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Sunday, June 12, 2016

I finally taught myself how to use a stovetop percolator

More than 10 years ago, I bought a stovetop coffee percolator, just in case I might need it.  I never used it.

I figured it was simple to use-- just put water in the bottom, coffee in the top, and boil on the stove, right?

Well, yes, but there's a method to using it-- otherwise, the coffee will be no good. 

So today, I finally taught myself the right way to use a stovetop percolator.

How much water and coffee depends on how many cups you want; I made four.

Four cups of water, five tablespoons of coffee.  Note that the standard is ONE tablespoon of coffee to ONE cup of water, but I like my coffee a bit stronger, so I add an extra tablespoon.

You don't need to add a coffee filter if you use coarse ground coffee, which you're really supposed to use for percolators anyway.  To get coarse ground coffee, you have to buy whole bean coffee and then grind it with a coffee grinder on the coarse setting.

Once you've added your water in the bottom and coffee in the top, put it on the stove.  If you have a gas stove, use medium heat; if you have an electric stove, use medium high heat.  Bring the water to a boil.

Watch the top of the coffee pot.  It will have a see-thru knob.  When you see water coming up through the knob, reduce the heat a notch or two and start the timer.

You want it to "percolate" for 8 minutes.

When 8 minutes are up, turn off the heat and remove the coffee maker.  Let it cool for a couple of minutes.

Notice I wrote this shortly after I wrote my previous article about popcorn.  Yep, I had popcorn and coffee.  What a combination, for a lonely Sunday evening.

Using the Hamilton Beach popcorn popper

Yes, I know.  I just made popcorn the other day.  And now I've made popcorn again; This time with the Hamilton Beach electric popcorn popper.

First, you must take the black lid cover off the clear plastic lid.  This allows the steam to escape.  Don't forget to take it off!

Then add 3/4 cup of popcorn and 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil.  I use Orville Redenbacher popcorn oil, but you can use cooking oil.

Put the lid on, making sure you have taken the black cover off the lid.  If you want butter, you can put up to four thin pats of butter on the steam holes, so it can melt into the popcorn while it's popping.

Plug in the popcorn maker, and it will begin to work.

Once popping has slowed to 1 second between pops (and the machine will be pretty full by this time), unplug the machine.

Now put the black lid cover on the lid, especially if you had butter on top.  

Turn the machine upside down, because the lid will be used as the popcorn bowl.  Take the machine off the lid.

Now you have freshly popped popcorn.

I made my first banana bread

Today I made my first banana bread.

It was done out of necessity.  I had three over ripe bananas and had to do something with them.

So I peeled the bananas, and mashed them in a bowl until they became smooth.

Melted half a stick of butter in the microwave, and mixed it in with the bananas.

Added 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla, 1 beaten egg, and mixed it all together.

Then added 1 1/2 cups of SELF RISING flour.  Self rising flour is important.  If you don't use self rising flour, then you will also need 1 pinch of salt and 1 tsp baking soda.

Mixed in the flour until it became a batter.

Poured the batter into a loaf pan.

Into the oven at 350 degrees.  Mine was done in about 30 minutes.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

the presto microwave popcorn popper

What?  This isn't "ramblings on microwaves!"  Whatever happened to cooking popcorn in cast iron?

Well, yes, I have done that before, but this is not your usual microwave popcorn.  It's an actual popcorn popper, that you use to cook real popcorn in the microwave.

It's very easy to use.

You need a Presto Powercup concentrator, to put at the bottom of the popper, or it won't work.  You can buy the concentrators wherever the poppers are sold, or online.

So, put a concentrator at the bottom of the bowl.  Then add 1/3 cup of loose popcorn kernels, and 2 tbsp of oil.  I use Orville Redenbacher popcorn oil.

Put it in the microwave for about 3 minutes, or until it stops popping, whichever comes first.

Add salt and whatever seasonings you like.  Don't add too much salt, like I just did.