January, for me, means two things: healthy resolutions and American film and TV awards. That's why I've got to take a minute to acknowledge the one thing that brings my top two January interests together: popcorn! It's an addictive snack that's mandatory when watching Oscar-nominated films, and it can be healthy and light as well. Someone else must've been on to the same idea, because yesterday, as it turns out, was National Popcorn Day. To celebrate, add some aroma to the office with a freshly popped bag of buttery corn, then quiz yourself on these fun popcorn facts!Take the Quiz
When I tried Baconnaise for the first time last year, I declared it the best thing since sliced bread. Its savory roundness led me to ponder: if Baconnaise is this good, why buy regular mayonnaise ever again?
I knew, from the way bacon turned up in just about everything, that this was only the beginning for J&D's, the mastermind behind Baconnaise. The latest food concepts up the company's sleeve? Bacon Ranch and Bacon Pop — because, as the motto claims, "everything should taste like bacon." We put it to the test. Should everything really taste like bacon? Read on to find out.
It's a big movie weekend, for sure. With New Moon finally out, I've already committed myself to spend an afternoon at the theater — the only complication is that I'm not so fond of the movie-theater fare. It's an admittedly challenging place to stick to healthy food choices, since there usually aren't any to begin with. Just in case you don't believe me, recent research is revealing just how unhealthy movie popcorn can be — and it's probably a lot worse than you think.
An article from WebMd highlights the Center for Science in the Public Interest's findings on the state of popcorn, which claims movie theater popcorn is just about as bad for you as "a pound of baby back ribs and a scoop of Haagen-Dazs ice cream or maybe two Big Macs" — and that's before you even add the butter. For the study, researchers sent samples of popcorn and toppings from three different movie theater chains and compared their findings to the chains' own nutritional information. What they found is likely to make you rethink how you view your movie treat.
The study's results show that the calorie count of movie theater popcorn ranges from just about 400 to 1,200 calories, and contains an alarming serving of saturated fat that's equivalent to three days worth of your daily recommended portion, and anywhere from 200 (in the smallest 6-cup size serving) to 1,500 milligrams of sodium. Additionally, the study revealed that both AMC and Regal theaters pop their popcorn in coconut oil, which has a saturated fat content of a whopping 90 percent. Cinemark theaters, which pops their popcorn in canola oil, earns the rep as the healthiest chain, with a significantly lower saturated fat content — ranging from 2 grams in the 420-calorie small size to 5 grams in the 910-calorie large popcorn bucket. But, keep in mind that popcorn is usually just a part of the order — add a soda or your choice of candy, and your order is easily nearing 1,700 calories.
To learn about healthier options at the movies read more
I'm a huge snacker, and admittedly have more than a few downfalls. One of them is popcorn. Combine this with a shipment we recently received of new popcorn from Cape Cod Chips, and you can guess where the story is headed.
Cape Cod is known for its all-natural potato chips, which come in a wide variety of flavors (my favorite is the jalapeño and aged cheddar — especially as a hangover snack). Now, the brand has added three kinds of popcorn flavored with all-natural ingredients to that list: white cheddar, sweet cream butter, and sweet and salty (all $2.69). Did they live up to their chip counterparts? Find out after the break.
The list of super foods just got a little snackier: popcorn is loaded with antioxidants. We have known for a while now that blueberries and broccoli contain high amounts of disease-fighting micronutrients, but whole grains are also high in polyphenols that can help in the nutrition fight against cancer and heart disease. Even whole grain foods like cracker and cereals — especially those with added cinnamon and cocoa, which are both known for their beneficial antioxidant content — are high in polyphenols. The key word here is "whole grain."
Whenever I curl up on the couch in front of a good movie, I have to have a bowl of freshly popped popcorn. So the same goes for the Oscars - a night celebrating all the movies we love. Now I'm not talking about microwave popcorn here, there's way too much garbage in it.
There's two ways I make it:
1. The old-fashioned way:
- Take a 1 quart size saucepan and pour enough canola oil on bottom just to cover it with a thin layer. You can also use olive oil, but I don't think it tastes as good.
- Now pour 1/4 cup loose popcorn kernels in, shaking the pan a little to coat them with the oil.
- Turn the burner on between medium and high. Place a top on the pan and shake it constantly from side to side over the heat. You get to work your arms a little bit too.
- You'll start to hear the kernels begin to pop. Once the popping slows down a great deal, take the pan off the heat and pour the popcorn into another bowl.
- Allow it to cool off a bit before sprinkling it with salt.
Every February I invite an intimate group of friends over to watch the Academy Awards. In 2007 I cooked a menu that featured Wolfgang Puck's recipes. In 2008, I made a smorgasbord of elegant, award-winning appetizers. This year I've decided to serve a buffet of classic movie foods. However, I'll give the concession-stand snacks the star treatment. Instead of offering guests boring old popcorn, toss fresh cooked kernels with truffle oil, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Wrap mini sausages in puff pastry for an upscale take on the ordinary hot dog. Serve with a trio of dipping sauces — honey mustard, chipotle ketchup, and garlic mayo.
Trade in the theater's bright orange nacho cheese and stale tortilla chips for a creamy goat cheese béchamel and blue corn chip variation. Not into the Oscars? These recipes would be excellent at any movie-watching shindig. To add them to your recipe collection, read more
We love Slashfood so much that every Thursday we round up their most delicious stories. Here are this week's finds:
- Everything you need to know about Rhum Clement VSOP.
- Honey butter popcorn is a delicious, easy-to-make treat.
- Eight foods and drinks to help you sleep.
- Cafeteria: the place in New York to get good food all night long.
- Learn how to make gnocchi.
- Wine that pairs with leftover Halloween candy.
Since the election night party starts around dinnertime, I plan on providing guests with some substantial snacking. However, the party is at Elixir, a bar with no kitchen, so all of the food has to be made in advance, and it must taste delicious served at room temperature.
To keep up with the patriotic theme, LibertySugar and I have come up with clever names for each of the dishes. Spicy buffalo chicken left-wings (or right! depending on your party) are cooled off with a scrumptious blue cheese dip. A campaign trail mix is crunchy and filling.
Lipstick pigs in a blanket are sure to be a crowd-pleasing favorite. Seven-layer dip with red, white, and blue tortilla chips rounds out the menu. To get the recipes to these festive election night eats, read more