July Eating/Book Club: TENDER AT THE BONE
It makes sense that reading and eating go together. Both can be passions, both feed our souls, both go well with wine.
TENDER AT THE BONE, a memoir of recipes and stories, by Ruth Reichl, is the second book in the past year my book club has read that was written by a professional chef. (THE CITY BAKER'S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING, a charming and heartwarming novel by pastry chef Louise Miller, was the other.)
These sorts of books make good book club books because, well, recipes. This reader (me) tends to skip over recipes in books--including recipe books, sadly. But my book club has some foodies who love to show off their mad kitchen skills. Last November,
THE CITY BAKER'S GUIDE landed us some amazing cookies made using Miller's own recipe. I'm dying to know what lies in store for book club this month, other than a raucous discussion of how in the world Reichl survived her mother's cooking.
Lest I give the impression I am hopeless in the kitchen, I will point out that I do make killer popcorn. Now, one recipe alone might not be able to carry a book, but I think it could anchor a blog post, so I'm going to share the recipe for my famous (in my own mind, anyway) popcorn.
Before I start, I'll point out that I'm like a fancy chef, who doesn't bother with exact amounts. It's all about look and feel and sound.
You will need:
*Wegmans Vegetable Oil (makes the popcorn taste just a titch buttery and utterly fabulous)
*Orville Redenbacher's Original Popcorn (truly the best, I buy it in bulk)
*Salt (optional, but popcorn is just cardboard without it)
*Granulated Sugar (optional, for kettle corn results)
*Heavy pot with lid
1. Pour vegetable oil into the pan and turn on medium-high heat. The oil should cover the bottom of the pan just barely meeting the sides. Don't add so much that the oil rises up the sides, or you'll have greasy popcorn.
2. Pour popcorn into the pot before the pot gets hot. The kernels should be enough to cover the bottom of the pot, with a second layer scattered on top of that. Don't over-pour. You should still be able to see the bottom of the pot peeking through. If the kernels are completely covered in oil, you have too much oil. Spoon some out.
3. If you want kettle corn, spoon in 3-6 teaspoons of granulated sugar. 3 teaspoons will add a light sweetness. 6 will be more of a glazed effect. All levels are good, as far as I'm concerned.
4. Place the lid on the pot. Shake periodically, getting more vigorous as the popcorn pops. When the popcorn starts to pop, DO NOT OPEN THE LID! Rookie mistake, everyone makes it. (It helps to have a dog to clean up the rogue bits of popcorn that go flying.) Keep shaking periodically but don't push down on the lid. Right when the popcorn starts to push up the lid, lift the pot, carefully tilt the lid, and shake out the top half of the popcorn into a bowl. Put the lid back on and shake the pot on the burner again. Listen carefully. If the popping is going strong, keep shaking. If it's slowing down to one at a time, dump the rest in the bowl. If it has stopped popping, hurry your ass up or it's going to burn.
5. Salt to taste.