CHEWIE, WE’RE HOME: STAR WARS + MY GRANDMOTHER’S CARAMEL CORN + JUST POP IN!

I just now saw Star Wars and depending on which group of people in this world that you identify with, you are either rolling your eyes at me right now or you don’t care and are actually judging me for seeing it. Newsflash: I am a nerd and I wholeheartedly admit that. Life got in the way of me seeing Star Wars in a timely fashion (it premiered December 18th). My memories of the Star Wars trilogy is watching it with my best friend in college in the cold (20 year old me thought it was genius to put the tv on the back porch in the snow) while he fell asleep and I was left to google my unanswered questions. Flash forward nine years and I could hardly contain my excitement to see it. One perk of living downtown is the ability to walk to two different theaters, Circle Center and the IMAX at the State Museum. IMAX was the obvious choice and it did not disappoint. I did not go in full Princess Leia attire, but I do like knowing that I have the ideal hair to pull it off when the occasion arises.

It was worth the $13 admission price and so much more, this coming from someone who is very cheap. It was AWESOME. My eyes were glued to the giant IMAX screen the entire time. Rey is the ultimate badass and I loved her character. Chewbacca reminded me of Winston with the moans and groans and of course the hair. Harrison Ford lived up to what you’d expect from an older Han Solo. There were some amusing one liners, but I noticed I was the only one laughing. I am guessing the rest of the audience had already seen it at least once, so this was not their first rodeo. That or the fact that I was one of few women in the crowd and my humor is a little different than the average guy there? Either way, it was entertaining from start to finish.

I had been really good about not googling the spoilers beforehand and I was genuinely upset that someone died. Not surprised, but younger Libby was distraught. I googled for answers after the movie and still feel like George Lucas had a rough day and said the heck with it. My googling tells me that JJ Abrams believed it had to happen to make Ren the ultimate bad guy, so that we all hate him and take him seriously as a villain in the eighth movie. If you’re confused, just scroll down and make some popcorn.

Since I am a planner, I made popcorn in advance. Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks and I am a fan of the old school, watch it pop on the stovetop kind. I had recently had a thorough popcorn discussion with one of my Statehouse friends that I know from my Ag days and I took notes and emailed it to myself. The following recipe is his method that I have tested and googled to share with you. It is so easy and tastes a million times better than the popcorn at the theater with the artificial butter flavor that has been siting there for who knows how long. Besides, who doesn’t have childhood memories of smuggling snacks into the theater? There was no way my dad would pay for overpriced Milk Duds and if you never experienced having to accurately time the opening of your pop can during a loud part of the movie trailers, then you missed out on an important part of growing up! I am a little more sophisticated these days and smuggled in a can of La Croix.


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An exhibit about corn! How ironic.  

Pro  tip:  cans do not fit in the cup holders – it will shoot through like a rocket. You’re welcome in advance.

My grandmother, my dad’s mom, that looked just like me is the inspiration for the caramel corn recipe. She always made huge batches of caramel corn and stored them in old Seyfert‘s potato chip tins for when we came to visit. I think we still have some of the tins in our basement. She was a tiny lady, but she had some serious spunk. The recipe I settled on is pretty close to what she made, although she tended to burn it (apologies if she is looking down on me right now and cringing). The key is to not burn your kernels (keep it on medium) and don’t boil your caramel for too long. Baking the caramel corn for ten minutes or so at the end also helps set the caramel.

My grandmother – she was a fan of pockets too

I have included a few variations for different flavors if you’re feeling adventurous. It is always good with just a little sea salt and some melted butter. Before Christmas I went to Just Pop In‘s store in Broadripple and realized how expensive it is. I bought a few sample bags and a tin of their plain, buttered popcorn for $40 to take home for Christmas. While I love to support local businesses, it was pricey, so making your own popcorn is a great way to save some money. This is also the perfect snack for the State of the Union tonight. Add a beverage (or two) and you’re set.

POPCORN

  • Put three tablespoons of canola oil in a large pan (that has a lid).
  • Add three kernels and cover.
  • Wait until a kernel pops.
  • Add the remaining kernels (1/3 – 1/2 cup)
  • They will begin to pop until all are done – at about 30 seconds.
  • Cook on MEDIUM – this is very important because you do not want burnt kernels.

VARIATIONS:

Caramel Corn

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp salt

Place in a small pot and boil for four minutes. Add to a half cup of kernels popped. Spread on a Silpat and bake for 20 minutes at 300 degrees, shaking the kernels after ten minutes.

Sriracha Lime Popcorn

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1 lime zested and juiced

Sprinkle lime zest and salt over half a cup of cooked popcorn.

Whisk lime juice, melted butter, and Sriracha sauce together in a bowl; drizzle over popcorn and toss to coat.

Cheese Popcorn (Disclaimer – while cheese powder is not natural and slightly questionable, it is delicious and the closest you will get to the fancy gourmet kind)

  •  1/2 cup kernels – popped
  •  4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground mustard powder
  • 1 brown paper grocery bag

Put the popcorn in the bag and shake as you pour the butter over the popcorn. Then mix the cheese powder and mustard. Shake again, as you sprinkle the cheese mixture over the popcorn. Close the bag and fold the top down. Give the popcorn one last hard shake to thoroughly coat. Place the bag in the microwave and microwave for 30-45 seconds to dry out the popcorn. Then allow it to cool before mixing.

Popcorn shaking = busting some moves

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