As you probably know by now, I love The Voice on NBC (I mean, there was even this cake). So you can imagine how thrilled I was when they asked me to participate in their new #VoiceTailgate: a place for fans to connect with the coaches, contestants and others across social media before every live show (check it out on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest). What's my part, you ask? I will be creating a special appetizer and beverage (with Carson's help in that department) to contribute to the social party, Voice-themed of course, and then YOU can recreate it at home for your own viewing pleasure! First up, popcorn!
Who doesn't love popcorn? No, seriously, who? Come out, come out, whoever you are, so I can study your brain. It's a classic snack that brings people together (unless you're me at the movies because I will NOT share my popcorn oh, no). Place a large bowl of it on a coffee table with The Voice on the TV and you'll have an instant snack fest. The best part is you don't have to rely on those microwavable bags full of lordknowswhat because it's extremely simple to make from scratch. All you need is a pot, some kernels, oil and salt, and after that... the possibilities are endless. You can create your own unique flavor, as I did here for each of the four coaches:
Classic Pop for Adam (get it? pop music? get it?), RED hot buffalo-flavored popcorn for Usher (okay I know his shoes are gold this year, but just go with it), kettle corn for sweet Shakira with a touch of salty sass and bacon plus whiskey for Blake. That one needs no explanation.
How do you pop? (I should write commercials...)
VOICE TAILGATE POPCORN: 4 Ways
For the popcorn (makes 3 1/2-4 quarts):
3 tablespoons vegetable (or canola/peanut) oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
Place oil and kernels in a large pot, and turn heat to medium. Cover, leaving lid slightly ajar to let steam out. It may take a few minutes to begin popping. Once popping slows down considerably, remove from heat. Be careful when removing lid, as kernels will continue to pop.
Blake's Maple Bourbon Bacon:
6 slices of bacon
1/3 cup good maple syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon
Preheat oven to 400. Place the bacon on a foil lined baking sheet (you can also use a baking rack if you have one). Bake for 15 minutes. While baking, whisk together the maple syrup and bourbon in a small bowl. Carefully remove bacon, and brush with syrup on both sides (reserving some of the syrup for later). Place back in oven and cook for another 5 minutes. Let cool on a rack or parchment paper (do not use paper towel, as syrup will stick to it). Cook popcorn as directed above. While kernels are popping, break apart bacon into small pieces. Once popcorn has popped, place in bowl and toss with bacon, salt to taste and desired amount of reserved syrup (optional).
Shakira's Sweet & Salty Kettle:
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
Begin to cook popcorn as directed above. Once kernels start to pop, sprinkle in sugar and salt and stir quickly. Cover, leaving lid slightly ajar to let steam out. Once popping slows down considerably, remove from heat. Place popcorn in bowl, and add more salt to taste.
Usher's Red Hot Buffalo:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup buffalo sauce
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
Cook popcorn as directed above. While kernels are popping, heat butter and buffalo sauce over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. Let cool slightly. Once popcorn has popped, place in bowl and toss with buffalo sauce. Sprinkle in blue cheese and salt to taste.
Adam's Classic Parmesan Pop:
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook popcorn as directed above. Once popcorn has popped, place in bowl and toss in Parmesan and salt to taste.
Now, you can't eat popcorn without drinking soda. I mean you can, you can stick with water and be all healthy and boring, but a bubbly beverage with the salty snack is preferable in my opinion. Carson came up with some classic fountain sodas, for the kiddos/pregnant ladies and the grown-ups...
And by grown-ups I mean Blake.
(And by Blake I mean, really tall kid who sort of resembles a grown-up.)
Carson's Shirley Temple
Diet Lemon Lime Soda
Cherries for garnish
Place ice in glass. Add soda and drizzle in desired amount of grenadine (about a spoonful). Stir, and garnish with cherries. For adult version, add desired amount of vodka and lemons.
Carson's Roy Rogers
Cherries for garnish
Place ice in glass. Add soda and drizzle in desired amount of grenadine (about a spoonful). Stir, and garnish with cherries. For adult version, add desired amount of whiskey and limes.
Enjoy the first live show of Season 6 tomorrow night at 8/7 Central on NBC!