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Dark Days Challenge Week 2: How to Make Popcorn, Apples, and Cheese

OK, this isn’t much of a “recipe”, but it was a dark days dinner that we had this week. We keep this in our bag of tricks for when we are feeling tired and lazy and are not too hungry but need to eat a meal. It’s quick and easy and the ingrediens are available all year ’round (and all are the ingredients are 100% local).

It’s also nice to prove that we don’t alway go nuts and cook things like gnocchi for every dinner. This easy meal is a tradition in Lindsay’s family. I used to find it a bit crazy, but I’ve come around.

The only “cooking” involved is making the popcorn the old fashioned way. It’s practically as easy as the microwave-it-in-a-bag popcorn. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper to buy popping corn in volume by the sack, even when it’s organic and local, than it is to buy it from the guy in the bowtie with all that extra packaging. Best of all, this form of popcorn doesn’t come with any cancer risk.

This will make a very generous single serving. If you want to make more, add more corn, but you can increase the oil more slowly. Don’t use less than 1 TBsp of oil, but there is also no need to use more than 2 TBsp oil even if you scale up the recipe. We used sunflower but you can also use canola oil (which we can get locally), or peanut oil.

Popcorn, Apples, and Cheese

Makes 4 servings

Amount Ingredient Preparation Where we bought it
2 TBsp Popping corn kernels Oak Grove Plantation (in NYC, before we moved)
1 TBsp Sunflower Oil Stolor Organics
1 Apple Sliced Apex Orchards (Somerville Winter Market)
Some Cheese Sliced Whole Foods (Local)


  1. Put the corn and oil In a large pot with a lid. Have a pair of good, thick oven mitts or potholders at the ready (preferably silicon)
  2. Put the heat on high. Put the oven mitts on. Shake the pot every once in a while (while holding the lid firmly in place).
  3. Once the first kernels pop, grab the pot in both hands by the handles, lift it off the burner by about one inch, and shake the pot forwards and backwards, always maintaining about one inch from the heat. This keeps the kernels even hot so they continue to pop, but the movement prevents them from burning.
  4. If the popping slows but there are still a lot of unpopped kernels, lower the pot back onto the burner for a quick moment until popping resumes. You can usually hear how many unpopped kernels are still in the pot when you shake it.
  5. When your corn is fully popped, you’re done! Except maybe add some salt and pepper (and red pepper flakes, or smoked paprika), and give it a few last shakes.
  6. Cut the apple and cheese and plate it all up. Add a beer if you like (I did).

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