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December 02, 2008

Caramel Popcorn, liquefied

I have the pleasure of having The Washington Post as my hometown newspaper, and I can honestly say that our food section is one of the best in the nation.  And as of right this very moment, I hold the Post in even higher esteem because they had the good grace and superior intellect to include yours truly in a story about the Alinea cookbook in this week's Food section.

Y'all.... I could not be more proud.

To say I was nervous about The Washington Freakin' Post (that's their official name, in case you didn't know) coming to my house (well, not the actual PAPER, obviously, but one of my favorite food writers, Jane Black) is to say... well....I am at a loss for words.  Shocker, I know.  Anyone who does media relations for a living will tell you that when The Washington Post comes a-calling, it's either gonna be really good, or really bad.

And in this case, wooooo-hoooooooo!!!!!!!

Jane and I hadn't met before, and I'm so very glad we finally had the chance not only to talk, but also cook together.  So, thanks, Jane (and her awesome editors) for including me in the story, and for not mentioning the fact that I kept dropping things because I was nervous, and that my kitchen floors look like they belong in a 1983 issue of House notreallyallthatBeautiful.

Now, let's get to the dish.

OH, WAIT -- before we do, there's one more thing I need to tell you about.

When I wrote French Laundry at Home, I did a fund-raising drive for Share Our Strength.  Now, a year later, the childhood hunger landscape has changed, and not for the better.  I know times are financially tough for all of us and we're all watching our wallets a little more closely this holiday season, but I bet when you go to bed tonight, you'll be able to wake up tomorrow morning and have a cup of coffee and a bagel or some eggs or a bowl of cereal, and not think twice about it.  That's not the case for 1 in 6 kids in America.  And that breaks my heart.

I work with Share Our Strength all year long, but I wanted to do a special campaign on this blog this holiday season and I've sweetened the pot, so to speak.  We've created a dedicated Alinea at Home Share Our Strength campaign, and if you click on that page and make a donation, you'll be entered to win some really cool prizes -- the wonderful team at Alinea is donating five Alinea cookbooks, and my friends at Workman/Artisan have donated two copies of Thomas Keller's new sous vide book, Under Pressure.

You could donate $5.  You could donate $500.  Doesn't matter.  Every little bit helps.  And, every donation gets an equal chance when we randomly select the winners.

Share Our Strength is out there every single day working with other nonprofits to not only make sure that community food banks and soup kitchens have the tools they need on the local level, they also work on the national and state level to address the systemic infrastructure and policy issues that need to change to be able to have an impact on childhood hunger.  I know the folks at Share Our Strength well, and I know they do great work because I've seen it first-hand.  So, I hope you'll do what you can to help them ensure that every single day, no child in America goes without food.

I'll mention this again in future posts, but more details can be found at Strength.org/carolblymire.  Pass it on.

*  *  *  *  *

Now, on to the Caramel Popcorn, liquefied...

I don't know anyone who doesn't love caramel popcorn.  Do you?  If you do, will you please smack them for me, because HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THE STUFF?!?!  It's unAmerican.  I love the combination of salt and sweet in most any dish, but there's something special about caramel popcorn.  It always reminds me of the Ocean City, New Jersey boardwalk and Johnson's popcorn -- warm and fresh, and devoured after a night of playing miniature golf or riding the rides at Gillian's Fun Deck and Wonderland when I was a little girl.  My cousins and I would get a big bucket of it, and we'd eat it as we walked down the boardwalk past the video arcade, so we could check out the cute boys working at Mack and Manco's Pizza.  There was always something special about that caramel popcorn.  Yes, it would get stuck in your molars and you'd be picking it out of your teeth by the end of the walk home, but the taste of it combined with the sounds of the summer boardwalk and the waves crashing just under your feet... I'd take any amount of molar picking to have one of those carefree nights again, wouldn't you?

Now, the advantage of eating Caramel Popcorn à la Achatz is that there is no molar picking whatsoever.  Instead, you get a concentrated bolt of flavor all in one little shot, and during the cooking process, you get to see something that quite resembles what I yacked up on the basement floor of the Delta Tau Delta house in 1987.  So, it's a win-win all around!

Here's my mise en place for the Popcorn part of the dish:


I heated the canola oil in a large pot, just until it started smoking.  Then, I added the popcorn and put the lid on the pot.  The book said to shake the pan constantly, which I tried to do, but my burners don't really allow for that without my going deaf from all the racket, so I did the best I could, and shook every 5-7 seconds.  Within about 15 seconds of putting the kernels in the pot, they started popping.  And popping.  And popping some more.  By the time the popping stopped, the popcorn had reached the lid.



Do you know how LONG it's been since I made real popcorn?  Like in a pot with oil?  Growing up, we had the Joe Namath popcorn popper, but before that, I vaguely remember an afternoon experimenting with Jiffy Pop that did not go well, and one or two times making popcorn in a pot with oil that also didn't go all that well and required the pots to be replaced.  So, maybe 1975? 1976?  Wow.  And now, 32 years later, I'm back in the fold and making popcorn the old-fashioned way, forever and ever, amen, because dude, EVERY kernel popped, and not one single kernel or piece burned or stuck to the pan.  Wow.  Sometimes, things from the olden days really do work better.  Now GET OFF MY LAWN, you meddling kids.


As many of you know, the meausrements for the recipes in the Alinea cookbook are done by weight.  And, I was incredibly precise about measuring the amount of kernels just as the book indicated -- 100 grams of kernels to be popped.

After popping the corn, the instructions require you to measure 125 grams of the popped popcorn to start the next step... so wouldn't you naturally assume that once the 100 grams of kernels were popped, you were going to have at least 125 grams of popcorn?

My popped popcorn?  All of it?  107 grams.



Actually, I think what I really said out loud when the scale tipped 107 was something unprintable in an American daily newspaper or any media outlet governed by FCC regulations.  And then, I said, "Grant Achatz, why hast thou forsaken me?"

To which Jane replied, "Should we pop more popcorn?" to which I replied, "Um, maybe?" And after a bit of back and forth, we decided just to move forward without popping more because in all honesty, I didn't think 21 grams of popcorn would make that much of a difference in the final product.

I put the popcorn into a clean pot, along with the butter, sugar, salt, and water and brought it to a simmer, stirring to incorporate all the ingredients.


I let it simmer for about five minutes over medium heat, stirring every now and then, after which point, it looked like this:


My first reaction was that it looked like the aftermath of the Delts' 1987 Heaven and Hell party, but after straining it, it looked more like corn pudding, which was much more appetizing for all of us.



Let me take a minute to talk about the smell.  It's sooooo much better than the farty movie theatre popcorn smell (which smells great for the first 30 seconds, and then just ends up smelling, well, farty).  This popcorn pudding purée (because it went into the blender and was strained again before serving, but that's one of the steps I don't have a photo of) was sweet and salty and smelled like my favorite corn pudding dish, only better, and more like fall, if that makes sense.  We tasted it at this point, and the only way I can think of to describe how it tasted is to say that it tasted like chewed-up popcorn... but not in a gross-out kind of way.  In a really awesome kind of way.

We set the popcorn liquid aside in a bowl and began working on the Caramel Froth part of the dish.

To start, I made some simple syrup, by heating one cup of water and one cup of sugar, stirring over low heat until the sugar dissolved, and letting it cool to room temperature.  To do this dish, you probably only need half that amount, but I like to have extra simple syrup around to add to my coffee in the morning, or to mix in with some cranberry seltzer.

Next, I heated some sugar and water in a small saucepan, until it reached 340 degrees F.


Then, I removed it from the heat, and added the remaining water and simple syrup the recipe called for and whisked it for a few seconds to ensure everything was incorporated (the book says "dissolved" but I'm not sure why, since everything was in liquid form already).  Knowing it was going to splatter all over the damn place, I shielded myself using a silicone oven mitt.  So, if you're making this at home, PLEASE BE CAREFUL during this step because this stuff will fly all over the place, so stand back, and use some heat-safe precautions.  You don't need a hazmat suit, so don't get all dramatic, but get your kids and pets out of the kitchen, and use something to shield yourself from the splatter, fer cryin' out loud.

Here's what it looked like when it was done:


I let it cool for a few minutes, then poured it into a Rubbermaid container to let it cool to room temperature.

Next, I added the soy lecithin, and tasked Jane with using the immersion blender to froth it.




After 5-7 minutes of blending and frothing, it hadn't really done what we'd hoped in the froth department, so we just said, "Hey, there are three of us here, and it looks like there's enough froth for three servings, so let's stop sucking the power off the grid and just do these three servings for now."

(anyone who has any advice/insight on why this didn't froth up like we thought it would, please chime in on the comments; love you, mean it)

To plate, or, um, to "glass," I poured a little bit of the Popcorn liquid into the glass, then topped it with the Caramel Froth.


Vanity shot alert!!!!!


So, how did it taste?  Because both popcorn and caramel are so fragrant on their own, let alone together, at first, it was powerful to the point of being borederline overwhelming... until it settled on my tongue and then, wwwoooooowwwwww... it was good.  Really, really good.  Like m-f-ing good.   Salt, sweet, butter, creaminess, popcorn-y,  smooth, rich, amazing.

In retrospect, I would have made the Caramel Froth part of the dish first, to better plan the cool-to-room-temperature part of the process.  I feel like I didn't plan my time as wisely or efficiently as I usually do.  But in the end, it all worked out.  I'm just sayin'.... next time, I'd do the reverse.

And, I need to figure out the whole frothing thing.  I've used soy lecithin before, and I've frothed and foamed other dishes, and they've worked within seconds.  Something about this one just didn't work the way I thought it would.  But I attribute it to user error, so don't cross this one off your list.

Would I make it again?  Absolutely.  It'd be a fun thing to serve at an Oscar party or movie night, or maybe to commemorate a first snowfall.  And, I'm pretty sure you could make both these elements ahead of time and reheat the Popcorn liquid, and froth the caramel just before serving.  So, yeah, I'd do this again, for sure.

Thanks again, Jane, for a great piece.

And don't forget the Share Our Strength campaign.  This issue is so important to me.... I hope it'll be important to you, too.  Especially with, like, prizes and stuff.

Up Next:
  Yolk Drops, asparagus, Meyer lemon, black pepper

Resources: Popcorn from Glenville Hollow Farms at the Takoma Farmers Market, Domino sugar, 365 organic butter, 365 canola oil, David's kosher salt, soy lecithin from Will Goldfarb.

Music to Cook By: Sadly, we didn't listen to any tunes while we cooked because we were too busy talking and (not)frothing.  However, if you really need a musical suggestion, particularly one you can use to song-poison someone, let me suggest this lovely, lovely, not-at-all annoying song.  Gggrrrrrrrr.  My friend, Brad, happened to use the phrase "knee-deep in the hoopla" this week, and now I can't stop singing, "Marconi plays the mamba," so I hope by passing it along to you, perhaps I might be able to avoid going completely clinically insane by Friday.

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How can anyone not love caramel popcorn? Reminds me of the carnival.

This looks good and sounds delicious too!

The dish coming up sounds uh...interesting.

Let me start off by saying that I've been in Carol's kitchen, and she's totally lying about that 1983 House Beautiful thing. They look more like they're from '85. The bathroom wallpaper, however, that was '83.

Secondly, Jane? I'm completely jealous that you got to cook with Carol. Excellent piece; you really captured what we love about Carol. Not many people writing about molecular gastronomy can reference Joe Namath.

As always, excellent post Carol.

Wow- that's quite the article. Congratulations!! Will you be doing the weekly feature story food section chat tomorrow?

Big congrats on the awesome Post story! So exciting to read about your TV prospects. I almost fear trying this one on the assumption that one shot couldn't possibly be enough. Why can't butter REDUCE the fortysomething male's spare tire? :-)

OK, Carol. As always, a wonderful post. Especially with the Washington Post. Congrats!
As for popcorn, I disdain it. Although I will try this recipe. My daddy used to have a movie theater (among a lot of other entrepreneurial things he did). I worked at the concession stand and still remember the smell of the popcorn and the horrible, disgusting "butter" that went into the vat to heat up. It was a sludge going in. And we were told never to do the butter sludge in front of customers. To this day, I cannot abide the smell of popcorn. It physically chokes me. (And Mr H makes it all the time.) But you have brought me out of my popcorn closet. I will try this. Thanks again for a wonderful post and congratulations.

You know you're totally being a drug dealer with these initial posts.... it's so easy, anyone can do it, it's all great, everything is sunshine and caramel popcorn... if this book is not under my tree this Christmas, I'm totally buying it with my holiday money from the parent-in-laws.

And I actually clapped at "it's the main character in a story about removing that barrier of fear and intimidation in cooking" in the article. Bravo, girl. Bravo.

You are awesome and you deserve this level of acclaim like few bloggers do.

I can honestly say that one of the biggest things I miss about Maryland now that I've moved to SF is The Washington Post's Wednesday Food section. I used to have to hide the section from the rest of my family because by the time I got home from work, my dad had inevitably recycled the newspaper... Thank goodness for thewashingtonpost.com so I can still get my Foodie Fix every week, even on the other side of the country!

Anyway, great post. I don't know how much I would enjoy liquefied caramel popcorn (I like caramel popcorn, but not popcorn by itself... and... liquefied? Like milkshake style? Hmm, maybe I'll have to try it sometime)

Excellent article, congratulations!

It almost makes up for you putting that execrable song in my head. Mamboing Marconi indeed ...

I also think it's amazing that 100 grams of popcorn kernels doesn't yield 100 grams of popcorn. Where did the other 7 (or 25 grams) come from?

super cute hair cut! you rock the bangs with panache. Oh, and the dish looks cute, er uhm, yummy too! I could use a big cup of liquefied caramel corn right about now (never thought I'd utter that phrase again... er, ever)

Congrats on the Washington Post feature - that's so great!! I am still amazed you are doing these recipes -- they all look terrific. Now I have to go and look up what soy lecithin really is - I haven't the faintest clue.

Congrats! Looking forward to your next recipe adventure post.

What a great article--congratulations! I'm following this adventure of yours with pleasure.

I've tried this recipe twice and had issues with the frothing as well. So I'm interested in the solution as well.

First of all, it's Wednesday. My *favorite* day to get the Post. I run out into our driveway in my bare feet and then back up the stairs for some in bed Food section reading. It's like reading your breakfast in bed! And I literally SQUEALED when I saw your article!

Me: "Oh my God! My friend Carol is in the Post for her Alinea website!"

Sleepy Fiance: Who's Carol?

Me: My internet friend! The woman whose blog I read and love. THAT CAROL.

Sleep Fiance: ...

Anyway, great post. I love caramel popcorn, and this looks doable. Excellent article too! You must put that in your scrapbook. If you're into that sort of thing.

Well deserved praise, Carol. What a great article that was. And you continue to impress me with how easy you make these dishes look - because we all know they're anything but that.

What a great surprise to open the paper this morning and see the article. Though, what was the Post thinking with the pictures. Attractive cook gets the small box in the corner, the giant picture taking 1/3 of the above the fold space is of a squeeze bottle!!??! One additional reason why you rock: despite knowing that you would have some extra attention with this posting, you still bust out the word "farty."

Carol, there are few people i truly admire for their perserverence, and you are at the top.

If your writing is any indication of your personality, we could BFF.

I hope, when you begin a book, that the publishers acknowledge their pleasure with donations to your causes, even though you do this for your readers and yourself with no financial ties. Just great!

Congrats on the article! That is so freaking awesome!!! You deserve every word of course.

Hey, sorry about the "song poisoning." It could have been worse. Hmm, I feel like I'm walkin' on sunshine today...

My guess on the popcorn weight thing? Without seeing the recipe, it's possible that the wieght of the pre-popped popcorn plus the weight of the oil it absorbs accounts for the total weight of 125g. Coming up short could just mean that your popcorn didn't absorb as much oil as when the recipe testers wrote everything down.
As an aside, I think this recipe could make a great base for caramel popcorn icecream!

Congrats on the article! That is quite fabulous.

we built this city? I swear I only come to this blog for the musical amusement! j/k- your shot looks like it turned out perfect!

So I think my family was making popcorn in a pan until the early '90's. This was because 1) we eat popcorn for lunch every Sunday, and 2) my parents refused to own a microwave until my mother simultaneously insisted on having the kitchen redone and forcing my father to stop being a paranoid conspiracy theorist about how the microwave would zap our brains.

And second, I did a merry jig this morning on getting the e-mail about the story, and a merrier one on reading it. Today's issue is getting a spot of honor in my giant teetering stack of Wednesday food sections.

The foam acted just as it should have, when doing a foam with an immersion blender the foam can only hold up so much weight before it just collapses back down into liquid. You just need to remove the foam you have made and hit the liquid again with the emmersion blender to make more. If you want to serve a lot of it at once the best way is with a Co2 charger. hope this helps

Congrats on the Washington Post article!! I just saw it in my office's cafe and I thought to myself, wait a minute, I read that blog... The article looks great and I've been enjoying your entries quite a bit. Cheers!

Congratulations on the great press! You are, without a doubt, the queen of the cook-through bloggers, and the accolades are well-deserved.

My wife and I recently rediscovered home-made popcorn a few years ago when microwave popcorn was linked to "butter lung". Like you, we'll never go back.

P.S., I've made a small donation to Share Our Strenght, and I hope all of your readers do. All of us "foodies" have a duty to do something, anything, for those who go without.

Wonderful Post article. Wonderful post Post article post. (sorry)
Several months ago you turned me and my chocolate loving friends on to Turtle ChexMix. As revenge I'd just like to draw your attention to a Whole Foods product that this recipe brings to mind. Their 365 Kettle Corn Sweet & Salty is a deviously delicious snackfood. Like the TurtleMix it is addictive. You have been warned.

Another great post - and, nice close up (love your bangs)! Also your Wrath of Khan reference reminded me of the Jon Lovitz series "The Critic", when he was watching William Shatner host Rescue 911, and the focus was 911 calls from James Caan, followed by the requisite "CAAAAAAAANNN" bellowing - good times.

Congrats on the Washington Post article, and thank you for starting the Share Our Strength campaign.

Hmmmm: 100 g. corn for popping plus 25 g. oil. Minus some % of corn weight lost to the escaping steam in the popping explosions. Minus some % of oil weight lost to residue in the pan. Minus some apparent weight decrease for "hot air balloon effect" inside the still-warm popped corn. Physics *is* your friend, Carol -- no way it *should* have resulted in 125 g. popped corn! Good call to just carry on with the recipe, Captain Kirk. :-)

Trader Joe's Kettle Corn is even better than Whole Foods... :)

mmmmmm . . . Mack & Manco Pizza - THE best pizza in the world!!! great post, but once you mentioned them, I had a hard time paying attention . . .I'd give anything for a slice right now . . .
Ocean City Boardwalk has to have the best collection of food ever - pizza, caramel popcorn, boardwalk fries, lemonade . . . there was this donut place down the end at made fresh powdered donuts in the a.m. and served fresh squeezed orange juice as well . . . SO GOOD!!!

**Carol says: Methinks you're thinking of Brown's Donuts. Mmmmmmmmmmm......**

Congratulations on being on the F'n Post! You need to plodt *awesome 10*

congrats to you! great article.

I've been making homemade popcorn in a pot all my life, and only recently realized that most people are amazed that its even possible to make without using a microwave.

One of my go to party treats is Alton Brown's cracker jack recipe, but now that I'm aware caramel corn is possible in a shot form I'm going to have to give it a try myself.

The only issue is coming up with a way to get alcohol in the shot...

You are a rock-star! Congratulations on the article...Will you remember us when you move on to food-tv stardom? ;-)

The best part of the recipe at the Washington Post is that it gives the nutritional information...Per serving 300 cal, 22g fat, 332g sodium!?! Why does bad stuff have to taste so good?

More vanity shots!! You're adorable.

Love the Ocean City boardwalk refs...most of my memories there revolve around sunburn and traffic, but there was some good stuff there too. Nice to be reminded!

I think the lecithin didn't froth up because you don't have enough surface area. Next time, pour the liquid into a large area like a mixing bowl and hit it with the immersion blender.

What a pleasure to see you in the Post! It has always been a beacon of pleasure ever since we moved to the backside of VA,

Found you on Ruhlman's blog. (It's that Cleveland thing!) Came late to party on FLAH but this time I get to follow you from the start.

Congrats on the article and good wishes for continued success.

P.S. If you ever need the BEST peaches ever- in season of course, let me know!

It's so great to see you get the attention you deserve Carol. Congrats. It is too funny that you decided to remove the peel from the Meyer lemons! Looking forward to that!

As for the weight, looking at the recipe, it seems like they assumed that 100 gr popcorn with 25 gr oil will result in 125 gr popped corn! No way. Good call on not making more. Also your foam looks good, very close to the picture in the book.

What an interesting dish. What an awesome article. Way to go!

My husband and kids love popcorn, but my crazy OCD-ness can't stand the popcorn crumbs and kernels that my little piglets leave behind. But popcorn pudding with caramel foam? I'm all over it.

Awesome article. "Bacon on a sex swing" is so destined to become this year's "Don't tase me bro." But I've been singing my own variation for a few days...

Turtles on a sex swing...Bacon Power!

Congrats on everything. I'm with you for the long haul.

Did you see your shout out on the Awful Truth???!!!

Dear Ted:
No question, you just rock for having French Laundry at Home on your links. You should link her new site too, 'cause Carol is still killing it, and is as funny as ever.

Dear Linksys:
I'll check it out, Carol's a creamy screamy.

**Carol says: I did see the shout-out. I adore Ted, and am honored to be on his blogroll. He's a peach like no other.**

So so awesome and congrats about the article. Thanks for bringing me right back to my childhood at the Jersey Shore eating popcorn and salt water taffy. Those were the days.

I would make this in a heartbeat if I weren't so scared that I would eat nothing else until I died of a caramel overdose. I have no willpower against the stuff.

Thanks so much for bringing some attention to an aspect of our country. We all need to do whatever we can to help those that are going without. These are tough financial times for everyone, but we must remember that we are so lucky to not have to worry about our next meal.

froth tips:

not sure how long you were frothing for, but you can always add a pinch more lecithin and continue to see if that makes a difference. if the lecithin is old, it won't work as well.

for some reason it also seems to work better for me if i hold the vessel with liquid at an angle (so maybe, pour a cup of your liquid in a larger container, tilt, and froth away)

and be sure keep the immersion blender at the very top of the liquid...you want to get a lot of air in there to create the froth.

congrats on the article, btw!

I think sygyzy's point about surface area is likely far more astute, but I wonder if the caramel would froth better once it's cooled to room temperature?

Hi Carol -

Congrats on finishing FL and starting Alinea! I recently gushed about you on my Food and Culinary Professionals listserv of national food and nutrition experts... so don't be surprised if you got a gaggle of new admirers!

I wish I could have been there to taste this yummy treat... words cannot express my love for kettle corn so I have a feeling I would have loved this. By the way, in the glass it looked like cream corn, but I am sure this was actually delicious!

All the best,
Rebecca Scritchfield

Yum!! If I don't receive the Alinea cookbook for Christmas I will be totally despondent, especially after seeing the beautiful results that you are able to achieve. I can't wait to start trying things out. Congrats on the Washington Post article, I can't think of a blogger who deserves it more!! BTW, I made a donation to Share Our Strength through your link. It helped alleviate a small portion of my guilt about spending so much on my foodie habits when others are forced to go hungry.

Belated congrats on the great press! I went looking for you today specifically to donate to Share Our Strength today, which continued to make the cut this year along with my local Western Mass Food Bank and the neighborhood animal shelter. Nice job on that campaign as well.

The popcorn does look compelling but sadly the dish won't make it past my hot syrup ban...I mean burns. Is this going to limit my growth as a cook? Maybe I'd better reconsider.

PS -- we were a Stone Harbor, NJ summer vacay family. :)

Ditto to greater surface area. You're trying to incorporate air and there is so little near the blade when you're doing it in a pitcher.
And likewise, tilting it always works for me.
Generally just try to move your blender in and out of the liquid, almost whisking it.
Can't WAIT to see what this book looks like in a REAL kitchen!!

""I also think it's amazing that 100 grams of popcorn kernels doesn't yield 100 grams of popcorn. Where did the other 7 (or 25 grams) come from?""

I presume the oil.

I "know" Carol from televisionwithoutpity, where I used to be pretty active. Not so much anymore, but that's another story. I was pleasantly surprised (no, I was thrilled) to see her featured in the Post. Like some others, I had that "Hey, I know her!" feeling upon opening the food section. Congratulations and keep up the great blogging work.

On frothing with lecithin: it works better when it's warmer. You can also use one of those 'aero latte' little motorized whisk thingies.

Also, is it against the rules to buy a new blender for your project? I would suggest picking up a vita-prep with adjustable speed. Personally I couldn't work in a kitchen without one, home or restaurant, and I think that it is the one kitchen tool that you cannot substitute. Check it out!


Hello Carol, Ive just gone through your FL adventures and so excited about your new blog here! You are really amazing! I'll be looking forward to your next post :)

Here is The Wall Street Journal review of "Alinea": "You can almost taste the puffs of lavender and other acts of edible wizardry that have made boy-wonder Achatz an icon of invention. 100 detailed recipes for gasping at, but don't even think about cooking them at home."

You really are tackling the Mount Everest of cookbooks! Congrats on a wonderful Washington Post article. Great picture!

Wow... you successfully song poisoned me. I didn't think it would happen. Without even following the link. Marconi, indeed.

First... I never imagined such glamorous green eyes! I've always loved your mind, now I love your body, too! LOL!

I just tried a very hacked up version of this that I really hate to post here, but I have no pride...

Microwave popcorn, unmeasured ingredients. No soy lecithin, no simple syrup. Just whipped the popcorn up with the approximate amounts of butter, sugar, and salt. Figured I'd bring some caramelized sugar to a hardball stage and try whipping it into a cotton candy with my el-cheapo immersion blender, since I didn't have any soy lecithin. OK... good enough concept, but did you know that the plastic guard around the blade of an el-cheapo immersion blender will melt in molten caramel? Me, neither. But I do now.

So much for the trailer-trash version of this recipe. I did taste it... wish I hadn't. But I did at least get a hint of where it might go when properly prepared.

Remember that old saying, "Cheaters never prosper"? I tried to cheat.

Carol, Congratulations on the great press!! The Post is my hometown paper too, and I'm also a big fan of Ed Bruske who also rights for them often.

Share Our Strength is a great, great great organization! I've been working with them for years... I love that their mission is to alleviate hunger through self sufficiency (my interpretation..).

I also tried this dish,... twice.. each time I had trouble with the foaming.. second time closer but not quite right.. I think that a combo of cooler, larger surface area, and tilting will do the trick.... still tasted awesome.. keep up the good work

congratulations on the article! so very cool :)

re: the foam.

the immersion blender will work i wouldn't recommend pulling the blade in and out, it will overstress the foam, instead hold the blender on an angle with part of the blade rotating out of the liquid. Had the same problem the first time i tried a foam and scoured the world for the right answer. I'm totally gonna try this, and possibly as an ice cream (;)).

love your blog, keep it up!!


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  • Your comments and questions are welcome. However, please think of this web site as if it were my dining room table, and make sure your comments reflect the manner in which you'd treat someone in their home, as if you'd only just met them and were sitting across from them, sharing a meal. I've got thick skin and can take constructive criticism (because ultimately, we all learn from it), but nasty, rude, grossly off-topic, attacking, baiting, or blatantly self-promotional comments aren't welcome and won't be posted. It's just not cool.