When I was a kid, there were many memorable, cricket-filled summer nights when my folks would pile four pajamed kids into the back of a station wagon and head on out to the local drive-in movie theater. Along with a mound of sleeping bags and more pillows than people was the truckload of snacks we brought along.
And by we I mean my mother.
In charge of the most important details, she handled the food and drinks, as well as the small forest of paper products needed to keep sticky fingers from using the leather seats, the windows, or each other as napkins.
I’m sure abundant nibbles were packed to keep the tiny mouths of four prattling parrots busy with chewing rather than chatting, but the only thing I can concretely remember is the massive paper grocery bag filled to the brim with buttery, highly salted popcorn.
There was nothing like it. No movie theater, with their ‘more artery-clogging fat than a Big Mac slathered with a tub of Crisco’, could compete.
It was fresh, it was warm, it was Mom.
The holidays and two weeks off from school were filled with plenty of events where popcorn was invited to participate: movies, board games and reading books by a flame-licking fire. And since it was the season for dressing everything up in bright, twinkly, extra flattering forms, “plain” was not an option.
Noting that this is the opposite time frame for drive-in movie theater fun, a winter warm up is of utmost importance. And what ingredient can accomplish generating warmth from the inside out and is still 100% legal for every age group?
Nothing can beat the tangy, bright, fire-engine red hot sauce when looking for that needed bit of pizzazz to your cuisine.
Yep, sriracha packs a punch adding pow to your popcorn.
Give it a try, but heed one warning …
This ain’t your mother’s popcorn.
Sriracha, Lime Zest and Parmesan Popcorn
2 Tablespoons olive oil/butter
1 Tablspoon sriracha hot sauce (of your favorite blistering blizzard combatant)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup fresh unpopped corn
Zest from 1 fresh lime
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt to taste
Place your olive oil (or melt your butter and place it) in a large bowl. Mix in the hot sauce and garlic powder. Pop up your corn and immediately empty into the large bowl with seasonings. Toss to coat. Add the lime zest. Toss. Add the parmesan. Toss. Adjust your salt seasoning to your likening.
I made popcorn two different ways. Stovetop method and by simply placing my kernels in a brown paper bag, folding the open edge over a few times and placing it flat on its side in the microwave (putting the microwave into “popcorn sensor” mode). Either way works well. Your preference.
Now hopefully, you can find something on the silver screen to keep pace with your red-hot home cooking!