Air-Fryer: First Try!

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Please note, this is not a sponsored post. But, if Phillips wants to send me some attachments or ingredients to try more recipes, I wouldn’t stop them, and of course, I’d tell you all about it!

I was delighted to receive a used air fryer as a gift recently. I like fried foods, but don’t eat fried food all that much anymore.  However, some things just taste better fried. I’ve been interested in air-frying for about a year or so, but hadn’t had a chance to try it out.

As I understand it, Air-Frying seems to mostly operate on convection, though it can produce a crisp as well. To test it out, I tried a recipe straight from the source: Crispy Potato Skin Wedges, from pg.4 of the Avance Recipes book.

To make a long story short, I wasn’t entirely enamoured with how this particular recipe turned out, but I am going to give the fryer a few more trials. I had made some modifications to the recipe, which may have contributed to the less-than-desireable results. In the process of taste-testing the results, I also discovered that there is also one ingredient that I needed to modify, but didn’t.

 

Picture Key:

  1. After boiling, cooling, & dicing: coating the wedges with oil and seasonings
  2. After air frying

 

Modifications:

I used olive oil because I don’t have any canola oil & I thought olive would taste better.

I used Eastern potatoes because they were on sale, and the Russet potatoes were regular price: In retrospect, I think the Russets would have been better for producing a crisp, since they have thicker skins.

 

Ingredient note:

This recipe uses 1 1/2 teaspoons of paprika: I like paprika, I’ve had it before. But 1 1/2 teaspoons is just too much for my system. The fries tasted good, but paprika is a laxative. It can cause nausea and heartburn as well… not things I need in my life.

Next time, I will either cut back on the paprika, have them plain, or give Mrs. Dash a try.

 

Thoughts on using the fryer:

It was very easy to use. Most of the work is in the prep. The oil went on the food, not in the fryer. All I had to do after pre-heating was drop the potatoes into the basket & set the temp & timer.

Pre-heating only takes 3 minutes. The prep time was longer, so I ended up setting & re-setting the timer several times. Next time, I will set the pre-heat timer for longer.

On the analog model, you basically have to wait the pre-heat timer out if you finish prep beforehand. You can’t force the dial like you can with tabletop analog timers.

You should know the machine gets very hot. It heated up my kitchen, which was fine on a cool day, but important to note for warmer days.

I used an extra large trivet to sit the machine on to protect the counter-top.

 

Thoughts on the results:

The fries did taste good, but they seemed under-done in the center, and not crispy enough on the outside. Since it is the crispyness that I am interested in, I plan to try different approaches to see if this is my error, or the limitations of the machine.

 

Enjoy! 🙂

 

Mashed Potatoes and Quorn

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Mashed potatoes plus Quorn patty = Yum!

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As I’ve mentioned before, Quorn’s cooking recommendations don’t suit my taste. While I’m sure they have their reasons, I believe if something is breaded, frying is usually the way to go. I also believe that when you are choosing to eat something breaded, you’re not in the healthiest of moods, and you might as well just go for it. The only thing I can add to my original post is that it’s best to ensure they cook thoroughly. I take a little extra time, starting off with them on a low heat, before finishing off the breading.

Now, on to the potatoes…

Can you believe I’d never made mashed potatoes before? I’ve certainly eaten my fair share. When the issue with whole milk (and too much butter) manifested, I figured mashed potatoes were out of the picture. Since then, I’ve had them prepared with substitutions, and they’ve always been wonderful. So it was time.

I had three potatoes, so I referred to this recipe for an idea of the quantities I needed. Then, I improvised. My body has some wacky rules for what it will and will not tolerate. This is something that even I don’t fully understand, but I’ve found it’s just best to go with. I often use combinations of dairy and dairy-free products in my cooking for this reason.

Most of the time rice milk is not a true 1-for-1 when substituting for whole milk, though obviously in some recipes it seems to work just fine. What I’ve found is that rice milk does not have the same thickness and general properties of whole milk, so oftentimes I have to mess around with it to get it to replicate those properties when trying out a dish intended for whole milk. For these potatoes, I wanted creamy, but rice milk won’t necessarily yield “creamy” when beaten. Enter the modifications.

Modifications:

I obviously kept the skins on. (Because I like potato skins, so why bother removing them.)

I skipped the salt altogether. Not a huge fan of salt, didn’t need it. (This made them on the bland side, but I like them that way.)

I used fake butter and it tasted fine. (This added a light touch of saltiness.)

I added the rice milk in 1/4 cup increments after the first 1/2 cup. (I used vanilla because I only had vanilla. While that may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it was perfect for me. This most likely worked due to the lack of salt or pepper.)

Tried the cream cheese option, which added the creaminess.

Ground black pepper is yummy on potatoes, but I figured if I wanted some, I’d just add it on the plate. I didn’t end up needing it.

Obviously, I used a mixer instead of the hand-held method described in the original recipe.

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Needless to say, I was happy the modifications worked out, and that I was able to have the breaded patty/mashed potato combo that I’d been craving. A very nice dinner, with just enough leftovers.

🙂

Wordless Wednesday: Camp Veggies

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Broccoli. Grilled onion. Grilled zucchini. Yum! 🙂

Wordless Wednesday: First Successful Omelette!

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I know, it’s just an omelette. But this was the first one I made that actually came out right, and I was very excited.

Two eggs, a touch of nutritional yeast, and a handful of shredded Italian 4 cheese for the filling.

Celebration Roast

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently was lucky enough to catch this nifty product on sale. I’m sure my readers also know by now that my wee little blog does not receive sponsorship of any kind, and if this ever changes, I’ll be forthright about it. Funny thing about Field Roast, though, I’m not sure they actually *would* request my opinion on their own.

I recently read an interview where they claimed they’re not actually positioning their products for vegetarians, but rather, for those omnivores who just like to switch it up. (At least, that’s what I got from reading it). In this interview, they also said they’d never make faux bacon, which broke my little seitan-loving heart, since I’m allergic to the soy based crap, er, products, that Morningstar produces. The justification for the omnivorous approach is their correct assumption that most vegetarians are interested in the health aspects of what they eat. They state with a refreshing honesty that their products are not particularly healthy, but taste good.

As someone who was formerly teased for being the most unhealthy vegetarian on the planet, I can say while that while many vegetarians go for the healthy approach, not all do, and not all the time. Some vegetarians have trouble figuring out the ins and outs of the diet at first. In my opinion, better to offer them seitan than have them eating cheese fries every night.

This time of year, I don’t always have the time to linger in the kitchen, or even to prep food ahead of time like I usually do. Having a little seitan around keeps me from reverting to the frozen pizza option, and actually offers some protein my body can use. I discovered Field Roast right before my camping trip this summer, and so we ended up taking the faux hot dogs, the faux Italian sausage, and the faux lunchmeat slices (the reddish ones, I forget the flavor). All three were the perfect compliment to my partner’s meat-based selections, and we were easily able to share the rest of the sandwich components like bread, lettuce, and the like. It was also fantastic to have this protein in my system for a very active vacation. I was kayaking, walking, swimming, and I even tried a short zipline! Knowing that I get easily tuckered out without a proper diet, we consciously made an effort to ensure I had enough protein in my system to enjoy myself. When I returned home, I tried the mushroom slices, and then, the Celebration Roast pictured above. Everything I’ve tried, I’ve liked so far.

I first microwaved the Celebration Roast. It’s fine microwaved, because, as they state, it’s already cooked, you are essentially reheating it. Once I got mid-loaf (about midweek), I tried frying it, and obviously, I enjoyed that even more. It’s also fine right out of the fridge. The closer it got to Xmas, the more I needed quick but good, and this fit the bill. And now that the Celebration Roast is finished, it’s time to celebrate!

Happy Holidays! 🙂

So, This Is Seitan!

Seitan and Mushrooms in Fry Pan

I’ve never made seitan, though I think I’ve tried it professionally prepared. Vegan Monologue recently posted her recipe for homeade seitan, along with points about the cost of prepackaged seitan and a mention of its nutritional value. I bought some prepackaged just to be certain l Iiked it, then decided to give the recipe a try. 

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Points I ignored which you shouldn’t:

Let it dry, even if the broth is calling to you like a siren song.

It really is enough for months. Even though the above looked pretty both in the picture and in person, you will never eat that much. Ok, *I* will never eat that much in one sitting.

Pan-frying and whatever it was I did up there with the broth are not the same thing, but it was fun and the flavor was yummy.

Seitan is chewy. Maybe it would have been less chewy if I had been more patient. If you want to try the fried flavor brothy goodness, party on, but then let it dry & fry it for real later. I liked that better than the fragrant but chewy first round.

I froze the rest, then thawed one slice, put it in the processor, fried the little seitan shreds with a dash of nutritional yeast, refrigerated it, and later made a faux cheesesteak, which I heated in the oven. (Real cheese, faux steak: I’m vegan-friendly, but vegetarian myself). I even added some ketchup for an authentic feel after the picture was taken. Good stuff!

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Seitan Cheesesteak

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Her recipe is perfection, but I had to change some minor details due to a combination of allergies, personal taste, & what I had around. 

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Seitan Ingredient Modifications: 

1 tsp marjoram to Mrs. Dash

No onion powder

2 tsp garlic powder

+ a dash of nutritional yeast

+ a dash of parsley

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Broth Ingredient Modifications: 

No soy sauce

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon liquid smoke

1 teaspoon Habanero Catsup

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Prep Modifications: 

I left it as one big loaf and cut it after removing from the broth.

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Enjoy!

Quorn Nugget Prep

Quorn Nuggets

As we’ve already established, I am not paid to say nice things about Quorn. They don’t even send me samples… not that I wouldn’t love some. This is just my humble opinion, nothing more.

I’m not a huge fan of processed foods. Most of my meals are vegetable-based, and I only rely on processed foods to supplement what I already have going on: for example, boxed pasta or rice to go with my veggies.

But, Quorn is a protein, and I need protein. It is not on my list of allergens, and I like the taste. The nuggets were pretty tough to find years ago, but you should be able to find them anywhere now, if you’re so inclined. Out of all the products they make, the nuggets have been the easiest for me to locate. (Though sometimes they are in strange locations- like next to the Grover waffles…)

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Quorn Nugget Prep:

Rule #1 of cooking with Quorn: Ignore the directions. Really, just take the box and recycle it. (Now, keep in mind, this is my opinion. You might like what they have to say. I don’t.) Microwaving the nuggets makes them too flexible- not a good consistency. Baking them results in a passable, but mediocre, experience. You need to fry them in good olive oil. Do not skimp on this, because that’s what makes it work.

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Tools:

Large fry pan

A fork

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Ingredients:

Quorn nuggets

Spray Olive Oil

Bottled Olive Oil

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Directions:

Step 1: Spray pan with olive oil (This can be the cheap stuff).

Step 2: Place nuggets in fry pan.

Step 3: Lightly coat the nuggets with good extra virgin olive oil from the bottle. Turn them over  using fork & repeat. Be careful you don’t drown them- just a nice coating.

Step 4: Fry them on medium heat. Turn them over when necessary.

Step 5: They will be done when they look like the above. It usually takes 5-10 minutes. The breading will be nice and crispy. Place on paper towel to absorb excess oil before serving.

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Enjoy!