I hosted a craft night at my house last night [isn't that so bohemian of me?] and so agonized over what I would make, that I did zero to prepare ahead of time. I needed something snacky, but hearty, and fun to eat, but not messy.
So, I had a half hour after I got off work and $1.35 in my pocket. My fridge contained a bag of spinach and thawing pizza rolls, neither of which were getting me anywhere. I said a prayer to Saint Martha and, I'm not making this up, a bag of popcorn fell right off my shelf.
Ok..in truth, I was rummaging around the cupboard looking for ideas, and the bag ended up on the floor after I hit it with my elbow. It still seemed slightly miraculous.
Twenty minutes later, I had the following concoctions waiting on the table when the doorbell rang. Hungry crafters, yarn in tow, gobbled it up within moments of sitting down.
Popcorn: pop using a little bit of oil. I think I always burn it because I try and drench every kernel. Turn off the fire as soon as there is a two second gap in the pops. You really only need about 1/4 cup uncooked for a very large amount of popcorn.
drizzle popped corn generously with olive oil [far superior to butter, in my opinion].
I used 4 capfuls of lemon juice for a medium-sized bowl of popcorn. Use lots of fresh ground pepper, enough to coat all the corn and enough salt to make it tasty. Mix well.
If I had more time to care about what it looked like, I would tossed in a few drops of yellow food coloring, spread it in a roasting pan, and dried the whole mixture out in the oven for about 3-5 minutes.
Honeyed Apricot and Pistachio Popcorn
This would be like if kettle corn and cracker jax got married on the shores of the Mediterranean....
I chopped up some amardine, apricot fruit leather. [I have vivid memories of elementary school, being totally embarrassed about this stuff packed away in my New Kids on the Block lunch box, failing to convince the inquiring children that it was a Fruit Roll-Up just like they had.]
Dried apricots would work, but soak them over night and chop them very small.
Crush the pistachios, not so much that they are mealy, but so they are not too chunky. Mix in the fruit and nuts so that there is enough of each ingredient to make small clumps.
Drizzle with honey, but don't mix it yet or you will have a big, sticky mess. Put a few big hunks of salted butter [for the kettle corn effect] on top and pop it in the microwave for 1 minute. Take it out and mix. Allow to cool. It's much better cold!
This was not that creative, but it is very good. Just head to your favorite arabic grocery, pick up a bag of Za'atar, a spice mix made out of thyme, oregano, sumac, and sesame seeds. Coat your corn in olive oil and sprinkle enough za'atar to coat each piece. Balance is key...don't overdo it!