I have never felt the need to have the latest in gadgets or “keep up with the Joneses” so to speak. Here’s the way my family acquires new technology or gadgets, such as an air fryer. We wait until “the Joneses” have spent hours on the phone with customer service working out the glitches in the new technology. Then, when the new technology is no longer so new and is on sale, we make the purchase.
Knowing that, it should not surprise anyone that it took me a long time to jump on the air fryer bandwagon. I had heard people raving about them in the staff room at work. Frying food with air instead of oil? It sounded like a dream come true, especially for someone like me who adores fried food. I was fully prepared to be amazed.
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Taking the Plunge
I received an air fryer for Christmas, and eagerly tested it out. The model I was given was a GoWISE USA model like this one:
I found it quite simple to use. The very first experiment I tried, blueberry hand pies, was a great success. Here’s the recipe. Feast your eyes on this tantalizing picture:
The air fryer and I were off to an excellent start. It was easy to use, easy to clean, and I was eager to adapt family recipes for fried foods. My expectations should have been more realistic.
Fried Food Fanatic
I freely admit to a weakness for fried food. Whenever we go out to eat at a buffet, I usually have a “fried food course” at some point during the meal. I gather all of the fried foods the buffet has to offer and put them together on a plate. Some of you are probably cringing at the thought. I just have to be honest. One of my favorite treats at the Oregon State Fair last year was a serving of deep fried oreos. Take a look at this deliciousness:
I’m sorry to report that my air fryer, as terrific as it is, would not be able to duplicate this culinary masterpiece. How do I know? There are some things that just need to be fried in oil. Let me share with you some of my failed air fryer experiments.
One of the traditional favorite dinners in my family is tacos. These particular tacos are made with the kind of corn tortillas that are flat and need to be fried, as opposed to the pre-shaped tacos which require no cooking. These tacos are incredible.
Rather than frying the tacos as usual in oil in an electric skillet, I tried “frying” them in my air fryer. I carefully added the meat mix and gently folded the taco in half. I laid about six in the air fryer and began “frying”. Five minutes later, I opened the air fryer to find that the tortillas had ripped where I had folded them. The tortillas had been baked by the hot air, and were a bit crispy, but rather tough. We now had tough taco sandwiches. My family, being the good sports that they are, still ate them. It was a far cry from the traditional tacos we were used to.
I had similar results with another family fried favorite, flautas. A flauta is basically a chunk of Monterey Jack cheese with a flour tortilla folded around it, secured with a toothpick, deep fried in oil. The cheese melts, and the finished product is topped with guacamole, tomatoes, lettuce and sour cream. Those that I tried in the air fryer turned out better than the tacos, but the tortillas were still tough. Some things just need to be fried in oil. There’s no way around it.
A Revised Air Fryer Strategy
I was determined to prepare other foods successfully in the air fryer. I had the brilliant idea to try a recipe specifically for the air fryer. Why did it take me so long to devise this plan? I’m not sure, except that I had such high hopes of adapting greasy fried food recipes to healthy alternatives. Consequently, I neglected to see the air fryer’s potential for producing delicious new, air-fryer-specific recipes.
I found a simple recipe for “fried” dill pickles. I love canning dill pickles, but no one else in my family shares my fondness for them. The result? I have a pantry full of dill pickles.
I had tried making dill pickle “chips” in my food dehydrator before (as written about in a previous blog post), and the results were horrible. With all of the moisture sucked out of the pickles, the salty dill flavor was disgustingly strong.
So I decided to cut the recipe in half and use my homemade pickles instead of store-bought.
I sliced the pickles into little rounds about 1/4 inch thick, dried them on paper towels, and tossed the slices a few at a time into a bowl with a beaten egg. Then I put them in a bowl with a mixture of one sixth of a cup of parmesan cheese and one third of a cup of dried bread crumbs.
I set the air fryer to its highest temperature, which on mine is 4oo degrees. I baked (“fried”) the pickles for about 5 minutes, and here’s the result:
The “fried” pickles tasted crunchy and crispy. It was an air fryer success. I was so relieved!
What Did I Learn From All of This?
I learned a couple of lessons after all of my experimenting. First, some foods are just meant to be fried in oil. I won’t find them preparing deep-fried Oreos with an air fryer at the State Fair anytime soon.
The second lesson I learned was to stick to recipes specifically meant for air fryers. I have an entire section of a Pinterest board devoted to air fryer recipes. I’m going to start testing them out.
What Are Your Favorite Air Fryer Strategies or Recipes?
If you own an air fryer, what are some of your success stories? Do you have any tips you would like to share with me? I need all of the help I can get.
Thanks for reading about my adventures in air frying. If you like what you’ve read today, and would enjoy some free printable recipe cards to keep track of your amazing air fryer recipes, please consider subscribing. Have a wonderful week, and may you have success in all of your air fryer endeavors!