Wednesday, October 31, 2012

After the Hurricane...Happy Halloween!

So, Hurricane Sandy blew through our state, and plenty of surrounding others.  Despite some damage around campus:

One of the graduate apartments on campus.

Our apartments survived safe and sound.  Our power went out for a mere half hour (thanks to the small power plant on campus), the hospital's generators are working fine, and I'm incredibly lucky to have stocked up on groceries last Sunday.  About 90% of Long Island is currently without power, the subways are flooded and many schools (including ours) wound up being closed for a week while crews are hard at work clearing roads, patching up power lines and restoring networks.  I wish everyone affected by the storm a speedy and full recovery!

Still, it's Halloween today, so I leave you all with this: Caramel Corn.  Quick, requiring few ingredients and less fuel, it cheered us all up in less time than it took to cool :)

Oddly addictive.  I think this is one of the best party treats ever.  
Now, if I only ever went to parties...

Caramel Corn straight from the flames of It's on Fire!!!
Makes about 2 quarts of popcorn

3 tablespoons unpopped popcorn kernels or 2 quarts of fresh microwave popcorn
2 tablespoons oil or butter
cup granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons salted butter
¾ teaspoon salt

2 medium pots (1 to pop the corn, 1 to make the caramel)
1 light baking sheet or pot cover with steam holes
1 large cookie sheet or 2 medium ones (to hold to popcorn)
Parchment paper to line the cookie sheet
1 rubber spatula
¼ teaspoon measure
1 tablespoon measure 
⅓ cup dry measure


1. Lay a piece of parchment paper on the cookie sheet.  You will put the popcorn here.

2. Pop the popcorn.  If on the stove, heat up the oil in the pot until it bubbles around a single corn kernel.  Add the rest of the corn, cover and shake lightly, until the corn begins to pop.  Leave it on the stove until the popping slows down substantially, then take it off the stove.  By now, the pot will be full or almost full of popped corn!  Pour it out onto the prepared cookie sheet.

2. In the second pot, add the sugar in an even layer.  Turn the fire to medium and cook, stirring as little as possible, until lightly caramelized.  David Lebovitz has a wonderfully helpful tutorial here.

3. Once the sugar has melted and caramelized, take it off the heat and add the butter.  Be very careful, because it will begin to splutter.  Stir it or swirl it gently, until completely melted.  Add the salt and stir until it dissolves.

5. Add as much of the popcorn as will fit in the pan, and gently stir to coat.  Pour out most of the popcorn from the top onto the parchment paper, leaving some of the leftover caramel in the bottom.  Pour in the rest of the popcorn, and stir again to coat, until all the popcorn is coated.  Allow the popcorn to cool until crisp, then enjoy! 

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