SUPER Simple Truffle Popcorn (Or A Party-Planning Life Hack)

OK, this has to be a quick post because I’m in the middle of a three-day meditative fast during which I am attacking my screenplay revisions without any comforting distractions. It’s a meditative/writing/prayer thingy-do that I may end up blogging about here if I have enough time or emotional bandwidth available after diving into the dark places of my script I’ve been too scared to examine truthfully, and without distraction.

So here it goes…

A long time ago I wrote a post about truffle popcorn that involved measuring oil and popping your own popcorn on the stove. (You can find it here.) This pilgrim-era method is fine I guess, but I would often find myself annoyed with unevenly popped kernels, burnt pots, and the other irritations that come along with doing everything the hard way.

I recently came up with a solution to the problem… and it happened by accident.

I was running late to my friend’s low-key Oscar gathering and didn’t have anything to bring. I had some Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Popcorn sitting around, which I adored for its evenly popped, perfect fluffiness… but not so much for its taste.

Chewy and the dinos may  have been into it… but I wasn't.

Chewy and the dinos may have been clamoring for it… but I wasn’t.

Then it hit me!

Melt butter, dump it all over the dry-ish popcorn, sprinkle it with black truffle salt, and Ta Da!  Now you have perfectly-popped popcorn covered in the greatest things on earth: black truffle bits and butter!

Everyone loved it.

This bowl was full five minutes before the photo was taken.

This bowl was full two minutes before the photo was taken.

So there you have it: a simple party planning life hack. And my new favorite thing.

Now I’m off to do the thing that scares me….

Somebody say a prayer for me.

XOXO

I Begin My Birthday Week with a Flesh Wound (Or Here’s the Compost Update Because I Can’t Do Anything Else)

So, I think it’s a great idea to begin my birthday week by slicing my thumb open. Yeah, that happened Saturday night….

There I was, having a picnic on the lawn of the Academy (as in, “I want to thank the Academy”), enjoying truffle popcorn, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and good company when I decided to partake in the salami sitting in front of me. Now, being a moron who is generally used to rather dull and ineffectual paring knives, I thought nothing of holding the salami in my hand and slicing toward my thumb. See, when I do this with my own knives, it doesn’t slice through my finger — the knife just sort of bounces off my flesh without incident. I was not using my own knife, however, but a viciously sharp one instead.

Um, yeah…

I’ll spare you the rest of the gory details (and the bloody, bloody photos) and just say I should have gotten stitches instead of sitting on a blanket sipping wine and watching the movie introduced by Frank Oz himself. (Sorry to be a name-dropping starfucker-type, but I really like Miss Piggy. And Yoda.) I made a makeshift tourniquet out of many, many (SO many) paper towels and my hair tie so that I’d make it through the evening – and also so I didn’t bleed all over the nice picnic spread out in front of me.

Now, I know from my last thumb carving incident 6 years ago that one needs to get stitches within eight hours of an injury or it’s too late. (That particular incident involved a dinner party of 25 people, a new Shun knife, an eggplant, and me nearly passing out twice throughout the course of the evening.) Even though I probably could have made it to the ER in time, I decided to skip it all together, because I’m dumb like that.

I did a bit of internet research last night in an attempt to find out how long the tetanus booster is effective, and it looks like it’s about ten years. There is some information indicating that one should get another booster within five years if one is in a tetanus-infested area (whatever that is, I doubt it’s Hollywood), and if one has a particularly gory wound. I have deemed this wound un-gory, though very painful despite heavy wine consumption, so I am skipping the tetanus shot.

I would like to take this moment, however, and ask any medical types out there – particularly any of you I tutored in calculus (you know who you are, and you owe me) — if my last booster of 6 years ago will be sufficient to prevent me from dying or whatever.

So, anyway, now I’m trying to figure out how one makes sixteen owl sachets, a papier mache tree, and about 152 cupcakes with only one thumb. Oh, and just in case you don’t think I’m a complete lunatic yet, I’ll show you how I fixed up my thumb when I got home. (I’m out of actual medical tape.)

Apparently, I think it’s OK to use painters tape to adhere sterile bandages to my person.

It should come as no surprise that my father thinks it’s appropriate to make a tourniquet out of a dishtowel and duct tape. He also doesn’t bother to go to the ER when he slices his forearm open – despite being on blood thinners. Oh, and he gets fillings without anesthesia because he’s actually insane. So, yeah, that’s my gene pool. (This explains a lot.)

Anyway… my thumb hurts and I’m not in the mood to make the skull and crossbones cookies I had planned to make today. I think it’s because I’m exhausted from five and a half hours of grocery shopping for two parties this afternoon — and also from a trip to the USC Credit Union to sort out an issue involving credit card fraud with my check card and some jambonie who tried to buy $102 worth of cigars in Spain. (As my friend put it, “They didn’t even try to buy good cigars!” So, yeah, my credit card thieves have poor taste in tobacco in addition to being general thieving asshats.) Also, I think I just need to unwind by watching shirtless Americans dive into a pool. (God Bless America. And the Olympics.)

Woodley is judging me for slacking on the sugar cookie front.

In other news, my balcony no longer smells like it’s hosting a rotting raccoon. My plan to dry out the compost in buckets actually worked. Today I put the liner back in the bin, along with a bunch of soil. I placed the soil from the smaller buckets back into the bin because that soil had dried properly. I transferred some of the soil from the larger buckets into the smaller buckets so that it would dry as well. I also added more paper to the bin and stirred it for an hour. (No lie; it was cathartic and whatnot.)

My soil dries in buckets. That’s the situation.

I think it’s probably time to start a second bin. It turns out I generate a lot of kitchen waste.

Only Children are Spoiled (Or How to Make Truffle Popcorn)

I am an only child. And I was the only grandchild for NINE YEARS. So, it should come as no surprise that I am an absolute nightmare on occasion. There was a time I thought the entire world existed to watch my performances, which included recitations of the Narnia Chronicles in a British accent, dramatic lip syncing performances to Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me,” or dancing on a picnic table in a diaper at 10 pm.

My dad is this well-behaved electrical engineer who has been pushed to the absolute brink of insanity by my antics. Were it not for his faith and his firm belief God made me this way, he might have died of embarrassment (or frustration) long ago.

Not only did I demand a fair amount of attention, but I was also given a lot of swag. Before you read this as a cautionary tale about only children, I should tell you that we’re not all bad. I can entertain myself for days on end without company, and I love to share from my lavish bounty of gifts.

My mother came for a visit recently, and I now have new Betsey jewelry, the dogs have piles of squeaky toys, and my kitchen is full of farmers’ market swag.

Before you condemn me for being some sort of spoiled parasite, I should tell you I played airport chauffeur for hours, made my mother wonderful food, and endured hours of interrogation about why I’m not dating anyone. So, it all evens out. I trade swag for my sanity. It’s cool.

You know what else is cool? Truffle salt. My mom bought me some at the farmers’ market, and I’m putting it on everything. The applications are absolutely endless, and because I’m so into sharing, I’m going to tell you about one!

Tonight I’m making truffle popcorn for my Gone with the Wind movie night, and I plan to wash it down with bourbon-spiked shakes.

See?

Truffle salt is so absolutely amazing that I might eat my own shoe if you sprinkled enough on it.

I’m looking forward to stuffing myself to the gills with goodness while watching Clark Gable strut around like sex on a stick. You might want to do the same.

The recipe is below. Enjoy!

Truffle Popcorn Recipe

¼ C popcorn kernels
2 T oil
2 T unsalted butter, melted
¼ tsp truffle salt

The popcorn bag will say you should heat the oil until two test kernels pop before adding the rest of the popcorn. This is a bald faced lie. This will burn your popcorn. I have found it’s best to add the oil and the popcorn at the same time. If you want to double the recipe, work in batches and add another 2 T of oil and ¼ C of popcorn after popping (and removing) the first batch from the pot. Working in small batches prevents burning. (Or maybe I just suck at making popcorn the old fashioned way and am making more work for myself than is necessary, but I’d rather not waste food. Or set my kitchen on fire.)

Pour the melted butter over the popcorn and toss the popcorn. Add the truffle salt and toss again.