Archive for January, 2012
It really is! See how easy this young girl carries it in, sets it up and uses the famous Global Sun Oven:
If a kid can do it…so can you! Start saving the world one meal at a time. Using a solar cooker is an easy way to be green. It’s good for the other kind of “green” too. Start saving money, by using our sun’s free energy every time you use a solar oven. It’s all good fun, but wait till you taste the food! Solar ovens cook foods in their own juices, and thereby retain vitamins, nutrients and FLAVORS!
When you pull out your first pot of delicious, steaming soup from a global solar oven, you’ll understand this SO much better. Become a solar cooking enthusiast today!
There’s just nothing like a hot, steaming and nutritious bowl of soup on a cold winter day. Try this Tomato Vegetable Soup recipe in your solar oven on the next available sunny day.
6 cups of canned or frozen (or fresh!) diced mixed vegetables(we like greens)
1/2 tsp salt ( or salt substitute)
“pinch” of cayenne pepper (or black)
1/4 tsp of curry powder
1/4 cup of rice
“pinch” of Italian seasoning
6 cups of tomato juice
Simply stir the ingredients, cover with the lid and place pot into preheated (160 degrees F will do) solar cooker. Cook for at least 3 hours. With good solar cooking sunshine 4 -5 hours is sufficient. Remove and serve.
This will warm you right up whether you’ve been cross country skiing or just entertaining the kids in a snowball battle. Enjoy!
Ingredients: ( serves 4)
Prepared rice for 4 servings (boil 2 cups rice, 2 cups water, 1/2 tsp salt)
1/2 cup raisins ( also great with “craisins”)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup honey
5 cups milk
1 tbs olive oil
3 large eggs
a “pinch” of allspice
a “pinch” of salt
Mix the rice and raisins together and spread them evenly in the pot
Mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl and, when thoroughly mixed, spread it over top of the rice and raisins in the pot.
Be sure to preheat your solar cooker, then cover the pot and place it inside.
Remove, let cool or put in fridge. Most people like it chilled. I am different; I like mine warm. It’s so good!
1/2 tsp – Sugar ( or half sugar, half cinnamon)
1oz. – Honey
1/8 Stick of butter or margarine.
Use a spoon back to smooth off the top of the batter and then sprinkle the sugar (or cinnamon & sugar) over the top.
It’s easy enough to set up most solar ovens by oneself. In fact, commercial sellers of the various models often extol the benefits of their models’ lightweight, suitcase design, or easy-carry handle features. This is quite true. However, it is just plain easier and a lot more fun when others become involved with the solar meal preparation.
For example, last Sunday was a beautiful winter sunshiny, windless cooking day. Although it was only 6 degrees when I set up the sun oven out in the snow, it preheated to 175 degrees in just 22 minutes! Remember, all you need is strong solar radiation ( a nice clear day). I had checked the weather report the night before and had assembled the ingredients for the two dishes: banana bread and a pot of rice.
Church was early, and, since I also had to work later in the day, time was critical. About 10am I popped both dishes into the solar oven. Due to the long finger-like shadows of surrounding maple trees, I found it necessary to move the oven into the yard to avoid them. Then I used a little snow to level up the oven and away I went to catch up on my “honey-do” list. You know, like changing the furnace filter, and hanging new curtains. Anyway, since my wife was working, and my sciatica was on the up-rise, the thought kept coming to me as to how much easier and fun solar cooking is when you have someone else around…even if they might be criticizing your methods.
When you’re hurting, opening several doors to get outside, carry out the oven (around 20 lbs), trudge through the snow-covered yard, stoop over, load the oven chamber, close everything up and focus it, was almost enough to thwart me from my goal. Fortunately there was no wind, which made setting up the reflectors easy. I thought, “how nice it would’ve been to have a helping hand.”
Later, I checked the solar cooker at 11:45 am. The oven temperature was at 240 degrees, while outside it had increased to a “balmy” 18 degrees. The banana bread was about done and the rice was nearly “there” too. By 1:00pm everything was ready. Actually, some friends had stopped in about the time I brought everything inside. We all enjoyed the banana bread with some coffee. Too bad no one was around earlier to really appreciate the up close and personal fun that solar cooking represents. The moral is: have the get-together begin when you’re preparing the meal. Make solar cooking a friendly affair!
(Music) Splish Splash I was makin’ some hash…long about Saturday night! Oh yes, and it spilled all over the solar oven’s cooking chamber. It’s got to be cleaned up A.S.A.P., or you may forget about it, bring it inside and stink up the house.
One of the most frequent questions I’ve answered when toting my ovens out to share with the public is, how do you clean it? Usually, this question is from a middle aged woman, that’s my experience…I’m just sayin’.
Just like that other oldie, but goodie, goes…“it’s so easy, it’s so easy….” Well, it really is. The mysterious solar oven cleanup method is hereby disclosed:
Use hot soap and water! Dish soap will usually do. Dawn or another degreaser brand might be your preference on tougher spills. Everything usually wipes up clean for us with a dishcloth or dishtowel. Although I’ve not done this, but others have suggested it, you could use vinegar water on the glass to do great, clear, nontoxic job.
Another important tip to follow after cleaning the oven, is to leave the chamber exposed to the air to completely allow it to dry. With the SOS Sport model, it helps to set it up on one corner to help any moisture drain out.
After some regular use of your solar oven, you may discover the black paint wearing off the metal surfaces of the cooking chamber. This is cured by a simple drive to your home improvement store, or department store. Look for the high temperature, nontoxic black paint used to refurbish barbecue grills. Choose the flat black variety and carefully refinish any blemishes inside your oven. Well, on second thought, if the outside of your oven is also black, you could use the paint there as well. Anyway, the paint will likely cost you less than $7.00 and will help keep that solar oven temperature where it needs to be to prepare your next sun-cooked cuisine.
That’s all there is to it. By simply cleaning and maintaining your particular solar oven model, you’ll find it’ll give you years of great tasting goodies and lots of fun.
Yes, maybe it’s still winter, but why not plan ahead for a summertime backyard bash? You can make barbecued chicken in a solar oven and shock those friends who may be expecting the same carcinogen– flavored meal. Check out this recipe:
2 Tbs ketchup
2 Tbs mustard
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp red or cayenne pepper(or freshly ground black)
“pinch” of cumin
2 Tbs molasses
approximately 2 lbs boneless & skinless chicken breasts or thighs
First, wash off the chicken as usual, in cold water, then pat dry by using a paper towel. Place it in a thin-walled dark metal covered roaster pan (2 – 3 quart) for 1 to 1 1/2 hours of good quality sunshine. Quickly remove it from the chamber and pour off the liquid. Next, mix all the ingredients for the glaze in a bowl first, before spreading it completely over both sides of the chicken parts. Put it back into the covered pot for another hour, or so. Remove your hot and steaming “masterpiece” for all to enjoy.
A great side dish for this is roasted corn on the cob, which can be simultaneously prepared with the chicken in the solar oven chamber.
Once you’re a solar box oven owner, it’s best to begin experimenting with it right away. There are, however, certain methods to follow to help you make the most out of the new cooking experience. Below, are 5 recommendations for achieving success with your new culinary appliance.
1. Pre-heating. Always make it a point to have the oven set-up and heated to at least 150 degrees before setting the pot, pan or dish inside. If you do this religiously with every dish you prepare, failure is harder to come by.
2. Oven thermometer. Having an oven thermometer popped into the back of the oven is quite essential. Most commercial sun cookers either have them built into the appliance or supply one separately. Without knowing the temperature, it will far more difficult to estimate the cooking time per dish/meal. In fact, it’s your best gauge for it. With seasons, shadows, sun angles, and other variables in play that affect solar cooking, no solar chef should be without one.
3. Open the cooking chamber, pot or lid, as little as possible. You may be tempted, especially if you’re an experienced cook, to keep checking the pot. However, we’ve found that many dishes do not even require stirring in a solar oven. It’s been noted elsewhere, that every time the oven chamber is opened, an additional 15 minutes of cooking time is required, since the inside temperature may be reduced by 40 or 50 degrees.
4. Keep your solar oven handy. Solar oven users often keep their oven close by, like outside, already clean since its last use, and covered with a tarp, plastic bag, etc, to avoid moisture. It just makes sense that you’ll likely use it more if it’s nearby and nearly setup. That’s especially true for those of us in areas not so blessed with sunshine and appreciate that gorgeous sunny solar cooking day when it arrives, Summer or Winter.
5. Wear sunglasses. It may seem hard to believe, but donning a visor or ball cap and sunglasses help protect your eyes when placing and removing meals from the solar cooker. The UV rays and normal light off the oven’s reflector are hard on the eyes and especially so as the cooking day wears on.
And there you have it! Keep these 5 points in mind on your next solar cooking day to have a better experience.
A few of our friends are historical reenacters of the Civil War and Revolutionary War Era. They are musket toting, full uniformed members of their proper military units and they enjoy carrying the soldiers (and also sailors of the day) staple of hard tack. Normally made of only flour, salt and water, hard tack has little taste, and is generally “hard” to eat (don’t eat this if you have braces, bridges or other sensitive dental issues). Usually, it takes on the flavor of whatever it is soaked in, like coffee. More later, but here’s the solar oven recipe:
1 tsp salt ( or salt substitute)
3 cups flour
1 cup water
Accessories: bowl, mixer, skewer stick, rolling pin, pizza cutter (or knife), cookie sheet (dark metal is better, of a size to fit your solar oven)
While the solar cooker is preheating to about 170 degrees, mix the ingredients together in a large bowl. First, stir the salt into the water, then sprinkle in the flour a little at a time while stirring until everything becomes to thick to stir (that’s when know you’ve added enough flour).
Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it, then roll it out until its about ½ inch thick. Use the pizza cutter to cut it into 3” x 3” squares (crackers). Next, use the skewer to poke 16 holes through each cracker in a uniform 4 holes/row, 4 holes column. Place the crackers onto the ungreased cookie sheet and put into the sun oven. In good sunshine, it’ll take 1 ½ hours to get one side a light golden brown. Quickly remove the sheet from the oven, flip over the crackers and replace into the oven for another 1 ½ hours for the other side. Allow them to completely cool before eating.
You will probably get creative, after you taste them without anything. However, our reenacter friends tell us they make a welcome, energy-packed treat if you’re out in the sun all day or on a long hike. We’ll let that up to you and history to decide. In any case, the “hard” work is done by using the solar oven and the sun’s free energy.