All photos: Laura Hobbs, Fayetteville Flyer
Nights on the couch with Hubs are few and far between these days. With me working days and him working most nights, I only see him as I creep out of bed early in the morning, desperate not to disturb him, and he only sees me when he creeps home late at night, desperate not to disturb me. Needless to say, when the opportunity arises for us to spend some quality couch time together with a good flick, we jump on it. What? Married couples are supposed to make the most of each moment, carrying on deep, meaningful conversations while they gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes? Please. I ran out of stuff to talk about ten years ago.
In our defense, I will say that we reserve meal time as sit-down, pay-attention, only-at-the-table time; never on the couch, never with TV, never with iPhones. It’s after the meal when the true vegging out begins: on our respective sides of the couch, in our warm, comfy (and insanely attractive and sexy) clothes, half watching TV, half playing Words With Friends.
After years of Netflix, we’ve narrowed our subscription down to streaming video and one Blu-Ray at a time, which is sufficient for us. I feel like it’s Christmas every time I find a new disc in our mailbox, and we’re sure to wait for the perfect night before we watch our movie together. I have carefully honed our Netflix queue with the most categorical precision (read: all my choices, with plenty of Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale, natch), and watching the movie sans spouse is strictly forbidden. Exceptions to the rule may apply. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.
And what’s better than movie night on the couch? Movie night on the couch with snacks, of course. Microwave popcorn, ice cream and chocolate bars are our movie night staples, but when I’m feeling ambitious – or tipsy and peckish – I’ll make old school popcorn on the stovetop. Not just any old school popcorn like my dad used to make – with salt and brewer’s yeast – but popcorn with a fancy schmancy twist.
Before I go any further, a quick aside: white truffle oil rules. I want to put it on virtually everything, from pizza to salad to pasta to my puffy under eye circles. It’s an investment, but a little goes a long way and a bottle will last you until the world implodes later on in 2012. Buy the best that you can afford, use it wisely and don’t look back. You won’t regret it, I promise.
What starts as perfectly yummy stovetop popcorn gets amped up with the addition of said truffle oil, parmesan cheese and a nice blend of zesty spices, and mellowed out with plenty of melted butter. While good ol’ microwave popcorn might satisfy your salty crunchy craving, this popcorn makes you pause and say, “WOW. What’s ON this?” It’s perfect for a cozy night in with a movie, a snack when you’re hosting game night, or even a fun appetizer before a dinner party. Whatever the occasion, this popcorn takes the rules and throws them out the window, á la Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
What? It’s a great analogy. Enjoy!
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Spicy Truffled Popcorn
1/2 c. popping corn
3 Tbs. canola oil
1/2 c. parmesan, grated
2 Tbs. butter, melted
1 Tbs. truffle oil
2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
In a large Dutch oven, heat the popping corn and canola oil over medium heat. Shake the pan vigorously to coat all the kernels in oil, and cover the pan, leaving a small gap allowing steam to escape. Once the kernels start popping, vigorously shake the pan about every 30 seconds. When most of the kernels have stopped popping (after about 5 minutes), remove the pan from the heat. Dump the popped corn into a large paper sack.
In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and truffle oil. In another small bowl, combine the parmesan, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder and salt and pepper.
Pour over the melted butter mixture and toss to coat. Then dump in the spice mixture and toss to coat. Adjust the seasonings and serve warm.
* If the above slideshow doesn’t load, you can view all the photos from this recipe on Flickr.
Laura is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She was born and raised in Fayetteville, but has recently moved to Boulder, Colorado. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and avid cook. For more from Laura, check out her food blog, Prana & Pie.