What’s Cooking Blog Entry #26: Air Fry What!?! – February is Heart Health Month
In 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson declared that February should been recognized as American Heart Month. Since that time the nation has worked cooperatively with the American Heart Association for those 28 days to help bring awareness to heart disease, the no. 1 killer of Americans.
This piece of history is worth mentioning here because in addition to maintaining a non-sedentary lifestyle with regular exercise, diet is one of the most effective ways to strengthen your heart’s health. Thus, we focus on the air fryer, an appliance that’s been widely used since 1945 to lighten some of the negative health stigmas associated with fried foods.
Title of Cookbook: Skinnytaste One and Done: 140 No-Fuss Dinners for Your Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, Sheet Pan, Air Fryer, Dutch Oven, and More. (This is her second book btw).
Author of Cookbook: Gina Homolka.
What prompted you to check out this cookbook? We recently inherited a small oil-less air fryer sans the instruction booklet. Since I don’t prepare fried foods, I had no idea how to begin using the appliance or what was possible.
What did you like about this cookbook?
- Among the other benefits often associated with the air fryer, this cooking method is a healthier option than deep-frying foods in oil.
- Instructions are easy to follow and the ingredients are accessible.
- Recipes are labeled as quick (taking less than 30 minutes), gluten- or dairy-free, vegetarian or freezer friendly.
- A helpful “Air Fryer Q&A” section is included (pg.10-11). If you’re like me and just starting out, consider taking a look at the “General Tips for Air-Frying” and “Trouble-shooting” in Air Fry Everything! (pg. 18-19).
- Entire meals can be made in “one basket,” however, depending on the size of the air fryer it may need to be split into batches.
- Some recipes suggest pouring excess marinade over food while cooking. Others recommend rendering the reserved drippings on the stove top until they’ve reduced into a sauce. Both suggestions have the added bonus of leaving less food waste.
- The cookbook puts an American spin on a number of internationally-inspired recipes including: falafel, samosas, tofu bowls and wraps, nachos, calzones, Stromboli, fajitas, (Latin) pollochón and Hawaiian BBQ. This may sound like a menu to base future grocery lists on but it, more importantly, leads me to a shameless plug.
*Saturday, February 25, the Poughkeepsie Public Library District is hosting an International Food Festival. Cultural cuisines will be distributed on the multi-storied floors of the Adriance Memorial Library. Sample dishes from around the world: Ukraine, Japan, China, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Germany.
What didn’t you like about this cookbook/website? The cookbook is reasonable and after this post I’ll continue to try other recipes from the cookbook as well as tweak a few we’ve already tried, we’ll probably avoid or alter breaded recipes though.
Some of the following observations and/or limitations of the air fryer I used could indirectly be considered criticisms about the cookbook.
- The temperature on our air fryer tops out at 390˚ F but a handful of recipes call for 400˚
- The air fryer takes time to cool and even more time to soak and clean the basket after each use. In hindsight, Googling the model number suggests that removable parts are dishwasher safe.
- There isn’t a lot of extra real estate to permanently keep the appliance on the counter top.
- Lastly, while it may be safe enough for children to use, I would stress reviewing general safety instructions and issues common to air frying. For example: food, aluminum foil or (air fryer) parchment paper can become flammable if blown loosely around in the basket and touching the heating element/coil. Additionally, some drippings smoke. *If the smoke is black, turn off the air fryer immediately.
Favorite recipe (that you tried from the cookbook/website): Favorite internationally-inspired recipe: Polish “Kielbasa, Veggie, and Pierogi Dinner” (pg. 66).
First two recipes we tried: “Mustard-Dill Salmon…” (pg. 114) and then, to use the leftover honey mustard sauce: “Signature Wings” (pg. 46). Both were delicious!
Did you alter the recipe or make any substitutions? I almost always do… For the Kielbasa recipe I didn’t measure the spices, added basil and sautéed mushrooms.
I combined the “Mustard-Dill Salmon” recipe with the “Honey Mustard Grilled Salmon” recipe in The Mind Diet Plan and Cookbook by Julie Andrews. Although some of the leftover marinade probably could have been drizzled over the salmon before serving, I added a reduced amount of mayonnaise, vinegar and spices as suggested in recipes found online and then used that version of honey mustard as a marinade for the “Signature Wings” recipe (pg. 46). This actually worked REALLY well.
Would you recommend this cookbook/recipe? Yes. Despite my criticisms earlier in this post, I’m genuinely surprised how versatile an air fryer can be. We liked all the recipes so far but, a little more patience may be required on my part when using the appliance to reheat food.
Skinnytaste Air Fryer Dinners: 75 Healthy Recipes for Easy Weeknight Meals / by Gina Homolka with Heather K. Jones, R.D.; photographs by Aubrie Pick.
Air Fry Everything!: Lover 130 Foolproof Recipes for Fried Favorites and Easy Fresh Dishes / Meredith Laurence ; photography by Jessica Walker.
The MIND Diet Plan & Cookbook: Recipes and Lifestyle Guidelines to Help Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia / Julie Andrews, MS, RDN, CD ; photography by Evi Abeler.
7 Benefits of An Air Fryer: Why You Need One / by Laura Lynch – Airfryanytime.com
10 Air Fryer Tips You Need to Know / Lisa Kaminski, Christine Rukavena.
Honey Mustard Sauce by Beth – Budget Bytes.com
5 Minute Honey Mustard Sauce by Lindsay – Pinch of Yum.com
Quick Subject links to the Library catalog:
American Heart Association (Vega, New Catalog)
Hypertension Diet therapy (Vega, New Catalog)