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This totally addictive snack is a great diversion when watching horror movies on TV or with beer when watching football. To make an Indian-flavored popcorn, replace the spices below with 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon hot New Mexican chile powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash ground cinnamon
12 cups pre-popped popcorn
Non-Stick cooking spray
Preheat the over to 200 degrees F. In a small bowl, stir together cumin, chile powder, salt, and cinnamon.
Spread the popped popcorn in an even layer in a large shallow baking pan. Lightly coat the popcorn with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over popcorn, then toss to coat.
Place in the oven for 10 minutes to warm it up.
Yield: 8 servings
Heat Scale: Mild
Brilliant Bayou Pumpkin Seed Snack
Neighbors stop by unexpectedly? Don't panic. You can whip up this fun snack in less time than it takes to polish off a beer or two. Of course, the trick is to have these ingredients on hand at all times. This is easily accomplished, as pumpkin seeds last practically forever when kept in a cool, dry place in an airtight bag or jar.
1 egg white
2 teaspoons commercial Cajun seasoning powder
1 teaspoon safflower oil
8 ounces shelled, unsalted pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces lite cream cheese, softened
Cayenne powder to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg white, cajun seasoning, and safflower oil. Add the pumpkin seeds and stir to coat. Spread the seeds on a non-stick baking sheet, and sprinkle with the salt. Bake the seeds for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
Remove the seeds from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Place them in the refrigerator if you need them to cook down quickly.
Place the softened brick of lite cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Stir the seeds into the cream cheese and then place the mixture into a small, attractive serving dish. Place the dish on a platter and then put the crackers around the dish.
Yield: 4 servings
Heat Scale: Medium
Sweet Potato Chips Dusted with Chimayo Red Chile
This snack is a hot twist on party chips. I have had great success in substituting sweet potatoes for potatoes in many recipes.
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch wafers
Vegetable oil for deep frying
1 tablespoon New Mexican hot red chile powder
Heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees in a deep skillet. Separate the potatoes into 6 portions. Fry each batch, turning once, for 1 minute or until they are golden. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chips to a paper towel to drain and cool. Continue until all potato chips are fried and cooled.
Place the red chile powder in a medium sized plastic bag. Again working in batches, place the chips in the bag and close. Shake the bag gently to dust the chips with the powder. After each batch is dusted, transfer to a napkin-lined basket and serve.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Heat Scale: Medium