I love my deep fryer, but nights I want to use it are guaranteed to be a mess. What my new air fryer lacks in deep fried goodness it makes up for with fast, low maintenance recipes. Or does it?
With the two fryers and a lot of time on my hands, I tried a few foods in both the deep fryer and the air fryer: coconut shrimp, fried pickles, and deep fried Oreos. Some things I learned
- You can’t put something battered in the air fryer without splattering it everywhere. So, no deep fried Oreos.
- Instead of batter, coating it in a faux breading with bread crumbs works!
- Unsurprisingly, the deep fryer food was delicious. But I can still see a place for the air fryer in these traditionally deep fried foods for a healthy alternative!
I’ve included below a recipe for the batter I used for the deep fryer.
Air Fryer Batter
I set up a bowl of 2-3 eggs, whisked, and a bowl of 2 cups bread crumbs for the air fryer experiments. Since this was coconut shrimp, I added 1/3 cup shredded coconut to the breadcrumbs.
Deep-fried (left) and air-fried (right)
Deep Fryer Batter
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup flour
- Pinch salt
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1/4 cup vodka (*this extends its longevity while you cook!)
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 quarts canola or peanut oil for frying
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl with a fork.
- Whisk egg and vodka together. Add to dry ingredients and stir vigorously until well blended.
- Toss shrimp (or whatever you’re frying) in batter. Fry at 350 degrees or according to manufacturer instructions until batter is golden.
This week for our DistanceDishes date, Amanda and I had German foods on the mind with both of us recently attending local Oktoberfest celebrations in our respective states. While Amanda arrived in style with her spiffy new dirndl to an impressive Florida/German celebration, my experience was a little less…authentic. While the local brewery’s Oktobertfest event was wonderful in the beer selection department, the food was a bit lacking. This inspired me to have a little home-based Oktoberfest celebration of my own, complete with a few Bavarian-inspired munchies.
Full disclosure, I had never heard of Obatzda while in Germany (although food wasn’t really my thing past french fries when I was there) and this recipe is more “inspired” than authentic. Typically this cheese spread was a way to use up leftover Camembert or brie cheese, and the spices were added to change any “off” flavors into something else delightful. Now, I love me some brie, but it’s never quite the same the next day and I certainly don’t need to be eating a whole wedge in one sitting (can…but shouldn’t…). Since I had some leftover from a cheese plate, why not? An extra creamy cheese seems to sometimes be optional and is usually cream cheese. However, since I was introduced to Laughing Cow cheese while living in Germany, I thought it seemed appropriate (and it’s delicious in this). While it may not be the exact same being served in the tents over in Munich, this recipe is certainly going to be making more of an appearance in my home all year round.
- 5 oz brie cheese, softened (rind and all)
- 1-2 tbsp butter, softened wedges
- 4 Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss cheese
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1-2 tbsp finely minced onion (depending on your desire for “bite”)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
- 2-3 tbsp German Beer (I used Hoegaarden)
- Allow the brie cheese to come to room temperature. In a small mixing bowl, mash brie and butter with a fork, food processor or immersion blender until mostly mashed with minor lumps.
- Add laughing cow, paprika, onion, salt, caraway, and beer and stir with a wooden spoon, your food processor/immersion blender to make sure everything is incorporated. If you would prefer your cheese spread to be a little more spread-y, feel free to add more beer if you prefer.
- Return mixture to the fridge to allow flavors to mingle for at least 2 hours but overnight is even better.
- Before serving, allow the cheese to come back to room temperature and serve with a nice slice of rye bread, pretzels or any other vehicle of your choosing. Enjoy!
Wine Pairing: You could finish the rest of that beer you opened to add to the cheese, but if you’re set on the wine route, I would say a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc might go well with the caraway and other biting flavors in the spread.
With the turn of the season and the heat in full swing, something about the start of the summer makes me want to entertain. For this theme week, we wanted to do some easy appetizers with a running theme that could be crowd-pleasers without being too much effort. While Amanda did amazing and fancy things with Balsamic Vinegar, I decided to go a little more “game day” with a series of sliders.
Since I was making a couple options, I knew I didn’t want any one type to dominate my time. With the electric pressure cooker to do the heavy lifting for the pork sliders, I was freed up to work on the other two options. I thought I’d cover my bases with the shredded pork in the pressure cooker, ground buffalo chicken sliders with ranch dressing and a vegetarian option of goat cheese and zucchini sliders. The zucchini was the surprise hit, and the herb yogurt sauce was such a great addition to this yummy little snack.
It is worth mentioning, if you don’t feel like standing over a pan or two waiting for all of these little patties to cook, you could always make these full size. Or if you don’t think this is enough slider options, check out our previous burger recipes, the Greek Chicken and Chickpea burgers which could easily be divided into more patties just before cooking.
Blackberry Pulled Pork
- 12 oz fresh or frozen blackberries
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 pork tenderloin (can also use about 1 lb pork shoulder preferred)
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Slider Buns
- Generously coat your pork tenderloin with salt and pepper on all sides. Add it to your instant pot along with the chicken broth. Seal your instant pot and cook on high pressure for 45 minutes and allow the pressure to release naturally when done.
- After the pressure has been released, remove the pork tenderloin and shred the meat with two forks. Return the shredded meat to your instant pot to keep warm while you cook the sauce.
- In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, stir together the blackberries and wine. Allow the mixture to boil and reduce by half, stirring occasionally. About 10-15 minutes.
- When reduced, pass the mixture through a sieve to filter out any seeds and bits of berry.
- Place some of the shredded pork on a slider bun and top with a spoonful of the sauce. These are now ready to serve and enjoy!
*Mer’s Note: So there are some flavor combinations that are just classic, and I completely forgot Amanda did something similar previously. Because I was trying this one as a keto recipe, you might want to check out hers as an alternative as well. Both could be converted into sliders!
Buffalo Chicken Sliders
- 1 lb of ground chicken
- 5 tbsp buffalo sauce
- 1 stalk celery finely minced
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- 3 green onions, greens and whites minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Ranch Dressing to serve
- Slider buns to serve
- Combine the ground chicken, buffalo sauce, celery, carrot, green onions, 1 tsp salt & pepper, garlic powder and breadcrumbs. Combine with your hands until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Separate the mixture and form/flatten into 16 equal patties.
- In a large pan over medium heat or a grill, cook the patties for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Place the cooked patties on slider buns and top with a dollop of ranch dressing to serve. Enjoy!
- 2 medium zucchinis, coarsley shredded
- 1 tsp salt plus a pinch extra for seasoning zucchini
- 2 oz herb goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp cup panko breadcrumbs
- Pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp neutral, high smoke point oil (like canola)
- Slider Buns to serve
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- Juice of half a lemon
- Sprinkle the zucchini with the pinch of salt and squeeze the shredded zucchini over a sieve and sink to release as much water as possible. If time allows, wrap the zucchini in paper towels and place in the sieve with something heavy on top to drain over an empty container for 30 minutes to an hour. While allowing the zucchini to drain, mix together your yogurt sauce.
- In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, herbs and lemon juice together and allow to sit in the fridgefor at least 30 minutes for the flavors to come together.
- Once you have released as much moisture from the zucchini as possible, combine the zucchini with the goat cheese, Parmesan, oregano, garlic powder, and the egg. Mix together and form into 16 flat patties (they will be very delicate).
- In a wide bowl or container, combine the breadcrumbs with the remaining salt and pepper to your liking. Meanwhile, heat a large pan with the oil over medium heat. Dip each zucchini patty into the breadcrumb mixture until you have an even coating and transfer directly to the heated pan. Until cooked, these patties are very delicate so I would recommend as little handling as you can manage.
- Heat the patties for about 1-2 minutes on each side until a brown and crispy, and the egg firms up the patty a little bit.
- Transfer to a slider bun and top with a dollop of your yogurt sauce to serve. Enjoy!
My brother has the best food scene in his city. I love where I live but the multiculturalism of Chicago? I can’t compete with that. Luckily, he and my sister-in-law have introduced me to some spice and specialty shops in their area, and I live for it! This post is inspired and fueled by a gift from them, some delicious balsamic vinegar. A lovely gift, I tried it out in a few different recipes!
Prosciutto-Wrapped Watermelon Skewers
- 2 cups cubed watermelons
- 4 slices prosciutto
- Mint (optional)
- Balsamic vinegar for drizzling
- Bamboo skewers
- Slice or tear prosciutto in half lengthwise. Wrap one slice around watermelon cube.
- Use bamboo skewer to secure prosciutto over watermelon.
- Stack four wrapped watermelon cubes on skewers, adding torn mint leaves in between each cube, if desired.
- Drizzle skewers with balsamic vinegar.
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 ball of mozzarella
- Basil, fresh
- Balsamic vinegar for drizzling
- Slice tomatoes and mozzarella in 1/2in discs.
- Layer tomato and mozzarella slices, alternating and with a basil leaf after each mozzarella slice. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Strawberry Balsamic Shrub
- 2 cups strawberries, hulled
- 2 cups balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Add strawberries to mason jar, making sure all stems are removed.
- Add sugar and cover all with balsamic vinegar.
- Shake and store in fridge for at least 5 days, shaking every once in a while to stir ingredients.
Strawberry Balsamic Martini
Mix 1oz vodka with 2oz shrub and shake over ice. Serve and enjoy!
After my Korean-themed dish for the Olympics was a flop (and may have broken my pressure cooker?), I knew this pizza weekend was my opportunity for redemption! This recipe turned out really well, and made for some good leftovers later in the week.The bulgogi marinade is shamelessly stolen from Merideth’s Bulgogi Sub with Gochujang Mayonnaise.
Bulgogi Marinated Pork Belly
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 2tbs soy sauce
- 2tsp brown sugar
- 2tbs mirin or rice wine
- 1 apple pear or ya pear, thinly sliced
- 1 red and green bell pepper each, diced
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1in ginger, grated
Bulgogi Marinated Pork Belly
- Marinate pork belly overnight, or for at least one hour.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Pat pork belly strips dry and score fat side with diagonal cuts. Lay fat side up on metal baking pan.
- Roast pork belly for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees. Cook for another hour, checking every 5 minutes after 45 minutes have passed.
- Remove from oven and let cool. Dice meat portion and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix together tomato sauce ingredients and spread on prepared pizza crust. For our recipe, we made 4 smaller pizzas.
- Top pizza with pork belly and other toppings. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until edges of pizza crust is a golden brown.
Wine Pairing: I had my first taste of plum wine with this recipe! It’s sweetness was a great aperitif while I waited on the oven. For the rest of the meal, a fruity merlot helped balance the saltiness of the pork belly and marinade.
I just recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas so naturally I had lavish and over-the-top themes running through my head because of it. I had the opportunity to taste so many delicious meals and I wanted to bring back those feelings of relaxation and luxury back home to my own kitchen after the vacation was ended. Amanda also had a free weekend and was in the mood to treat herself, so we were both wanting to make something that truly felt like we were chilling in the lap of luxury. Still getting over the jet lag though, I didn’t want to spend my whole day making my “treat,” and ganache truffles were the perfect mix of fancy and elegant, but still not too labor intensive. With Valentine’s Day approaching as well, these make a great homemade gift for your sweetie if you’re up for whipping up a batch. Otherwise, they make a great afternoon treat any day you want to feel a little fancy.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 1 tablespoon butter
- For coatings: 1/2 cup crushed oreos, crushed peanut butter cookies or cocoa powder (or all 3!).
- Over medium heat in a small saucepan, heat the cream until just simmering.
- Remove from the heat and add your chocolate chips, butter and bourbon and stir until the chips are melted and everything is combined. Transfer the chocolate to a stand mixer bowl and fit your mixer with a whisk attachment.
- Whisk the ganache mixture for 3 minutes on medium speed to ensure that everything is combined. Transfer the bowl to the fridge and let chill overnight or at least for 3 hours until set.
- Once set (if too firm, remove from fridge and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes), use a dough scooper to portion one inch balls and roll quickly between your hands to smooth. It does help to wear gloves at this step. You will also want to move quickly and not overwork the ganache to keep it from melting.
- Roll your ganache balls through the coating of your choice and place in a mini-cupcake liner for easy snacking later. Store your truffles in the fridge until ready to eat or give to your valentine. Enjoy!
Wine Pairing: I personally would probably want something peppery to complement the sweetness of the truffles like a zinfandel. However you could go with a dessert wine as well and savor everything. It’s hard to go wrong with wine and chocolate!
Felt like something ~fancy~ last weekend. This was filling enough to have for lunch! Also, an excellent excuse to open a bottle of wine. Because, you know, its a “tasting.”
- 1 cup dried apricots
- 1 habanero, sliced
- 3/4 cup white wine, plus 2tbs
- Pinch of salt
- Heat wine and apricots in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat – do not drain – and let sit until cool, about 45 minutes-1 hour.
- Drain apricots and pour into a food processor. Add salt, sliced habanero (with seeds removed to decrease the heat, if desired), and 2tbs of wine. Chop until the mixture is a fine paste.
To complete the plate, I usually choose two soft and two hard cheeses, two crackers or bread options, and a couple of different meats. In this case, we used parmesan (delicious with salami!), brie, champagne cheese (a semi-soft cheese we randomly chose that was a delicious surprise), and goat cheese. The apricot-habanero spread was especially good with the goat and brie cheese, as you can see below!
Other things you might want to include to round out your flavor options:
- Gherkins or sliced pickles
- Fig jam
- Coarse mustard
This is the time of year that is both incredibly cheerful and magical with the twinkling lights on all the houses and sweet aromas filling our kitchens, it can also be incredibly stressful as we all rush to make a dish for the office potluck we forgot or shop til we drop for the perfect gift for all our loved ones. While we know there are so many people in our life we want to show that we appreciate, some can slip through the cracks until it’s too late. With Christmas inching closer, Amanda and I wanted to share our answers to some homemade tokens of friendship to give to someone in your life even if that person is yourself (hey, it’s yummy ok?). Plus, with everything else we have to worry about this season, we definitely didn’t want you to have to log any extra kitchen hours then you already are. Granola was my low effort, but still glamorous was my answer to this challenge.
Granola is something that is widely enjoyed but people don’t tend to have it that often or bother with making it themselves. With the pumpkin and wintery spices, it is the perfect festive treat that dresses up nicely in a jar and a ribbon. The ingredients are fairly inexpensive as well so it won’t break the bank, and it’s a nice change of pace from all the Christmas cookies going around (although I love those as well). This granola goes so well topped on a bowl of plain yogurt, which might be a nice switch after all those family slightly heavier family breakfasts that seem to go with the season, or it can be enjoyed as a little sweet snack after dinner. It keeps for a while in the fridge as well so it’s something that can be enjoyed long after the season ends.
- 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup steel cut oats
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Combine the oats and almonds in a large mixing bowl.
- On the stove over low heat, combine the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, spices and salt and stir until everything is warm and well mixed.
- Remove the pumpkin mixture from the heat and pour over your oats. Stir the oats with a wooden spoon until the pumpkin mixture is fully combined.
- Spread the oat mixture over a lined baking sheet as flatly and evenly as you can.
- Pop the baking sheet in your oven and cook for 45-50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. This will ensure that the granola doesn’t burn.
- After baking, allow the granola to cool fully and then stir in your chocolate chips. You may then transfer to an airtight container and your granola will keep in the fridge for up to two months.
Merideth and I’s schedules got a little crazy in the month of October, so instead of our usual Saturday night Skype date, we made quick weeknight dinners! Nothing better for some comfort food than chicken nuggets and some cut up veggies. This easy and versatile chicken nugget recipe came in handy for a breakfast biscuit (more on that soon!)
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
- 1 cup flour
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- Canola oil for frying
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Set aside a plate covered in a few layers of paper towels to absorb oil after frying.
- Cut chicken breasts into bite size chunks.
- Set ingredients into three bowls, left to right: flour, eggs, and bread crumbs.
- Dredge chicken nuggets first in flour, then egg mixture, and then bread crumbs until thoroughly covered. Set aside.
- Using tongs, place nuggets into hot oil and heat for approximately 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Note: the oil will lose heat, so wait for oil to reheat in between batches and keep a close eye on the frying process.
- Place nuggets on paper towel-lined plate to remove excess oil. Enjoy!
Still on the heels of our favorite food competition shows, Amanda and I were looking for a new challenge. This time, we wanted to see if we could use a single ingredient in three different courses. Of course, one would want something that could be used both in a savory and sweet capacity, which does limit some options. Being an ingredient that I love in basically all forms, I chose the lovely, yet humble potato. I am quite sure I would be able to and enjoy going off on a Bubba-esque from Forrest Gump speech regarding all of the potato forms and how delicious each one is. So, for this challenge, the potato seemed like a natural and budget friendly choice.
For the appetizer, I was still feeling the effects of watching one too many Food Network chefs create some fancy tasting menus and so I wanted a delicate and pretty appetizer for the first course. While this one is a bit labor intensive, they are very delicious and would for sure impress at a gathering. The savory mushrooms and cheesy potatoes make for a lovely combination. Stay tuned for the other two courses!
- 1 potato, shredded and kept in a bowl of water until ready to use
- 1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 oz manchego cheese, shredded
- 1 tbsp butter
- 4 cloves of garlic
- High smoke point oil for frying (like vegetable or canola)
- Green onion for garnish
- In a small skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp of butter and add the shallots, garlic and the whites of the green onion. Saute until the shallots become translucent, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms to the pan and continue cooking until the mushrooms have released their moisture and have turned more brown, about 5 minutes.
- Mix together your shredded cheese and potatoes.
- Heat a cast iron skillet with about 2 tbsp of oil until the oil is shimmery.
- Spoon about 1 tablespoon worth of the potato/cheese mixture into the pan and flatten, and repeat until the skillet is full, but none of these potato beds are touching. You may be able to cook about 4-5 at a time.
- When the edges of the potatoes are beginning to look brown, after about 1-2 minutes, flip with a spatula and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- When crispy and brown, remove the hashbrown beds and drain on a cooling rack with a paper towel underneath.
- Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, plate with a spoonful of the mushrooms on top and garnish with the greens of the green onions. Enjoy!
Wine Pairing: The manchego cheese would probably go nicely with something simple, like Cabernet Sauvignon.