rather with the context of the setting, the company, and your frame of mind!


  1. Popcorn is truly one of my favorite things!!!! I can't even go to the movies without having it, even if we go out to dinner before, I will not eat, so that I will have room for popcorn! I'm an addict, I admit it.

    However, I have never had popcorn with wine...but I will now!!!

    Love your blog!

  2. Hey winos! Thanks for checking out the blog. I just looked at yours and you guys are adorable! I want to come to LA and go drinking with you! (um, I mean, wine tasting)


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