Archive | January 4th, 2010

The Republic House Closes; Seeks New Location

The Republic House Closes; Seeks New Location

The Republic House, at 12333 West Ave., has closed its doors, but plans to re-open at a new location, according to general manager Alan Johnson.

“Some of our music is still going to handled at the Quarry Cantina,” Johnson said. The cantina is at 7310 Jones Maltsberger.  The SA Blue Cats are scheduled to appear there Saturday.

Johnson cited some issues with landlords as contributing to the closure of the West Avenue location. “When we find another location, we’ll have the music and be serving our food again,” Johnson said.

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Add Chocolate to Your Popcorn

Add Chocolate to Your Popcorn

Make this recipe about three hours before serving or earlier in the day.

Chocolate Popcorn

12 cups popped corn (about 3/4 cup unpopped)
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup light or dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 (6-ounce) package semisweet chocolate pieces (1 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place popcorn in large oven roasting pan; set aside.

In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, heat sugar, corn syrup and butter to boiling, stirring constantly until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in chocolate pieces and vanilla until chocolate is melted. Pour hot mixture over popcorn, stirring to coat well.

Bake popcorn 1 hour, stirring mixture occasionally. Spoon into another large roasting pan or onto waxed paper to cool, stirring occasionally to separate. Store popcorn in tightly covered containers.

Makes 12 cups.

From “The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook”

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Make Popcorn in a Pan, Not Microwave

Make Popcorn in a Pan, Not Microwave

Perfect Popcorn Recipe

3 tablespoons canola, peanut, grapeseed or avocado oil (high smoke point oil)
1/3 cup high-quality popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons or more (to taste) of butter
Salt, to taste

Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat.

Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan.

When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. (Count out loud; it’s fun to do with kids.) This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.

Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper). Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.

With this technique, nearly all of the kernels pop (I counted 4 unpopped kernels in my last batch), and nothing burns.

If you are adding butter, you can easily melt it by placing the butter in the now-empty, but hot pan.

Salt to taste.

Additional tips:

  • If you add salt to the oil in the pan before popping, when the popcorn pops, the salt will be well distributed throughout the popcorn.
  • Fun toppings for the popcorn – Spanish smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, cayenne powder, chili pepper, curry powder, cumin, grated Parmesan cheese.

Makes 2 quarts popcorn.


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Popcorn a Luxurious Treat When Dressed With Black Truffle

Popcorn a Luxurious Treat When Dressed With Black Truffle

Black Truffled Popcorn

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
3 tablespoons black truffle butter
3 tablespoons black truffle oil
Kosher salt

In a large pot with a lid over medium heat, heat the grapeseed oil until it shimmers. Add the popcorn, cover and shake until  most of the kernels have popped, 4-5 minutes. Pour into a large bowl.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter with the truffle oil until warm. Drizzle over popcorn. Season to taste with salt. Serve at once.

Makes about 12 cups.

From “Mix Shake Stir: Cocktails for the Home Bar”

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Time to Pop Up Something Fun

Time to Pop Up Something Fun

Popcorn is a perfect treat on cold winter nights when you snuggle up in front of a movie or good book for the evening. But why grab a microwave bag when you can make a treat that tastes so much better.

Recipe: Black Truffled Popcorn

Popcorn popped the old-fashioned way in a skillet surpasses the flavor of any microwave brand. You can also add your own flavors, from chocolate to truffle butter.

It’s easy to do.

I remember Mom tossing some oil in her Dutch oven, adding the kernels and shaking it up a bit before the whole batch was done. The end result was perfect popcorn every time. For a variation on this simple technique, click here.

We always ate ours with a little salt and maybe a sprinkling of cayenne pepper back then. Occasionally some butter, but Mom didn’t like cleaning up after all the sticky fingers.

Recipe: Caramel Corn Clusters

I wondered what happened to that flavor when air-popped popcorn became all the rage in the 1990s. Without the oil, there really is no flavor. But the popcorn from that machine was even worse. Nothing would stick to it. Salt, Parmesan cheese, pepper – you name it, it fell off the kernels. It was like a free-form rice cake that hasn’t been doused in a seasoning designed to cover its dullness.

Microwave popcorn may be easy, but it tastes, well,  lazy and processed. Now there are concerns about health issues related to it. (Click here for more.) All of which should lead you back to the original, which remains the best there is.

History tells us that corn came from the New World, but no one knows when the practice of popping it began. Yet, according to the Popcorn Board, popcorn was used for eating as well as decorating long before the Spaniards arrived. Here are a couple of facts from

  • “Popcorn was integral to early 16th century Aztec Indian ceremonies. Bernardino de Sahagun writes: ‘And also a number of young women danced, having so vowed, a popcorn dance. As thick as tassels of maize were their popcorn garlands. And these they placed upon (the girls’) heads.’
  • “In 1519, Cortes got his first sight of popcorn when he invaded Mexico and came into contact with the Aztecs. Popcorn was an important food for the Aztec Indians, who also used popcorn as decoration for ceremonial headdresses, necklaces and ornaments on statues of their gods, including Tlaloc, the god of rain and fertility.”

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