After a plateful of steamed cauliflower for dinner last night while watching Anne Burrel on Food Network do her thing in an otherwise very quiet house (the son is away in the country), I noticed I had not much left of the fine French natural red wine, Herbel, from my currently favorite wine region, the Loire Valley (and just 20 km from Angers, Austin's sister city). Might as well finish that off. Herbel, the site says, is both an organic and natural wine. This is an amorphous and confusing area as to what exactly is a "natural wine," even for those fluent in the subject matter. In very general terms, a natural wine is one with no preservatives or chemistry in wine-making: just the essence of the vine and the grape. This wine from Les Vignes Herbel in the Loire Valley is so exquisite as natural wines go that it deserves an informative post dedicated to it alone.
Having been so extreme low carb for dinner this Friday night, I thought why not check out the popcorn on the cob that was in my Greenling local box this week?
Greenling includes a list describing what is in the big green box as well as recipes for the week's items. Thursday night I thought something from the box was squash, and cut it up to sautée it with onions and garlic, but then realized, as soon as I put it in the Le Creuset, that something was not quite right. Indeed. It was cucumber. Cucumber was listed on the list. Squash was not. One of those weeks. Popcorn on the cob though on a Friday night in my kitchen, with a fine French natural wine with one of the most poetically beautiful wine labels ever--from dear friends in Angers--will make everything right with the world. And indeed, it just about did.
The Instructions (paraphrased from the Greenling instructions)
Place bag in microwave on its side. Cook on high, until you hear two seconds between pops (like traditional microwave popcorn, the instructions say). Stay close by: it will burn quickly once popped.
The popping was fast and furious for about 45 seconds, then slowed down a bit. The bag was expanding and expanding, almost coming undone at the top. This is why you need to fold the top of the bag down several times. Otherwise, the force of the steam will start forcing the bag open, too soon, during the cooking.
By the time the microwave wound down at 2 minutes it was probably just about at the right time.
The instructions say wait 2 minutes before opening the bag. Too hot to handle they say. I forgot to wait, but I am still alive and unscathed by steam.
I struggled (briefly) as to whether to add just a tiny bit of melted butter. If you're going to have popcorn just popped off the cob, with a lovely French red wine at home on a Friday night, a little bit of butter is a propos. And it so was.
I was all ready to plant some popping corn in the backyard. Like most projects I think are a great idea, it's more complicated and requires more tedious attention and care than I am capable of--but apparently such popcorn is indeed quite ok to grow in the backyard.
So amaze your friends, your kids, or just yourself. Such cobs are available on line for purchase. I like these folks in Nebraska (just from a look at the site) at Big Red Pop Corn, but the cobs don't have the husks on them. Securing a lovely bottle of Herbel to go along with the popcorn ... not so easy. (You'll have to perhaps take a wine and food tour with me sometime over to the Loire Valley.)