When my family was here for Christmas, they gave me an air fryer as a thank you gift when they left. I’m not sure when was the first time I heard about air fryers, but it wasn’t too long ago. And then a friend told me she had one and that she loved it. So, when I got mine, I was very happy to give it a shot. Although I have to admit that having another big cooking gadget running around the kitchen did not thrill me…
An air fryer is basically a countertop convection oven that circulates hot air around the food in a small chamber. It cooks the food and gives a crisp layer without the need of large amounts of oil. With a tablespoon of oil you can get the typical crisp finish of fried foods. Hence the popularity, you now can eat fried foods without having to soak them in oil (to the health disadvantages this has, of course).
Last week I used my air fryer for the first time. I was very skeptical about the fact that the final result would be “the same” as deep frying. I find it hard to believe that you get the same result with two different techniques. The chemical and physical reactions that occur during the cooking process are not the same therefore the result cannot be identical. BUT… it is freaking darn close!!!!
The first thing I tried were store bought frozen French fries, I thought it would be a good positive control as we knew exactly what to expect. And they did not disappoint, they felt 99% like deep fried fries. Maybe if I hadn’t known they were cooked in the air fryer we would be talking 100%… After that, I made homemade potatoes in small cubes for my Spanish tortilla (omelet) and these ones did not turn good for my tortilla. The problem is that I have a very special way of cooking my potatoes for the tortilla, I kind of mash them a bit when they cook so they get a soft creamy texture and that is hard to do in the air fryer. Too bad!! I also tried breaded mahi mahi and cauliflower. The mahi mahi was nicely cooked and moist from the inside, but I feel it needed a bit more oil in the outside to get a nice crisp because some areas were a bit dry. And the cauliflower was close to perfect. So yeah, I’m still in the learning curve and there is room for improvement but overall I am happy with it and looking forward to keep trying new things. My next recipe in line is battered eggplant. Generally speaking, I feel the air fryer is a great alternative to deep frying although in some cases the flavor might be a bit compromised, but I will take it if it means avoiding the unhealthy effects of deep frying.
And after this little dissertation about the air fryer let’s have a look at the menu. Monday was a holiday here and we ate out and, in the evening, we had salty crepes with ham, cheese and mushrooms. I already talked about the Spanish tortilla, the mahi mahi and cauliflower. Thursday, I prepared a chicken soup with a bunch of veggies (carrots, celery, turnip, zucchini, potato, onion, celery) and I added some rice to make it a full meal. It turned out really good! Friday my husband and I went out for dinner and I tried something my friend Dacil prepares for her kids: pizza using a tortilla instead of pizza dough. What a brilliant idea!!! First, you avoid all the mess of the dough and the flour all over the floor and then, I avoid my son’s complaints about wanting not that much cheese in his pizza because he gets his own individual pizza. Win win. This time I had to use whatever tortillas I had in the fridge, a couple of whole wheat and a corn one. The whole wheat had a touch of sweetness that I would rather not have in a pizza and the corn wasn’t that bad. Next time I will look for the regular flour with no sugar tortillas and I’m sure it will turn out pretty good! We made the pizzas with homemade tomato sauce I just did with some super ripe tomatoes I had in the fridge (recipe coming soon!) and we added our typical toppings: ham, mushrooms and black olives. The kids loved it; this is a keeper!!
|Breakfast||Cereal w milk + orange & kiwi||Toast w/ ham & Greek yogurt + raspberries & kiwi||Oatmeal + banana||Cereal w/ milk + mango smoothie||Power bowl + strawberries|
|Lunch box||[Out]||Ground beef w/ cherry tomatoes, corn, peas & rice||Chickpea salad||Lasagna||Empanadas|
|Dinner||Crepes + salad||Gazpacho + Spanish tortilla (potato omelet)||Mahi mahi + cauliflower + salad||Chicken soup + salad||Tortilla pizza + salad|
Lunch boxes always have a serving of raw vegetables (carrots, peppers, cucumber or cherry tomatoes and I alternate between them) and fruit that varies depending on what they had for breakfast.
And the dinner salad it’s usually a green salad with a combination of whatever I have in the fridge: lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, shredded carrots, corn, avocado, sunflower seeds. And dessert is always a fruit.