Monday, June 20, 2011

Dill Pickle Popcorn


Well, good morning!

Did you wake up today craving Lay's Dill Pickle Potato Chips? Of course not, silly. Me either.

Okay, maybe just a little. We bought a bag by mistake and became addicted. And "by mistake" I mean "on purpose." And by "addicted" I mean "addicted." They are so good it's not even funny--like the best salt and vinegar potato chips you ever ate, but with a little hit of garlic and dill. We bought another bag to make sure they were as good as we all thought they'd been, and they were. And it was frankly a relief when they were gone, since we were then able to get on with our lives instead of pondering how soon would be too soon to have another snack.

Pickles themselves are very satisfying to me. In fact, we had a tornado warning last week, which was just totally surreal for an east-coast city kid like me. Really? The basement? "Who was on the phone?" the kids wanted to know, and I had to say, "The town manager. We're supposed to go into the basement." We brought the cat with us and everything, and in the 30 minutes we were down there, we played 3 games of ping pong and ate an entire jar of bread-and-butter pickles from the canning shelf. "This is great!" Ben kept saying. "There's food and ping pong! I could stay down here forever!"  It was almost a little disappointing when the phone rang again, summoning us back upstairs to normal life.

Anyways. Pickles from a jar are still not Lay's Dill Pickle Potato Chips. But you know how it is around here. Debased food obsessions only inspire me! Can I replicate this terrible, delicious thing--but in a healthy format? And the answer, in this case, is a resounding affirmative. Yes, yes, yes!

So it's popcorn, not potato chips, but you love popcorn, right? For one thing, it's crazy cheap. And it's a whole food. And it's got lots of fiber and zero additives. And there's just something so satisfying about buying a jar of popcorn and slipping it into your purse, since the equivalent amount of processed snacks would have you hauling fourteen million giant, puffy bags out to your car.

Plus, and I know you know this is coming, if you get a Whirley-Pop, you will make popcorn every day, because it is so ridiculously easy and satisfying. Every day. Okay, probably more like 275 days a year. Especially during the summer. When we have lots of kids thronging through the house for Socialist Friend Camp. Could there be an easier or more economical way to keep them happily snacking? Of course not.

You're hesitating still. Because you don't like the idea of buying something that only does one thing (although, technically, you could roast raw coffee beans in it too, like my friend Jonathan does). I worried too, when my brother and sister-in-law gave us ours (which they gave us for the sole purpose, I swear, of satisfying their Whirley-Pop Kettle Korn addiction while visiting). But I'm telling you, unless you live on a houseboat, it is worth the space it takes up.

Plus, it's so easy that you can make your kid do it. Here's a little real-time video of Ben making popcorn in the Whirley-Pop for the first time ever! That's how easy it is! Sorry about my relentless muppet-like cackling in the background. . . and for the fact that 3 minutes is a long time to watch someone pop corn, for anyone who's not a blood relative.

video

One last thing: I find the flavor too distracting for this particular recipe, but in general we have started popping our corn in coconut oil, which makes it taste exactly like old-fashioned movie-theater popcorn in the best possible way. I really recommend it. Do you have favorite popcorn toppings or methods or recipes? Please share.


Edited to add: I'm glad you asked about coconut oil. Here's an interesting article on how it turns out to be a really healthy oil after all.

Dill Pickle Popcorn
Makes 8 cups
Total time: 5 minutes

2 quarts popcorn (in the Whirley-Pop, this is a third of a cup of kernels popped in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vinegar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 heaping tablespoon finely snipped fresh dill (dried could probably work for this)
Kosher salt and black pepper

Stir together the butter, vinegar, and garlic powder, then add it to the popcorn. If it's still in the Whirley-Pop, then you can turn the handle to mix it all up while you add the seasoning. Stir well either way, then stir in the dill and plenty of salt and black pepper. Taste for seasoning and prepare to become wildly obsessed.

Eaaaasy snackin'
Wait. Now I'm self-conscious. Was it the photo captions that made everyone think I was drunk? I swear I wasn't. Not that I remember, at least. Ha ha.

Popcorn is kind of magical. I wish you could pop beans! I would love that. Can you?
We nailed this pretty much on the first try. If I had vinegar powder, I'd add more vinegar, but you have to be careful about how wet it gets.
Scissors make many jobs easier and more fun.
We made this to snack on during a game, but it was gone before we even sat down to play. Which is not so different, I suppose, from finishing the movie-theater tub before the previews are over.

53 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:14 AM

    The only thing better than dill pickle chips are dill pickle chips with a dip of plain sour cream....you will need MANY bags of chips before you can stop!!!

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  2. oh god, don't encourage me. . .

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  3. Hmm, very interested in the Whirly Pop! Although could it be easier than my method of a handful of popcorn into a paper lunch sack, a dash of olive oil (though also interested in coconut oil!!), staple the bag (YES, STAPLE!) and throw it in the microwave... assuming you have a microwave, which I guess not everyone does... but it's super easy and works perfectly!
    Recipe sounds yummy! & Ben is so cool.

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  4. Best post ever. I miss your podcasts and hearing your voice and watching Ben wink at the camera was just wonderful. What a star.

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  5. Mom2Bean, you don't even need the oil and the staple. I microwave popcorn with just a handful of popcorn and a plain brown bag folded over several times!

    Catherine, I read this post and immediately got up to make it. It's PERFECT, even with dried dill. My daughter likes it too. Five stars!

    (FWIW, I don't think I've ever commented here before, but I've been a loyal reader since your BabyCenter days, pretty much everywhere you write. My older daughter turned 7 in May [younger is 6 months] and your columns kept me company on many a long, late night of nursing a wee babe. So thank you!)

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  6. alison12:47 PM

    I was like Oh NO, don’t tell me about a new kind of popcorn popper, because I love the popper I already have. Then I went to the video and wouldn’t you know… that IS my popper. It’s awesome isn’t it? Didn’t know it was called a whirly popper though.

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  7. Ben is hi-freakin-larious!

    We do our popcorn in an air popper, which also allows us to pop up completely biodegradable, oil-free packaging material... plain ol' popcorn.

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  8. Anonymous1:07 PM

    Try a little bit of lime juice on your popcorn. Surprisingly good!

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  9. Robin1:30 PM

    Does anyone have a suggestion for a good brand of popcorn kernels? I know this sounds crazy, but whatever I buy seems to be a bit stale-ish, no matter the popping method. (Although I have no Whirly Popper, and this post is seriously making me consider one.) Anyway, if anyone has a brand they particularly like, I'm interested! Thanks!

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  10. Anonymous2:03 PM

    But where is Birdy? We see lots of Ben, and we love seeing Ben, but we'd love to see Birdy, too.

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  11. I have my mom's early 80's model air popper called The Poppery, and I love it. You actually can't put any oil in it at all, so it's even healthier, but then there's the dilemma of no dry seasonings ever wanting to stick to the kernels. Popcorn is indeed the magical snack. What? This entire vat is 50 calories? I'll take two!

    Hands down, Golden Flake has the best dill pickle chips. They are only available I believe in the South, where dill pickle flavored anything is a huge hit.

    I'm definitely making this tonight because I love anything with vinegar. One of my favorite popcorn toppers is Mexican hot sauce, like Valentina, poured over my popcorn. I put so much that my popcorn is really just a soggy mess at the end and my mouth is on fire. My husband is repulsed by it.

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  12. Angela2:21 PM

    Lovely video! Not convinced about Whirly Popping, though, a pan works fine for me. I like a touch of Burnt.

    Melted butter, salt, and chopped chives.

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  13. Butter, salt, brewers yeast. MMMMMM

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  14. Nikki3:04 PM

    Okay, first of all I will watch a 3 minute video of Ben any time and no folks, I'm not a blood relative! He is delicious...and I mean that in the most uncreepy way.

    We top our popcorn (made in a plain old pan) with buttermilk powder and kosher salt. You posted a recipe for this delectable treat I don't know how many years ago. But now I'm headed to the stove right now to try this.

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  15. Your sour cream and onion popcorn is our family's favorite and I always feel like it's a healthier alternative because there is no butter. I even made bags of it for all the teachers at my daughter's school for teacher appreciation week. I can't wait to try this one, too!

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  16. Love pickles. LOVE LOVE LOVE popcorn. Must try ASAP! Thank you for marrying the two!

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  17. We love the Whirly Pop so much we registered for it when we got married 18 years ago! Can't wait to try the new recipe, but I am sorry I have no great suggestions for you, especially you know about the best one ever (salt).

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  18. Melted butter, sea salt, and nutritional yeast. True story.

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  19. Teafortwo7:47 PM

    @Robin, I think in large part it depends on how you store the popcorn kernels. If you leave them in the bag, they'll go flat. I've got Orville Reddenbacher right now, but our Trader Joe's has started to sell popcorn "loose". I've just been making pickles with the cucumbers in the garden instead of pickled popcorn. I need to do both.

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  20. What's the deal with coconut oil? You are the second person to recommend it in a week and my brain said both times: Wait, wasn't that the oil of evil a few years ago? The reason movie popcorn was very very bad for you? Has that been revised?

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  21. Teafortwo9:16 PM

    Palm oil is evil; I think coconut oil is a slightly lesser evil.

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. Finally, something to do with all that dill that is happily and speedily growing in my garden. We only planted it because my husband loves it on his eggs... but we don't eat enough eggs to warrant a whole plant. We had a whirly pop for a long time, but it broke a couple moves back, and we have since moved from the pan to the air popper. As to the best kind of kernels, my husband is a popcorn connoisseur, and rates popcorn in this order: Lady Finger (tiny little cute kernels that hardly have any kernel left after popping), blue, red, white then then yellow. We get ours in bulk from the local Amish market. I am walking my computer to the kitchen as I type to make this... although my husband will substitute the tablespoons of butter for an entire stick (I know, so much for healthy)...

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  24. I LOVE dill pickle chips and even posted dill popcorn on my blog at Dill Popcorn. Add some cayenne pepper and you've got a heavenly snack that you probably won't need to share with anyone.

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  25. Oh! I used to sit at Burger King years ago (it seems) and wait for my best friend to get off of work and munch on BOWLS of dill pickle chips dipped in sour cream!!! Heavenly! I thought I was the Only One for so long!!I almost feel complete now. By the way, I met your recipe for Salted Caramel Corn a few months back and fell in love with it!! As delicious as Dill Pickle Popcorn sounds, I might, kind of sort of, feel like I'd be cheating on Salted Caramel Corn....oh what to do???

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  26. Anonymous9:04 AM

    maggiemagillicuty....I'll meet you at the Burger King!! You bring the chips and I'll bring the sour cream...maybe we should invite Catherine!! I am glad we are not alone! My husband won't even try the sour cream - he doesn't know what he is missing!!!

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  27. plazamom9:26 AM

    Love the video! And what a great testimonial for the Whirly Pop. Sure does look easy and delicious!

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  28. melissa9:46 AM

    I ached for a Whirly Pop for so long, but hesitated because of the one-use problem. Then my in-laws got me one for Christmas a few years ago, and it's RED. I love it so much, I'd consider grabbing it on the way out of a burning house (I wouldn't, but I would be so sad when it got ruined...). My corn doesn't pop up as fluffy as I'd like, though. I'd welcome suggestions. And I never realized you had popcorn recipes online, too, Catherine. You are truly a treasure. Kettle corn, here we come. :-)

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  29. How can Ben be that big?!?! Weren't we all just commiserating on BC about being up all night with newborns?
    (sigh)

    Great recipe for a summer snack!
    Thanks Catherine.

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  30. Allison5:10 PM

    Socialist Friend Camp?

    This is why I love you.

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  31. Whoa! It turns out that my husband uses a stick of butter on more than double this recipe. Lets just say the second batch came out way better and my popcorn loving hubby may leave me for you, Catherine!

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  32. I LOVE Lays dill pickle chips and have been so bummed since they do not make them in northern calif anymore. Anytime I go anywhere outside of CA I look for them in the grocery store. Can't wait to try the popcorn!

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  33. I am not going to lie: I whirly pop for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also serve whirlypop popcorn (with a smidge or load...ahem...of melted butter) tossed with fresh chopped rosemary and grated parmesan cheese. It's my fancy contribution to most dinner parties. So readers-- she's not kidding:: buy the thing. Best. Investment. Ever.

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  34. My secret to my family's favorite popcorn ever...I use bacon fat instead of oil. Then I add a little superfine sugar and, of course, salt. I call it 'Bacorn,' because I'm a dork. I pop my corn on the stovetop in a 2-qt heavy-bottomed pot with a strainer inverted overtop to let the moisture, but not the kernels, out, because I don't have a proper popper.

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  35. MmeFab1:29 AM

    My brother, too, couldn't live without the WhirlyPop during his visit, so now we are addicts too. For Christmas I got him this:

    http://www.wisconsinmade.com/gift-ideas/Gourmet-Popping-Corn-2263.aspx

    so he could do the mother of all taste tests on the popcorn itself.

    We eat ours with butter and truffle salt, if we don't make kettle corn. This one's going on the list, though!

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  36. So, this comment isn't about the popcorn, although that looks super yummy. Rather, the Beirut music reminded me of this beautiful short video of Michelle Wiles dancing. You can see it at YouTube here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTP5h0lsxsQ. And, Ben making popcorn is beautiful too, and would be even without Beirut playing in the background! Thanks for the post.

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  37. Anonymous2:24 PM

    Oh My! This is the best popcorn ever!! Just ate an entire batch by myself. Thank you for bringing this into my life.

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  38. Where are the other popcorn recipes?!

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  39. That winking look that Ben makes immediately evoked the picture of you with the boob pinata (er, I mean heart pinata). Well, with a little less leer. It must be genetic.

    http://benandbirdy.blogspot.com/2006/11/another-reason-why-i-love-you-so-much.html

    Regarding the popcorn in a brown paper bag, I have a cautionary tale. I used to pop popcorn in a brown paper lunch bag until one day, the whole thing caught on fire. I had spray it with the fire extingusher (which gets dust everywhere, BTW). It completely melted the inside of the microwave. We had to get a new one.

    You've been warned!

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  40. Teafortwo9:20 PM

    I scribbled the ingredient list on a piece of paper and promptly forgot what was on it when I made the popcorn this morning (Finn and I watched a Harry Potter movie while it rained outside). I forgot the vinegar. I have a feeling it requires the vinegar. I will try again.

    My word verification is ringibu. Sounds like some bizarre disease.

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  41. Popcorn in *bacon fat*? No wonder I feel like you are MY PEOPLE. Best popcorn to use? We use Orville Redenbacher and like it just fine. I'd rather buy in bulk, but don't like the bulk popcorn I can get. Also: you've got to trust me on the whirley-pop. Even if you think you like another method better. I've used them all. . . and it's worth it just for the Kettle Korn. (Writing corn with a k always feels slightly pornographic, I'm not sure why.) Added a note about coconut oil up top. . .

    xoxo

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  42. We love the Whirley-Pop. Our current favorite flavor is popcorn topped with Mary Ostyn's dry Ranch dip mix (from her cookbook) because I can make it dairy free.

    I gave my dad a copy of your Father's Day column for his Father's Day card. Thank you.

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  43. Samantha4:18 PM

    Coconut oil is SO good for you! I have a 5 gallon bucket of it in my basement. We use it for cooking, baking, and topically as a lotion. Try reading The Coconut Oil Miracle for in depth details.

    We eat popcorn all the time. I'm going to have to try this dill pickle kind. I don't even like pickles, but it sounds delicious! I usually top my popcorn with cracked black pepper and parmesan cheese. Oh, and lots of grass-fed butter of course!

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  44. I bet my son would love this popcorn- he is crazy about these dill pickle rice cakes we get whenever we're in Canada. Btw, my daughter in in this month's Chop Chop- 'Brussel Sprouts for Emma' She is so excited!

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  45. Anonymous5:06 PM

    The only thing better on popcorn(I haven;t tried this dill pickle yet) than butter salt and brewers yeast is butter , tamari or Braggs aminos and nutritional yeast. You have to play with the proportions to your taste but it is also addictive! Thanks

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  46. Help!! I bought a Whirley Pop based on your wonderful review. We used the pre-measured popcorn/coconut oil/butter pack that came with it and it was delicious! Just like going to the movies. The reason I bought it though is because we love Kettle Corn. I tried making the recipe you linked to 4(!!!)times and it burned every time (we're using a gas stove). I tried lowering the heat but then the popcorn wouldn't pop. I tried adding the sugar after the popcorn started popping and it still burned. What am I doing wrong? :(

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  47. Rivergirl5:12 PM

    Many thanks for the recipe! I am addicted to dill pickle popcorn, googled to see if somebody had worked out a recipe, and found this.

    And for the record, we DO have a Whirly-pop and live on a houseboat...

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  48. Anonymous3:52 PM

    I love making popcorn in coconut oil, with nutritional yeast, and some garlic salt on it (I use Simply Organic garlic salt - I think if I didn't have that I'd use a combo of garlic powder and some sea salt.)

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  49. Anonymous8:04 PM

    My husband and I sneak dill weed into movie theaters, can't wait to try this recipe at home. The best dill pickle chips I've found at Old Dutch baked dill chips, I can only find them in Canada, bummer. Whenever I have family visit me I always have them pack some into their luggage for me.

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  50. Ok so supposing I am one of the only few in this world that doesn't own a whirly-pop (I know!! Gasp!! We just use the air popper or stove) I suppose I'd use this method on the stove top?
    Tips for success? I am salivating just thinking about it.....Thanks for the help and ever delicious recipes!!

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  51. i just stumbled upon your blog and read it . then made the popcorn OH MY GOODNESS was it the best ! I will take this over any dill pickle chips! Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!!! IT ROCKS!!!

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  52. MightyNest.com sells the whirley popcorn maker, but I love the Glass Microwave Popcorn Popper that they sell. You don't have to add any oil and it's fool proof. http://mightynest.com/shop/healthy-kitchen/cookware-bakeware/glass-microwave-popcorn-popper-25-quarts

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  53. Ben is so sweet. What a wonderful little movie. We made this for a pre-candy Halloween party.

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