I knew I was different when my friends started to mock my inability to stay away from the grocery store, even on vacation.
I was baffled. You mean not everyone savors the sights and sounds of a produce section? You don't get a thrill at discovering a new kind of bread in the bakery? You don't look forward to the daily ritual of making dinner, the weekend treat of baking a new dessert? Cooking is one of my favorite things, so naturally, the grocery store is one of my favorite places. And don't even get me started on the farmer's market. Heads of dewy lettuce, glossy zucchini stacked in pyramids, tomatoes in every hue, powder blue eggs, chunks of glowing honey still in the comb, bison sausage sticks and rounds of cheddar-garlic bread? Swoon.
Food. It's a bit of a passion for me.
With this possibly geeky admission, I'm kicking off a new feature here at Love Well: Foodie Friday. I'm insecure about labeling myself a foodie, because I'm not a creative cook. There will be no new recipes unveiled on my blog (unless you count little tweaks here and there), and I don't cook like I'm having Andrew Zimmern for dinner. But I do love the art of cooking, and I am an enthusiastic convert to the philosophy of real food, and I cannot go out to dinner without saying, at least once, "Wow, this is really good! Taste this!"
This is my chance to say the same to you.
A few weeks ago, when Natalie was in the throes of her birthday sleepover extravaganza, I posted this picture on my Facebook page.
It's s'more popcorn, one of three flavored popcorns I made for her movie watching pleasure that night. And OH MY WORD. It is just as good and just as addictive as you're imagining right now. (We got the basics of the recipe from an old edition of Martha Stewart Living, but we did adapt it a little for our tastes.)
To make it, you need to start with plain popcorn. You can make this however you like: in an old fashioned popper, in an air popper, on your stovetop, or you can try my preferred method these days, popping it in a brown paper bag in your microwave. (There's a good explanation of that here. My biggest tip? Get to know your microwave. Mine can't go longer than two minutes without scorching. A few kernels always remain unpopped, but this is so much cheaper and healthier than store-bought microwave popcorn, I don't mind.)
Once you have about 4-6 cups of popcorn, sort through and remove the old maids as best you can. (Did you know that's what unpopped kernels are called?) Normally, those duds just languish in the bottom of the bowl. But when you pour melted marshmallows over popcorn, which you are about to do, they will get caught up in the sticky romance of the situation and lurk in a tasty glob, just waiting to chip a tooth.
Let's make the toppings!
Melt 2-1/2 cups of marshmallows with 2 tablespoons butter. (I did this in the microwave, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, but you could also do this on the stovetop.) Pour the sticky mixture over your popcorn and stir like mad to combine. (Yes, this will be messy. Yes, you may want to use your hands. And yes, you will burn your hands if you try.)
Once it's throughly mixed, add in the crumbs of 2 crushed graham crackers and as many chocolate chips as you deem necessary. I used mini chocolate chips, so they would melt faster and not fall to the bottom. (Or, for an adult version, throw in some chunks of dark chocolate.) (Wow. I wish I hadn't thought of that.) Stir to combine and serve to the oohs and aahhs of your friends.
Variations on this theme:
Cinnamon toast popcorn. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons of brown sugar. Toss with popcorn and then sprinkle with cinnamon.
Cheesy popcorn. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and toss with popcorn. Top with 1/4 cup of finely grated Parmesan. Add fresh cracked pepper to kick it up a notch.