Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Microwave popcorn in a paper sack

Years ago I regularly made microwave popcorn in brown paper grocery sacks and dutifully nuked my paper towel-wrapped hot dog-in-a-bread-slice for 30 seconds, too. The hot dog usually split and the bread became hard as a rock so I quit fixing them that way once the novelty of my mom's mid-1970's combination electric oven and microwave wore off. The popcorn, however, was excellent, so why did I stop making it?

I know one reason was the air popper someone gave my dad for Christmas. Another trend to try and later discard. Next up was the popcorn popper I used at school. It was one of those see-through dome-lidded ones (Stir Crazy, I think they're called) with a stirrer that kept the popcorn shifting around the bottom of the pan. Popcorn didn't burn, the kernels popped evenly and it tasted great. I even bought another when the first one finally died. But cleaning is a problem -- only the plastic lid can be submerged in dishwater, the bottom of the unit has to be wiped off carefully and eventually develops a sticky build-up that's hard to remove. Plus, it takes up pantry space.

One thing I haven't mentioned is regular microwave popcorn and that's because I don't care for it. I'm also the oddball who will buy popcorn (but only fresh-popped) at the movies but insist on NO "liquid butter" (or whatever they want to call that nasty oily stuff that pours from the metal spout) and no extra salt. I like the flavor of popcorn and while I don't object to real butter drizzled over a bowl of the stuff, I really prefer popcorn popped in peanut or sunflower oil and lightly salted. That's it.

So all this is to say I've started making my popcorn in the microwave in a brown paper sack again. It works great just like when I was a kid. I like to use a small amount of oil when popping the corn because I think it tastes better and helps the salt adhere. The process is simple.

Microwave Popcorn in a Paper Lunch Sack

1/3 cup popcorn
1/2 teaspoon oil (I like peanut or sunflower)

Pour popcorn kernels into brown paper sack. Drizzle oil over kernels in bag. Fold over the top of the bag a few times. Place in microwave and cook on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until popping slows to almost stopping. Carefully open bag away from face (steam will rise), sprinkle with salt and enjoy!

Given that I usually carry fabric bags to the store so I can avoid plastic (or paper) grocery sacks, it's strange to be using paper bags for this purpose. My only excuse is that my mom bought a "box and contents" at auction a few months ago and included in the contents was what must be a lifetime supply of brown paper lunch sacks.

Since none of us carry our lunch in such bags, I've been trying to come up with other uses. Other than using them to pop corn, the best use has been decorating the bags for use as gift bags -- DS likes to draw on the ones he makes while I've tried stencils, stamping, glueing fabric designs, rick rack and paint. But I still have many, many bags so suggestions appreciated.

Check out Kitchen Tip Tuesdays at Tammy's Recipes for more recipes and kitchen ideas.


Kirstin said...

We do this as well as use our air popper. I have kept an air popper in the house for when I make my caramel corn, and now that I've stopped buying store bought microwave popcorn, we use the air popper almost every night.

Carolyn said...

I've always used an air popper for making non-greasy popcorn at Christmas -- stringing dry popcorn is much neater than when it's popped with oil!

Popping in the bag can be done with or without oil, tho, so that's another pantry-stored item I could do away with...

Thanks for looking in!

bspinner said...

I thought I was the only person who does not like buttery over salted popcorn.
As kids we just put some oil and popcorn in a pan put the lid on heated over high heat and when it started popping shook the pan until the corn stopped popping. Worked great. I'm very excited about trying your microwaved in a luch bag. Like you for some strange reason I've got a ton of them. I also dry all my fresh herbs in them. The bag prevents the herbs from getting dusty while they are drying.

Anonymous said...

On the bag decorating, I take cookie cutters or any simple design and trace and cut out of front of bag. Inside tape a small piece of colored cellophane, (recycled of course). I have also apple stamped them. I love brown paper bags as gift bags.

Carolyn said...

Thanks for the suggestion to use a paper bag for drying herbs. I hang the cut bunches (often the whole plant) and sometimes they get dusty before I get back to them. (I DO clean my house! Honest.) This ought to help that problem. Plus it's nice to know I'm not the only one who prefers the real taste of popcorn. Others in line at the theatre look at me like I'm nuts when I order it plain and even my own DH would probably prefer the oily goop atop our shared popcorn...

And, while I have used my cookie cutters as patterns for various things (most recently to guide me in needle felting a sheep on a flannel shirt yoke) I hadn't thought of using them to gussy up my gift bags with cellophane. I have some red saved from a Christmas basket and I'm going to use it for a birthday gift bag I have to have ready to give this weekend. Thanks for the idea as it also finds a use for another one of those things I save (cellophane) but don't have many ideas for using.

just another mommy said...

I've started to use the lunch bags (cut down about halfway) to distribute snacks to my kids. Whether it be popcorn, chips, cut vegetables, whatever, they think it's more fun in this little portable sack that they can eat out of.

viagra online said...

ohh, this paper sack is really useful. i love the popcorn. i do not mind how cooking it, i just want to eat it.