Pictured Above: L: Mandee K. Hammerstein’s “Jackson Pollock Popcorn”, R: Artist Jackson Pollock. Photo Credit: Mandee K. Hammerstein for Arts News Now and Sothbys.com
Your Kitchen, Your Studio - Artful Holiday Cooking Hacks
By: Arts News Now Contributors, Louise Feder, Lori Goldstein, Mandee K. Hammerstein
December 12, 2023.
Arts News Now contributors offer up their fun and straightforward, holiday dishes where the kitchen becomes the studio, just in time for the holidays and yummy treat sharing!
JACKSON POLLOCK POPCORN (aka Chocolate Drizzle & Peppermint Popcorn)
by Mandee Hammerstein
Founder and Editor, Mandee Hammerstein turns the baking pan into a canvas, getting abstract with a super-simple, not so sinful holiday treat with her “Jackson Pollock Popcorn.” The hardest part of this recipe is peeling the plastic off the candy canes as you anticipate the deliciousness ahead!
No oven needed!
-1 cup of air-pop popcorn kernels (Pop Secret Jumbo Kernels recommended)
If an air-popper isn’t handy, use two bags of natural flavored microwave popcorn instead
-Popcorn butter spray – to taste (traditional melted skews soggy). Olive oil spray is also tasty and healthy substitute over butter spray
-Tablespoon of Iodized Salt – or to taste
-Himalayan Sea Salt – for visual taste as garnish upon chocolate drizzle
-1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
-6 smashed peppermint candy canes (Brach’s is recommended)
-1/2 bag of chocolate chips (Ghirardelli is best, dark was used)
-1/4 cup of Ghirardelli vanilla chips
-1 cup of walnut pieces
-Green sugar sprinkles
Pop the kernels, spread over your baking sheet, then lightly spray with butter or olive oil spray
Add the teaspoon of iodized table salt – sample as you go, don’t make it too salty
After lightly coating the popped corn with spray and salt, sprinkle brown sugar – if it clumps here and there, no worries
In a dry zip lock bag, pour in the walnuts and add candy canes, now take out any holiday frustrations out on this bag, using a wooden spoon, crush the contents. Don’t totally maul, the candy canes especially make for a nice visual garnish intermixed in the final, artistic presentation. Be sure to save then use any leftover candy cane powder created to further sprinkle atop the popcorn too at the very end!
Using a total of a ½ bag of the Ghirardelli chocolate chips, pour a ¼ of the bag (don’t melt too much at once) into a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval until reaching a milky (thicker milk if you can imagine) consistency
This is where the Jackson Pollock embodiment comes in. Bring the chocolate bowl over the popped corn baking sheet, taking a tablespoon, dip it into the melted chocolate and start drizzling or splattering (depends on your mood) over your popcorn canvas (baking sheet)
Sprinkle the smashed walnuts and candy cane mixture on to the newly warmed chocolate drizzle – let it stick if possible
After the chocolate hardens a bit (within a few minutes – take a walk, use the bathroom or nap), move around any potential untouched popcorn, melt the other ¼ of the bag of chocolate chips and do more of your best Pollock by adding more chocolate drizzle. While moving around popcorn layers be gentle, don’t smear your drizzling/splattering artistry. Repeat step six upon the drizzle, adding more smashed walnuts and candy canes. Sometimes lightly adding more butter or olive oil spray is ok in between these steps
Add in the vanilla chips, think of it as a ribbon of tasty, monochromatic garnish to be gleefully discovered as an added accent throughout the work of art
On the final top layer, time to get a little splashy with green sprinkles and Himalayan sea salt – don’t over do it, it’s more for holiday visual appeal than for taste
Finally, present your popcorn canvas in your favorite bowl or bag it up with a bow and gift it as a hostess treat!
Note: Consider refrigerating the final popcorn, hardening the chocolate and preserving the treat til your ready to bag it up – it should last for 3-5 days
MANDELBROT (aka Jewish Biscotti)
by Lori Goldstein
Music Features Writer Lori Goldstein share on how to make Jewish Biscotti in six easy steps and 7 (or 8 ingredients). Lori quadrupled the ingredients below, making 80 Mandelbrots!
Set oven at 350.
-1/2 c. canola or vegetable oil
-1/2 c sugar
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp baking powder
-1-1/2 c flour
-1/2 c of whatever combination you prefer: nuts (almonds,walnuts, or pecans) chocolate chips, or dried cranberries
Combine eggs, oil, sugar and beat well
Add cinnamon, baking powder, 1/2c combo, and flour and mix well
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hr.
Form into 4 2-inch wide loaves on a sprayed cookie sheet
Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 min.
Cut loaves into 1/2-3/4-inch slices, turn slices and bake for about 7 minutes more.
Pictured Above: Feature writer Louise Feder’s “Survival Lunch.” Photo Credit: Louise Feder.
by Louise Feder
Arts Features writer Louise Feder shares her holiday sanity secret when it comes to a quick and healthy meal on the go, amongst all the holiday hustling.
Listen, I love the holiday season. The decorations, the music, the parties, the extreme, ever-growing levels of excitement in both of my kids the second we turn on the lights – it’s the best. But also? I am exhausted. Like, all the time. And coming up with meals that are both interesting and easy is not exactly at the top of my to-do list these days.
Enter the survival lunch. First introduced to me by the always-brilliant Felicia Moore, it’s food that’s filling, delicious, fast, and almost never requires a frantic run to the grocery store (which, thank goodness, because who has time for that?). It’s basically the creative working person’s grand prize.
All you need is an onion (any kind, but I prefer red), a can of chickpeas, a crumbly cheese (feta is my favorite), and fresh herbs if you’ve got them (it’s not exactly wintery, but I’m a cilantro addict). With a glug of olive oil, cook the onions in a decently sized skilled until they’re caramelized. Then open up the can of chickpeas, rinse them, blot dry, and pour them into the skillet too. Season with salt, and any warm spices you like – I’ve been really into a zaatar blend lately. Cook on medium heat for a few more minutes – you’re looking for a bit of crisp on the chickpeas. Then reduce the heat to low, crumble your chosen cheese on top and cover for a couple minutes. Finally, remove the cover to find melty goodness on top of some flavorful crisp. Scoop into a bowl, pop a bit of chopped herbs on top and you’re good to go!
If you have an extra five minutes, try making a quick yogurt dip to drizzle on top. All I do is whisk a generous scoop or two of plain, whole fat yogurt with a little bit of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and more of the chopped herbs from earlier. That’s it, I promise!
Eat while ignoring all responsibilities for a blissful 40 minutes. Then roll those shoulders, take a couple deep breaths, and dive back into the seasonal responsibilities that await – this time with a full belly and a touch of onion breath. Survival lunch for the win.