I am not professionally trained in the culinary arts nor have I tasted all of the authentic versions of the recipes I write about. I write recipes based on the ingredients and ingredient ratios of traditional recipes from the Americas. I also deconstruct dishes so that I feel more free to use the separate parts in other recipes. For instance, ‘rice and beans’ are really two separate things, so once I look at them that way, I get more creative regarding what I use the beans in combination with. As a result, I often leave meat out of recipes that normally toss it in arbitrarily. The majority of my recipes end up being vegetarian or optionally vegetarian, and when neither is the case I will suggest substituting the meat for tofu.
Malice in Dunderland.
A dunderhead is a dummie, which is why the characters in the show The Office (U.S. version) work at “Dunder Mifflin Paper Company Inc. – A Division of Sabre.” The dunderheads in our scenario (and this is also the case in The Office) is that so many people eat the same food every day simply out of habit, and they usually buy it ready-made anyway. I am (M)Alice, haphazardly making way through the scents, textures, and tastes of the Wonderland that is the Americas.
Home is Where the Heart Is.
We begin our trip on the homefront. The Mr. Youngblood, the Mad Hatter, if you will, has a birthday today. Though it is customary to celebrate unbirthdays here, a spoke on the Wheel of the Year stops on Hatter’s birthday, known as Beltane. Beltane is the first blush of love and opportunity, resulting in outward mischief and binges. To ensure this propitiation of plant fertility and to plant the seeds of my love, I am going to make my Blackfoot companion corn nuts with the Legendary Giant Corn of Cuzco [as it's marketed in the U.S.].
Normally I cook fine, but these batches were NIGHTMARES. The recipes I read must have been too vague, because my batch in the pot and my batch in the deep fryer both burned too horrendously to salvage.
The Do’s & Don’t of Corn Nuts (and Popcorn)
- The kernels need plenty of room to bounce around, otherwise they will turn into an amorphous burned blob that is really hard to scrape out of the pot once it cools off.
- Don’t submerge your kernels in oil, otherwise the ones at the bottom will burn. If you just use enough kernals to cover the bottom of your pot and just enough oil to barely cover the bottom of your pot, you will not only avoid the aforementioned problem and the problem in number one, but you will also eliminate the need to stir constantly.
- If you’re using a pot, reduce the heat to medium after the oil starts to bubble.
- If you’re using a deep fryer, the darker your oil gets, the more you’re burning the kernels. Don’t set the heat any higher than 300°F.
- If you burn them, don’t stand in the path of the smoke. You will cough a lot and your eyes and nose will water quite a bit.
- Pouring cold water on the oil really does cool it off a lot faster.
- Don’t try to pour your burned oil in a garbage bag because it will immediately burn through it, and the bag will melt onto your pot if there’s any contact. If you spill oil anywhere, wipe it up immediately.
- If you stir your batch with a metal utensil, after stirring, the utensil will still be hot enough to melt things underneath it, so rest it on a surface that can withstand heat, such as a marble slab. The alternative is using a silicone utensil, which would be your most heat resistant utensil.