But it was worth the wait. I decided to make a recipe in honor of Elote Café, the wonderful star of restaurants in Sedona, Arizona that my bestie Heather and I visited in early December. They don’t take reservations, so they pass out unlimited amounts of this seasoned popcorn for guests while they wait. We didn’t have a long wait, so I only got to try a little bit before we were seated with the best jalapeño margarita I’ve ever tasted—
except for The Husband’s, of course. I didn’t have all the spices that he uses, so I couldn’t make the exact recipe. If you’d like that one, you’ll have to buy Jeff Smedstad‘s cookbook! I bought one at the restaurant, and he was kind enough to sign it. He was a very humble chef, which was wonderful to experience in this day and age of celebrity chefs.
Heather read most of the cookbook to me on the trip back from Sedona, and how nice was that!? So many recipes sounded delicious. Our tummies were rumbling so much for Mexican food that we had to stop in Blythe to get a burrito! (Good burrito, scary place. I would recommend packing a lunch and driving through, as I was told to do by those in the know.)
So anyway, back to the popcorn. This was perfect for a rainy day in front of the TV watching a movie with The Husband. It was the tail end of his birthday weekend, so we were chilling and keeping out of the wet weather. Time for a snack? Oh, yes please, says The Husband. And off I went to the kitchen. Do you know the secret of popping an excellent batch of popcorn
It’s a frying pan. Yep, pop popcorn once in a frying pan (with a lid, of course) and you’ll never go back. I learned that trick from my friend Rebekah in Santa Barbara years ago, and it’s the best. I’ve also started using coconut oil too, which just makes popcorn absolutely dreamy with no need for butter. And you don’t have to worry about the oil burning! Coconut oil is perfect for high temperatures on the stove.
So make your spice mix, get out the Orville’s and get popping. We watched Moneyball, but the movie choice is up to you.
A Version of Elote Café’s Palomitos
1/4 cup sea salt
1 tsp sugar (I used extra-fine baker’s sugar)
1/4 tsp granulated garlic/garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin (freshly toasted and ground, of course!)
1/4 tsp cayenne
1-1/2 tsp ground ancho chile powder
Combine the spices and stir well, making sure no clumps are left in the mixture.
For the popcorn:
1/4 cup high-quality popcorn
1 large tablespoon coconut oil
Get a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan and heat the coconut oil on high. Throw in three popcorn kernels and cover. I happen to have a frying pan with a clear lid, which makes things pretty easy all round—and quite fun as the corn starts to pop! I guess I’m still a little kid like that.
Once all three kernels have popped, you’re ready to go with the rest. Open your frying pan’s lid and throw in the rest of the popcorn kernels; cover again quickly. Give the frying pan a shake, holding on to the lid if necessary. Nobody wants hot, flying corn kernels in the kitchen, trust me.
As the corn gets popping, keep shaking the pan over the heat. Make sure you have your bowl at the ready as the popping noises come to a stop. Pour the popcorn into a bowl, and season with the spice mixture, above. Add slowly, mix it then taste—you can always add more, but you can’t take it out. The Husband thought it was too salty, so I probably added too much to the mix. I liked it though!