Après Eats: Stove Top Popcorn

Well, let’s just say I have failed miserably at my “weekly” food posts for after ski fun. I currently have just one recipe up. If you don’t know about my actual cooking skills, you’ll find out later in this post and totally understand why I am not cooking all the time. It’s dangerous. And I know what you’re thinking – popcorn? But literally you need to know how to do this. Someone told me they’ve never eaten it this way and I almost fainted. I don’t eat bagged popcorn anymore, in fact, I don’t even have a microwave! This bowl of white gold is for those oh-so-exhausting days when you get in after dark, icicles on your beard or in your nose hairs and you just sit in your thermals watching Netflix, falling asleep on the couch by 9:00 pm. Or any other day for that matter, you’ll probably still fall asleep at 9 watching Netflix, anyway. Here’s an après snack.

You’ll Need:
Vegetable or Coconut Oil (I don’t recommend olive oil due to the low heat index)
Popcorn Kernels
Salt (optional)
Butter (optional)
A large bowl

I don’t have measurements for this. It’s popcorn.

The Basics
Get a medium to large pot that has a lid. Pour enough oil to fully layer the bottom, and turn your burner on. 6.5 on the dial will do fine, medium-high. Do not turn this on high, I repeat, do NOT turn this on high. I have forgotten about making this and walked into the kitchen and lifted up the lid to a pot of flaming oil. I like to test the heat and put one kernel in. The oil should just cover the kernel, just – a little less is fine. Cover with lid, and don’t go far. In a minute or two, that kernel will pop – you’ll hear it hit the lid. The oil is ready. Layer the bottom of the pot finely with kernels and cover immediately. When I say finely, do not double layer the kernels! 10 popcorn kernels doesn’t seem like much, but omg I have set you up for panic, as you put a lot of kernels in because “finely” didn’t seem like enough, and there’s WAY too much popping and it’s overflowing the pot like at the movie theater. You’ll get used to how much you need per the size of the pot you use. Once the popping mess has slowed down, pour popcorn in to the large bowl.

It’s delicious without adding anything, hot out of the pot. Salt makes it heavenly. Add butter and you’re going to need wet-naps.

Get Funky
Garlic salt, anyone? Cheddar cheese powder? Go ahead and get funky, try what you like. You literally can’t mess this up.

Give It as a Gift
I know people who have gone this far. Lay your popped corn out on wax paper and spruce this ish up with melted chocolate and peanut butter chips, or crushed candy canes and white chocolate, or oreos, caramel or any other absolutely wonderful thing you can melt (or sprinkle on to melted confections) and let harden into chunks on the popcorn. People literally pay $20+ for this in the city. You will make all your friends fatter for the holidays. And yourself. Done and done.


36-Hours in the Woods

I took 36 hours to do whatever I wanted this past weekend. No schedules, no meetings and some rough plans; it was liberating, to say the least. I haven’t taken that time for myself in a long time, and got to see some of the most beautiful places in Pennsylvania because of it.

Our first stop landed us in Jersey Shore, PA in hopes of finding an overlook to see Pine Creek Gorge, or – the PA Grand Canyon. This was on the way to Ricketts Glen with no out-of-the-way driving time. The south end of the gorge is situated right along this town, and after a few miles of envying the river-tubers, we realized we were taking a long road through the gorge and there was no overlook in the southern area. So, after a quick stop for lunch pointing and picking from signage (no Urbanspoon or Yelp reviews were used), we picked up and drove an hour north to one of the more popular overlook destinations – Leonard Harrison State Park. It was so beautiful – I can’t even imagine this place in the fall.

Gorge, Park, Mountain
Pine Creek Gorge (PA Grand Canyon) – Leonard Harrison State Park Overlook

After this short, out-of-the-way visit (worth it), we set off to Ricketts Glen State Park, tacking another hour onto our detour. It took us 6 hours to get there, but it was, quite simply, awesome. Settling in as car-campers, the trunk of the Kia was full. We were by no means minimalists, and I don’t think I ever will be.

Up at 6 am the next morning, we started the hike an hour later and took the easy Bear Walk Trail from Beach Lot 2 to Lake Rose Trailhead Parking, starting the Falls Trail over a mile into our hike with the 37-foot Mowhawk waterfall. We didn’t know what to expect, but the entire thing glorious, and one of the more frightening trails I’ve taken at this point (it really wasn’t that bad). The waterfalls came like waves once you saw the first one; you would walk out of earshot of the one behind you and begin to hear the rush of the next – and then you’d see a cliff in front of you. It was your next challenge to concentrate on climbing down and not be so excited that you’re shrieking like a girl in the middle of the woods… there was a reason we set out early enough that people wouldn’t be on the trail for our first few views, haha!

The trip as a whole was nothing short of amazing. I can’t wait to go on the next 36 or 48 hour trip with no time limits. The Mid-Atlantc is my oyster.