Popcorn and other Tidbits


Five tidbits tonight--popcorn, motivated snacking, Wyatt's proud fish photo, an emergency orzo salad, and a plea for Helen's recipe.

First, and definitely foremost, popcorn.  White popcorn.  I cannot believe I've been blogging for over 4 months and haven't dedicated at least one post to popcorn yet.  Yellow popcorn is not a temptation.  Too spongy and squeaky.  White popcorn, on the other hand, is the nemesis of my life.  Sure, you can say, like the health columns do, "Oh, just do it in a air popper and eat it without butter." As if!  I pop it in a pan with vegetable oil and am free with the butter.  It is the Greatest Snack of All Time.  My sister and I had it for an after-school snack almost every day of our lives.  We'd sit on the front porch of the Williams Street house and talk about what happened at school and my mom would bring us glasses of orange juice.  A movie could never be made about my life because it's been too perfect.

I took the kids to Goodwill this evening to look for shoes.  We lucked out--one pair for Wyatt, two for Loretta, all for under $5. Cute leather ones, too.  We got home at 7:00 and I made a colossal bowl of popcorn for dinner.  Wyatt said, "Mom, does this mean you're not going to eat popcorn after we go to bed?"  He hates it when I do that.  I loved all six of our hands in that big bowl, Wyatt crunching away with his missing top tooth and Loretta asking for more bubble water.  Maybe I can take some money out of their therapy fund and buy an immersion blender.  They seem pretty well-adjusted to me.

Second, I'm admitting that I'm a "motivated snacker."  I read this term in one of my magazines lately. Apparently, motivated snackers are poor candidates for diet and weight loss because they will go to great lengths to eat what they are craving--i.e. "Honey, will you drive to Gelatiamo and bring me a pint of coconut gelato?"  Actually, I rarely make late-night food runs because--hello!--my kitchen is so ridiculously stocked. Tonight after the kids went to bed late, I definitely felt I deserved a treat for keeping them alive another day. So I made a bittersweet chocolate ganache, toasted some almonds, and put it all over coffee ice cream with a sprinkle of sea salt.  That's motivation for you.  In fact, I'm motivated to have it again tomorrow night.

Third, what was I thinking not posting this photo from Ross Lake?  A 15.5" rainbow trout caught at 6 a.m. with his Uncle Charlie--Wyatt couldn't be more proud.  I love that kid.

Wyatt at Ross Lake '09

Fourth, I woke up this morning and made two galettes for the Street Bean fundraiser (see below) and then remembered I needed/wanted to bring something to my brother-in-law's birthday party.  I had to leave the house in 45 minutes, me and the kids weren't dressed yet, and I'd already wasted too much time online checking my Google Analytics account to see how many hits this blog got the day before.  (Maybe I shouldn't buy that immersion blender--my children are a bit neglected).  I pulled a box of orzo out of the pantry, pulled out my trusty grill pan, and made this delicious salad.  There's no photo because I was in too much of a hurry.

Fifth, one of my new readers, Helen, dropped by three GORGEOUS pastries this morning for the fundraiser. That made my day.  She was up early with her husband and toddler and made a raspberry basil lemon cake and two pear/brie/olive tarts. They were warm when she brought them and indescribably perfect.  Everyone at the event freaked out about the tarts--a nut crust, all buttery and flaky, formed into oblong perfection.  Will you give us the recipe, Helen?  I promised to beg.  You can send it to my inbox and I'll post it here. Thank you so much.  I'm inspired by your generosity.

Helen's tart

Sixth, I needed to go to bed a long time ago.  I have to get up early tomorrow morning to check Google Analytics.

Orzo Salad with Grilled Zucchini, Lemon, and Feta
1 lb. orzo
4-6 small zucchini
juice and zest from one lemon
1 yellow pepper, finely diced
4 oz. feta, crumbled
3 ts. aleppo pepper
handful fresh mint
handful fresh chives
handful cherry tomatoes, halved
big glug of olive oil
salt and pepper

Cook orzo in lots of salted boiling water.  Rinse with cold water and drain.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil over.

Slice zucchini lengthwise into 1/2" strips.  Brush with olive oil and put on a hot grill or grill pan for about 2 minutes per side. Cool a bit, then dice.

Combine zucchini and everything else (including more olive oil) with orzo and taste, adding more of anything to your liking. Make sure to follow the Leftoverist rule of reserving some of the ingredients to garnish the top.