What I Air Fried This Week

I made a lot of the same things I’ve already made, and I also went back to try the Chocolate Croissants again because I wanted to play with the times.

Instead of the typical 350-400* bake, I dropped it down to 300-320* for ten mins using a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and a crushed up Flaky chocolate bar. Nailed it!

I also saw this video recipe for Lemon-Pepper Wings and decided I needed to try it since the flavourings were right up our alley. I mean, lemon and pepper? C’mon! So I used frozen chicken parts that I coated in seasonings and then in flour. I dropped them in the basket and flipped once half way, cooking them at 400* the whole time ( 8 mins + 8 mins).

The recipe called for rolling them around in some melted butter with the lemon-pepper blend, and they were fantastic. What I didn’t like was how the butter made the crisp texture straight from the air fryer soggy. :-\ I will definitely make these wings again but I will roll them in the lemon-pepper dry seasonings before I cook them and forgo the butter bath altogether.

And if that doesn’t work, I will dust the crispy wings in the lemon-pepper seasonings as a rub after they come out of the air fryer all hot and crispy.

Yes, I know. I need better lighting for my pictures. I agree. I have a ring light but my kitchen is still largely a mess from the unexpected repairs the husband had to do in there, and my ring light is buried in a corner right now. Oh, well.

Steak Quesadillas

Sometimes, after a long day at work, you just need a quesadilla. And a plain cheese quesadilla won’t cut it. That’s when you turn to chicken or, my fave, steak quesadillas. So satisfying.

I picked up a few fast fry steaks, patted them dry and only used S&P on both sides before pan frying them in butter and oil for a short time on each side. After they rested, I sliced them on the diagonal and topped my quesadillas with the tasty strips.

I was going to grill these but I couldn’t be bothered heating up another appliance. I already had the stove on to cook the jalapeno boats, so I grabbed another sheet tray to lay the quesadillas on to bake. Sure, they don’t look as pretty as if I had grilled them, but I just wanted to get that job done that night. 🙂

Sometimes I grill them, too, though.

When I cut them, I take care to keep the cut without an edge with a bit of one so it doesn’t fall apart as I move it from the cutting board to the plate. That tiny bit of uncut folded area, about 1/4″, doesn’t seem like it would help, but it does. It really does.

After you cut the half moon quesadilla into two triangles down the middle, move your knife in place to cut those two pieces into two again to get the four triangles. Now move your knife 1/4″ over to the right (or left) of the centre along the folded edge, and cut down from there to the mid point of the triangle.

Sometimes I serve this with a dip, sometimes not. Your choice. Enjoy!

Jalapeno Boats

We love pub grub, but we don’t really like going to pubs around here. They all tend to be sports themed, and we’re not into that scene. We do like patio dining, but we’re not there yet weather wise. Until then, I make us some of our faves at home. First up, Jalapeno Boats. Love these so much.

Jalapeno Boats:
6 Jalapenos
8 oz Cream Cheese, room temp
1/4 C Cheddar Cheese, grated
3 Bacon Strips, cooked, crumbled
1 tea ea: Onion Powder / Paprika
1/2 tea Garlic Powder

2 tea Butter
1 C Panko (or any other breadcrumbs) *

Trim the tails off the jalapenos barely, leaving a wall of white flesh in tact to create the look of a row boat’s blunt end. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix cream cheese with bacon bits, seasons and cheese grate. When combined completely, scoop this creamy filling into each boat. Don’t overfill the boats. The mixture should be level and flush to the sides of the boats.

* Optional Topping: I tend to make these boats with a panko topping, but I’ve also made them without it. Sometimes, like in these pix, I top the boats with half a bacon strip. Both methods are delicious.

If you want to use the panko method, simply melt the butter in a shallow fry pan. When it bubbles, throw in the panko and move it around in the pan until the butter is all soaked up. Kill the heat. Shake the pan so the panko sits evenly across the pan’s surface.

Place a boat at a time in the pan cream cheese side down. Flip it over and add a bit more panko on the top. Place these finished boats on a foil lined sheet tray or baking dish.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 mins.

A Burger For The Ages

I don’t make a lot of burgers by hand at home. When we do burgers, it’s typically store bought pre-formed and frozen for convenience only. The husband takes them to work fully cooked on the smoke bbq and cooled down, with a slice of cheese and anything else he wants to add to it on the fly.

I was cleaning out the two freezers last night (the one attached to the fridge, and our cube stand up mini freezer) and found some portioned ground pork in ziplock bags. I pulled them out thinking I can use it for a dinner this week. Not specifically anything like burgers, but sometimes I like to form them into a meatloaf or meatballs before even thinking about burgers.

Tonight I made burgers for a change of pace. And now my husband is demanding to be kept in the style to which he quickly became accustomed to (as of tonight). *sigh* Ok, fine. Here is what I made him:

Creole Burgers:
14 oz Ground Pork
3 tea Creole Dry Rub
I Egg
3/4 C Breadcrumbs (of your choice, though I used Italian flavoured)
1/4 C Parmesan Cheese, grated up

Don’t overwork the meat mixture as you combine everything. I measured out meat for three patties at 4.6/4.7/4.7 oz each. Each was hefty and fantastic. It was a tasty burger on its own that could forgo a bun if need be. But, of course we topped it with sauces, veg and lettuce from our herb garden.

I was spoiled Beyond when this truck showed up at my workplace.

I was, I suppose, trying to give that Beyond Meat burger I had earlier this week a run for its money. I think this burger is just as tasty as the meatless one. Similar flavour palette, same texture, same satisfying feeling in our tummies.

Try this burger recipe and tell me what you think.

Pickled Red Onions

I have no idea where I got this recipe last year, but it’s a keeper. It’s simple, it’s fast, and it’s tasty. I use it a lot, and I recently started using it to make pickled jalapeno peppers. Life is less boring with brined vegetables. It just is. Trust me.

Pickled Red Onions:
1 C White Vinegar
3 Tbsp White Sugar
1 Tea Salt
5 Black Peppercorns (1/2 Tea black pepper works, too)
1-2 Bay Leaves
1-2 Garlic Cloves, crushed and undressed

Bring all items above to a boil in a small sauce pot. Remove from heat immediately. Let it come to almost room temp as you slice of your veg of choice. Stuff the veg into a large mason jar that can hold up to 1 C of whatever you’re about to pickle.

Pour the cooled brine over top using a small strainer, screw on a tight fitting lid, and chill it at least 4 hrs. A full day is better, but to be honest, you can let your onion slices rest in the brine ten minutes in the pot as it cools and that will work, too. But only do that if you’re in a hurry. Letting it rest in the brine so everything marries is the better way to go. You will thank me.

TIP: if you like a big garlic hit, drop the leftover garlic cloves into the pickle brine before chilling the onion slices.

Japanese Sandwich Love

I’m about a year behind LA, and even further behind Japan, but I’m all over this. It’s not hard to make. It’s boiled eggs in a bit of baking soda (1/2 tea for 6-8 eggs). The first few eggs come out at the 6 min mark (aka jammy egg stage), iced bathed, and then peeled. The rest of the eggs continue to boil another 5 mins (aka hard boiled) before being iced bathed and peeled.

The jammy eggs get cut down the middle whereas the hard boiled eggs get sliced & diced and mixed with a classic deli pasta salad dressing. (I have a recipe for you all.) A bit of sauce (make it up as you go) drizzled over two big slices of thick cut bread that have been toasted on the outside only, and two halves of a jammy egg get laid down before big scoop of the egg salad is dropped and smeared out over top. Close and cut into thirds. Done!

Deli Style Salad Dressing:
1 C Mayo
1 1/2 tbsp White Sugar
1/8 C White Vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon
1-2 tea Salt
1/2 tea Black Pepper
1/6 tea Cayene
1/2 C Green Onions (white & green parts)
1 C Celery Dice
1/2 C Yellow Onion Small, Thin Chops

Typically this is enough for 4 C of cooked elbow macaroni to make pasta salad (adding in any dice peppers you want with some shredded carrot). Chill the dressing at least 2-3 hrs with cling wrap touching the surface so it doesn’t dry out before added pasta (or egg dice) with herbs. Toss together and serve cold.

Jalapeno Boats

I love making these little boats as part of our ‘Pub Night’ meal, or as a starter to a longer cooked meal. Easy to make, easy to fill, easy to bake.

Jalapeno Boats:
6 Jalapenos, washed, stem end cut off, halved, and hallowed out
1 Bacon Strip, cooked, tiny dice
4 Tbsp Cream Cheese, tiny dice
1/4 Cheese Shred of choice

Wear gloves when working with the jalapenos, and I tend to wash my hands three times after I take the gloves off. Add everything but the jalapenos to a small bowl. Squish it all together with one gloved hand, making sure everything gets evenly smushed together. This is your filling.

Take a half jalapeno at a time and using the back of a spoon, add a bit of the filling to each cavity at a time. Using the hand holding the jalapeno being filled, start molding the filling to the cavity so it stops trying to fall out. I tend to make each filling flush with the tops until I get to the end of the jalapenos I need to fill. If there’s extra left over – depending upon how much is left – I may store the rest in the fridge for more jalapeno boats the next day or simply plump up the ones in front of me.

1/4 C Breadcrumbs (optional: with seasonings and grated parm cheese)

Dip each jalapeno boat into a small bowl filled with the breadcrumbs. Gently push down so the breadcrumbs stick into the filling.

Place each finished boats onto a baking tray and pop into a pre-heated oven set to 400 degrees. Bake for 20 mins. Let them rest on the tray on top of the counter for another 10 mins. Serve hot, but not blazing hot straight from the oven.

Note: If you’re like me, lactose intolerant, good news. Walmart sells their own lactose free cream cheese now, and it totally works in these jalapeno boats. And the price is on par with regular cream cheese, which, btw, is almost unheard of for a specialty product!

Homemade Roasted Peppers

peppers2[ Roasted Peppers – image from Google Images ]

Bet you didn’t know how easy it is to roast your own peppers at home. It is. And I do this often. I love roasted peppers. They are the perfect burger and sandwich topper in my books. I eat them all year long. Over chicken, over beef, over pork, over turkey — there is nothing that can’t be improved by being topped with roasted peppers. Nothing.

This is my method for roasted peppers done bare bones style, but certainly you can store the finished roasted peppers in a jar with some mild homemade oil-based brine if you like. I wouldn’t fill the jar with the brine until after all the peppers have been placed inside it. And even then, I wouldn’t fill the jar more than a third of the way with the brine because, as the roasted peppers rest in the fridge, they will release liquid from the cooked meal. That typically fills the jar up about half way.

Okay, here’s how I do my roasted peppers:

First turn your oven on to its broiler setting, then wash, dry and cut up the peppers into manageable sections so the peeling stage isn’t a huge mess and risky (since I’m klutzy and have a habit of dropping everything I come into contact with).

From there, I place the peppers flesh down on a lined baking sheet. I use parchment paper, but when I run out, I use tin foil and it works just as well. You’ll want something on the baking pan because the charring goo tends to burn and stick to your pans, and trust me – no one has time for that kind of cleaning nightmare!

When you have all the peppers on your lined baking pan, place it on the middle rack and leave the door ajar about 1-2 inches. Set your oven timer for 15 minutes and wait. And try not to panic when you see the skins turning black. All of them. All over. This is what you’re after. It’s totally normal, and ok.

RoastedPeppers-Broiling[ Click to embiggen ]

RoastedPeppers-Blackened[ Click to embiggen ]

After they’re done broiling, take the baking pan out and immediately move the peppers to a waiting bowl or dish you can cover with plastic wrap. Cover the bowl and let the heat sweat the skin off of the meal for 5-10 minutes. When you can hold them in your hand without needing burn cream, you’re ready to get down to business. 🙂

After 15 minutes, grab a small bowl and pull back the plastic wrap, and prepare to get your hands dirty. And wet, and sorta icky. The fun’s about to get started, kids! 😀

RoastedPeppers-Sweating[ Click to embiggen ]

Holding a section at a time in your hands, start pushing the skin away from the flesh. You should be able to do this with complete ease. If you get a few peppers with some attached skin, put those peppers back on the baking pan and roast them another 5 minutes before sweating them again for five minutes. Don’t panic, this happens to me once in awhile, too. It’s no big deal.

RoastedPeppers-Peeling[ Click to embiggen ]

You should be able to get your thumb or finger under the skin and push, pull or pinch the skin away from the pepper meal when the roasting is completed. Discard the skin into the small bowl before green binning it during your clean up.

When the whole lot has been skinned completely, carefully place them into a glass jar with a tight fitting or sealing lid. Let the full jar rest 10 minutes on your counter until you can hold the jar without it feeling too hot to handle. At that point, you can put it into your fridge to stop the continued cooking process. Ideally you’ll want to place this on a shelf away from any dairy that can curdle for the first 12 hours. After that, I tend to store mine in the fridge door because they never last long enough to spoil anyway.

Pick the peppers out of the jar with tongs or a fork to enjoy without the juice. If the peppers are too wet for your liking, dab them with a paper towel before consuming them. When serving the roasted peppers to a crowd, strain the whole jar into a bowl with a small mesh strainer in it to catch the peppers. Reserve the juices in the jar for the leftovers, if there any.

Enjoy liberally as part of your next antipasto plate, or on top of meat, in and on top of a veggy dip, as part of a rice skillet, or in a deli or panini sandwich!