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Backyard Cinema: Popcorn Recipes

Words by Julie Pointer & Jen Vitale Photographs by Laura Dart Styling by Jen Vitale

Grab your friends and use our ideas for having a backyard movie night. Plus, popcorn three ways. 

Summer is the perfect season to take advantage of the warmer evenings and get your friends together for a casual backyard movie night. There couldn’t be a better excuse to try some unique popcorn recipes and watch one of those classic movies you’ve been meaning to revisit for ages. Here are 10 tips to get you ready for your Backyard Cinema night:

+ Start your evening with a low-key cookout. It’s nice to enjoy a simple dinner together while you’re waiting for it to get dark out. Roast some dogs, grill up the corn and don’t forget chips and salsa.

+ Find a location with either a blank wall/fence, a well-placed tree or simply a clothesline where you can hang your viewing sheet. Clothespins are helpful.

+ Make sure you have an accessible power source in close proximity for setting up both a projector and a sound system. Double-check that you have an extension cord (or two).

+ Bring ample blankets, pillows and benches for sprawling and sitting. Have a couple extra cozy throws on hand for when it gets nippy.

+ Bug spray is a must. Encourage copious use if you want to avoid having angry viewers on your hands.

+ Nothing is better than freshly popped and seasoned popcorn for your viewing experience. Prepare ahead of time with a variety of different flavors—check out our favorites below.

+ Stock up on bowls and napkins for everyone to avoid greasy popcorn paws all over your blankets.

+ Everyone loves a good beverage selection. Stock a cooler or a big ice bucket full of iced tea, rose, beer, sparkling water—whatever floats your boat, really. Serve up root beer floats mid-film if you want some truly happy campers.

+ Try to pick a classic that everyone can enjoy—nothing too serious. Some ideas:

The Sandlot
Stand By Me
The Princess Bride
The Parent Trap
The Sting
Indiana Jones

+ Finish the night with a mellow campfire and some s’mores. Send your friends home with the feeling that they just revisited the best parts of their old childhood camp experience.

Recipe: Maple Rosemary Popcorn

Ingredients
Scant cup of popcorn kernels
Olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Fine sea salt, to taste
Nutritional yeast, to taste
Chopped fresh rosemary, to taste
Generous drizzle-full of real maple syrup

Recipe: Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn

Ingredients
Scant cup of popcorn kernels
Olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (Additional butter if desired for a more decadent treat)
Several generous heapings of cinnamon
Sugar to taste 

Recipe: Smoky Paprika Popcorn

Ingredients
Scant cup of popcorn kernels
Olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Paprika, to taste
Fine sea salt, to taste
Nutritional yeast, to taste

Method for all three

In a large pot, add enough high-heat oil to cover the entire bottom in a thin layer. Add the two tablespoons of butter. Add popcorn kernels and give the pot a little shake to coat the kernels.

Place lid on pot. Allow kernels to pop, giving the pot a shake periodically to ensure that the popcorn does not burn.

Once the popping has slowed down to an almost stop, remove pot from heat.

Pour popcorn into serving bowl; immediately add other ingredients to taste (in Jen’s opinion, the more nutritional yeast, the better). Taste again. If it needs a little more spice or salt, add it.

Mix well before serving. Enjoy!

Serves 4 

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