Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Young Dog, Old Tricks


Air Fryer Latkes for any day! This quick, easy, lower fat version makes latkes not just a once a year treat any more. | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner


Here we are, the first few days of a new year, and what better time to bust a myth (what? you thought I was going to say move?)? Like "you can't teach an old dog new tricks." Old dog? Let me tell you, this old dog has learned quite a few new tricks.

Looking back on my childhood, had you ever told me that the phone with a cord stuck up on the wall would be replaced with one that cost about $1000, fits in my pocket, and can answer any question I may have, I'd think you had gone mad. Had you told me that I could hold a little tablet in my hand and see thoughts and stories and snippets of the lives of people all over the world, I would have wondered what drugs you were on. Had you told me I'd be in that world sharing stories and musings and recipes twice a week . . . well . . . I don't know what I'd have thought. But this old dog is doing all of those things. And more.

What I'm learning is that it's the young dogs who are far more set in their ways. Comfortable and confident, living in the world of technology that I have barely scratched the surface of, but lacking in some of the more basic skills. Lacking, or maybe just not interested?

For my kids, that's cooking. 
Of course, it is. 

I tried, I really did, when they were growing up. I'd have them help me here and there with recipes. What I realize now is that the assistance was mostly based on hope, the hope that there'd be a beater to lick. It was clear they had no interest in actual cooking or baking. But that's OK, I'd bide my time, because we all know that they'd get older, move into apartments, and . . . here's the next myth . . . necessity is the mother of invention. They'd have to learn some level of cooking.


College Boy has always lived nearby, could always stop in, so to this day they extent of his meal prep remains the smooshing of jalapeno chips onto a turkey sandwich. {{sigh}}. 

PurDude, though. Before he went off to college I tried to teach him just a few of the basics. You know, grilled cheese, fried eggs. Nope. He calls cooking sorcery, witchcraft, claims you have to be born with the ability and he was not. {{double sigh}}.
Young Dog, Old Tricks | graphic designed by, featured on, and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #humor #MyGraphics


After graduation I outfitted his first apartment, he has all the cooking and baking necessities, even took my Pottery Barn dishes. And like I did every year that he was in college, I again offered to teach him the basics. Still not interested. Necessity? Not at all. That cell phone connects him to a company that puts together microwave dinners and once he makes his choices, delivers them to his front door. Every week.
Now that is wizardry. 

Let me just tell you a story here, it will all come together, I promise:

I don't jump on every fad. Never did get an instapot. But this whole air fryer thing, now that's intriguing. We have some favorite foods that I actually rarely make because I just hate deep frying. So, in November, I did decide I wanted one. I even asked people about their experiences on my Baking In A Tornado facebook page. I decided I wanted a bigger one, at least 8 qts, and I wanted the kind that looked like an oven, I need to be able to see what the food is doing when it's cooking.

I'd talked to Hubs about wanting one and was watching for sales. When I did tell him I found one I wanted to order, he panicked, ran out to his car and brought in my Hanukkah present. An air fryer.

Now I just had to tell him it wasn't the kind I wanted.

He returned it, and the one I wanted arrived a few days before Thanksgiving, the day after PurDude had come home for 2 weeks. 

Unpacked it, set it up, and it sat there. I was intimidated by the thing. The directions were scant, and that's an understatement. The supplied cookbook didn't help, most recipes said to preheat, but nowhere did it tell me how to do that. The internet, you know that thing that can answer all questions, did not help. Some articles said to preheat (but not how or for how long), others said there's no need to preheat. 

Well, it did look impressive sitting on my counter, so there's that.
Young Dog, Old Tricks | picture taken by, featured on, and property of www.BakingInATornado.com

Somehow, I'm not really sure how it happened, but somehow (I'm guessing that the lure of crispy, lower fat latkes had something to do with it) it was decided, since Hanukkah was just a few days away, that I would try making latkes in it. And PurDude would help.

What? And we all thought that the oil lasting 8 days was the miracle of Hanukkah.

I pulled out the ingredients. PurDude got every ounce of liquid out of those potatoes and onions. We mixed them up, formed the patties, and, once I figured out how to program it, turned that air fryer on (OK, and and maybe even uttered a little spell under my breath).
PurDude brushed them with oil as I turned them. And, of course, he was in charge of taste testing (first batch needed more salt). I took pictures, of course, this was a milestone after all. I even accidentally, (yes, I said I could use technology, not that I was efficient) took a one second video of him brushing the latkes. When it plays in a loop it's hysterical. I wish I could show you but if I did he'd kill me, and I have so much to live for, like I'm just now learning how to use my air fryer.

The latkes took much longer than I'd thought. And were mistakes made? Yes. Next time I would preheat (yes, I finally found out how), and I've also learned that cooking foods at a lower temperature for a longer time helps them brown better. But this old dog is learning a new trick. Again. 
I do know this, latkes will forever more (in my house, anyway) be made in the air fryer. And not just once a year any more, either.
Air Fryer Latkes for any day! This quick, easy, lower fat version makes latkes not just a once a year treat any more. | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dinner

Was it sorcery? Witchcraft?
No, just cooking. And, it seems, I may have just succeeded in teaching a very young dog a very old trick.

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Air Fryer Latkes

*NOTE: Air fryer sizes and configurations are different, the same is true of the sizes and thickness of the latkes you form, so you may need to make minor adjustments to your cooking times. Check them regularly as they cook.
*ALSO NOTE: Be very careful when working with a hot air fryer. Follow your manufacturer's directions for safety to avoid burning yourself.
1 bag (20 oz) Simply Potato Shredded Hash Brown
1/2 (10 oz) bag frozen chopped onions, defrosted
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

3 TBSP olive oil

*Place the shredded potatoes and chopped onion in a bowl, mix well. 
*Move them into the center of a cotton towel, twist the towel closed tightly with your hands. Over the sink, twist and squeeze the towel to remove as much liquid as possible. Put the ingredients back into the bowl.
*Add the flour, eggs, salt, and pepper to the bowl and mix well. Using your hands, form the mixture into 18 - 20 balls and place onto wax paper.
*Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Brush a little olive oil onto the air fryer shelves (or into the basket). Flatten each of your latke balls between your hands and place as many as will fit (leaving plenty of room between them) onto your shelves or into your basket. I cooked 4 per shelf.
*Brush a little olive oil onto the tops of the latkes and cook at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Flip them over, brush the tops with olive oil again (change the position of the shelves if you have them, moving the top one to the bottom, etc.)
*Cook them for another approximately 8 minutes (check once during that time to be sure they're not getting too well done). If, after 8 minutes they are not cooked and crispy, flip again, brush the top with olive oil again, and cook at 2 minute increments until they are well browned. 
*Keep each batch warm as you continue to cook the next batch.


  1. It's funny that friends and I were just talking about latkes!
    Carol C.

  2. Learning 'new tricks' keeps your brain supple.

    1. I completely agree. That along with creating new recipes and doing my daily sudoku keeps me thinking.

  3. So many things to love about this post...
    First, awesome to get your boy into the kitchen! (I gave my boy an air frier a couple of months ago and he has now become the master at ​finding foods to cook in it.)
    Second, I LOVE latkes! Mom made what she called 'potato pancakes'--fried, of course. I couldn't get enough of them.
    Third, I'm not very good at 'new'. My youngest daughter bought Husby an air frier and he just took off. And infected me!
    Fourth, thank you for the recipe!!!
    P.S. I would also really, really love to see that video...

    1. I tried to share the video, begged in fact. Even asked just to share a picture but I got nowhere!
      And I'd love to hear more about what you're doing with your air fryer (I have another air fryer recipe coming up this week, but that's my last one for now).

  4. Hubbie the cook also rejected an Instapot but went right for an air fryer, back in 2020. He loves it. We were lucky enough to find a book in the library that taught him to use it. He never thought of making latkes with one (maybe because he doesn't deep fry ours) so I read this to him. Oh, about cooking. Hubbie tried to teach our son. He didn't quite succeed, either. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    1. Good to know I'm not the only one who tried but couldn't accomplish anything.

  5. Maybe the trick to getting the younger ones to cook is making it techno-friendly.

    In our house, all of mine learned to cook. They loved watching cooking shows and wanted to do it for themselves.

  6. I had ordered a really cute calendar for Laurie (one of her presents- I'm not that level cheapskate) and it never showed (or I threw it away thinking it was a solicitation). I was hunting a replacement at Wal-Mart (because I am that level cheapskate)and saw an air-fryer. But with other gifts already bought and a price tag that would have knocked about three more layers off my cheapskate level, I moved on...

    1. Watch for sales. Mine was not only on sale, but had an online coupon attached. I don't know if I'm a cheapskate, but I sure do love getting a deal.


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