Our hometown has one of the best Farmer's Markets around, and we're lucky that in recent years they've started a winter market for storage apples, hardneck garlic (my favorite!) cold-weather vegetables...and popcorn. Straight from the farmer's hands, we scored an ear of the most beautiful popcorn I've seen in recent memory: golden hard little gems all lined up in a row! So this Sunday, Sparky and his friend, Dr. Lasergonapus (what can I say, they're tweens and I let them call themselves whatever they want) harnassed the explosive power of steam to make a delicious snack.
Just for you, since I don't know your kitchen equipment, we decided to make popcorn two ways: in the microwave and on the stove-top. Since Dr. Lasergonapus likes his popcorn plain with butter, we buttered the microwave half, and we'll give you our popcorn "sprinkle" recipe as we describe the stovetop half. Fortunately, popcorn cobs are hard, dry, and easy to break it in half.
If the seal on your bowl is airtight, you will need to vent it a bit; ours is slightly loose so we didn't need to do that. You can also use a paper bag taped shut, but I never seem to have one handy, so we do this instead.
Dr. Lasergonapus put the bowl into the microwave and started it going on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds. After about 30 seconds, the popcorn started exploding all over the place, to the delight of both boys who were mesmerized by the show, especially when the popcorn cob flipped back and forth as though possessed. We added time in 30-second increments until most of the popcorn had come off the cob one way or another (I think we were at about 2:30 when we stopped.)
In general, I endorse immediate post-cook salting, so Dr. Lasergonapus ground sea salt over our delicious, lightly buttery popcorn that smelled better than any popcorn had a right to. The boys declared it the best popcorn they'd ever had. Truly, buying it right from the farmer makes a big difference in the quality.
But, wait - we still have another half an ear! This one, we used a method I learned from Aarti Sequeira, waaay back from before she was a Food Network star (I highly recommend clicking the link and watching her tutorial; she does it much better than me.)
First, we shelled the remaining ear of corn into a bowl. Then, we put my 3qt pot on the stove on high heat, and drizzled in enough oil to thoroughly coat the bottom (I'm guessing about 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons.) We dropped in three corn kernels and waited until they popped (they almost always pop like this: one....twothree!)
Once the kernels popped, we took the pan off the heat and waited 30 seconds. (Sadly, the boys didn't jig to the charming ditty on Aarti's video; instead they shuffled to electro-dance-pop. Still, it worked!) Then we cranked up the heat and watched through the glass top as the corn kernels, once again, started exploding. They are boys, what can I say - they love explosions!
We dressed this popcorn with my new favorite popcorn topping: place 2 tbsp nutritional (brewer's) yeast powder, 1 tsp granulated garlic, and 2 tsp kosher salt in a very dry blender, whiz at high speed until the salt is powdered. Sprinkle on your warm corn! Share with a friend and delight in the fluffy, crunchy goodness! Think about hugging a farmer!