Cookbook author Mindy Toomay's blog about eating for health, cooking with spirit, and celebrating life in northern California. Here she dishes up food rants and raves, recipes, and plenty of kitchen wisdom.

By your own efforts, waken yourself, watch yourself, and live joyfully.
-- The Dhammapada

Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?
-- Peter Mayle


Martha popcorn

I found my camera (it was hiding in plain sight on the backseat of my car) and now that I'm back in full photograph mode my new post is about... ta-da... popcorn??! Okay, so popcorn is not exactly a beautiful food, inspiring to food stylists and photographers around the globe. It is kind of cute, though, and it is one of the things the super-spouse is great at making. And we got home late from a day in Sacramento. So popcorn it is.

The super-spouse is named Tad, not Martha. His recipe is called Martha's popcorn because he learned from the queen of all TV homemakers that you can make almost-instant popcorn using nothing more than popcorn kernels, a brown paper bag, and a microwave oven. Then you season it up however you like. So who needs that microwave popcorn from the video store or supermarket -- adulterated with artificial flavors, trans-fats, and other bad stuff?

Does the mention of a microwave oven give you the willies? I own one but never cook anything in it, because it's no fun to stick some food in a closed box and wait for it to get hot. That's not what I call cooking. I like to see and smell what's in the pot, and stir and taste and generally get all involved with it. Plus I have some concerns about nutrient loss caused by microwaves.

I've read up on the subject and the radiation doesn't scare me, any more than the electromagnetic field emitted by any other of my household appliances. I know a lot of health-conscious people don't like 'em, but they're not on my personal list of major bugaboos. There is one important thing to keep in mind: There may be health consequences associated with using plastics in the microwave, including styrofoam and plastic wrap. For more on that subject, read this. Despite the title, the guy does say some chemical transfer from plastic to food can occur in the microwave.

In any case, my microwave oven gets used pretty much only for instant reheating in a pinch, like when the aforementioned spouse is running late for work and wants hot coffee to go. And he uses it to make Martha's popcorn about once a week.

What make's Martha's popcorn really yummy doesn't have anything to do with the woman it's named after. The seasoning inspiration is all Tad's. Here's what he does:

1) Pour 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels into a medium-sized paper bag; 2) Fold the bag closed and microwave for 2.5 minutes; 3) Transfer popped corn to a LARGE bowl so there's plenty of room for mixing; 4) Squirt or drizzle the corn with flax oil (take it easy, it's pretty strong-tasting stuff; olive oil is also a good choice); 5) Sprinkle on a liberal amount of granulated garlic and nutritional yeast flakes, and a small amount of salt; 6) In his wilder moments, he also adds some crushed dried oregano; 7) Toss well and eat with gusto using your preferred method -- one kernel at a time, a dainty few, or by the massive handful.

Does this sound delicious to you, or just plain weird? Well, it may be the latter, but it is DEFINITELY the former. And if you put it in a pretty bowl, it's even kind of photogenic.

Blessings and bon appetit!


At 5:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mindy..I think it sounds great. Thought..I'm pretty traditional when it comes to popcorn's gotta me margarine and salt!
I never knew you could cook popcorn in a paper bag in the microwave. If I had a microwave, I would do that too. But, I also like making it over the stove the 'old-fashion way'

At 4:47 PM, Blogger ningostar said...

i visit your blog regularly, but this is my first comment... i think this sounds wonderful!! i love popcorn and nutritional yeast sprinkled on anything. thanks for your post.


At 6:54 PM, Blogger Mindy T. said...

Hi Becky. Thanks for being a regular reader, and for telling me about it! And since you love popcorn and n. yeast, I predict this will become of your healthy addictions...

At 11:40 AM, Blogger jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

I'm a new reader and glad to be here!

I've wondered if the popcorn + paperbag trick actually works, out of pure curiousity. I'm also wary of microwaves - I use it at work for lunch, and sometimes for melting at home, but really it's just there for my boyfriend.

I will take this the garlic powder tips - I usually do melted earth balance + nutritional yeast + sea salt, I'll throw some garlic on!

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Mindy T. said...

Hi Jess.

Yeah, microwaves are iffy, but sometimes they sure come in handy. And at least working with organic kernels beats that supermarket kind of microwave popcorn. Have you ever read the ingredients list??? (I think Newman's Own is pretty clean, but the rest are pure poison.)

Glad you found me, and I'll be back to your blog soon. (Haven't found much time to travel the blogosphere these past couple of weeks.)

At 2:05 PM, Blogger jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

I'm not up on my blog travels either, understandable!(or blogging in general).

I usually just stove pop organic kernels.


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