Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Foodie Holidays: Week 1

As I mentioned previously, the daily posts were killing me so I'm moving to a weekly format.
April 1 - Sourdough Bread Day
April 2 - Peanut Butter and Jelly Day
April 3 - Chocolate Mousse Day
April 4 - Cordon Bleu Day
April 5 - Deep Dish Pizza Day
April 6 - Caramel Popcorn Day
April 7 - Coffee Cake Day

Cordon Bleu means "blue ribbon" in French, but the dish made with chicken or veal, ham and Swiss cheese was developed in the United States, not France, and it has nothing to do with the Cordon Bleu cooking school.

Deep dish pizza is a Chicago invention, and Uno's takes credit for it. Prepare to wait a while when you order it at their restaurants, for a couple of reasons. One, it takes a while just to get a table downtown; two, that pie takes a while to bake.

I worked at Karmelkorn one summer in college. It was a pretty fun, if hot and sticky, job, and I loved the cotton candy machine. After I left that job and we graduated (got married, moved), I developed my own recipe for making caramel popcorn on a much smaller scale.

Caramel Popcorn

1 bag microwave popcorn
1/2 stick butter or margarine
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
3/4 C. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
generous pinch of baking soda

Directions: Pop the popcorn and remove unpopped kernels. Place in large bowl, bigger than you think you'll need – I use a 5-qt. metal bowl. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter and add the sugar and corn syrup. Boil gently. You want the sugar to burn a little. The longer you leave it cooking, the "darker" your caramel will taste, but don't overdo it.
When the mixture starts to smell like it's burning, remove from heat, and add the baking soda, mixing well -- this will make the sugar mixture a little foamy. Pour over the popcorn and toss to coat it evenly using a long-handled spoon. Be careful: this is HOT! Once the corn is coated, you can either turn it out onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and break into smaller pieces as it cools, or sit down with your favorite movie and enjoy! Store any leftovers in an airtight container.
Variation: Use molasses instead of corn syrup and make Cracker Jacks!

Available at Amazon.

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