I’ve good news to report on action taken in the U.S. Senate this week. We the people said no to the DARK Act, and you know what? It was voted down (!!). Environmental Working Group reported a whopping 600,000 of us stood up to the DARK act calling, writing, and petitioning the Senate. Can we all join in a virtual high five!?
I’m breathing a sigh of relief, but I’ve a feeling this won’t be the end of it. I mean, just look at the money involved. In the meantime, states are moving forward with their own labeling laws and legislation. This will be something to watch in the coming months.
To celebrate this, and St. Paddy’s Day (are you wearing your green?), I made us some tasty Rosemary-Stout Salted Caramel Popcorn.
Since I’ve been talking about GMOs lately, here and here, and I won’t be getting off the nonGMO train anytime soon, I thought I’d talk a bit about corn, the number one GMO-planted crop in North America.
Time Magazine covers this, including other GMO crops, with a summary and graphic. Check the #6 crop. I learned about this while in Hawaii. I had no idea.
So for this recipe, and any other GMO crop ingredient on Vanilla And Bean, you’ll always see organic in the ingredient list (I’m looking at you, cornstarch). Some things are non-negotiable.
And who doesn’t love popcorn?
This recipe is so simple, y’all. It’s not just for your second cousin twice removed during the holidays. It’s a tasty treat to take to a party, share with friends or just nibble on to soothe that sweet tooth anytime of year.
I pop corn with coconut oil because it’s is a high heat oil, doesn’t oxidize at higher cooking temperatures, and tastes amazing paired with popped corn. So after you take five minutes to pop the corn and then eat it all because you just can’t control yourself, well, you’re just going to have to make another batch. That’s all I have to say about that.
Making sure you have all your tools and ingredients measured and on the ready before starting will ensure a lower stress experience when making this recipe. Rosemary-Stout Salted Caramel Popcorn comes together in about 20 minutes yet attention is needed for all four phases of the cooking process:
- Popping the Corn
- Making the Caramel
- Incorporating and Stirring the Caramel and Popcorn
- Cooling and Pulling the Caramel Popcorn Apart
So stay focused here. Now’s not the time to make a cocktail, fold laundry or get on Instagram.
I know you’re wondering.. can you taste the Stout? Maybe undertones of its coffee-toffee notes, but mostly what comes through in this recipe is the caramel and rosemary. It’s sublime.
Since we all love food, I’ve decided to start sharing more things I’m reading/watching with you each week. It’s all food-related, helping me better understand the politics of food and how I can make informed choices with something I do each and every day. Eat.
This week, I came across Beyond the Seal, a story about the banana industry which addresses conventional, organic, and fair trade issues as well as a fungus that is having a severe impact on banana production. Have you ever wondered why bananas are so cheap?
**UPDATE** A reader alerted me to the fact that Guinness Stout is not vegan. This link has a list of Stouts that are vegan friendly and should be suitable for this recipe.
Rosemary-Stout Salted Caramel Popcorn
- To prepare you will need a candy thermometer, 2 silpat lined sheet pans or lightly sprayed parchment paper, a 10 quart stock pot, a 4 quart stock pot, long wooden spoon and a silicon spatula.
To Pop the Corn:
- In a large 10 quart stock-pot, turn the heat to medium-high. Add 3 Tbs coconut oil and popping corn. Put a lid on it and give it a good shake so that all the kernels are covered in oil. Stay close by. Once the kernels begin to pop, about 2 1/2 minutes, give the pot a good shake making sure to hold the lid in place. Turn the heat to medium while the corn continuities to pop. Give the pan a shake a few times while the corn pops. As the popping starts to slow, at about 4 minutes, turn the heat off and give the pot another shake. Once the popping has almost stopped, remove the lid and stir the popcorn with a wooden spoon. Set aside. *If you have un-popped kernels remove the popped corn with a measuring cup, locate the unpopped corn and discard it. Place the popped corn back into the 10 quart pot.
For the Rosemary Stout Caramel:
- In a medium 4 quart sauce-pot add the sugars, syrup, beer and salt. Cook on high, uncovered. Give the pan a gentle swirl to mix, then let the sugar cook to 280F (140C) without stirring. It will boil and get very hot, so be careful here. It will take about 6-7 minutes to come up to temperature. Once up to 280F (140C), add the remaining 3 Tbs coconut oil and rosemary and stir with a silicon spatula. Remove it immediately from the heat.
- Pour the caramel over the popcorn using a silicon spatula to scrape the caramel sauce out of the pot. Use a long wooden spoon to immediately (it starts cooling down fast!) start incorporating the caramel and the popcorn, stirring confidently using a scooping and turning over motion to cover each pop of corn. Continue stirring until the mixture becomes difficult to stir then pour out onto prepared sheet-pans. The popcorn will begin cooling immediately and as soon as it's cooled enough to handle, quickly start working the pieces apart by gently separating the pieces. Be careful here with the chunky pieces and only handle the outer pieces as there may be some hot sugar lurking!
- Store in a covered container with a small bowl of 1 Tbs of rice. The rice will pull any moisture away from the popcorn helping to keep the popcorn fresher longer.
Recipe Notes*for multicolor organic popcorn, look in the bulk bins of your local natural foods store.
**for a Gluten Free version of this recipe, substitute water for beer.