The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Homemade Microwave Popcorn – 3 Ways

London. 1994. I was sleeping on someone’s floor that summer. We decided to go see “Reservoir Dogs” at the cinema. (Yes, I called it “cinema” to get you in the frame of mind.) I ordered popcorn. Crammed a large fistful into my maw. What the WHAAAAT??? Sweet? It was sweet. AND savory. Mmmmmmm…like an adult’s Cracker Jack.

People were smoking cigarettes in there. The good old days!

Last week, a new friend was telling me how to make microwave popcorn in a brown paper bag. (Thanks, Kristy!) I remembered seeing something about it on Pinterest so I decided to give it a whirl.

Today I got a hankering for the sweet version so I looked up some recipes. Most of them called for what most Santa Monica moms consider the devil of all sugars: corn syrup (which makes a mean pecan pie) but I thought I could find something more “natural.” It came out real nice. REAL nice!

Btw: if you’re interested, here’s what’s in Pop Secret, Premium Popcorn:

    INGREDIENTS: Popcorn, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Modified Cornstarch, Maltodextrin, Natural Flavor & Artificial Flavor, Lactic Acid, Monosodium Glutamate, Color (Yellow 5 Lake & Yellow 6 Lake), Nonfat Milk, Freshness Preserved by Propyl Gallate.
  • That isn’t sooooooo bad. But check out this one!

    INGREDIENTS: Popcorn Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popping Corn, Palm Oil, Salt, Freshness Preserved with TBHQ and Citric Acid. Pouch Ranch Seasoning, [Buttermilk, Salt, Tomato Powder, Monosodium Glutamate, Cornstarch, Sugar, Whey, Sodium Diacetate, Onion Powder, Citric Acid, Garlic Powder, Spices, Cheddar Cheese (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Lactic Acid, Natural Flavor and Artificial Flavors, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate, Canola Oil, Artificial Color (Including Titanium Dioxide, FD&C Red 40, FD&C Blue 2 and FD&C Yellow 5) Maltodextrin, Disodium Phosphate, Less Than (2%) Silicon Dioxide Added as an Anticaking Agent], Buttermilk Powder, Salt, Onion Powder, Natural Flavoring, Modified Cornstarch, Tomato Powder, Citric Acid, Spice and Herb, Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, Spice and Coloring, Artificial Color, FD&C Blue 1, FD&C Red 40.
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    1/4 c popcorn kernels
    1 TBSP olive oil
    salt to taste (1 pinch up to 1/4 tsp)
    brown paper bag (OR a vented lid which can be laid across a micro safe bowl – prolly more eco friendly)

    First I’ll show you how to make the straight up kind, then I’ll share a couple of variations.

    Combine kernels, olive oil & salt in a small bowl.

    Unceremoniously DUMP into a brown paper bag (or your bowl – incidentally, I plan on using a bowl with a vented lid as soon as I GET a vented lid.) But hey, I had a package of brown paper bags from 2009 – when I was teaching 6th grade.

    Some recipes advised STAPLING the bag. Listen, I used to bus tables at The Old Heidelberg in Naples, FL and will never forget the sparks that flew when I put a wicker bread basket with staples in the micro. Nor the ass-chewing I got from the cooks.

    I folded my bag.

    Unsure of how long to microwave it, I pushed the “POPCORN” button.

    Then, b/c I missed the heavenly trill of the smoke detectors, I pushed it again.

    Dad-blame it!!

    So I tried it again. This time I just pushed the popcorn button once. When I heard the popping slow down, it happened to turn off. I suggest you stand right by your microwave and when the popping slows down, turn it off since all microwaves tend to have different POWER.

    The second time it came out perfect! I added a little salt.

    Now for the flavors.

    1. SPICY. Add a tsp of spice rub to the kernel/oil/salt mixture. I used Tony Chachere’s spice rub.


    2. HERB/PARMESAN. Add a few sprigs of fresh herbs to the kernel/oil/salt mixture. I used rosemary & thyme.

    Make sure the herbs are coated in oil so they don’t burn. You can also mix them in the oil/kernel concoction for about 5 minutes prior to nuking so they can infuse the oil.

    Sprinkle fresh parmesan on top of the popped corn. YUM!
    (I forgot to take a picture of that.)

    3. SWEET. This is my favorite. Add 1-2 tsp of maple syrup to the kernel/oil/salt mixture. You still need the salt!

    Because of the sugar it seems to burn but it might be just caramelizing. Just pay extra attention to cooking time.

    It looks burnt but it’s not!


    Macro feature really can’t make my fingers/nails look dirty enough!


    Homemade Microwave Popcorn – 3 Ways
    Recipe type: Snack
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 

    Serves: 2

    Quick & easy snack. Sooooo much healthier than the store bought microwave popcorn!
    • ¼ c popcorn kernels
    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • 1 pinch salt (you can always add more later)
    • brown paper bag OR microwave safe bowl with vented lid (lid can be bought separately)
    • creole spices
    • sprigs of fresh herbs
    • fresh parmesan cheese
    • 1-2 tsp maple syrup

    1. In a small bowl, combine popcorn kernels, olive oil & salt.
    2. Pour mixture into a brown paper bag.
    3. Fold bag several times.
    4. Microwave using “Popcorn” button. If you don’t have that button, try 2 minutes on HIGH but be ready to shut it off when the popping slows down!

    To add flavors: 1. SPICY: add spices directly to bowl of oil/kernels/salt. Continue as you did with the plain. 2. HERBS: add sprigs of fresh herbs to the bowl of oil/kernels/salt. Allow to infuse for 5 minutes. Continue as you did with the plain. 3. SWEET: add 1-2 tsp of maple syrup to the bowl of oil/kernel/salt. Continue as you did with the plain.


    Finally, the one con to making popcorn this way: there tend to be a lot more unpopped kernels than you’d get in the pre-made microwave popcorn bag. I’ve yet to find a solution to this problem but am interested in hearing if anyone out there has?

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