I have mentioned in previous columns and blog entries my affinity for certain television shows – my guilty pleasures, if you will.  The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise has me hooked, and I fully admit it.  We all need those breaks in life that allows us to not have to focus on anything too serious, to relax, and to just have fun. Another new guilty pleasure I’ve added to my list is Scandal.  I love me some Olivia Pope.  Mostly I love her wardrobe, but that’s another column all together.

The character of Olivia Pope has style, finesse, and a certain gumption that I particularly enjoy. And, of course she always looks fabulous when taking on the world.  There is one characteristic of Ms. Pope that truly resonates. She loves her wine. Not cheap wine, mind you. The good stuff. Some of my favorite scenes in the show are when she’s wearing her silk pajama bottoms with a cozy sweater and eating popcorn while drinking her expensive wine. I want this life.  How sophisticated is that? Of course, her life will eventually become chaos and she’ll spend four to six weeks sorting it all out, only to have her popcorn/wine dinner interrupted again. On second thought, maybe I don’t want that life.  But, I do confess that I’m not opposed to dining on popcorn for dinner.

This is especially true when I’ve eaten a large lunch late in the day and I’m not overly hungry. I just want to relax and have something to munch on. I don’t always indulge in the wine part, but I’ do enjoy a nice cabernet sauvignon now and again.

Although the summer tour season has ended, my days haven’t gotten any shorter. I am rapidly preparing for my winter tour, putting things into place for next summer, and traveling. It is conference season and I enjoy going to workshops and conferences to stay on top of the food scene, writing, eating, and the food world in general.

Last month I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle.  After the conference, I was treated to a wonderful VIP tour of the Chateau St. Michelle winery in Woodinville, Washington. While there, I participated in a delicious tasting of six wines with a small food pairing. Donna, our host, was quite knowledgeable of the wines, which enhanced the experience significantly.  One of the tastings was a sparkling wine served with popcorn topped with truffle salt.  Talk about decadent.  It was salty and earthy at the same time and paired perfectly with the bubbly.  I want to thank the folks with Chateau St. Michelle for the opportunity to tour their lovely facilities.

I have been unable to get that popcorn out of my mind, and decided I needed to recreate the recipe. Of course, I had to “Midgi” it and make it just a tiny bit more decadent and popped the corn in duck fat. I topped it with the truffle salt, opened a bottle of wine and lived the life of a wealthy television character.  I had on flannel PJs, but it still counts, right? I felt the dish needed a unique name. Something whimsical, something with flare, something ridiculous.  Therefore, I have christened this delicious, decadent popcorn, Olivia Pope-corn.  Yep, it’s corny, but so what? It’s fun and that’s what matters.

This week I present a recipe that was as much fun to eat as it was to make: Olivia Pope-corn. I hope that each of us gets a chance to experience a little decadence in life. Truthfully, there’s nothing more decadent and beautiful than a Southeast Alaskan sunset and there’s no amount of wine or popcorn that can measure up to that.  Even if I had silk pajamas.

As I travel next week to anther food conference, I’ll be on the lookout for new and great cooking ideas to share.

Until next time…

Eat and enjoy,



½ tablespoon duck fat

¼ cup popcorn kernels

3 pinches of truffle salt

Heat duck fat in medium pot to medium high temperature.  Melt thoroughly and add popcorn kernels.  Cover with lid and cook popcorn until popping slows. Be sure to shake the pot and hold the lid on tight.  Remove from heat.

Pour into bowl and sprinkle with truffle salt.  A little goes a long way so try it before you add an additional truffle salt. Also, a little regular salt may be needed to add that perfect seasoning ratio.

This recipe makes about two cups of popped popcorn.

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