Kettle Corn


I have this obsession with State Fairs. 

Shall I start from the beginning on that one?  My good friend Michelle, who used to write with me here (and who we hope comes back one day!) moved to Milwaukee several summers ago and both of us being city girls thought that the idea of a state fair sounded like one of the most fun things ever in life.  We’d never been to one, and the fact that Wisconsin’s fair is in the middle of Milwaukee made our little city hearts happy, because we’d get to experience this decidedly un-urban thing without getting too far out of our comfort zone. 

If you haven’t ever been to a state fair, I really suggest you find out where yours is taking place this year and head on out, because, honestly? Best thing ever.  Besides the rides, games and odd mix of mullets and leather jackets, the amount of food that is available is astonishing.  Corn dogs, cotton candy, fresh milk, cream puffs, every flavor of beer imaginable, cheese curds, elephant ears, candy apples… And that’s just at the entrance.  Once you get into the fair, there are entire pavilions dedicated to food and drinks and things that I didn’t know you could eat (crocodile, anyone?).  What really gets me is that each fair is a total love fest for the state (I recognize that is a completely obvious statement, but until you’ve seen an entire barn the size of a two football fields dedicated to Wisconsin dairy products–including 3 different grilled cheese stations–you really don’t get it).  I hear that Iowa has a huge cow made out of butter for the love of all things good! 

So, kettle corn is the most tame of anything you’ll find at the fair, and to be honest, I don’t know that it even made my list of things to taste, but when I buy it in the store (at an outrageous $5 a bag. Seriously??), reference is always made to how it’s the ultimate in state fair fare.  Since I grew up in the era of Jiffy Pop, I’d never actually made popcorn on the stove with loose kernels.  That, and the fact that I was always afraid that a stray kernel would take an eye out. 

But I was staring at a bag of yellow kernels the other day (ok, I’ll admit I was debating the merits of having popcorn for dinner.  High in fiber! Low calorie!) and I thought it’d be good to be able to make my own kettle corn for those times when it’s late at night and I’m on a sweet/savory merry-go-round.

Lucky for me, it’s super easy and although I did fear losing an eye at one point, all turned out well in the end. 

I’d add a bit more salt to really get the salty-sweet combo, but it hit the spot.  And the next day my kitchen smelled like caramel.  Of course, this is no substitute for the real deal as we watch a hog calling contest.  Who’s in? Illinois State Fair

Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn (via Rachael Ray):

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

In a large pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the popcorn. When the oils sizzles, sprinkle the sugar over the kernels. Cover and shake the pan until the popping slows down, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss with the salt.

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One Response to Kettle Corn

  1. A. Van Fleet says:

    Heather:

    Love your recipe for Kettle Corn, especially since there are so few ingredients. It’s a must try.

    As usual your writing along with the recipe is such fun. Also loved the first picture of the Wiscosin State Fair.

    Keep your blogs coming.
    A. Van Fleeet

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