Tuesday, September 1, 2015

New Site

Hey everyone! #ICYMI

So much exciting stuff has been happening and to see it all, check out my new website: TastyKaitis.Kitchen.

All the recipes you know and love are there, along with menus, videos, merchandise, and MORE! 

Make sure to bookmark TastyKaitis.Kitchen in your browser and on your phone/tablet for all new content by me! 

More Recipes, News and FUN! :-) 

Head over to TastyKaitis.Kitchen now for new content on my new site!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sausage w/ Brussels Sprouts "Kraut"

It's been a long day full of excitement-- I hit 30k views!

I've been on a huge @FieldRoast kick recently. (Particularly their Apple Sage Sausage. Literally have eaten one every day for the past 2wks...) But tonight, I stepped it up a notch. I posted a picture of it on Instagram (as I do with almost everything I make/eat) and @that.fit.girl.christine was DROOLING!! :-) As promised Christine, this one is for you!  Read more

It's Time...

Well... After four and a half years, and now 30,000+ views, I am coming out of hiding! The "vegan Banksy" is no more! 

"Hey y'all I'm Kaiti, the creator/writer/designer behind Tasty Kaiti's. I never dreamed that people would actually read this blog let alone keep coming back for more!! It has grown to become not only a place for recipes and stories... but now I've got merchandise, videos, and more coming. Please head over to my website: www.tastykaitis.kitchen for more fun stuff that can't be seen here!"

Thank you for all of the support! I can't wait to come up with what's next!! ~Kaiti

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Corn Salad

"I Could Never Be Vegan… it’s too expensive!!!"

First off, if you haven’t seen my friend Sara’s video: “5 Things Vegetarians are Sick of Hearing” you need to! “I could never go vegan” is one of them. I’m not asking anyone to become a vegan… All I suggest is “Taste This!” For some reason, there is a stereotype about vegan food, and I’m out to change that mindset! Read How!

(You've been warned!)


Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Kentucky Derby

"There are people here who spend all year waiting for today. People who care about this day as much as anything else in the world. For us, it's about pride in where we're from, and who we are, and understanding that these two minutes... are timeless. It all started before anyone alive can remember but it's easy to see why The Derby came to be here, in Kentucky, and not anywhere else. Why it belongs here. Why it endures here.
The Bluegrass, that's actually as green as any horse could dream of grazing on. The limestone that sets the taste of bourbon apart, the instant you put it to your lips. The sense of style that dares you to be different and is always sure to welcome you in.
And that's just the start of what makes THIS day at THIS place UNLIKE anything else in the world. and why if you love racing, and you love parties... if you love the action and the energy and the soul of life itself, today feels like home.
Who's going to win? It could be anyone of them. What's going to happen? That's the point, no one knows. So welcome back to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday of May. Where the story of the Kentucky Derby continues with chapter 141. Around here we wait for today all year long! The race, the party and the reminder of how it feels to be part of a celebration so timeless!"

-Ashley Judd's opening for NBC's Derby Coverage. 

And for the perfect Derby Day Recipe... My Vegan Kentucky Hot Brown! Get the Recipe Here

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Enchiladas segunda parte (part 2)

Last time I posted an enchilada recipe, I went 100% veg... Which, if you follow my blog, you know that's not really normal. I love to make food that is similar to the stuff I used to eat before I went vegan. Sometimes I do miss the meat... 

Part of the reason I write the recipes I do is to help meat-eaters to try vegan food and prove that they can still eat the foods they love, but by swapping out a few ingredients, they can make it a little healthier. I can't tell you how many times... READ MORE

Thursday, April 30, 2015

National BLT Month

So ya'll know that I love my food holidays... just check out my twitter, facebook, and instagram! ...Well sometimes people love a particular food SO MUCH that the "celebration" lasts for an entire MONTH!! That is the case for one of my favorite sandwiches EVER! (And the fact that it is celebrated during my birth month... Coincidence?! I think NOT!!!!)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Stuffed Shells

Reader's Choice! I hope by now you know that I love responding to your comments and answering your questions and requests... If you didn't know that, well, here's proof!! 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pineapple Salsa

Hi I'm Kaiti & I'm a Salsa-holic. Shout out to my best buddy ever @Wayeezy who knows just how much I'm addicted to salsa...
Grab some chips and get the scoop here!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day 2015

Happy #EarthDay2015!!!

This year's theme for Earth Day is "It's Our Turn to Lead" and I take that theme to heart! If you haven't read My Story: Becoming Tasty Kaiti's, you may not know that I went vegan for health reasons. I still want to eat the food I used to be able to but instead, I make a vegan version of it. Not only is this good for me (and for people who want to make a difference in their health but don't want to sacrifice taste), it's good for the environment!

  • Approximately 39 gallons of water are needed to produce a pound of veggies. VS The 1,850 gallons needed to produce A pound of beef. 
  • AMERICANS consume about 4xs more animal protein than the GLOBAL AVERAGE.
  • By using grain produced for the livestock industry for human consumption, approximately 840 MILLION people could be fed!
(Information from MeatlessMonday.com)

Eating more plant based foods is also a great way to give back.  What do I mean by that? Well... you can GO GREEN and limit your food waste by composting and giving back to the earth... There is an old Native American tradition: when you take something from the Earth, you must put something back. Whether this is planting a tree for Earth Day, composting or planting some veggie scraps that will regenerate, not only are you helping the earth but you are saving the green in your wallet by growing what you'll eat. 

There is such a stigma attached to vegan food that when I went grocery shopping with a friend recently she was shocked to see me grab some of the same foods she does. "YOU CAN EAT THAT?!" Yes, a lot people eat vegan food without realizing it sometimes... Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, rice, pasta, hummus, salad, stirf-ry, canned veggies, popcorn, potato chips, french fries... YUP! I can eat all of that... And, what's more have you seen the recipes I have on here!?

I can eat stuff that looks and tastes like "THE REAL THING" but with a few modifications I make it so I don't break out in hives and swell up like Violet Beauregard in Willy Wonka/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! :-) Don't believe me? TASTE THIS!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bourbon Coleslaw

KY things I LOVE @WindyCornerMrkt @BuffaloTrace @MakersMark @KnobCreek @WoodfordReserve #bourbon
I've written many times before about my love for Kentucky, and somedays I crave the flavors of The Bluegrass. 

BBQ season with my friends has finally started and I wanted to impart a little Kentucky flavor into my contribution for the party. Here's what I did... Read More

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Stuffed Mushrooms

The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! Okay, obviously you know I'm kidding. I know, I know it's April and we are more than six months away from any kind of holiday season but it's never too soon to start planning.

On a  distantly related note, a popular appetizer/ hors d'oeuvres for many during the season holiday is the stuffed mushroom. I decided to combine the two... and this is what I came up with!

Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine

Check them out they are awesome! http://veganbros.com/
Shout out to the super cute @veganbros as this recipe was created with Matt in mind! Sorry Phil, but I know you don't like mushrooms. Matt's got a nut allergy and has had issues in the past with creamy pasta sauces containing nuts, so this one's for you babe!

#Crowdpleaser am I right?
Based on the reaction I got from social media after I posted this picture, I knew I had to share this recipe!

Caesar Salad- REMIX

I love Caesar salad. As a vegan it's really hard to see Caesar salad on every menu and know that you still can't eat it. They serve it with seafood. They serve it with steak. They serve it with chicken. Why not serve it with a vegetarian option too? I mean we're vegetarian/vegan we eat salad, that's why you have it on the menu isn't it... That's all we eat right? So then, why ya gotta ruin it by putting meat on it?! Rude! 

Now, traditionally, Cesar salad is made with Romaine lettuce. That's all well and good but I wanted to jack up my nutritional intake. I've seen kale Caesar salad, spinach Caesar salad. Whoopy-friggin-do. I wanted to switch it up because... Well...  Here's why..

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Day of the Mushroom

First off... OH MY GOODNESS I JUST HIT 24K VIEWS!!!!! wowowowowow!!!! Thanks y'all!

My goal is to have 27k views in time for my 27th birthday... April 24th I know it's tight but I have faith in my readers. Look around my blog find a recipe you like and then share it with your friends! Know someone who's starting meatless Mondays, trying to eat healthier, etc? Please please PLEASE share my blog! Pin it, Tweet it, Facebook it, YouTube it, whatever you want. 

Moving on. Today's "food holiday" is "The Day of the Mushroom"... which is not to be confused with National Mushroom Day (that happens in October).  Not really sure what the difference is and, to be honest, I don't care. It's just another excuse for me to do more mushroom recipes!!! I love mushrooms. As a vegan/vegetarian, it's just a great meaty alternative in recipes/sandwiches/pasta... Anything! Oh, and don't worry... I've got something BIG planned for National Mushroom Day! Stay tuned and Stay HUNGRY :-) 

Mushrooms are really good for you! Super low in calories, no fat, no gluten, no cholesterol! They've got potassium, vitamin D and are a good source of vitamin B too! So load up your plate with mushrooms! 

This is a short post this time, as it's purpose was to be a gateway to a bunch of mushroom recipes (and recipes that have mushrooms in them) They are all Vegan (obviously), some contain nuts, some are gluten free or can easily be made gluten free and they are all TASTY! :-) 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Grilled Cheese Please!! (part 2)

To @gardein @Daiyafoods @WholeFoods @HamptonCreek and @Lightlife thanks for being wonderful!!

Now that we've discussed Grilled Cheese Sandwiches at length... (Very VERY long Length!!!) We can move on to some gourmet variations of the sandwich! While I do agree that cheese should be the main focus of the sandwich, I am all about some extras! Read More

Grilled Cheese Please!

Happy #NationalGrilledCheeseSandwichDay from your favorite vegan blog! @daiyafoods @gardein

Growing up, I was actually not a fan of grilled cheese sandwiches. Confession: I straight up HATED them! (yeah, yeah.. I was the weird kid that preferred steamed broccoli over a sandwich made of cheese... A vegan in the making, maybe?) But... I had a knack for making them.  True perfection. My dad still to this day asks me to make his grilled cheese sandwiches! Perfectly golden browned, melty cheese, it doesn't seem too hard BUT, I've got some tips that will make your grilled cheeses perfect every time.

*Update: I finally fell in love with grilled cheese in 2012, when I first tried Daiya's vegan cheese! Now, I make them all the time and have some special recipes at the end of this post so, GO STOCK UP ON DAIYA, not just the slices, get the wedges and some cream cheese too! Go ahead... I'll wait.... 

So, What makes the perfect grilled cheese...?  

(If you want to weigh in on future polls like this, follow me on twitter/instagram: @tastykaitis and on facebook: facebook.com/tastykaitis)

From SeriousEats
Playing on the web, I stumbled across a list that states "A grilled cheese MUST...".  While I'm not one to follow food rules, I thought that their musts were interesting and thus, wanted to share them with you. 
  • First let me say in my opinion no sandwich ever needs to be closed! Open-faced or "toasts" are totally fair game! (I'm not just saying this because I have some below) Sometimes I like making sandwiches fancier by adding silverware!
  • "Griddled on BOTH sides"... not a terrible idea. But it's not a MUST! 
  • "Have cheese as primary ingredient. [No overwhelming extras]" Well DUHHHH! It's called a Grilled Cheese! 
  • "Crust-on loaves... do not qualify."  Who died and made you in charge of grilled cheese? What if I like to extra crispy, crouton-y crunch of crust-on bread?
  • "...served hot all the way through..." I feel like this is a given. Who wants pieces of un-melted cheese and or hot melty cheese on cold extras?
  • "Be cooked on a flat, greased surface." I agree that it should be cooked on a stove and not baked... but we'll address my secret ingredient for a delicious, crunchy, golden grilled cheese in a minute... Pause, why can't we deep fry the grilled cheese? That. Would. Be. EPIC!!!!
I also found another website, with perhaps a little more "merit" that disagrees with a few of these points that SeriousEats.com made. Specifically the point about bread. 
From GCA
I say this site has more "merit" not because I agree with creative bread-age but... well, it's the freakin' Grilled Cheese Academy website! (note: as noted on their website, it is not an actual culinary school or "establishment of higher learning"... but it is a trademark of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board) What else do they suggest...?

Both of these tips, I definitely agree with! They also suggest pressing the sammie to ensure even cheese spreadage. But I have a way that doesn't require pressing... plus I think that pressing ruins the amount of bread to cheese ratio, UNLESS you have a lot of extras and need to smush it to fit in your mouth like Dagwood here... (Or do the "hunch" -Guy Fieri) 

So that's what the "experts" have to say... But what about you?! I asked on my Social Media platforms and got a couple "Purest" (just cheese and bread) responses:

Kevin from NC says, 
"Evenly toasted/grilled bread (+bread with flavor) for crunch, and an equally enjoyable cheese with flavor that melts smooth (texture contrast with bread). Lastly, the right ratio: not so much bread as to dwarf the taste of cheese, nor so much cheese as to be too messy or make you sick."
And his opinion on gourmet grilled cheese vs the purest?
"Generally [I'm] a purest who enjoys a nice side of soup with it, but gourmet is enjoyable if the combinations are done correctly. Too often, though, gourmet is just a slopfest of things thrown in, then the sandwich falls apart on the first bite. For example, avocado is wonderful, but if it's sliced in large chunks, those'll pop right out. Hate that. HATE."
Great feedback! Thanks Kevin! This definitely stuck in my head when I started working on some recipes!  What else?

Neil from VA agrees:
"Has to be the right cheese to bread ratio, I would say. But I've only had basic grilled cheeses"
 So... How do I make my "famous" grilled cheese sandwiches?
  • Bread: Sourdough! The texture makes for a a great crunchy outside and a chewy inside that can stand up to the gooey-ness of the cheese. Regular sandwich bread is too soft and can't handle being eaten... 
  • Cheese: For a standard grilled cheese, I have to go with Daiya's cheddar slices... 2 slices! And listen, your cheese doesn't necessarily have to look pretty when you lay it on your bread... it's going to melt so RIP IT UP! and make sure that every centimeter of that bread is covered! (This doesn't necessarily apply to the gourmet grilled cheeses because they have more stuff to cover the bread. 
  • Butter: NO WAY!!! My secret (and don't tell my dad because he is not typically a fan of this condiment)... Mayo! Yup that's right, I'm a big fan of Hampton Creek's Just Mayo. Why? Think about French Toast... the toast is dipped in a mixture of egg, oil and some spices, and the crust that ensues is simply delectable! Same thing applies here. Even browning, super crispy and I think it's less greasy.
  • Temperature and Speed: Like great BBQ, go low and slow. This allows time for your cheese to actually melt and the crust to build without burning.
  • Pan: Go non-stick. A lot of people think cast iron is the way to go BUT it actually has a bigger chance of causing you trouble when it comes time to flip your sandwich. No Bueno!
2- 1/4" slices Sourdough Bread
2 slices Daiya Cheddar Slices
2 TBS Hampton Creek Just Mayo (try their garlic one!)

I'm pretty sure everyone knows how to assemble a grilled cheese sandwich... No? 

Cheese goes between the 2 slices of bread.  Slather the outside of the bread with a tablespoon of mayo. Place, mayo side down, into a nonstick pan on medium-low heat.  Spread remaining mayo onto the top of your sandwich. After about 3-5 minutes, flip the sandwich. NOTE: this is not a hamburger... You can flip it a few times to achieve the color and crust you want! 

Serve with tomato soup, my Roasted Veggie Soup, or just a side of ketchup... (I like to add some sriracha to my ketchup!)
See Grilled Cheese Please (part 2) for my Gourmet Grilled Cheeses! 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Becoming Tasty Kaiti... my story

Friends, Family, and even Strangers have criticized me for switching to a vegan diet:

"Are you always going to be vegan?"

"I could never give up __! I'd rather die.."
"It's crazy that you don't eat __!" 

Well, I've had some of my own interesting experiences with my health and I couldn't feel better about my decision to go vegan. I don't know if I've ever actually shared my story, and since today is World Health Day, it seems appropriate to share.
A few years ago I was having issues staying healthy. I would get sick after eating foods that I grew up on, burgers, pizza, ice cream, sushi, etc. Every day I was dealing with a distended stomach that made me look pregnant, a swollen face/neck, irritability, and sometimes even hives! It was so annoying that I decided I wanted to make a change. I made a list of everything that was making me feel AWFUL (cream cheese, burgers, chicken, fish, milk, ice cream... I could go on and on) and took it to the doctor to see what they had to say. They couldn't really give me a firm answer but it appeared as though my body had a tough time breaking down and accepting the proteins in animal products. Sure I could go to the doctor regularly and get a quick fix like a shot or pills... but if it was something that I could fix just by changing what I was eating, why wouldn't I just do that?!

I decided to make the change and invest in better food choices rather than investing in medications that would come with who knows what kind of side effects. After not being vegan for 23 years it was definitely going to be a challenge, especially for a giant foodie like me!!! But I was blessed with a crazy food memory and a love for experimenting in the kitchen. I went to the internet in hopes of finding some recipes that would ease my transition into a plant-based diet. Stuff that would make a carnivore feel truly satisfied in taste, texture, and a full belly! To my dismay, there was not much online (2010) that was very appealing to me as a new vegan. I still wanted a meaty burger and creamy, cheesy mac n cheese. 

Salt Potatoes... One of the first recipes I posted on my Tumblr page back in 2011!
I started my very first blog on Tumblr, trying out recipes from some cookbooks I had and then writing the review of the recipe. Then I switched over to Blogger (in Aug 2011). It was then that I realized there were a lot of people out there like me! They too wanted to find food that reminded them of the foods they used to eat so they didn't feel deprived. 
What's up South Africa, Australia, The Phillipines?! So Cool!!! 
Today, my blog (on Blogger) is coming up on it's 4th birthday, has been viewed over 23K times and has reached ALL OVER THE WORLD! I've expanded my blog from just blogger to a whole new website (www.tastykaitis.kitchen) which has menus, food holidays, and I hope to start adding more videos in the future. I never imagined this blog would take off as much as it has and I hope it will continue to grow! In fact, just recently as you may or may not have read, my social media accounts have even been recognized by big names in the food and vegan celebrity worlds. (Food Network, Chef Michael Symon, Vegan Bros, just to name a few!!!) 
Felt pretty cool to have a Tasty Kaiti's cup while I was in KY
(Shout Out to the great team at the US-127 Starbucks in Frankfort!!)
Welp, that's my story!  I went vegan for health reasons, as have big names like former President Bill Clinton, Mike Tyson, Usher, and more! There are plenty of people who go vegan for animal rights reasons, I love animals, but that was not my personal reason for changing my diet. Please remember that everyone is different, and not everyone is going to agree BUT, this is my personal blog. I'm not here to force anything on anyone, please do not try to force your opinion on others who may be reading. All I'm asking is for people to do is "TASTE THIS!" Maybe by posing that question I can influence people to try foods that can impact their health for the better... Maybe not. I'm just in it to give tasty foods to the people looking for them! 
From Top: Chopped Salad, Mac-No-Cheese, and Roasted Brussel Sprouts... One of my favorite dishes to serve people who doubt the delicious-ness that is Vegan food! 
I will be the first person to admit... I am not a fan of vegan food that "tastes vegan". Tofu, is one of my least favorite ingredients to use. (Sorry... but it's true) BUT, I will say, that what I do like about it is that it tastes like whatever you want it too! One of the first tofu recipes I found when I chose to go vegan was a recipe for chocolate mousse but... I wanted to switch it up... So I went with peanut butter instead! Adjust the sweetness and peanut buttery-ness to your liking!

1/3-1/2 cup peanut butter (CREAMY!!)
1/3-1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar (aka powdered sugar)
1 (12.3 oz pkg) soft silken tofu

Put all three things in a blender and puree until smooth and combined.  

Then divide into glasses/bowls/parfait glasses—whatever you’ve got, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 30 minutes.  (Or overnight)  

Then serve.  That’s it.  No really,  I’m serious! …

Okay fine if you really want you could dollop with vegan whip cream/chopped peanuts/or vegan chocolate.  But it truly doesn’t need it.  The best part…? Try secretly feeding it to your carnivore friends/family… bet they don’t know it’s tofu! ;-) Remember just a smile, a spoon and "Taste This" works every time!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

SUPER Greens (my favorite salad mix)

March 30, 2015 3:07pm. @FoodNetwork started following me (@tastykaitis) on Twitter!!!!!! 

I can't even explain how SUPER I feel writing this! Food Network is like... my LIFE! I've seen just about every episode of every show, buy the magazines when I have the cash to spare, and am constantly on the site to see what's new and find some recipes to veganize for me and you.  I've dreamt my whole life to have my own show on the Food Network! (Ask my parents... I used to talk through my steps in the kitchen with everything from making cereal to veggie chowder!  ... I may or may not still do it -- and yes I'm almost 27!) :-D

While I took some time to reflect on the excitement of my day... I wanted to make sure I remembered every detail... I realized that I spent the morning prepping my homemade salad bar, complete with my SUPER Greens Salad Mix!!! 

I'm sure I'm not the only one who goes to the grocery store salad bar more than 2xs a week. I know I'm not! I see the same people 4-7 times a week at the salad bar! But do you know how expensive it really is?! Food Network Magazine did an "In the Know" article back in 2011 (yup, this one stuck with me!) called Shop the Salad Bar. It showed just how much your average grocery store marks-up the items on a salad bar (at $5.99/lb... Whole Foods- near me at least is $8.99/lb) is MIND BLOWING!!!!  The mark-up on chickpeas... 386%!!!! (and that article was from 2011... who knows if this has gone up over the past few years!)

The thing that SUCKS is that the items that are the most bargain items on the bar... tend to be the ones that aren't vegan/vegetarian friendly.  
Like Bacon.......................... And Cheese! :-(  (See all the findings here from the article here: Salad Bar Math

So... I started making my own salad bar at home! One day(more like an hour depending on how many veggies you have)+Veggies+mandoline= Salad Bar for the WEEK! For less than it would cost you to buy your salad for the week. Plus you get to decide what you put on your salad... you don't fall subject to the sadness that ensues when the grocery store swaps out one of your favorites for... Hard Boiled Eggs (Bleccchhhh!)
Grape Tomatoes, Red Bell Pepper, Fennel, Onion, Celery, Cucumber, Mushrooms and Carrots (Not Pictured: Peas, Baby
Corn, Microgreens, Beets, Kalamata Olives, Hummus, Quinoa, Farro, Wheatberries, Kamut, Harissa, etc!)
I'm sharing with you my "recipe" for SUPER Greens. What makes them super? Well... It's a mix of 4 of the Top 10 Most Nutrient Dense Foods (see: Dr.Fuhrman's List Explained for details) and it's chopped up so that you can enjoy the benefits of being about to eat lots of greens and actually feel full until dinner. 

1 pkg Baby Spinach & Arugula
8 leaves Kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (I like Lacinto best)
16 Brussel Sprouts, sliced about 1/8" (use a mandoline for uniformity)

Dump all of the spinach and arugula into a huge mixing bowl. Add in sliced sprouts and chopped kale. 
With the leaves all still intact, the mix is pretty voluminous... But wait... I'm going to fit it all back into the spinach/arugula
Take a pizza cutter and cut the greens by rolling the cutter throughout the bowl over and over until everything is chopped and mixing into itself.

You'll notice that the mix takes up a lot less of the bowl... Scoop it out and store the mix back into the package for the spinach and arugula.  What was once full is now...

Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Now for the Veggies: 
I used my mandoline for all my veggies except tomatoes (mostly bc I love tomatoes and nothing beats biting into a juicy tomato!)

Store water dense veggies in water (celery, cucumber, carrots... think of what veggies sit in water on the salad bar) in the fridge. I don't put my onions in water because it tends to leach the onion flavor. 

With everything else stick them in a tupperware in the fridge. When you have everything on hand, already prepped, tossing a salad together is a cinch!(pun ABSOLUTELY intended) 

With all the nutrients you get from these SUPER Greens and from raw veggies in general... You can have a SUPER day like me!!!* 

*Results not guaranteed :-)

I feel as though this post needs to be dedicated to a friend of mine from college... Not necessarily because he loves salad, but because he is known to most as SUPER Mario! :-) "This just in... You're Super!!!" hehehe

Tater Tots

Today, March 31st, is a great day.  Why you ask...? IT'S TATER DAY!!!!! That's right a national food holiday dedicated to my absolute favorite tuber! 

I did a little research hoping to find out the origin of Tater Day, thinking it may have a ties in Ireland or something cool like that... Well, no ties in Ireland BUT it appears it may be linked to a festival back in 1842 in my favorite state, Kentucky!!! The Tater Day festival was started as a celebration of spring and was an event where people would trade sweet potato "slips" (seeds).  It is THE oldest continuous trade day in US History. The festival is a 3 day affair with dates that range from March 28-April 6.  This year the sweet potato focused festival celebrates it's 159th year on March 6th. 

It's no secret that I love potatoes... I mean come on, who doesn't?! Well, I have to admit, I buy a lot of frozen tater tots. But without deep frying them in oil, I can't get them super crispy in the oven. Plus, with all the additives and preservatives, it doesn't make me feel too good about stuffing my face with them! 
So as some of you may know March is "March Madness" here in the US. It's a big college basketball tournament and bars are frequented in order for spectators to be able to catch every game. Which got me thinking... What would happen if you crossed french fries with onion rings? You'd either get onion straws or breaded potatoes... YAHTZEE!!! I found some mini potatoes at the grocery store and knew they could be breaded and BAKED to crispy perfection using a breading technique popular on onion rings! And did I mention, there's no oil?! *unless you want it... But its not necessary.
This is brilliant! With mini potatoes, there is no need to shred or boil them before they are baked into the most perfect, soft and buttery on the inside, SUPER crunchy outside tots! Napoleon Dynamite would be so proud! :-) 
Here's what I used, look at those mini taters!  Using Cajun seasoning adds a sneaky kick!

1 bag mini potatoes (I think it's 1-lb?)
2 cups All Purpose Flour
4 1/2 tsp kosher salt (divided, 2tsp and 2 1/2 tsp)
2 tsp Cajun seasoning (opt. but it definitely adds extra flavor)
1 cup Non-Dairy Milk
1 TBS White Vinegar
1 TBS Egg Replacer Powder (don't add water!!!) 
2 cups Panko Bread Crumbs 

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Place parchment paper onto 2 baking sheets and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, 1 tsp cajun seasoning and 2 teaspoons salt. In another bowl, whisk together the vinegar, milk and egg replacer. 

In another bowl (yeah yeah... this isn't a 1 pot meal sorry), combine the panko, and remaining 2 teaspoons salt and teaspoon of cajun seasoning.

Rinse the potatoes in cool water making sure they are completely wet.  Lightly dredge the potatoes in the flour mixture so that every centimeter is covered.  Shake off extra flour and then drop into the milk mix. Roll in panko, pressing to ensure the potato is fully coated.

Arrange on the prepared baking sheets in a single layer with a little space between each potato. Then place in the oven. Cook until golden brown, 14 to 20 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, flip over each potato to ensure even crisping and browning.

Sprinkle with a little extra salt when they come out of the oven and serve. 

**If you'd like to use oil, add 3 TBS olive oil to the panko before coating... Don't want to use that much oil? Spray crusted potatoes with olive oil before putting them in the oven. 

These tots are so ridiculously crunchy! ANNNND best part, if you make lots they can be refrigerated AND reheated in the microwave for a few seconds all while retaining their crispy coating!

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