It was love at first bite when I started cooking with my air fryer about a year ago, and it continues to amaze me how easy it is to operate and how delicious and crisp the food is.
I’ve made a variety of foods in it from a whole chicken to vegetables to frozen french fries. Food cooks faster in it, browns better and crisps up on the outside perfectly.
This time I air fried catfish. Panko, the light and crispy Japanese bread crumbs, is one of the secrets to creating crispy catfish in the air fryer. I have also used cornmeal instead of Panko and the results are just as delicious and crispy. Substitute your favorite herbs and spices for the seafood seasoning to vary the fish.
It may be Spring according to the calendar, but by looking around outside now, it's still Winter for sure ~ thanks to the sleet/snow/wind combo over the weekend, we have another 3" snow on the ground yet again...
Because of the above, it's not grilling season here yet, so our chicken kabobs came from the oven.
Spring is on hold for yet another day here; what's with this chilly 26°with snow on the ground, and it's still coming down...
Whatever, it's that time of year ~ Springtime! ~ and asparagus is popping up all over, especially at the grocery store!
Most of the time, Bill and I like it steamed with a little salt and pepper, nothing more or roasted. Then other times, that all takes a back seat to my creamed asparagus.
When Easter's over, wow those around your dinner table with this tasty ham dish!
I’ve made Turkey Tetrazzini from time to time, but this slightly adapted recipe from Cooking Light, replacing turkey with ham, caught my eye. It’s filled with the same great tetrazzini flavors and is easy to make also, however, it’s that touch of horseradish that takes it up a notch!
The history of the "piccata" dish is a bit confusing, but many believe it to be of American design, most likely by Italian-American immigrants during the 1930's. Piccatas today are generally made with veal, but here in the U.S., chicken prevails.
This dish is comforting, delicious, rich and buttery with tender bites of chicken ~ a recipe that’s in about any community or church cookbook, and surprisingly, there are a minimum of variations from one recipe to the next.
They are so good and super simple to make, thanks to Perdue Short Cuts, Grilled Fajita-style Chicken!
The Empress of Soul, Gladys Knight, sings with her heart and soul, and it seems she cooks the same way, judging by this recipe!
If you haven’t watched "Harry," the TV show that's a blend of talk, music, comedy, and variety, starring Harry Connick, Jr., you’re in for an entertaining hour. There isn’t much this guy who was born and raised in New Orleans can’t do!
Caution: Bill says this could be fatal!
Chocolate is a major food group to just about everyone ~ but not me ~ I definitely wouldn’t go out of my way for it. I do have a sweet tooth though, it’s just not for chocolate like it is for my family members and friends.
So when the most chocolate-covered day of the year, Valentine’s Day, rolls around again ~ that day when everything seems to be slathered in chocolate ~ it’s the perfect time to make a delicious dessert.
Therefore, truly, chocolate must be the food of love.
If you’re looking for a creamy, very rich chocolate treat for your Valentine, this Chocolate Pudding Cake by exclusive French pastry chef, François Payard, who launched several eponymous patisseries in New York City, is for you!
The creation is not exactly quick to make, it takes a good bit of freezer time, 6 hours at least, but it’s worth the effort to make for your Valentine!
Believe me, this is a decadent dessert, so I’m told ~ smooth, creamy, rich, particularly luscious and velvety, a sinfully delicious chocolate treat!
Just a sliver will do it!
Françoise Payard’s Chocolate Pudding Cake
1¼ cups finely chopped semisweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional*
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar, divided
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon. pure vanilla extract
Cocoa powder for dusting
1. Place the chocolate, espresso powder and butter in a medium bowl and set aside.
2. Combine the milk and all but 1 tbsp. of the sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stop stirring and cook until the milk begins to bubble around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat.
3. Whisk together the egg yolk and the remaining 1 tbsp. sugar in a small bowl. Pour half of the hot milk over the yolk mixture, whisking to combine. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and just begins to bubble around the edges (reaching 183° on an instant-read thermometer).
4. Immediately pour the mixture over the chocolate and butter. Whisk until the chocolate is melted. Whisk in the vanilla.
5. Scrape the batter into a 6-in. round springform pan, and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for at least 6 hours or overnight.
6. Remove cake from freezer, and let sit for 10 minutes before unmolding. Invert the cake onto a serving platter, and lightly dust the top with cocoa powder. Allow the cake to stand at room temperature for 45 minutes before serving.
*This is the slightly adapted recipe of Chef Payard's. I added espresso powder for a darker richer flavor.
It doesn't taste like coffee, it just enhances the chocolate flavor.
Unfortunately, there’s no IP love here. It all went downhill with this recipe...
First off, I browned the tomatillos and onions nicely. Then added the seasonings, stock and diced tomatoes; removed the skin and bones from the chicken and added that to the pot.
The next step is when it all went wrong! Put the lid on, lock it in place and set the IP to pressure cook, it sounds sooooo easy! Wrong!
Once again, I couldn’t get the lid on, couldn’t lock it in place. It was sort of tricky the first 2 or 3 times I used it, this time it was impossible.
I even read the manual for the umpteenth time, still couldn’t do it. Then I asked Bill to try it, he had no more luck than I did. After being frustrated for 30 or so minutes, I watched a video of some man demonstrating placing the lid on and locking it in place - he must've been a magician!
It sounds so simple, but it’s so crazy. I never did get the lid on, couldn’t cook the chicken in it, ended up braising the chicken in the tomato mixture, in a casserole dish, in the oven.
By then, I had lost all interest in it and dinner too - just wanted it over with and done! I'd just rather cook ~ stir ~ & taste ~ my way.
The chicken turned out OK though, tasted OK. We decided we’d like it over noodles instead of a traditional Chicken Tinga recipe with tostada shells.
The last step in this disaster: Bag up the IP and put in the garbage can outside ~ the next day was garbage day and I was happy to be rid of the darn thing and get back the space it demanded!!!
There is one positive thing I can say about my Instant Pot ~ at least I didn't have to clean the contraption!
I’m hoping I’ve learned my lesson and won’t buy the next pricey kitchen gadget that comes along...
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large tomatillos, husked and quartered
1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup chicken stock
1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon seasoned pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon chipotle purée
8 ounces uncooked extra wide egg noodles
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place olive oil in IP (skillet) on medium high heat.
Add tomatillos and cook until browned; add onions and garlic, and cook until browned, about 3 minutes.
Add chicken stock and stir.
Add tomatoes with their juice, oregano, salt, pepper and chili powder, stir to combine.
Transfer the tomato mixture to a casserole dish that has been coated with cooking spray.
Add chicken and chipotle purée, stir well.
Place lid on dish and cook until chicken is cooked through and tomato mixture has thickened.
Meanwhile, cook noodles in boiling water according to package directions.
After cooking, transfer chicken to a plate and pull it into bite-size pieces. Return to tomato mixture and combine.
Transfer chicken and tomatoes to serving bowl.
Serve over cooked noodles or tostada shells.
You'll want to count these cheese-wrapped olives in for your Super Bowl fare...
They're from another era - oldies but goodies - that are still popular today. I posted them way back here when I first started this blog and thought they deserved a repeat now in time for Super Bowl parties.
They're easy to make: just wrap olives in a tasty cheddar dough, freeze and then bake until golden and serve when needed.
So... have your football cronies chow down on these little gems while they're watching the game. Once they sink their teeth into a cheesy olive, they'll huddle around the plate down to the last bite!!
Beer is optional...
Cheese-wrapped Olive Bites
50 small pimento-stuffed green olives, drained and patted dry
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sifted flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Make sure the olives are drained well (I pat them dry with a paper towel.)
Blend cheese and butter.
Sift next 3 ingredients together.
Combine cheese with flour and butter mixture. It makes a stiff dough.
Pinch off a small amount of dough and flatten in palm of hand.
Wrap dough completely around olive.
Place on baking sheet in a single layer and freeze; once frozen, they can be placed in a resealable plastic bag until ready to bake.
Do not thaw before baking.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400°.
Place olives on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until golden.
Transfer to serving plate.
Serve warm or room temperature.
Those days are over, I like seafood much more than I did back then, and I'm always looking for a delicious way to dress up fish...
This is a great tilapia recipe that's perfect for any day!
Tilapia is ofttimes referred to as “the chicken of fish” thanks to its mild taste and being readily available. We definitely don’t buy it fresh here in the Midwest, but frozen tilapia is generally on display at the grocers’ seafood counter.
This recipe would work well with other whitefish also. The thickness of the fish may require a longer baking time, just bake until flaky.
|Ready to bake|
A good entrée for dinner tonight!
Give it a go!
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon each, salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400°.
Wash and pat dry tilapia.
Mix Parmesan, and remaining ingredients in a shallow bowl or plate.
Dredge fish in cheese mixture, patting the breading in well on both sides.
Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, and place tilapia on it.
Bake for about 15 minutes until flaky and lightly browned.
I’m passionate about cornbread ~ I've tested a lot of cornbread recipes, and I’ve learned one thing about it ~ many other people get worked up about it also!
There is quite the debate as to how it should be prepared...
How much flour?
In other words, give it to me if you’re not!
Presidents even reacted to it: George Washington started by savoring hoe cakes, a simple corn bread fried in shallow grease.
During James Polk’s presidency, of a trip to New Orleans, he wrote that "all the dishes were prepared in the French style of cooking, and to one unaccustomed to it it was difficult to tell of what they were composed... I took a cup of coffee and something on my plate to save appearances, but was careful to eat none of it. As soon as an opportunity offered, I asked a servant in a low tone if he could give me a piece of corn-bread and broiled ham."1
Way back in the 1920's, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge preferred to start their day with corn muffins. Herbert Hoover loved fried cornmeal mush, and so do I, almost as much as cornbread!
As a matter of fact, cornbread was served in some of the White House’s more formal settings. Franklin D. Roosevelt served it at a 1939 state dinner for King George VI.
|Franklin D. Roosevelt|
|King George VI|
On to the 40's, when farm boy Harry Truman had simple tastes; he favored his cornbread with sorghum molasses bought on trips home to Missouri. We've often heard, John F. Kennedy was a small eater and nearly always had to be reminded it was dinner time, with corn muffins being his favorite. Peanut farmer Jimmy Carter liked dining on corn fritters at the Carter family's big weekend breakfasts.
|Flour and cornmeal|
|ready for the oven|
Give it a try!
1As quoted in Mark Eaton Byrnes' James K. Polk: A Biographical Companion
Jewish “holishkls” is served during the fall harvest festival. The dish is made with raisins, brown sugar, lemon and tomato for a sweet and sour taste.
Lithuanians call it “balandeliai,” translating to “little doves.”
Ukrainian “holubtsi” is made with sauerkraut, and usually no meat, served with perogie.
The Polish version is “golabki,” meaning “little pigeon feet” and served with sauerkraut and sweet paprika.
Finland’s version is “kaalikaaryle,” and the cabbage rolls are browned before brazing.
But today in America, it is just simply stuffed cabbage, the exemplary comfort food that makes a complete meal.
Here’s the version we eat: a savory meat and rice filling wrapped up in tender cabbage leaves that’s slow-baked in a sweet-sour tomato sauce.
“The afternoon was like the center of the cake that Berenice had baked last Monday, a cake which failed. The old Frankie had been glad the cake had failed, not out of spite, but because she loved these fallen cakes the best. She enjoyed the damp, gummy richness near the center, and did not understand why grown people thought such cakes a failure.”
~ Carson McCuller
The Member of the Wedding