February 09, 2017

My air fryer — What? I bought an air fryer?

Fries made from yukon gold potatoes.

I've been bested in my latest battle against the acquisition of new kitchen appliances by the powerful, almighty, fabulous-bargain-price, one-day-only-sale monster. I encountered the monster on a Facebook group for vegan air fryer enthusiasts, so what did I expect? I was there of my own free will, reading about other people's air frying fun, when the price notice popped up. And, I might add, I was conversant with the various models and their usual prices because I'd been researching them, just out of curiosity, you know. I didn't plan to actually buy one just then, but the one-day-only price appeared, and before I could stop myself I went to the Web page and clicked 'buy'. In the photo above you can see the first thing I made — oil-free fries. I ate them all myself, and, yes, they were good.  Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I seasoned them with granulated garlic, granulated onion and Old Bay Seasoning before I air-fried them.

Russet potatoes.

I've done lots of potato things, including crinkle cuts and wedges, and used different varieties of potatoes, and preparations. I've tried coating them with potato starch, pre-cooking them, etc., and have liked them all. Sometimes I have fries for breakfast.



The easiest thing is just to wash the potato, cut it into wedges and throw it into the air fryer. No matter what I do, the result is always delicious. One day I cut thin slices and made potato chips, but I ate them so fast I didn't have a chance to photograph them.

Russet potato.

My favorite potato to use is a russet, and a hefty russet like you see here (hand for scale :D) will make enough wedges or fries for three normal people or two greedy ones. (Or one incredibly greedy person.)



Although it's true I've eaten more potatoes lately than usual, I've also made a few other things in my air fryer. Like fried tofu cubes, for example. Here are some cubes I made to use in miso soup.



I've gotten much better at air-frying tofu since taking the photos here, and have started cutting the tofu into strips instead of cubes — I find it easier to cube it after it's done. And I'm frying it longer so it puffs up and becomes more crispy. I don't have any photos of my more recent efforts.



Here's a tofu experiment I did using three different coatings, but unfortunately, I neglected to write anything down, and now I've forgotten. It doesn't really matter though since everything I've tried has worked well, and most of the time I just air fry the tofu plain to use in other recipes.

Fries from garnet yams.

Sweet potato fries turned out great in the air fryer, and again, I didn't use oil. We gobbled these beauties up, and I was wishing I had more.

Carrots.

I did a little experiment with skinny carrots where I marinated them in tamari, a touch of maple syrup, liquid smoke and sriracha, before air frying them. They were tasty but I doubt I'll make them again. I also did tempeh strips with a homemade barbecue sauce. They came out a bit too dry, and I may try steaming the tempeh first, next time. We usually steam it before cooking but I was in a hurry.

Leftover pasta and tempeh.

I've also been using the air fryer to quickly reheat leftovers. I used it to reheat leftover pasta with tempeh chunks, and it tasted better than the original dish. The tempeh developed a nice crispy edge. It does an amazing job on leftover pizza. The pizza crust had a fabulous texture after its turn in the air fryer — better than at the restaurant! And I made onion rings!



This is my latest experiment — spring rolls stuffed with an egg roll filling of cabbage, carrots, mushrooms and air fried tofu. I would say it's a dish in progress —  I see great potential but it's not quite there yet.



This is my air fryer. If you're not familiar with air fryers, they cook with moving hot air similar to a convection oven. They achieve results comparable to deep fat frying but with little or no oil. Some people use a small amount of oil and others use none, depending on preference. If you use no oil, the food won't come out tasting like it's coated in grease, but it will be crispy and delicious.

I'm having great fun experimenting with my fryer, and am glad I bought it, but I'm still trying to figure out where to keep it. Right now it's on the counter where the Cuisinart food processor used to be, while I wait for my recalled processor blade replacement to arrive.* Once the food processor is reinstated to its usual spot, I'll have to figure something out. Unless ... the food processor moves to a new location. Hmmm. Hadn't thought of that. The food processor is a lot smaller.



Here's the inside cooking basket. It looks larger in the photo than it actually is. The machine itself is a bit bulky, but the cooking basket is only about seven inches square. I like the Phillips, which gets good ratings but is expensive (unless, you know, there's a one-day-only special) because it has a metal cooking basket rather than non-stick. If I'm cooking something sticky, like tofu, I use parchment paper. Another air fryer that is popular is the GoWise. But, there are lots — and the prices are coming down.



Anyway, there are many more people who know much more than I do about air fryers, and I can point you to them if you're interested. I'm a novice. One thing I do know, though, is while I was putting together the blog post, I got a strong craving for fries, and as you can see in the photo, they're ready. Got to go now.


* Cuisinart food processor blade recall

Cuisinart issued a recall for the blades in certain processor models because slivers of the metal can break off and become embedded in food. People have suffered injuries due to ingesting the metal. If you haven't yet checked to see if you have one of the recalled models, you should!



10 comments:

  1. I've seen air fryers advertised before and have heard some really good things, and equally some not not-so-impressed reviews, so I'm glad that yours is the former! I'd be really interested to try - have you tried anything with a breadcrumby type coating or anything similar?

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    1. I used a breadcrumb coating on one of the tofu experiments, and it turned out delicious. I've also air fried mushrooms, cauliflower and a few other things. I'm having a bit of a problem getting past the fries, though. French fries without oil good grief! Yesterday I covered them in gravy — halfway to poutine. I would have made a cheese sauce but was too hungry to take the time. Today, though ...

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  2. I feel like I'm the only blogger on the block without an air fryer now! The worst part is that I've had so many ideas of things to make in one. Honestly though, I would just air fry everything. Fried zucchini? Of course! Fried burritos? Can't go wrong there. Fried toast? Hey, why not!

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    1. I thought I was the only blogger without an air fryer, but I have one now so I guess that leaves you. :D I do air fry everything! Fried mushrooms, onion rings, cauliflower – it's hard to stop. I have to confess, though, that potatoes are hard for me to resist.

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  3. Oh man, now I want an air fryer. Those fries! That would be the first thing I would make too. I usually bake them in the oven, but the air fryer sounds way easier. That's enough to justify a purchase, right? :-)

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    1. I don't want to be a bad influence, but the potatoes are pretty great. However, if you know someone who has one, maybe you could try it out to see if it's something you really want. If you are on facebook, there are a couple of air frying groups you could join to see what people post. Be warned though, that you will be greatly tempted. (vegan air frying enthusiasts)

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  4. Hm, looks like it's already payed off! I have a bad habit of buying appliances and not using them so I'm glad that's not the case with you.
    The fries do look fantastic - and sweet potato fries aren't as easy to crisp up and cook through for me so I'm glad that worked out!
    The spring rolls look especially intriguing.
    And ya know what, I've never actually seen an air fryer..That's not what I was expecting! It looks like a coffee pot to me, ha!

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    1. The last two appliances I bought (Instant Pot and air fryer) are used constantly. Even my husband uses the Instant Pot, though he's afraid of the air fryer. I love the air fryer. Even if all I make are fried tofu and fries, it's worth it to the degree I'm considering finding an off-counter space for the food processor so I can keep the air fryer on the counter. Of course, I don't make only tofu and fries! I do wish the cooking surface was a little bigger.

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  5. These fries look awesome!

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    1. Thanks! I probably eat more than I should but they taste so good. Even without oil or salt they are delicious — so much potato flavor.

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