UPDATE: Just to let you all know — Jayne has just made her own ricotta cheese. Naturally, I proposed to her on the spot. I’m sure I will be very happy, is all I can say. Oh, and if you go over there and see her ricotta cheese and think you’re going to propose to her now? Know this, Peaches: I got there first. I’m pretty sure these types of wedded-bliss things are first come/first served.
Check me out! I do recipes now! I have no credibility whatsoever in this area, but still, I am undeterred!
Okay. Look. Let’s be honest. I’m an okay cook. I have certain things I make really really well. This nourishing protein-rich recipe is one. But I don’t have the passion or the God-given gift that makes people weep with joy whenever they eat my food. On the other hand, MB has not died from starvation. Which, well, has nothing to do with me, now that I think about it. Hm. He does seem to eat copious slobbering amounts whenever we visit his mom. Hm. Maybe he stores it in his cheeks or his hump or his gun safe. Something to think about.
Basically, I am not Jayne. Jayne’s the one you need to see for ALL your gourmet cooking/baking needs. The girl has mad skillz. Have I ever tasted her food? Well, no, no, I haven’t. I don’t need to because I drool just looking at her blog. Good Lord. I’m drooling now just thinking about her blog. Good LORD.
Jayne! JAYNE!!! I am Mr. Rochester, calling to you across the space-time continuum!! JAYYNNE!!
Uhm, I need to calm down. Maybe I shouldn’t blog hungry. Or make random references to 19th-century Gothic romance novels.
Seriously, though. If I were on Death Row for killing that person I killed in my dream the other night — you know, the one I didn’t tell Sawyer about — and they came to me and asked what I wanted for my last meal, I would say, “Give me anything made by Jayne — and step on it, Slappy!! And while you’re at it, since I’m gonna die anyway, gimme one of her kids for dessert. They are smushably, edibly adorable. Oh, and gimme a coupla Wet Naps; I plan to make a big ol’ green mile mess, okay? So get on it, Crackie.”
(It was good that I prefaced all that with “seriously, though” don’t you think? Yes, if I were seriously on Death Row for killing someone in my dreams. Please still love me.)
Let’s see. What’s this post about? Oh, yeah. My caramel almond popcorn recipe. I make this for my Dad every Father’s Day. He gorges on it like a frothing child and never gains an ounce. Grrrr. Thanks for giving those genes to your son, Dad. I also make buckets — literally, buckets — of this for everyone in the family at Christmas. Caramel almond popcorn may very well be solely responsible for turning The Banshee into The Banshee. She has serious issues with this stuff. Has a flappy-armed FREAKOUT at the mere sight of it. (Notice I said “it” not “me.”) Do not get in her way while she’s eating it. She’s a wild animal. She will kill you.
So here’s the recipe, already. Sheesh.
CARAMEL ALMOND FREAKOUT POPCORN
1 C. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
3/4 C. corn kernels
2 1/2 TBSP. canola oil
2 C. almonds, lightly toasted
2 C. packed light-brown sugar
1/2 C. light corn syrup
2 tsps. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 250. Butter two baking sheets, set aside.
2. Place corn kernels and oil in large pot, partially covered. (Okay. Pop the corn, pippa. I’m not writing this out. Pop the durned corn.)
3. Transfer the popped corn to a large bowl; add almonds. Set aside.
4. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, butter, and corn syrup over medium-high heat; stir to dissolve sugar and melt butter. Cook, stirring constantly, until it reaches 255 on a candy thermometer. (A what?)
5. Remove pan from heat; stir in extracts, salt, and baking soda. Working quick like a bunny, pour over popcorn and almonds; toss with wooden spoons — or whatever spoons and/or sticks you have around, frankly — while rotating bowl. (Wow. I haven’t read these directions in a long time. I’m supposed to ROTATE the bowl?) When completely coated, divide evenly between prepared baking sheets. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 1 HR. 20 MIN. Popcorn will crisp when cooled.
I like to mix it up on the nuts. The batch I just made for my dad had almonds and cashews. Yum. I’ve used peanuts, macadamias, all kinds. I like to pulverize them — is that the word I want? — in the blender so there’s just a little coating of nuts on the corn, rather than big nut chunks which are harder than the popcorn and therefore exhausting to chew. They give me the vapors. Basically, I’m lazy, so I have my blender pre-chew the nuts for me. Sounds appropriate and tasty, too, don’t you think? Also: I wasn’t going to bring this up, but this whole thing now sounds vaguely pornographic. Please forgive me. I think it’s the vapors talking. The vapors and the goiter. The vapors and the goiter and the MSG. I mean, I turned a perfectly delicious recipe for caramel corn into a tawdry bit of porn corn. I have a gift for ruination.
I got 3 hours of sleep last night.
So just go visit Jayne, make some tawdry porn corn with pre-chewed nuts, and call it a day, okay?