Kate Payne is someone whose work I really admire and her second book just came out. It’s called The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen: A Hit-the-Ground Running Approach to Stocking Up and Cooking Delicious, Nutritious, and Affordable Meals: I absolutely adore it.
The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen is not a typical cookbook. In Kate’s words, it’s more of a “friend, someone sitting with you helping to bust your fears in the kitchen”. From the introduction, I learned that though she always loved the idea of cooking, for much of her life Kate did not feel good about the reality of preparing food for herself and others. Kate was not someone who naturally loved to cook…it stressed her out.
A few years ago, Kate decided to work through her discomfort and take charge of the “sustenance cooking” in her household due to reasons related to food quality, nutrition, and economics. She set out to “master” wholesome, delicious, budget-friendly everyday cooking and along the way, this book was born. I think anyone who is struggling to feel themselves nourishing food on a daily basis will get a ton out of The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen. (But I got a ton out of it and I already consider myself a pretty confident/competent cook.)
As I mentioned above, this isn’t the kind of cookbook you may be accustomed to. There are some recipes, yes, but mostly it is filled with extremely helpful tips and advice, as well as info on techniques for making pretty much anything from scratch. Reading through, I was particularly impressed with how Kate tackles tough issues such as how to eat “real” food when you are on a really tight budget; she also discusses the problem of food waste quite a bit, and I was pleased to see this.
The way Kate writes is incredibly down to earth and funny (ex. Chapter 5 is called “Kitchen Kick-Ass”) and the book is really so inspiring: you can read the whole thing- or just snippets of it- and I am willing to bet money that when you put the book down, you’ll be excited to go create something in your kitchen.
To honor what I love about this book, I chose to make some Garlic Parmesan Popcorn. This isn’t a recipe that’s in the book, but it’s very much inspired by Kate’s words on page 161. Popcorn is so easy to make, and so delicious when it’s homemade, and yet so many of us don’t spend the time to do it…we make microwave popcorn instead.
There are some potential health concerns with microwave popcorn (which Kate does mention in the book), but that’s only part of why I prefer homemade popcorn to the microwave variety. I prefer it mostly because I can flavor it how I like! Some melted real butter and sea salt is always wonderful, but it’s so fun to get creative with popcorn. There are lots of different ways you can season it- from truffle salt to curry (both mentioned by Kate in the book) to other spices, to sweet popcorn…raid your pantry and have fun with it! I certainly had fun coming up with this Garlic Parmesan Popcorn which I’ve never made before (and I’ll definitely be making it again…it’s delicious).
To make popcorn on the stovetop, here’s what you do, according to Kate:
1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot (I used olive oil; I like coconut oil-popped popcorn, too) over medium-high heat for a few minutes until the oil runs easily and looks hot.
2. Drop a few kernels of dried corn in the pan and put the lid on.
3. When those kernels pop, remove them and pour 1/2 cup kernels into the pan, then replace the lid.
4. Shake the pan back and forth on the burner so the kernels are evenly coated in oil and distribute properly throughout popping. This will take about 5-10 minutes.
To make Garlic Parmesan Popcorn (like I did for the popcorn you see here):
1. Transfer the popped corn to a large bowl and in the pot you popped it in, melt some butter with a little olive oil (for approximately 10 cups popped corn, I used about 4 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil).
2. When the butter/oil is nice and hot, add thinly sliced garlic (I used 6 pretty fat cloves) and let it sizzle for a bit until the garlic (and the butter/oil) is starting to brown (be sure not to burn the garlic).
3. Remove the pot from the heat and immediately add the popcorn back to the pot. Carefully toss the popcorn with the help of a big spoon or tongs so it’s all covered with the buttery/oily garlic, then add the Parmesan right away and toss so all of the popcorn kernels are coated as evenly as possible. I used about 4 heaping tablespoons of Parmesan but you may want to add more…this is your popcorn now. Add some freshly ground black pepper and toss some more. Taste and add a little sea salt (or more Parmesan), if you like.
Also be sure to check out my fellow bloggers who are part of Kate’s virtual book tour:
*Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen from Harper Design, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. All thoughts expressed in this post are 100% mine.