And the Winner Is….

Who caught the Top Chef Finale last night? I think the final competition is always one of my favorites. There are no weird challenges, no gimmicks to get viewer ratings, no stupid tasks that have nothing to do with cooking, its just the chef and their food, their way. They get the chance to create their ultimate tasting menu for the judges. This season did not disappoint. Both chefs brought their A game and served incredible meals.

The final two came down to Sarah vs Paul. I was rooting for Paul.

I’ve liked Paul’s dishes since the second or third episode. I think he’s creative and consistent with his dishes. Sarah was always a little bit up and down and I wasn’t always crazy about her flavor choices. I think Paul also has better skills in the kitchen and keeps his head under pressure, two essentials to being a great chef.

They both prepared heavenly meals and I wish I could have been one of those lucky judges to get to eat both incredible meals. In the end, my choice prevailed an Paul took home the title of Top Chef for season 9!

All in all, it was a good season, however I  was annoyed at how obviously Bravo tried to use stupid challenges to create drama and gain viewers. They also drug out the season by adding the first few episodes that narrowed down the top 16 from 29. I miss the challenges that were mostly about cooking and less about how good you are at riding a bike, cross country skiing, or shooting a gun. But such is the way of a successful reality show.

The only question left to ask is, when are they going to do a Top Chef Philadelphia already?!

Anyone else catch the finale last night? Were you rooting for Paul or Sarah?

“Real” Popcorn

There’s a joke between Eric and I that was created by Eric’s mom, she always uses the adjective “real” to describe anything that is made from scratch or is hand crafted or requires a lot of skill; it is deemed as “real” as opposed to, well not as good. Example: cake from a mix is fine but cake from scratch is “REAL” cake or jam that you made at home and didn’t buy from the grocery store is “REAL” jam. We commonly use this terminology and always have a nice laugh, each visit from his parents includes a reference to something that is truly “real”. It’s the REAL thing!

Well, Eric’s mom would be proud of us because this weekend, we made REAL popcorn. Not in a popcorn popper and not in the microwave but in a pot on the stove. It was SO easy and tasted better than any other popcorn you can get.

All you need is a large pot with a lid, canola oil, popcorn (I got Orville Redenbocker) and butter and salt for on top.

Start by coating the bottom of the cold pot in 3-4 tablespoons of oil.

Add 1 cup of the popcorn kernels to the cold pot and shake them to coat with oil. Turn the heat onto medium and gently shake the pot back and forth every minute or so. Keep the lid off and wait for the first kernel to pop.

Once it pops, put the lid on and continue to shake the pot back and forth until the popping stops.

Melt some butter in the microwave and pour it over your popcorn and then season with salt.

Talk about yum! None of the kernels burnt, the popcorn didn’t taste like it was coated in chemicals and the fresh butter was so delicious. The only drawback was that 1 cup of popcorn made a ton! We had to throw more than half of it away so I think next time I’ll try making only 1/4 cup of the kernels in a little bit of a smaller pot, but not too small you need to give the kernels room to pop.

What is it about popcorn that as soon as you see it or smell it you want to eat some? Even writing this post right now I have a strong desire to go down to the kitchen and pop up some more. How about you guys? Has this post given you a popcorn craving?

I’ll never make microwave popcorn again. I love “REAL” popcorn!

Here’s how you make it:

“Real” Popcorn
Author: Red Velvet
Prep time: 2 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 12 mins
Serves: 6
  • 3-4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup popcorn kernels
  • salt
  • salted butter, melted
  1. Pour canola oil into a large pot with a lid.
  2. Add the popcorn kernels to cold oil and shake gently to make sure each kernel is well coated with the oil.
  3. Cook the popcorn over medium heat with the lid off, shaking the pot gently back and forth until the first kernel pops.
  4. Place the lid on and continue to shake the pot back and forth until the popping slows and stops.
  5. Remove from heat and pour over the melted butter and toss with salt.