How to Make Popcorn Salt

Some things are easy to make, but most people don’t think about it. I make my own brown sugar all the time instead of buying it in the store. I can make it as light or as dark as I want it. Something even easier than that, the only requires one ingredient and a food processor is making your own popcorn salt.

Why Bother Making Popcorn Salt
Why should you bother making your own popcorn salt. Doesn’t any old salt work on popcorn. Here is the issue with popcorn. It has a lot of little nooks and crannies. Your standard salt is not fine enough to make it into those nooks and crannies. When you salt the popcorn alot of the salt won’t stick and will end up in the bottom of the bowl. Popcorn salt is very fine. So you get more salt on the kernels. Kosher salt which s great sticking to meat, is too coarse to stick to popcorn.

Pink Salt

Making your own popcorn salt also gives you the chance to use any salt you, which can also save you money. You can pick the cheapest salt at the store, thought I would avoid regular table salt, which I find having an off flavor, almost bitter flavor at times. Opt for at least the cheapest sea salt. Any salt that you see in the store can work. I like Himalayan Pink Salt for it’s flavor, it’s added health benefits (trace minerals not found in table salt), and it’s fun color.

How to Make Your Own Popcorn Salt

Make Popcorn Salt

Before

A food processor or even a well cleaned coffee grinder can quickly turn any salt into popcorn salt. The more coarse the salt is the longer it will take. But even the most coarse salt should be broken down in about a mintue or so. I recommend using the pulse button in bursts in order to help break the salt granulates down more effectively. Be careful when you open the top of the food processor, there is sure to be some salt floating into the air.

Make Popcorn Salt

After

When I am done making the salt and I place it into a spice jar that comes with a shaker top (plastic insert with holes) to make the salt easy to dispense. Look for the top to have the size holds that you want, so that right amount of salt comes out. These types of jars are easy to find in most well stocked kitchen sections and should be sold for no more than a buck a piece.

Popcorn Salt Shakers

Clumbing
You may find that your salt ends up clumbing up. Just give it a good shake and it should be fine. Some salts use anti-caking agents like calcium silicate. The salts I recommend to make popcorn salt out of usually don’t contain these anti-caking agents. It only takes a little shaking to loosen the salt particles up, so I don’t worry about it. But you could do what Alton Brown recommended in a Good Eats episode and place a few popcorn kernels into the container. The kernel provides physical agitation which will help out with the clumbing problem.

Share

Roasted Applesauce

What I really love about cooking is that it never gets boring. There is always a new technique to try. I have made applesauce dozens of times. Most of the time I cook it in a slow cooker. It’s easy to throw the apples in it and forget about, without having to worry about the apples burning on the bottom of a pot. This has been the method I have used the last few years. Then one day it hit me. What would happen if I tried roasting the apples to make applesauce? I Googled the idea immediately and yes this is a thing people have done. I felt it sounded like something that I needed to do and once you taste it you will see why.

Roasted Applesauce

Why Roast Applesauce?
If the method I have been using works, then why change it up? What advantages is there to roasting the apples? There are two reasons why I like this method better now – the apples caramelize in the oven bringing out more flavor and the ending texture is better.

The dry heart of the oven help to brown the apples in a good way. The sugars in the fruit turn brown (which means they will turn black if you overcome them, so watch out!). You can get that added dimension of flavor any other way.

The texture is smooth, almost velvety. The sauce is thick, without being watery at all. The oven pulls away all the excess moisture. To get the peels off I simply run the apples through a food mill. Why bother peeling?

What Temperature Do You Roast the Apples at?
You want to get some nice carmelization, don’t be scared to turn that oven up. I would roast them at 425 degrees for about 30 to 45 mins. This is the same temperature that Martha Stewart uses for her roasted sauce. I tested it out and it worked perfectly. I did not agree with her about adding sugar. If you use the right apples it is not necessary (read my post on How to Select Apples for Applesauce Without Having to Add Sugar)

Roasted Applesauce

What Do You Roast the Applesauce In?
Try to pick your largest oven safe vessel. Last time I used a ceramic baking dish I picked up from Cost Plus World Market. I prefer cast iron as it dosages out the most even heat. A dutch oven is a good choice as you can fit tons of apples in it. If you have not cured or seasoned your dutch oven in a while, I would recommend doing that before. Curing involves rubbing the entire thing, top to bottom, with a coat of oil and then placing it in the oven empty. Even if yours comes already cured over time that wears out. Like with mine I ended up having my applesauce take on an unwanted black color – a telltale sign of a pot needing to be cured. I have just the standard jet black American made Lodge dutch oven. It’s nothing fancy but gets the job done. If you interested on how to restore and take care of a cast iron pan, watch this informative video below.

Spice It Up!
If you want to really put this sauce over the top thing about adding some spices. Feel free to add a stick of cinnamon or a piece of ginger. They can be easily removed when the sauce is done cooking. Cardamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg are also excellent additions. For ease use the powdered forms, but freshly grind whole spices if you can. The ground spices can just be stirred in at the end.

Roasted Applesauce
 
Ingredients
  • Mix of apples (at least 3 pounds), cored (peeled if you have no food mill)
  • Spices (optional)
  • Water (1/8 to ¼ cup)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Core apples and peel if you don't own a food mill.
  3. Add the apples to a large oven safe vessel.
  4. Pour in a tiny amount of water to keep the apples from burning on the bottom before they start to soften. Use no more than a ¼ cup water. You just want to barely cover the bottom of your cooking vessel.
  5. Add whole cinnamon sticks, ginger, or ground spices (optional)
  6. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes until apples are soft. The apple should be easily smashed with the back of a spoon.
  7. Run through a food mill to smooth. You could also use a food processor if you like.
  8. Serve warm or refrigerate for up to 5 days.

 

Share

Giada Sweet Potato Tots

The Tater Tot. Second only to the french fry as the way most kids are introduced to the potato. As a kid you would probably give these in the school lunch room or at home as an after school snack. That experience I am sure came along with a heaping mound of ketchup, you had to flavor them with something, pretty bland on their own. I say now is the time to graduate to a new tot experience. One that is more sophisticated, more flavorful, more healthy (although frying still doesn’t make it a “health food”), and best of all, more flavorful. All tot lovers you need to try Giada’s Sweet Potato Tots with Dill Dust from her latest episode of Giada at Home. You have a crunchy & herbaceous exterior, and soft and sweet inferior. Below you will find my shopping and cook notes fro this recipe. Visit Food Network’s website to print the recipe

SHOPPING FOR THE INGREDIENTS

1. Dill can be found at the store in usually two ways, either as a bunch where you find the stores greens (lettuces, kale, collards, etc) or you can find it in a plastic package hanging along with other herbs in a refrigerated section. The bunch of dill I bought wasn’t all that big but it was still enough to get the job done.

2. Choose a large sweet potato that is more long than thick. It will cook quicker that way and will be easier to hold for peeling.

3. For the frying oil you have many options. I find that each Food Network chef has a certain oil she prefers, Giada like safflower oil, Rachel loves her olive oil, Robert Irvine uses grape seed oil. Any neutral tasting oil with a high smoke point will work. I used a non-GMO sunflower oil I got at Trader Joe’s.

4. Diamond Crystal is my choice for kosher salt. I like that shape of it better than the Morton kosher salt. Diamond is also the choice of the man who put kosher salt on the map, Alton Brown.


MAKING THE TOTS

Dill Dust Salt

1. First I made the dill dust or dill salt. Get the dill finely chopped and combine it with the salt. I the laid it out on some parchment, in an even layer as possible and in 30 minutes all the moisture was gone and it was lighter in color. I saved the parchment to put the uncooked tots on.

Dill Dust Salt

2. The recipe makes more dill dust then you need, so save it for later use, like sprinkling onto popcorn!

3. This recipe you boil the sweet potato whole before peeling. You don’t cook it all the way through. Don’t worry it will be perfectly cooked when fried. I was making a batch of vegetable stock at the same time, so when I was done boiling the sweet potato, I just dumped the water into the stock pot. It added a wonderful flavor to my stock, I was very glad I did that.

4. I was at first worried that amount of flour would not be enough. But then I remember I making tots, not gnocchi. The tots will be sticky, but that’s ok, just roll with it.

5. The biggest challenge with frying is getting the oil the right temperature. I thought I had it at 350 degrees, put my tots in. Problem was my pan keep heating up and it got too high. The first few were a little too dark. Maintain the temperature for a few minutes before frying is the best way to go. I monitor the temperature using an infrared thermometer. I would not fry without it!

6. The recipe made about the 24 tots, she said it would. You will need to double the recipe at least if you are serving to a bigger group.

7. The sunflower oil I cooked in was still pretty clean after cooking. After letting it cool I put it into a Ball jar and into the fridge for later frying sessions. I refrigerate it just in case any food particles remain that might turn the oil bad. You can also strain the oil through a sieve or for cleaner results a coffee filter.


RATING THE RECIPE

Awesome recipe! Adding the dill dust really made it a home run. I would not have thought to do that. This summer I will be making more dill dust with the dill I grow in my garden. It was not too hard to make either. Great way to impress your family and friends for your next get together. The sweet potato is a way to add more nutrients than a standard white potato. I want to try this recipe using Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes next time I can find them. I used them to make gnocchi once it was turned out so pretty in purple!

Share

Perfectly Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Across the country this week a lot of people will carving out pumpkins. They will scoop out the seeds and all the junk that comes with them and throw them in the oven. People do this maybe because they like them or maybe they feel guilty about wasting “food” so they feel obligated to roast the seeds. I know a lot of people do this but do a lot of people think about what they are doing. Do you just turn the oven on to 350 degrees, throw the seeds in, and wait until they look right. What I normally find is that the seeds come out half burnt and the other half with a chewy outside that gets stuck in my mouth until I am finally able to free the debris hours later. When it comes to roasting pumpkin seeds it all comes down to temperature. Is the “standard 350” the way to go or is there a better way?

The Ideal or Best Temperature for Roasting Pumpkin Seeds
You might be surprised at the answer I am going to give you…..275 Degrees….yeah I am guessing you didn’t see that coming. Isn’t that too low. How will they were brown? Wouldn’t it take forever? The time factor. Yes roasting them this low is going to take a while. Quite a while. I want the best end result and sometime that requires patience. The problem with roasting them at a higher temperature is it’s so easy to burn them. A lot of people roast them during a time when they are really busy. Forgot to check them for a few moments and you burn the seeds. When you roast them at a low temperature it’s much easier to not burn them.

Besides avoiding burnt seeds the other advantage is a better texture. I found that the outer shell is softer when given the time to cook. Higher temperature roasting leads to faster browning so less time to cook the outer shell, which ends in the teeth experience I shared earlier. Just think like you are cooking a tough piece of beef or a stewing hen.

Perfectly Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Perfectly Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
 
Ingredients
  • pumpkin seeds from 1 pumpkin, cleaned
  • kosher salt to taste
  • oilve oil or another cooking oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees
  2. Take your cleaned pumpkin seeds. Lay them on a single layer of a single pan lined with parchment for easier clean-up. Sprinkle with kosher salt to taste. Add any other seasoning you like. Drizzle your favorite cooking oil on top.
  3. Roast for 2 to 2½ hours until the seeds have browned and the outer shell has softerend.
  4. If seeds are not brown but the shell is soft enough, then turn up the temperate to brown the seeds but be careful to watch them so you don't burn them.

 

Share

Dried Apple Chips

The thing I love about apple season is being able to try different types of apples in many different uses. That’s the cool thing about apples. Each have their own characteristics that led themselves better to different cooking applications. Take for example the Alamata apple. It’s an older variety that isn’t that popular, but it’s cool because it has a red flesh on the inside. I wanted to showcase that red flesh. So I thought now was the time to knock something off my culinary buck list and dry some fruit.

Dried Apple Chips

The Alamata apple is not a very juicy apple making it an excellent choice for drying – shouldn’t take as long. I wanted to do a side by side comparison. The Paula Red apples I had already in the fridge was a good secondary option. It’s a tart apple with a pretty white flesh that would look nice next to the red fleshed Alamata.

Cooking Notes

1. The key tool to have to make a thin crisp apple chip is a mandoline. It’s so much easier to get them wafer thin if you have one of those.

2. You want to dry them out in the lowest heat possible to preserve the flavor of the apple. So set your oven to the lowest temperature. That temp was 200 degrees on my last oven, but my current oven can go as low as 165. This isn’t something that should be rushed. You can put them in the oven and forgot about them for a while. Just make sure to check on them every hour or so.

Dried Apple Chips

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Dried Apple Chips
 
Ingredients
  • 8 apples of your choice (I like to use drier and more tart apples)
Instructions
  1. Slice the apples as thin as you can get them. Use a mandoline slicer if you have one.
  2. Set your oven to the lowest setting you can get it to. For me that is 165 degrees.
  3. Place the apple slices onto two sheet pans covered with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  4. Arrange them in a single layer.
  5. Place in the oven for 4 to 6 hours until the apples are completely dried. Check them about every hour making sure to flip them for even drying.
  6. Allow to completely cool before storing them. Store them in a well sealed plastic container do not storage them in a plastic bag that will trap moisture.
  7. They are best enjoyed within a week.

 

 

Share

Tahini Granola Bars

In my younger days I was a fan of the Quaker Chewy Granola Bar. I use to eat them all the time before I began to banish processed foods from the house. I wanted to find out how to make them myself. I tried out a few recipes – trying to get it right. It took some work but now I have come up with granola bars that way better than what came out of a box.

One of the biggest struggles I had along the way to homemade granola bar satisfaction was keeping the thing together. Even thought the taste was good, when I ate them I ended up with a lap full of crumbs. I needed something to keep everything together. I had honey in them that I hope would bring some stick, but not enough. I stored them in the fridge for the butter inside to harden up and that still wasn’t quite enough. The key was adding peanut butter or for a more exotic option Tahini (a good way to use up that container you bought for hummus). This was the glue I needed to keep it all together.

Tahini Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Tahini Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Snack
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1½ cup puffed rice or puffed millet
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon Tahini (you can also use peanut butter)
  • ⅔ cup butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients, except the chocolate chips. Mix well to combine, and once you have done that stir in the chocolate chips. Take the mixture and pour it into the pan and lightly press with a spatula to evenly distribute. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Then cut them into your desire portions but don't remove them from the pan until they are completely cool. You must cut them when they are still soft or they will be too hard later on. But if you remove them before they are cooled they will be too soft and just fall apart. You can put them in the fridge to help firm them up.

 

Share

Our Brood’s Food For Today:

Little Guy is basically eating everything with the family with only a few exceptions. He seems to have outgrown his wheat issues! That’s a BIG woohoo! from me 🙂

Breakfast:
Oatmeal with sliced strawberries, milk

Snack:
Grapes, raspberry herbal tea (very diluted, their request), purple popcorn

Lunch:
Napa cabage and carrot ribbon salad with sweet and sour dressing, peanuts, sliced apples, sliced colby-jack cheese, milk

Snack:
Peanut butter on a spoon, bananas, water

Dinner:
Grilled ham (leftover from Saturday), steamed broccoli, baked potato with sour cream, milk

More on Purple Popcorn:

Eric (hubby) found some Amish Country Purple Popcorn when he was out shopping that we absolutely love as a snack for the kids…and ourselves! Not only does this variety of popcorn have softer hulls, and less of them, but it also has some of the benefits known to be found in purple foods- antioxidants. This particular brand is GMO free (YES!). Grace wasn’t really into popcorn before, she didn’t like the hulls of yellow popcorn. Our kids (minus Little Guy he is too young for popcorn) love to eat it plain- no butter or salt. Making popcorn is fast in the microwave- and you don’t have to stain your hands neon orange with hydrogenated oils either!. Simply put 1/3c of kernels into a small lunch sack-sized paper bag and fold over the top once. Pop the bag into the microwave and cook for 2-3min or until the popping has stopped for 10 seconds. We serve it right out of the bag, and they gobble it down! It’s fun for them to have their own bags to eat out. If they don’t eat it all in one setting, they can have fun writing their names on their bags in crayon. Seal it up tight and keep it in the bag so it doesn’t get stale. They can enjoy the next day.

Share

I have never been a fan of the onion. I will take their flavor in mild doses, but I don’t want to eat a whole one. I surely don’t want to eat an onion ring. I just don’t enjoy the flavor. I prefer the milder flavor of the onion’s cousin – the leek. And guess what, you can make leek rings just like you make onion rings. In fact there is a huge advantage to leek rings. Leeks don’t contain as much moisture as onions. Have you ever had an onion ring and had the batter separate from the onion when you bite in? You won’t have that problem with leeks. Not to mention leeks rings are smaller so they cook faster.

I got the idea for making leek rings from Alton Brown. However I decided to use a batter from Ina Garten for onion rings with my leeks rings. This is a light batter that contains corn meal to give the rings a nice crunch. I cut her batter recipe in half as I didn’t need as much since the rings are smaller.

Cornmeal Fried Leek Rings
Side Dish, Snack
 
Ingredients
  • 4 small to medium leeks, cut into rings
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ stone ground corn meal (any color)
  • 1 quart canola, peanut, or vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Take off the dark green parts of the leeks, save them for your compost pile. Slice the leeks into rings. The rings don't need to be separated.
  2. Soak the leeks rings in a bowl of water to remove dirt (it should sink to the bottom).
  3. Soak the leeks in the buttermilk for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Combine the flour, corn meal, and salt and pepper to taste in a mixing bowl.
  5. Heat your oil to 350 degrees in an electric deep fryer or a Dutch Oven with a fry thermometer attached.
  6. When the oil is to temperature, dredge the rings into the flour mixture and then add to the oil. Don't overcrowd them.
  7. Fry the rings for 60-90 seconds or until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack and add additional kosher salt if needed.

 

Share

Strawberry Applesauce

One of the easy things to make is applesauce. But so often people reach for boring jars of almost white looking sauce that is seriously lacking in the flavor department. I make my sauce using fruit that is in season. Most recently strawberries were in season here in Michigan. Strawberry is probably the most common “flavored” applesauce out there. Making it yourself and sweetening it with a bit of honey, now that is where the flavor is at!

To me making applesauce is more about technique and your own personal tastes. So I don’t really feel it’s necessary to give you a straight forward recipe. I never really keep track of the number of apples or how much additional fruit or sweetener I add. My tongue will determine that in the end. I want to give more of a guideline on how to make it.

1. Choose a mix of apples. Some tart and some sweet. Look for apples that smell good. Smell is a vital part of the tasting experience.

2. Use a slow cooker to make the sauce. I think more of the flavor of the apple is preserved when you avoid boiling it over high heat on the stove top.

3. Invest in a food mill. This way you can put the apple in skin and all. The food mill will help you remove the skins and it’s a heck of a lot more fun that peeling. Also the skins of some varieties of apple will add a nice red color to the sauce.

4. Don’t add the strawberries to the end. Just puree some strawberries and add to the sauce until the flavor of the strawberries stands out enough for your taste. I puree my strawberries using a stick blender.

5. Finally add a touch of honey. Honey adds flavor where sugar just adds sweetness. I used a summer wildflower honey from the Mohawk Valley Trading Company. Be careful not to add too much honey as you don’t want to overwhelm the strawberry flavor, just enhance it. This is why I recommend using some sweet apples in the sauce, so you don’t need much in the way of added sweetness.

More Strawberry Recipes For more great strawberry recipes check out how I used 14 1/2 pounds of strawberries that I picked myself.

Share

This article was written exclusively for Eat Like No One Else by Pearson Farm, a fifth-generation family-owned business dedicated to growing Georgia Peaches and Georgia Pecans.

For all those who eat pecans simply for the flavor, the nutritional world has now discovered another great reason: there great for your health! Research conducted over the last several years has led health specialists to conclude that pecans also have tremendous health benefits. Through this research, nutritionists found that pecans impact four areas of the body in a powerful way. Thanks to the nuts antioxidant and nutrient rich qualities, pecans have been shown to impact:

1. Brain Health: With its high concentration of Vitamin E, pecans have proven to be effective at maintaining neurological health. Further evidence of this effectiveness comes from a laboratory study of mice that were fed a steady diet of pecans. These mice showed a marked delay in the decline of motor functions compared to those mice that were not given any pecans. In addition to delaying neurological degradation, pecans have been shown to slow or even inhibit the development of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

2. Cholesterol Levels: A clinical trial published by the Journal of Nutrition provided evidence that pecans are able to lower cholesterol when it compared cholesterol levels in adults who ate a pecan rich diet with those who did not. Pecans contain plant sterols, which are known for their ability to reduce cholesterol. As a result, they were able to lower total cholesterol in testy subjects by 11%, double that of those who were not given pecans.

3. Weight Maintenance: Another publication, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, recently brought forth evidence that pecans may have an effect on weight loss and maintenance. The journal referenced studies showing that regular pecan consumption has been shown to increase one’s metabolism as well as provide a feeling of fullness.

4. Heart Health: Coupled with its proven effect on lowering cholesterol, pecan’s dense concentration of antioxidant Vitamin E has made it a recommended dietary addition by the American Dietetic Association for those needing to maintain optimum heart health.

Pecan lovers can rejoice in the fact that one of their favorite snacks is not only delicious, but is great for them as well. For those who may not previously thought about pecans as a snack; improved brain, cholesterol, weight, and heart health are all good reasons to give these nuts a try. So, next time you are at the grocery store, consider picking up a package of pecans. Your body and taste buds will thank you!

Share
Eric Profile Transparent Background

WELCOME TO MY BLOG

I'm Eric. I live in Ann Arbor, MI with my wife, 3 kids, and a flock of ducks. I love grocery shopping, trying new fruits, farmer's market, and traveling.
LEARN MORE -->

Sign up for weekly e-mail updates from Eat Like No One Else

E-BOOK FOR SALE

ThisSpringAd

Featured On:

my foodgawker gallery

WHERE DOES YOUR FOOD COME FROM?

FOTL Tablet Image