It’s Waffle Wednesday

Hey fellow foodies.  I’ve been thinking a lot about waffles. And I just looked it up. National Waffle Day isn’t until August 24th. I can’t wait that long to celebrate. I like waffles and today’s Wednesday. I am declaring this Waffle Wednesday.

A few weeks ago, I was experimenting in the kitchen and I came up with this fantastic idea of combining my love of potatoes with my waffle maker. If you’ve been following me, you may have seen my earlier post about waffle potato fries.  While those are totally delish and super easy to make, I wanted to combine a few types of potatoes and make something even more delicious.

To backtrack a little, I often spend some time each Sunday batch cooking for the week ahead. It’s really easy to carve out a couple of hours and prepare things like rice, potatoes and some broccoli and even some beans all at once. When you do this, you are never at a loss of “what’s to eat”. No one likes to come home “hangry” and reach for a bag of chips. If you’ve got rice and veggies prepped in your fridge, then you can easily throw together a meal.

Potatoes are a nutrtional powerhouse, in case you were wondering. Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin A and rate lower on the glycemic index. They are also slighty higher in fiber and lower in calories than the white potato.  But, white varieties, including the yukon gold, provide 1/3 of the daily allowance of Vitamin C and they’re also high in potassium, magnesium and iron. All are fat free and should be included in your diet as a whole food.

So, back to the potatoes. I had a few already cooked yukon gold and sweet potatoes in my fridge. I decided to take two yukon gold potatoes and one sweet potato to make this dish. I mashed all of them in a bowl–with the skins on.   I added some seasonings and crudely formed it into sort of a “potato snowball” for lack of a better word.   I seasoned mine with garlic, salt and pepper and dried rosemary. The rosemary makes it smell and taste lke Thanksgiving. I’m sure you could add whatever spices you like. I then placed the “ball” on the heated waffle plate and smashed it down.  I let it do its thing and peeked after about 10 minutes.

Potato Waffle Mash Up

  • Servings: 1-2 waffles
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Ingredients:

  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, cooked and cooled
  • 1 sweet potato, cooked and cooled
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 1/4 t. ground black pepper
  • 1-2 t. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mash the potatoes, leaving the skins on.  Ideeally, you want a one a two thirds potato and one third of sweet potato as a ratio.  If you have too much sweet potato, the waffle will burn. Add the seasonings and use a fork or your hands to mix in the seasoning well. Form a ball with the potato and place the ball on the preheated waffle iron plate.  (See tips) Close the plate and allow the waffle to cook. Everyone’s waffle iron cooks differently. Mine took about 8-10 minutes. Avoid “peeking” or the potato will stick to the plates. I did not spray or oil my plates and they did not stick at all.  I have a CuisinartWaffle maker.Enjoy!

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When I opened up the waffle iron, I was treated to a perfectly browned, crispy yet still fluffly potato waffle. Naturally, I served mine with a big side of steamed broccoli. Always need to get those nutrient-rich greens in with every meal.

Tips: If you pre-cooked your potatoes, you may want to microwave them for a minute or two to make them easier to mash. Also, depending on the size of your potatoes, you may be able to get 2 waffles from the recipe. Also, don’t attempt to make this from sweet potatoes alone. You need the yukon gold potato to get the correct consistency.

I encourage you to try these. These could easily be breakfast, lunch or dinner. Tag me @heidicookplants with your photo. I’d love to see your litchen creations!

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

Air Fryer Vegan Arancini

Yes! I took the plunge and jumped on the air fryer bandwagon. I had been seeing so many posts and photos showing fabulous culinary creations using this device so I just couldn’t pass up a great Black Friday deal last week.

Krups XL air fryer

I got this Krups XL air fryer . I had to try it out the minute it was delivered, so I quickly cut up some potatoes to make French fries and they were absolutely delicious. If you haven’t seen or heard about the air fryer-it’s a magical machine that “fries” food without the use of any oil. For those of us in the plant based world who avoid adding any oil to foods-this is simply wonderful!

Today in the kitchen I am making arancini-which are Italian rice balls. The first time I had ever had Arancini was at Giada DeLaurentis’ restaurant in Las Vegas years ago (before I was vegan-and I ate cheese!!) I can still remember the delicious appetizer we all shared at our table-creamy risotto-like rice and cheese and Italian seasonings all breaded and lightly fried. I decided, hmmm..I can duplicate that, right?

I used my old standby-Aquafaba- to mimic the egg that you would normally use to coat the balls in the breadcrumbs. I also used a coating mixture of cornmeal and ground flaxseed meal which is a super easy way to get those Omega 3s into your plant based diet.

Here is my plant based version of Italian Arancini:

  • 2 C. cooked short grain brown rice-can be made ahead and room temperature
  • 1/2 C. frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 C. finely chopped red pepper
  • 1/4 C. finely chopped raw kale or spinach (I used kale)
  • 2 T. walnut parmesan (recipe below)
  • 2-3 T. marinara sauce–plus additional marinara for dipping
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 2 t. dried oregano

For the coating:

  • The aquafaba from one can of chickpeas
  • 1/3 C. ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/3 c. finely ground cornmeal
  • 1 T. walnut parmesan
  • 1 t. kosher salt

For the Walnut parmesan–you take 1/2 cup of raw walnuts, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pulse in a high speed blender or food processor so that it resembles parmesan cheese.

First, I added all the ingredients (rice through oregano) in a large mixing bowl and stirred to combine everything. I used my hands to mix it really well and then formed balls and placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  In a small bowl combine the flaxseed, cornmeal, parmesan and salt. In a separate bowl, pour in the aquafaba.  Next, take one ball at a time and dip in the aquafaba and then roll in the breading and place back on the parchment until all the balls are coated.  Set your air fryer to 350 degrees and place the balls on the rack in the basket and set the timer for 18 minutes. I turned the balls over at 9 minutes so that they would brown evenly. I ended up with 12 balls and cooked them in two batches of 6 so that the basket wasn’t overcrowded.

Vegan Arancin

These are absolutely delicious served with some marinara on the side. You can certainly tweak the seasonings to your taste. I think the next time, I’ll add some red pepper flakes and maybe a touch more salt, but aside from that, I thought they were a very close replication of the cheesy and fried version I remembered.

Air fryer Arancini
Delicious with a side of Marinara!

 

And now I have these chickpeas leftover from the can I opened to use the aquafaba. Next up in the air fryer…fried chickpeas! Stay tuned for the next post and I’ll show you how I made a crispy, crunchy snack with those leftover chickpeas.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you’ve got an air fryer and what fabulous foods you’ve made with yours. See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

 

 

Oil Free, Crispy BBQ Tofu Sticks

You’ve probably heard the phrase FOMO (fear of missing out), but there’s a lesser known acronym out there-FOT (fear of tofu).  Tofu can be a little bit intimidating if you don’t usually cook with it. There are many varieties: soft, silken, firm, extra firm, and it can be packaged in water and refrigerated or it may be in a shelf stable aseptic package. For this recipe, I am using the tofu that is found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. It comes in a plastic box and the tofu is packed in water. For those of you who have been uncomfortable cooking with or using tofu, this is the recipe for you.

I’m calling this an “entry-level” tofu recipe. You do not need to be an experienced chef to pull this off! This would be great to bring as an appetizer to any holiday gathering you might have.  It’s a healthy alternative to buffalo wings or mozzarella sticks so commonly found on the party table.

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This recipe came together literally in minutes. Six ingredients–(actually five, if you don’t count the seasoning) that’s all! You may even have most of these ingredients in your pantry already. I used a salt free seasoning, but you can certainly change the seasoning to your preference.

You could make your own bbq sauce from scratch-but this Stubbs brand that I use is low in sugar and is perfectly fine in this recipe. I would have liked to have used whole wheat panko-but they are really hard to find, so I amped up the nutrients by adding in some ground flaxseed meal.

Here’s how these little crispy fingers are done:

 

 

Preheat your oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. On a large plate, mix your panko, yeast, flaxseed and seasonings. Pour the bbq sauce in a small to medium bowl. Open the tofu in the sink so that you can drain the water from the package and pat the block dry with some paper towels. The Earth Fare brand that I used was extra firm and that variety seemed to work really well. Slice your tofu in half so you have two slabs and then slice into even slices. I ended up with 12 finger-like pieces. Next, dip each piece in the bbq sauce and then roll in the panic mixture to coat each side. Repeat until you have them all coated. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes-turning each piece at the half way mark.

 

 

 

So, while your tofu is baking away in the oven, here’s the nutrition run down. Tofu is a good source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. It is also an excellent source of iron and calcium and the minerals manganese, selenium and phosphorous. In addition, tofu is a good source of magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1. A 3 1/2 ounce serving is only 70 calories, which makes it a highly nutrient-dense food. And remember, we are making these crunchy snacks without any added oil.

Wow! These just came out of the oven and I wish you could taste them right now. Crispy and crunchy and that 21 Salute Seasoning has a little bit of a kick! And you know when you cook with tofu-it’s all about making sure the tofu is well seasoned. This spice did not disappoint. I could also see using a smoked paprika and some chili flakes instead of the blend I used. I’m going to serve mine with some extra bbq sauce on the side.

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So, don’t fear the tofu. Give these a try and bring them to your next party.  Let’s see how long they last on the buffet. I think they’d also make a great dinner with some steamed broccoli and some brown rice or noodles on the side. Leave a comment and let me know how you liked them.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone and I’ll see you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi