There is one single taboo topic left in my family's house. Not what happens between the bed covers, not the colour of your skin, not even the miracle of life. Nope. The unspoken topic in our house was internet banking.
My brothers were (and still are) massive computer nerds. Early adopters as far as the internet goes, they were paying their bills online since the dawn of netbank. Dad, on the other hand, believed Al Qaeda ran internet banking, and payments for your monthly gas bill go straight to funding their next 'operation'. I wish I were joking.
There's a fundamental distrust of technology going on there. Heaters don't keep a room warm for as long as open fires and air conditioners cause colds and flus. Microwaves are a whole other story.
I hate to say it, but I have to agree with that last one.
Microwaves give me the heebie-jeebies. I'll reheat a container of soup, but that's about it. When it comes to popcorn, I'm always reaching for the loose kernels rather than the paper bag of microwave corn. Can I actually pop the corn on the stovetop? No siree Bob!
I've burnt the kernels, and soaked them for hours in oil with no result. Every time we went to chow down on a bowl of corn, we came up greasy, smokey disappointments.
A little research and I stumbled on the best method. Heat the oil over a medium heat. Drop in three kernels and wait for them to pop. Whip them out, then throw the remainder in the pop. Cover, then remove from the heat for about 20 seconds to bring them up to temperature. Pop them back on the heat then let them pop their hearts out.
The flavours? Ain't nothing better than cheese on popcorn if you're living on Savoury Street. But plain old cheese doesn't cut the mustard. My buddy JacDav had snaffled me some bay leaves from her tree and dried them especially. Their scent was totally outrageous. Grind those babies up and they add a totally savoury, herby twist to your regular old popcorn. A bit of smokey salt and we were away.
You'll see that I've enjoyed the corn with a little sweet liquid treat. Egg nog. Uh yeah. That was a cracker. But you'll get that recipe soon enough. Focus: today we're creating the popcorn. And you won't even need a microwave. Now those terrorists won't be able to spy on you while you're watching Hilary Duff's latest blockbuster. Or whatever.
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
4 bay leaves
1 tsp smoked sea salt
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Cook popcorn on stovetop according to directions above. In a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle, grind the bay leaves with salt until fine. While still warm, add cheese and butter in three batches, stirring week between each addition. Sprinkle over the bay salt and enjoy.