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Author Notes: When I was diagnosed with a corn allergy some time back, I knew that I would miss-- more than corn on the cob, more than creamy polenta, more than handmade corn tortillas, and even more than Doritos-- popcorn. There is practically no point of watching a movie either in a theater or on the comfort of your couch if you cannot have a bowl of buttery, salty, cheesy popcorn on your lap.
Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but still.
I tried all kinds of other substitutions to fill the crunchy-savory void-- crackers of all types, Chex-type mixes, pretzels, potato chips, pita chips, nori, nuts, seeds, papdums, roasted garbanzo beans. But nothing came close to satisfying my popcorn fixation until I came upon the idea to toast rice cakes and season them the way I would popcorn.
Sometimes I'll use freshly grated parmesan, a sprinkle of pimentón, or a little garlic powder on my Not-corn. You can try this recipe with whatever seasonings and toppings you like best (Old Bay! Lawry's Seasoned Salt! fake cheese powder!), or try using a flavored rice cake like sesame or tamari. Whatever you choose, just be sure you have a great movie to go with it. —vvvanessa
Makes a big bowl of snackage, or about 8 cups
- 1 package plain rice cakes, or 12 rice cakes
- unsalted butter
- olive oil
- nutritional yeast
- Heat oven to 400ºF.
- On a large, rimmed sheet pan, break up the rice cakes into bite-sized pieces and spread them out evenly in a single layer. A lot of it will fall apart into tiny bits, but it'll still be delicious.
- Toast the rice cakes for 5-8 minutes, just until they are heated through and crisp up a little.
- While the rice cakes are in the oven, melt a few tablespoons or more of butter and/or olive oil. (I usually use about 4 tablespoons total.) Remove the rice cakes from the oven, and while they're still on the sheet, drizzle the butter/olive oil over them.
- Season generously with salt and nutritional yeast, and stir well to combine and coat the Not-corn. I find that a flat-sided spatula works well to help scrape up the good parts from the bottom of the tray.
- Pour into a big bowl and eat immediately, just like you would the real stuff, licking your fingers every so often and taking big, satisfying swigs of an ice cold soda.
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