Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday Recipe Review

Brown-Bag Popcorn!!


  • 1/4 cup good quality popcorn
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or popcorn salt
  • Sprinkle jalapeno seasoning mix
  • Paper lunch bag
  • Stapler


Toss the popcorn with the olive oil, salt, and jalapeno seasoning mix in the paper bag. Fold the top of the bag over and staple the bag twice to close. Place the bag in the microwave and microwave on high for 2 minutes to 3 minutes, or until there are about 5 seconds between pops.

NOTE: Popcorn salt is a super-fine salt that is designed especially for sticking to food such as popcorn. It has the taste of regular table salt, but its granules are much finer.

*note - I don't use the jalapeno seasoning mix, although I am sure it tastes wonderful. I'm just a purist when it comes to popcorn. Also, I have had more success lying the brown bag on its side - and on a plate because the bag gets greasy. If the staples in the bag happen to touch the top of the microwave, you'll get that hideous burning smell, and the bag may actually catch fire. Don't ask me how I came by this knowledge. The "popcorn" button works just fine on most microwaves for this, though you should keep an eye (or ear, rather) on it the first couple times until you get your cooking time down. 


I first saw this recipe on an episode of Good Eats a couple of years ago.  It was an epiphany on the order of figuring out that dream career or the first time you realize you're in love, that you could actually pop your own popcorn in the microwave, and have it turn out good. No. Not good. Perfect. 

I had grown up with oil-popped popcorn.  A good oil-popped popcorn stands on its own. It needs nothing more than a little salt to become a fantastic and (for me) nostalgic party in your mouth. I remember fondly having a bowl of popcorn on Friday night, then eating the stale leftovers Saturday morning while I watched the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show

It always bothered me that the commercial makers of microwave popcorn took something that could be a somewhat healthy snack, and added enough trans-fats to make it more of a guilty indulgence. Then came the news that workers in plants that manufactured microwave popcorn are actually becoming disabled due to exposure to a dangerous chemical that give the popcorn its fake buttery smell: Diacetyl

I mean, why the hell would you want to use butter in your popcorn, when you can use a fake buttery-smelling chemical that, when heated, could cause damage to your lungs? There are people who will actually eat the "lighter" brands of microwave popcorn because it's "healthy!" and "doesn't have all that fat!"

David Michaels, a former assistant secretary of energy, has been studying the issue for the last four years.

"I know in my home when we make microwave popcorn, we open it up under the vent over the stove so no one breathes the fumes," he said. "I'd like to see some branch of the federal government actually go out and test what's coming out of these bags."

That doesn't scare anyone?  Still think butter is bad?  I've never heard of anyone sustaining permanent lung damage from butter or olive oil fumes. 


  1. I like the idea of this, as I love popcorn and typically end up with the light microwave stuff.

    Wouldn't the staples be a problem in the general aren't you supposed to keep metals out of there? Just checking...don't want to blow up my house.

  2. Funny you should say that. I kept this recipe under my hat for a full year before I would try it, because I had the same fear. Microwaves, to me, are strictly for reheating stuff or making me a hot steam towel for my sore neck.
    The staples aren't a problem as long as they don't touch the top of the inside of the microwave (it will cause the bag around the staples to start to singe/burn).
    I circumvent that whole problem by keeping the bag lying on its side.

  3. :word: on the fake butter in popcorn. I hate what companies try to pass off as "healthy."