- The summer, in particular, always presents a problem in the kitchen, namely, who has any interest in standing over a hot stove stirring and sweating, or feeling the heat blast from your oven - just to feed yourself and/or loved ones.
In the hopes of trying to avoid staggering restaurant crowds, parking nightmares, and, oh yes, the outrageous hike in prices in many area restaurants - (Note: we are not all tourists!) - it was with great pleausre that I tried the ActiFry from T-Fal.
How can you cook all of your favorite meals using just one appliance? Well, this little gem is a revolutionary appliance developed to change the way you cook and eat. It is now possible to create delicious and healthier versions of everyday meals all in one machine, and for added pleasure and ease - try it outside while you enjoy the sunset. It's a roaster, stir fry pan, healthy fryer, and a quick slow cooker all in one portable, how-did-I-ever-live-without-it, easy to use, pots and pans be dammed container!
Able to handle up to four servings at once, with a countdown timer and alarm that beeps when ready you don't have to worry about being distracted while cooking, and once the lid is opened, the ActiFry will automatically turn off, so no worries about safety either. Additionally, ActiFry always cooks at the same temperature to ensure even and thorough cooking of the food, as only the length of time you cook each dish gets adjusted. For those of us who would rather be sailing than cooking - meet your new BFF!
Some High Points (There Are No Low Points)
• Versatility: Broad range of meals in one machine; cooks vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood, grains, desserts and fruits. It can achieve results similar to a roaster, stir fry pan, healthy fryer or speedy slow cooker.
• Convenience: Automatically cooks a variety of dishes with a patented heat pulsing action that evenly cooks the food at a constant temperature of 338° F, while the paddle gently stirs the food.
• Healthy: Your favorite dishes are healthier due to little or no required oil.
• Easy: Simply place food in the pan, close the lid, set the timer, and turn it on with one simple button. The T-fal non-stick pan, stirring paddle, filter and lid are all easy to remove and are dishwasher safe for quick and easy clean up.
• Safe: Closed cooking vessel provides safe splatter-free cooking. Awarded the Parent Tested-Parent Approved seal - which means Moms will love it!
• Odorless: Emits no frying odors.
The ActiFry contains a unique patented hot air circulation technology system with heat pulsing action, with a removable aluminum pan with ceramic non-stick coating, with a 100 percent transparent steam-free lid so no preheating is required, which to me means - it's easy, fast, not messy and the food tastes great.
Green Bean Stew. (Courtesy Photo: Nutritious and Delicious)
I tried mine cooking some meat and a few veggies, however, you can cook just about anything, including fish, risotto, and even desserts. The product comes with a recipe book that includes 38 healthy and appetizing recipes, all of which feature specific nutritional information.
I'm all for knowing the nutritional value, etc., etc., but I must confess the first time I used it I was really more interested in whether it would (1) blow up, (2) unintentionally poison myself and my dinner guest, and (3) require even more clean up than having to stand over the kitchen sink on a hot night. I'm happy to report my new BFF (I'm calling it 'Hal') passed with flying colors.
Remember, you only need between zero (as in none) or one to two tablespoons of oil - get the healthy oil - so don't use battered foods or high liquid dishes such as soups or puddings in the ActiFry - this is a hot air distribution system. The heat pulse and optimized hot air circulation evenly cooks the food while the paddle gently stirs the food. Poultry will take around 15 minutes, beef will be 20 minutes and vegetables will take between 10 and 20 minutes.
Simply add the ingredients into the pan, close the lid, set the countdown timer and turn the product on. ActiFry will do the cooking for you - how cool is that!
Below are a few simple summer recipes:
Green Bean Stew with Fresh Sage, Pear and Groundnuts
Serves 6, Difficulty: Easy, Prep Time: 8 minutes, Cooking time: 20 minutes
• 1 1/3 lb. green beans
• 2 pears, not too ripe, peeled and diced
• 1 spoon chopped
• 2 spoons groundnuts
• 3 ½ fl. oz. low-fat whipping cream
• 3 ½ fl. oz. vegetable broth
• 1 tsp. oil your choice
Try a light Risotto with your ActiFry. Courtesy Photo: Nutritious and Delicious)
Cut off the tips of the beans with a knife and then halve them. Peel the pears and cut them into cubes. Pour a spoon of oil in the ActiFry and fry the beans with the finely chopped sage for approximately 10 minutes. Add the pear cubes and the groundnuts. Pour the vegetable stock with the light cream on the bean dish - 10 minutes later you can enjoy this tasty load-me-up dish.
Light Risotto With Oil, Ham And Peas
Serves 4, Difficulty: Easy, Prep Time: 9 minutes, Cooking Time: 15 minutes
• 1 ¼ cup carnaroli rice
• 1 ½ oz. cooked ham
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 1 cup peas
• 1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
• 6 ½ cups vegetable stock
• Fine salt
Place the oil in the appropriate section of the fryer, heat for approximately three minutes. Add the rice and allow it to toast for two minutes, add the ham cut into cubes and brown for further two minutes. Pour in the stock and cook for approximately 15 minutes. At the end of cooking, add the shelled peas, a little oil and parmesan cheese.
You can find additional receipes for the ActiFry at www.nutritiousanddelicious.com
T-fal® (a division of Groupe SEB® USA) is a leading manufacturer of non-stick cookware and small kitchen appliances, and is based in West Orange, NJ.
You will be pleasantly surprised at how this little tyke will transform you from asking "What should I cook tonight?" to "Let's get 'Hal' to do it!"
For more information, click here.
Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.