Cook every meal in an air fryer for a week
I never understood the craze for air fryers. It seemed like overnight everyone I knew had made room on their counter for this seemingly magical, oil-free frying machine that made cooking easy. When I researched the device, it didn’t seem like anything new – the craze looked like pretty good marketing to promote what is essentially a mini-oven.
Technically, an air fryer is a convection oven. The air circulates around the food during cooking, so it is prepared very evenly. But air frying it looks so much fresher, doesn’t it? Less scientific.
Here are my qualms with the gadget, though: you still need the oil, and it’s not like you can just throw in some breaded chicken or spoonfuls of hush puppies and expect them to come out with the same. crunchy and crispy texture and to be healthier?
However, reluctantly, something in me wanted to test it. On the one hand, any appliance that allows people to cook when they normally wouldn’t is something I’m all for. And secondly, there was a certain curiosity inside the results, probably due to my inner child and her beloved Easy-Bake Oven. So I got my hands on a Ninja 2-basket air fryer and planned an entire week of meals around the appliance.
Here is the schedule:
- Cook anything and everything in the air fryer for seven days.
- Eat it with some critical palate.
- Try out a few famous air fryer recipes to see if they taste that good.
- Finally, determine if an air fryer is worth it or not.
I started the week with ease with a classic BLT. I cut the bacon in half and put it in the basket at 400 degrees. No warm-up time, no waiting. It cooked in about eight minutes. I loved that the fryer sort of contained the smoke in my tiny apartment, a feat that certainly can’t happen when cooking bacon on the stovetop. In fact, all it takes is a tiny puff of steam and my smoke alarm will start roaring like I’m throwing a bonfire in my living room. It also drained the fat and cooks the bacon evenly on both sides without turning it over. Mission accomplished.
Then I took a recipe for Delish Egg Wrap and adapted it to the ingredients I had. I sautéed the cabbage, carrots, scallions, and pork with soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar. Then I took pizza dough, cut out a circle, and stuffed the mixture into it. I put them in the air fryer for 10 minutes at 390 degrees. They came out crunchy but still soft on the inside. I was impressed with how quickly the air fryer could cook something that would take much longer in the oven, in addition to saving that preheat time.
On a dish everyone is obsessed with: deep-fried Brussels sprouts. I had to do them and guess what? Now I am obsessed too. They cooked in no time and every little leaf just got so, so, so crisp.
At this point, I really wanted to push the limits of the air fryer, so I made what I would call an air fryer salad. It started with salmon, an air fryer favorite, and then I cooked carrots inside. And finally came my salad hack – roasting some cooked quinoa, so that it becomes a crispy garnish for the vegetables. All this on arugula with parmesan, avocado and sunflower seeds, and yes … everything fell into place so much faster than if I had used a stove!
One of my last meals was a butternut squash gnocchi dish. I cut the squash in half and roasted it in the hot air fryer at 390 for about 30 minutes. Then I mashed it, mixed with a little cream, garlic, pasta water and the gnocchi. Yum!
In the midst of my delicious surprise, there was definitely a downside, however. The air fryer is a real pain to clean! You have to remove the baskets, remove the racks, wash them all and put them back in place, and wait for the appliance to cool before even starting to clean. The process almost makes cleaning pots and pans appealing.
The device also takes up a lot of space on my worktop. I bought a double basket air fryer, which is of course double the size. But as someone who lives in a kitchen in New York City, having to sacrifice such a large counter space breaks my heart a bit.
Still, I was mostly pretty happy with the air fryer, and even discovered a few cool tips during my fryer craziness week. The idea that I could keep discovering new tricks, techniques and dishes made me love the somewhat clunky machine a bit more.
- If you coat the fresh sage with a little oil and fry it in the open air, it becomes crispy as if you were frying it. I’m sure other herbs would work too.
- You can air fry an egg! Just line the basket with foil.
- You can reheat your cookies, brownies, sandwich breads and any other dessert or baked goods in the air fryer to give them that freshly baked texture.
So, is an air fryer worth it? Okay, I’m a convert. It is a resounding yes. Overall, the purpose of the air fryer is to make cooking easier for most people, and I want more people to feel comfortable in the kitchen. I think you have to find the right air fryer for your needs. Although the Ninja 2-Basket air fryer I got was a bit too big for my house, the fact that it could roast, reheat and dehydrate (!!!), in addition to air frying , makes my house manager very happy and excited. experiment.
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