Air Fryer Experiments

Hi!

As I mentioned in my last post, I bought an air fryer on sale. What is an air fryer, you ask? Well, it’s basically a healthier version of a deep fryer. It fries food with hot air instead of oil.

Personally, I am still figuring out what works and doesn’t work with it and trying to perfect temperatures and cooking times. I have found that using a lot of liquid batter without any kind of dry coating over it does not work so well. It says you can make donuts in it, but I have no clue how that’d work. I have not tried cooking french fries yet, but I really want to, just haven’t yet.

So far I have fried some soy curls using this recipe here. Those came out excellent, I think I cooked them at 350 for about 10 minutes. I also tried defrosting some Gardein chicken scallopini, coating it in watered down Neat egg substitute coated with vegan/gluten free rice crispy-esque cereal. That was okay, but not that exciting even though I had high hopes.

Then, when I botched a bunch of battered cauliflower, I came up with a splendid idea. But I didn’t have any more cauliflower, so I tried it with tofu. It’s supposed to be like coconut coated fried shrimp, but is made with tofu (and someday I need to try it with cauliflower, too!)

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Here is the recipe for it:

Coconut Crusted Air Fried Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vodka or unflavored soda water/seltzer
  • 2 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
  • one bag sweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • sweet chili sauce for dipping
  • 1 block tofu, preferably frozen, thawed, then pressed for 20 minutes

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk in the water, vodka/soda water until a liquid, medium thickness batter forms. Water it down if necessary to be the desired thickness, but it should stay fairly thick.
  3. Cut tofu into smallish rectangles.
  4. Place some of the sweetened coconut into a dish.
  5. Dip the tofu in the batter, then into the coconut.
  6. Delicately place in the air fryer tray.
  7. Air fry for 10 minutes, 350 degrees F or slightly lower if you don’t want it as browned as I did. May take some experimentation as I believe air fryers can vary quite a bit.
  8. Use sweet chili sauce to dip in, and serve with a generous helping of veggies!

I’m sure I’ll discover some new tips and tricks about air fryers soon!

So check back here for those.

Until then, or until another recipe creation strikes!

Take care! xo

 

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“Milking the almonds” and making crackers

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Have you ever heard the joke about vegans, that says “the most difficult part about being a vegan is waking up at 5 a.m. to milk the almonds”? I have always found it rather funny, although now that I have actually made my own almond milk (!), I find it funnier.

After Christmas, I visited Sur La Table, where I got a really good deal on an appliance I’ve wanted for awhile now, an air fryer (more on that in a later post!) While I was there, I came across a nut milk bag, which had a recipe and procedure on the back. I had to try it. I wondered how hard it would be to make.

Honestly, the hardest part was waiting 24 hours while the raw almonds soaked in water. The rest was a breeze. Basically, you soak a cup of almonds in water, rinse off and drain, then blend the almonds with 2 cups of fresh water for 2 minutes. I also added a half tablespoon of vanilla extract into it, and next time I am going to add some liquid stevia. Then, you take a large bowl and position the bag inside so that you can pour the almond and water mixture into the bag. The almond milk will start to seep through the bag into the bowl. Once the mixture is in the bag, you tighten the drawstring and start squeezing the bag from above. You continue to squeeze until you have gotten as much of the liquid out of the bag as possible.

This leaves you with the rich, creamy almond milk in the bowl, and a bag full of almond pulp. You can place the almond milk in a jar and place it in the fridge (it will separate a bit, but you just need to shake it up before drinking or using in recipes). As far as what to do with the almond pulp, there are so many recipes online for what you can create with it! I ended up making sweet crackers! They’re the best gluten free crackers I have had in a while. I can’t wait to make some that are savory rather than sweet, though!

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Here is the recipe for the crackers:

Ingredients:

  • almond pulp left over from the above almond milk-making description
  • 1 tbsp sugar (a vegan liquid sugar would work well too, such as maple syrup or agave)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vegan butter flavoring
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together almond pulp and other ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon.
  3. On a piece of parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet, roll the dough into a ball. You may need to knead it a bit with your hands first.
  4. Place another piece of parchment paper over the dough ball and flatten with your hands a bit. Then roll it out to a thin layer, between 1/8″-1/4.”
  5. Take off one side of the parchment paper, leaving one piece of parchment on the cookie sheet with the rolled out dough on top. This was a challenge for me…I was adapting this from a recipe that didn’t explain this part that clearly and I had to repeat this several times. The dough gets rather soft and sticky, so be careful and patient.
  6. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into even squares in a checker pattern. The crackers do not need to have space between them yet. Leave them next to each other as they are. You will be flipping and separating them later. It will be impossible to do at this point.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. It’s possible that you may need to check to see if they are beginning to brown earlier than that. If they are (checking after 10-15 minutes), separate and flip them with a spatula. Bake for another 5-10 additional minutes (or more if necessary…do not let them get too golden or brown).
  8. Voila! Experiment with other flavors, adding spices or herbs, etc. Cinnamon would be a good addition for this recipe.

 

 

Gluten Free and Vegan Elvis Panini Sandwich!

I have been trying to eat more healthfully lately. In fact, ever since I went gluten free I have found it hard to make up the ridiculously delicious recipes I was used to creating in the past. But today I dreamed up an idea for an amazing unhealthy sandwich that at first I was skeptical of being able to pull off to meet my needs. As I continued to think about it, I devised the methods that could make it healthier, and is the perfect combination of delicious, ridiculous, healthfulness, and satiety level!

This sandwich is a peanut butter and nanner sandwich, with baked vegan rice paper bacun, made with light tapioca gluten free bread, grilled in a panini maker. This definitely is not a very original idea, I’ve seen many a vegan version of this sandwich on blogs and in cookbooks, but this is my version!

It came out so well, that my panini maker has been given a new life outside of sitting in my basement!

Let me walk you through the steps, in picture form. It’s easy!

Bake the rice paper bacun. I did this recipe’s marinade, minus the ground coconut, soaked the rice paper strips in cold water, then in the marinade, and put them on a cookie sheet sprayed with coconut oil. Then I baked them in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes, checking and flipping every 5 minutes (some got done sooner than others, when that happened I took the ones that were done out and put it on a plate while the rest continued to cook)IMG_9197

Set aside.

Take two pieces of Ener-g gluten free light tapioca loaf bread and spray coconut oil on one side of both slices of bread. Put the coconut oil side down on a plate.

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Take out the peanut butter. This is a locally made, all natural, salt and sugar free peanut butter. It’s so good!

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Place one tablespoon of peanut butter on each slice of bread.

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Cut half a banana into slices. Place on one slice.

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Layer the rice paper bacun you made earlier on top of the bananas. Put the peanut butter slice down on top of the bacon to make the sandwich.

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Place the sandwich into a pre-heated panini grill on medium high for about 5 minutes, more or less depending on your device (check on it).

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Ready to go!

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Enjoy!

Gluten Free Green Smoothie Waffles!

Hello, I’m sorry I’ve been fairly inactive lately. I’ve been focusing on graduate school and another blog of mine, streamoflaura.net, as well as dreaming up a concept for a youtube channel! I’ll try my best to keep you posted on all of that.

Here’s a new recipe I recently created though! There are plenty of green smoothie pancakes (although I haven’t found a good gluten free one yet), but as far as I could tell, no green waffle recipes! So, I made it!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups non dairy milk of choice
  • 1 banana
  • 1 serving of vegan vanilla protein powder (I used Aloha)
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup sweet white rice flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat waffle iron accordingly.
  2. Place ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to scrape the sides with a rubber spatula several times to ensure everything mixes properly.
  3. Spray iron, and scoop or pour out about 1/4 of the batter. Cook in your waffle making appliance according to directions, waffle irons vary.
  4. Makes about four waffles.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

Adventures in Ethiopian Cooking

Over the holidays, I got a vegan Ethiopian cookbook, Teff Love, by Kittee Berns, for a present.

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I have loved Ethiopian cuisine since I lived in the Boston area, where I used to go to a restaurant in Cambridge, MA called Addi’s Red Sea. It is a very vegan friendly cuisine. Vegnews recently shared a story that has more about Ethiopian culture and their food and why it’s so vegan-friendly. Check it out here.

At first I only had the time and energy to try the Ethiopian style tofu scramble recipe. I’m pretty sure I could eat that almost every day for the rest of my life and not get sick of it. What really makes it is the berbere spice, the signature spice mix for the cuisine…although I’m a baby when it comes to spice and so I reduce it by quite a bit.

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You can get it in the international section of Whole Foods, among other places, I am sure.

One of the best parts of the food is the Injera, the spongy, crepe-like sourdough bread that you eat everything with. It can be used instead of utensils. It’s naturally gluten free (made from teff flour–which inspired the name of Bern’s cookbook). However, it takes up to a week to fully make, which is a bit complicated…but worth it if you can figure it out. If you are pressed for time though, the book has a teff crepe recipe which is really awesome as well.

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Another great aspect of Ethiopian food is that it makes a lot of food, and it lends itself to making multiple dishes and feeding lots of people.

For example, the first time I made it, I gave some to my friend who had just had a baby as part of a meal train.

Here’s a picture she took of her plate:

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And here is one of my favorite pictures of my own plate (one of many):

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Also, my dad happens to work with someone from Ethiopia, who ended up giving me a huge jar of Teff flour! It was very exciting as it’s like hitting the teff jackpot!

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After making a large batch of food for myself and my friend and her family, I made a dish by itself. It is called ye’zelbo gomen be’karot, which is kale with carrots, onions and mild spices. It’s seriously the best kale dish I’ve ever eaten, and that is saying a lot (I love kale) and my whole family loves it.

Speaking of which: yesterday (Wednesday April 7), after spending the weekend in my kitchen making a big feast for Monday, only to have snow (!!!) cancel the class, I served the small college program, College Unbound, who helped me get my bachelor’s degree, the feast as well! I kept raving about the kale dish to everyone, and one student said she doesn’t like kale, but I got her to try it anyways, and she really liked it! Her cousin who was also there, was claiming she might need to contact the local news channel because I had her trying foods she’d never tried before, and she’s usually so picky…which was a big compliment for myself and the author of the cookbook! Here are a few pictures of some of the other students posing with their plates:

Also, the majority of the students had never had Ethiopian food before when we asked. Most people who tried it were not put off by the fact that there wasn’t meat in the dishes, which can happen sometimes when I am feeding large groups (or at least they didn’t say it to my face! haha). I had one person comment to me that the split peas in mild sauce (called ye’ater kik alicha in the book) had a meatlike texture. My friend Domingo, who is pictured in the first picture above, was excited also that I made the vegan Ethiopian style mac and cheesie, because he’s lactose intolerant.

It was a really positive experience for myself and all involved. Especially because I could effortlessly share my love of another culture’s food and share that vegan food doesn’t have to be bland, boring, or leave you craving protein (in fact, the red lentils in spicy sauce, in a dish called ye’misser wot, have 15g of protein per serving, according to Teff Love!). I hope to do it again soon.

And I can’t recommend the cookbook Teff Love, enough!

Coconut Mango Muffin Madness!

IMG_3879So, I told you I have some healthier recipes coming your way!

I had a bunch of champagne mangos (I’ve been very into them lately…can’t get enough) and I wanted to put one into a baked good. I also wanted to bake in some Dang coconut chips as a topping on something and see if they’re just as good in baked items. So, that inspired me to make mango coconut muffins.

These are made with whole wheat pastry flour and no refined sugars. They’re quite healthy, but also tasty. I served them to my classmates early in the morning and they all loved them. Some knew they were vegan, others didn’t, and everyone said they were really good!

I found that they were the perfect texture. Not too chunky with the dried coconut, and not too moist but moist enough. I’ve never described a muffin this way, but the texture was smooth and almost creamy. Or dreamy…

Anyways, here’s the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp flaxmeal whisked with 4 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (or a whole champagne mango, without the refuse) chopped mango
  • 1/2 cup shredded dried coconut
  • 1/3 cup crushed coconut chips, like Dang brand

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda together.
  3. In a separate larger mixing bowl, whisk together the flaxmeal and water. Let sit for a bit.
  4. Add the agave and coconut sugar to the flaxmeal. Whisk again.
  5. Whisk in the coconut oil.
  6. Add coconut milk, orange juice, and vanilla.
  7. Add the dry ingredients from the small bowl into the wet ingredients. Stir and fold in until just combined. Don’t overmix.
  8. Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin tin liners.
  9. Sprinkle the crushed coconut chips on top.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

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Enjoy!