COVID has kept our food allergy-afflicted family eating at home more than most, but after seven months of eating many of the same things over and over, we finally broke down and hit the drive through at Cole’s Gluten Free on Spokane’s north side for some heavenly hot fries. Unfortunately, they only lasted a few minutes as our kid in the backseat frantically shoveled handfuls of those salty, golden strips into his mouth. Then we were back to wondering how we could make more at home.
I’m not down for fried food often, but there’s something about crispy fries that can’t be easily made at home. We’ve tried bagged fries, which are okay and have tried homemade versions, but they never turn out like real fried fries.
Christmas to the rescue. Last year it was the Instant Pot that changed our world. This year it was an air fryer. The Zavor Crunch Air Fryer I bought from Spokane’s Kitchen Engine was a gift for my husband, yet the true gift for the whole family, as with the Instant Pot the year before, is that I dig into these new appliances and start experimenting with new recipes.
The Zavor Crunch is like a toaster oven with two trays, so it fits more food in one batch. The contraption also comes with a rotisserie for chicken and a rotisserie basket for making fries.
The day after Christmas, I had the thing on the counter ready for our first test dish: bacon. 13 minutes in the Zavor Crunch and we had a delightful smelling house, a contained grease mess, and crispy/chewy bacon. Second dish: brussels sprouts. In 10-minutes they were perfectly done with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
A couple nights later it was “Fried Chicken,” which turned out crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. My most recent creation was miso mushrooms and sesame chicken breast. We have yet to make the type of fries that inspired the gift in the first place, but I’m sure they’ll be delicious too.
Read more stories about kitchen gadgets, tools, and appliances in our archives.
Shallan Knowles is co-publisher of Out There Outdoors and visual editor. She enjoys alpine skiing, paddling, biking, running, hiking, and camping with her family and their dog, Fernie.