Spicy Caramel Popcorn Recipe (Yield: 4 quarts)

December 3rd, 2013 by Nina Macdonald

This recipe was covered in the Edible Gifts Class

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 cups salted nuts (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt or flaky sea salt
  1. Lightly coat two large, heatproof rubber spatulas and a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Have two large baking sheets ready.
  2. In a large saucepan or pot with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn kernels, cover and keep the saucepan moving until all of the kernels have popped, about 5 minutes. You can also use an air popper.
  3. Transfer to the prepared bowl, removing any unpopped kernels. Toss with salted nuts.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the baking soda and cayenne pepper.
  5. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, salt and 1/2 cup water.
  6. Cook over high heat, without stirring, until the mixture becomes a light golden-yellow caramel, 10 to 14 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the baking-soda mixture (the mixture will bubble up).
  7. Immediately pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn. Work quickly and be careful not to get any caramel on your skin.
  8. Use the sprayed spatulas to toss the caramel and popcorn together until the popcorn is well coated.
  9. Spread the popcorn onto the baking sheets and quickly separate them into small pieces while still warm. Cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.

Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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November 2013 Edible Gift Cooking Class Recap

December 3rd, 2013 by Nina Macdonald

On Saturday November 10th we gathered on a sunny afternoon for a hands-on class  to learn how to make some edible gifts. These are gifts you can give as a hostess gift or as gifts for the holiday, instead of buying a gift.

Thirteen students gathered in Linda Elbert’s large downstairs kitchen to learn and make Salts and Spice Blends including Lemon, Fennel and Chili Salt, Rosemary Salt and Japanese-inspired Matcha Salt made from the premium green tea Matcha. We also learned how to whip together Lebneh, a Mediterranean cheese made from yogurt which we shaped into small balls and rolled in dried oregano and dried thyme. As the final step to creating a gift the Lebneh was placed in a  jar with olive oil, bay leaves and red chili flakes, making for a pretty presentation and excellent storage. We also made Flatbread Crackers from scratch that would be great paired with the Lebneh.EdibleGiftCookingClassGifts

Linda demonstrated how to make Pear Port and Thyme Conserve, a recipe requiring the water bath method of canning. For those wondering a conserve is different from a jelly or jam in that pectin is not added, and the conserve contains dried fruits and nuts which gives it a chunky texture. The crackers would also go well with this dish. Even though we did not each make the conserve,  everyone got to take home a mason jar of the conserve previously prepared.

The final recipe we covered was Spicy Caramel Popcorn — a great stocking stuffer or holiday treat.

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Chair’s December Message

December 3rd, 2013 by Nina Macdonald

Dear Slow Food OC,

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and community.  Very soon we have the opportunity to celebrate the founding of Slow Food with Terra Madre Day (December 10).  Think of this as another opportunity to gather with friends and family and share a “slow food” experience.  Look at the wonderful foods on the Ark of Taste: http://www.slowfoodusa.org/biodiversity . This is a beautiful new webpage with an great explanation of the Ark of Taste and a current list of the products on the Ark.  Choose one of the items for a Terra Madre Day meal.  If you do this please let us know about it – send a note and photo that we can post on our blog to share with the Slow Food Community! Send it to .

On another note, I am going to take some time to talk about the Bommer Canyon Barbecue.  We have had many inquiries about the Barbecue such as “when will we have this event again?” and “why didn’t we have a barbecue this past year?”  The Barbecue served two purposes. First, it was the major fundraiser for Slow Food Orange County.  The funds we raised supported school and community garden programs, promoted local food artisans and “slow” events in our local food community.  The barbecue was also an opportunity to share a meal showcasing the local seasonal foods of our community with family and friends.

Although these are both important goals, the chapter Steering Committee has reluctantly come to the conclusion that our convivium is not ready to put on a Barbeque in 2014; however, we still hope that it will be possible to plan another similar event in 2015.  Slow Food Orange County is an all-volunteer group. Over the past couple of years several members of our steering committee who planned and organized the barbecue have moved out of the area or have had commitments that did not allow them to take an active role in planning an event of this scale. 

This past year we have focused on recruiting new members to our leadership team.  We are continuing to look for volunteers willing to plan and organize projects, and particularly those with experience and interest in fund raising and/or organizing large events.  In the meantime we have taken the approach of raising funds for our projects and to support micro grants through smaller, more frequent events such as small dinners, classes, tours, and other events.  This has proven an effective approach with a smaller volunteer group.  We  also have been developing partnerships with like-minded organizations with whom we can plan larger events. We will continue to hold these smaller events but look forward to working with new members on a future large barbecue type event.   Please let us know if you are would like to get involved in working on a future fund-raising dinner event. We love sharing Slow Food with the larger community.

Happy Holidays,

Linda-ElbertLinda Elbert, Chair
Slow Food OC

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