Saturday, August 2, 2008
Once upon a time, I worked for a very wealthy family as a private chef. What they liked to eat never failed to surprise me. One night they would ask me to make boxed macaroni and cheese and the next night they would eat an entire beef tenderloin roast. They liked stuffing mix from a box and canned tomato soup and also lobster tails with garlic butter. Mostly, they just had beer taste on a champagne budget.
Now, I probably shouldn’t tell you about my time as a chef for this family. I probably shouldn’t even admit that I ever worked for them, they had me sign a strict confidentiality agreement. So, the names have all been changed to protect…well, me.
The Holiday’s went through a lot of chefs in the couple of years before I went to work for them. But they kept me around because, for whatever reason, the kids seemed to like me. Also, they said they liked my cooking.
Anyway, like I said, I didn’t always appreciate what they asked me to cook. I mean, I don’t know about you, but if I could afford a private chef, I most certainly wouldn’t ask her to make foods that come out of a box. So when Mercedes, the teenage daughter, came into the kitchen after dinner one night looking for cheese powder to sprinkle on her popcorn, I groaned inside. I’m just not a big fan of fake food. I bet you can tell.
“I don’t have any cheese powder, but I do have some truffle oil.” I waved the little bottle under her nose. A smile slowly spread across her lips. I knew there was hope for Mercedes, she leaned toward the gourmet, at least more so than the rest of her family. So I microwaved some popcorn and showed her how to drizzle it with the truffle oil. It went over great.
The next day, Mercedes asked me to make her a truffled grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. Grocery store white bread, a slice of American cheese, and a few drops of truffle oil, I had my work cut out for me.
¼ cup popcorn
½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Several drops truffle oil
Toss together the popcorn and olive oil in a small bowl, making sure that the popcorn is evenly coated. Transfer to a brown paper lunch bag. Fold the top inch of the bag over a couple of times and staple once or twice to secure. Microwave for about 2 minutes, or until the popping slows. Transfer the popcorn to a bowl and drizzle with the butter and truffle oil, tossing to coat. Season to taste with salt and serve.
Serves 1 or 2. This is so much better than store-bought microwavable popcorn. If you want more, make 2 batches. Don’t double the recipe, believe me. I tried it and the bag exploded. And, yes, it's OK to use a couple of staples in the microwave.