Microwave Toffee Popcorn with Coco Corazón

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INGREDIENTS
12 cups of popcorn
1/2 cup Coco Corazón
You can also use Iowa Nice Spice or Cha-cha Lima, but if you’re using Cha-cha, add 2 more tbsp
4 tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp salt
Smoke Licker Crop Duster work great. If you’re popcorn is already salted, eliminate this salt.
Add roasted nuts like peanuts, cashews or pecans or chocolate chips!

INSTRUCTIONS
Split the popcorn into two large bowls.

Combine Coco Corazón, butter, and corn syrup in a large microwavable bowl. Give it lots of headroom, because the stuff is going to bubble up.

Microwave for one minute, remove, stir in the butter to melt. If it’s not melted, microwave for another 30 seconds. Then microwave for 1.5 minutes. Remove and stir. Microwave for another 1.5 to 2 minutes—until the toffee starts to bubble. Remove and stir in the baking soda. Stir-stir-stir to blend in.

Pour half of the toffee over the popcorn in each bowl and stir-stir-stir to blend in. I use two spatulas. It feels like I’m conducting a chocolate orchestra.

Spread the popcorn out on wax paper to cool. If you let it cool in the bowls, it will be a big rock.

Compound Butter

Lisa at Photosynthesis in Ames turned us on to compound butter on Thanksgiving. She served it with Parker House rolls…seriously, I thought it was the best part of the meal. It turns out all salts AND sugars make great compound butters! Use them on baked goods, steak, veggies, toast, you name it!

These aren’t ours, but don’t they look lovely?

These aren’t ours, but don’t they look lovely?

INGREDIENTS
1 stick of butter
2 tsp of Saltlickers
Parchment or waxed paper if you want a log shape
Fresh herbs if you wish

Let the butter soften at room temp then stir in the spice (and herbs). Place the butter on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper, roll into a log, and chill for at least two hours.

Spiced Nilla Wafer Cookies

This recipe works with Das Bigfoot, Bangla-dash or Roxy Taco. Bangla-dash wafers call for one more tsp of spice than Das Bigfoot or Roxy wafers. You can use regular-sized Nilla wafers, but we like the minis. Reduced fat Nilla wafers work great too—they’re harder and they absorb the oil and spice well. I first butter tried on these, but oil’s better!

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INGREDIENTS
1 11 oz box Nilla Wafers
1 tbsp canola oil
2 tsp Roxy Taco OR
2 tsp Roxy Taco OR
3 tsp Bangla-dash

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 300.

Spread the wafers on a foil-covered cookie sheet. Pour the oil over them and toss with spice, 1/2 tsp at a time. Use your hands to make sure everything’s evenly distributed. Bake for 5 minutes. They will crisp when they cool.

Orange caramel bacon popcorn

I invented this for a tasting at Wheatsfield. I used Roxy Taco, but you could try Das Bigfoot, Alliyum, Smoke Licker, Grilla Gorilla or GGX, Cha-cha Lima, or Coco Corazon. The orange juice brings out the zing in the spice, but you can do without it. You can also cook it in a smoker for an hour instead of the oven if you're cray-cray like me.

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20 cups unsalted corn
1 lb bacon, fried to just about crispy, drained and chopped
      (I cooked mine between paper towels in the microwave for 6 minutes)
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1⁄2 cup light corn syrup or 1⁄2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp Saltlickers seasoning: Roxy Taco, Das Bigfoot, Alliyum, Grilla Gorilla or GGX, Cha-cha Lima, or Coco Corazon
1⁄2 tsp baking soda

Preheat your oven or smoker to 250º. Melt butter over medium heat. Mix in brown sugar, corn syrup, orange juice and salt. Stir until boiling at the edges. Lower the heat slightly and let boil until the caramel is 250º. Remove from heat and add the baking soda. Stir in the bacon.

Put the popcorn into a giant bowl and pour the caramel over it. Mix well. It's hard. You may feel like your arm is going to fall off. Divide the popcorn between two slightly oiled cookie sheets and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, mixing every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool. Break the slabs into an air-tight container and refrigerate.

Chicken in Green Molé

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INGREDIENTS
1 whole (both sides) chicken breast
1 cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
2 onions chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 jalapeños
6 lettuce leaves
10 sprigs of cilantro
1.5 tbsp Iowa Nice Spice
1.5 tbsp Coco Corazón
1 tbsp Roxy Taco
Salt to taste
Lime wedges

INSTRUCTIONS
Cover the chicken breast in water in a pot. Add 1/2 the onion. Bring to a boil and simmer 12 minutes. Let cool. Roast the pumpkin seeds in a pan on the stove until they start to pop. Let cool and move into a food processor bowl, along with the rest of the onion, garlic, cilantro, lettuce, jalapeños, and spices. Pulse. Add 1 cup of the cooled chicken stock, blend, taste for salt, then pour into a pot. Shred the chicken and add it to the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh lime before serving over rice or roasted sweet potatoes, or in tacos or enchiladas.