Archive for the ‘Video Reports’ Category
For those of us who just love rolling out our solar cooker on a sunny day, it’s a feeling tough to beat. If you have more than one solar oven, whether it’s a parabolic, box cooker, electric hybrid, or the newest evacuated tube model, you are set to have a fun day.
If you’ve done things right, you already had most of your supplies and ingredients handy; the mixing bowls, spices, and all the vegetables, meats, etc. Next, comes putting it all together and placing it into the appropriate solar oven/cooker. Yes…it’s now time to let it ROCK!
Thinking of getting your own solar cooker? Don’t want to make the leap before further research? Try getting a book with simple plans to build your own here. Try it…you’ll like it, especially when it’s a hot and humid day and cooking outside with your solar cooker allows you to keep your house cooler. And, you’ll be doing your part for developing a “greener” lifestyle.
It is a great sunny day, so let’s cook up a batch of food to last a few days. In the All American Solar Oven, we’ve prepared another South of the Border favorite, Mexican Rice. Since the Sun Oven’s chamber is large enough, and it reaches 300 degree temperatures in a short time, rice of any kind is always a good option.
Mexican Rice recipe: Adapted from “Adventures in Solar Cooking”, by Jackass Jill (Spanish Rice)
Mix all in a bowl: 1/2 cup water, 1 Tbsp chili flakes, 1 bell pepper diced, 1/2 onion diced, 1 cup of long grain white rice, 2 small celery stalks diced, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp salt (optional), 1 large Tbsp chili powder, 1 small can of diced tomatoes with green chiles , 1 can tomato sauce (16 oz) 1 tsp oregano, 1 Tbsp minced garlic, 1 lb of extra lean ground beef. Once thoroughly mixed, put into the 3-quart dutch oven and place into solar oven.
In good sunshine, this will be ready in 4 hours. The day we prepared it, we had some passing clouds and it took about 5 1/2 hours. To make this really tasty, we sprinkled some “fiesta cheese” on top of the rice about 1/2 hour before removing it from the oven. However, you can use the cheese of your choice, or just eliminate it altogether. We do recommend getting the best extra lean ground beef for the dish to make it less greasy.
This meal came out great for us. We were able to share some with friends and family and are already being asked to make another batch. If you are skeptical of solar cooking, or don’t want to spend money for a commercially available solar cooker, without more information, try picking up a book about it. There are several inexpensive and good ones available here.
Using your Solavore Sport on a bright sunny day, can yield some festive results. Today’s menu included Mexican Stuffed Peppers and Brownies Plus. In the nice Summer sunshine, the Solavore easily attained a 275 F temperature and was able to bake our two selections in just under 4 hours.
The Brownies Plus, were compliments of a Betty Crocker mix, with the addition of just 2 tablespoons of raisins, a dash of crushed red pepper and a handful of chopped walnuts. They baked in 1.5 hours. Our guests loved them!
The stuffed pepper recipe is adapted from a wonderful solar cookbook,Solar Cooking for Home & Camp, by Linda Yaffe (“Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers”), and is simple to create. Here it is:
Recipe for Mexican Stuffed Peppers: Mix: 1 clove garlic chopped, or 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1 small onion coarsely or finely chopped (your preference), 2 cans (14oz) refried beans (about 30oz), 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1/2 tsp salt (recipe, but we don’t normally cook with salt), 1 tbsp Italian seasoning, 4 ounces of Monterrey Jack cheese, finely diced.(mix altogether in bowl), core 4 large bell peppers sliced in half lengthwise. Stuff peppers with the mixture, place into oiled 3 qt pot and then pour a can (12 oz) of enchilada sauce over it all and cover with lid (Old El Paso does a good job). In decent sunshine, your peppers will be ready in about 4 hours. This is a filling meal and should satisfy your vegetarian friends.
Hope you enjoy these solar-made dishes as much as we did with our guests.
wThose of us who enjoy deer hunting, have probably already prepped our arsenal for the season. Your rifles are clean, you have made sure the gun sites are properly adjusted, your outdoor clothing and gear stand at the ready, and the ammo is stocked. If you are a bow or muzzle loader hunter, you might already be out in the woods. But, if you are like many hunters, your freezer is still packed with last year’s meat. How many venison steaks and packages of sausage and hamburg are hiding in there?
Get out your solar oven on the next available sunny day and cook up some of your surplus and share it with friends and family. With your solar cooker, you can readily reduce that surplus and get into the mode for the season.
This steak recipe is very simple. This marinade works well and removes some of the “wild” flavor. That’s not good for some of us that like it, but it will share easier with some of the snooty friends and family. First, slice them up into smaller pieces. Season the pieces with 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, or 2 chopped cloves, vigorously coat them with fresh ground black pepper, and a teaspoon of cumin. Pour a cup of apple juice into the 3 quart dark colored metal pot that is used with the solar cooker, then place the pieces into the pot. Cover it and put it in the fridge to marinate overnight.
On the new sunny day, get out the solar oven and preheat it. There’s not much more to do as you imagine. We added a cup of mushrooms, 1 sliced bell pepper and a chopped small onion into the pot, before putting it in the oven. Next, as you are already probably familiar with, just aim the oven at the sun and wait a few hours. The batch below took around 3 1/2 hours to prepare. The children were fed and no leftovers were to be had. A batch of mac & cheese was the side dish.
And they were absolutely delicious!
As most hunter’s try to be safe while enjoying their sport, it is a good idea to be prepared. Bring a good survival kit with you. Similar to the video below, a survival kit is truly a life saver.
Outdoor cooking, which largely entails solar cooking efforts, often attracts unwanted visitors in the form of pests. No, I’m not talking about the overly curious neighbor who still doesn’t believe that solar ovens really work, no matter how many times you have shown him.
Of course, what we’re referring to, are those creepy-crawly, little critters that always seem to find their way into the human outdoor cooking scenario. Yes, ants, beetles, and flying and crawling insects of all species, just seem to automatically arrive when you set out your solar oven, or open up the grill. That anthill might be off the side of the patio somewhere, but those little guys know where the party is at!
Don’t let pest ruin your next outdoor solar cooking experience. A number of environmentally safe cures are now available to help keep the solar chef free from an insect invasion, and concentrating on the day’s solar cuisine. New, green pest control products can be kept nearby, or, may be used prior to setting up the solar cooker for the day. Yes, happily, a plethora of “green” bug repellent are there to help you.
Take a look at how you can rid your solar cooking experience of pests without the risk of hurting yourself and others.
Oh, so there are so many reasons people do not get started solar cooking. They get cold feet. Yes, there are always plenty of excuses. The question is, do the benefits outweigh the disadvantages? Of course, we think so!
“I don’t have time“, “It’s easier to use the gas grill“, “It’s always cloudy when I want to cook“, “Solar ovens are so expensive“, and the perennial, “solar ovens don’t work“. Yep, plenty of reasons are given by naysayers regarding solar cooking. REALLY!?
Well, we think there are lots of reasons to take up solar cooking. First, it’s great for the environment and a “big step” in helping reduce your personal carbon footprint. It’s also fun! Just chat with a few solar chefs and you will find out very quickly how solar cooking can become a passion.
As far as being expensive, you can build your own first oven with free plans and a few simple, inexpensive household items. As you progress, opt for a panel cooker that is very reasonable in price, but effective in its design and portability. If you have $100-$400, you can buy a very decent solar cooker and use it for many years (the Solavore Sport, GoSun Stove, and All American Sun Oven come to mind).
Also, many of the commercial solar oven manufacturers have programs based on their sales, whereby they donate ovens and, or, aid to the Third World countries. This is especially important in Africa and South America, where using solar ovens has the potential to save lives. Women, who largely search for firewood and put themselves at risk or rape or capture, will be able to remain in villages and safely use sunshine instead of unhealthy smokey fires to cook their meals.
And as far as solar ovens not working? Well, let’s see:
So, we know that colder weather is on its way back to our hemisphere very soon. So, don’t get cold feet over solar cooking. As long as there is good sunshine, even the snow won’t hold you back from making a solar-cooked meal.
There is also no good reason to have cold feet inside. The advances in electric radiant heating make retrofitting your abode much easier than in the past. Look at this:
Get out your 3 quart dark colored metal pot, and get ready to make a tasty meal in the All American Sun Oven.
You will need and need to (recipe):
1/3 cup your favorite tomato sauce
4 medium potatoes, quartered
1 package of polish (beef or turkey) kielbasa
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs fresh ground black pepper
4-6 mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 medium-sized zucchini, chopped
Preheat your solar oven. Slice the kielbasa into 1-2 inch pieces, mix in all the other ingredients and aim the solar oven. With good sunshine, and temperatures over 300 degrees, this meal should be ready in 1/2 to 2 hours. It took us 3 hours this time on a partly cloudy day with temperatures between 260 and 300 F. We do not use salt to cook for health reasons, but you may want to add a teaspoon for flavoring.
And, wow, was it good coming out of the All American Sun Oven:
So, everything came out tasty and delicious, despite the passing clouds that caused the temperature to drop from time to time.
For those of you who really, absolutely, positively must have a fire-cooked meal, here is a solution. Try investing in a small but efficient “rocket” stove. There are many good stoves like this currently available. Watch this video to see how easy it is to use a EzyStove.
In our area, at this time of year, there seems to be a plethora of fresh zucchini. Friends that garden, as well as family members, all seem to have a plentiful patch of zucchini this year. So, why not take advantage of those lovely green things they give ( sometimes force upon) you. Of course, the markets are also stocked with them, just in case you cannot find a helpful garden friend.
Well, here is a simple and tasty solution for that delicious green surplus; Zucchini Parmesan Rounds. This recipe will take you only a few minutes to prepare and only an hour, or so, in your solar oven to bake.
Slice the zucchini into rounds and lightly bathe them in olive oil and then a mixed egg. Lightly your cooking pan with oil and space the slices on the bottom. Lightly sprinkle with garlic powder, then black pepper (my zesty friends use red pepper). Next, sprinkle a layer of bread crumbs and then spoon grated Parmesan onto each slice. Pop it into the oven and let the sunshine do its magic. Surprisingly, they come out moist and delicious.
And…an hour later with passing clouds.
We also used the All American Sun oven to bake some of these tasty slices.
Just another demonstration of what green living, gardening and solar cooking, in this instance, can do to make your life better. If you are interested in starting your own garden, seed your thinking a little. Visit www.solarovenshop.com
If you are lucky enough to belong to a solar cooking group, then you know the fun that arises when one, a few, or many of you get together and break out your various solar cookers and solar ovens. The fun really ensues when a crowd of onlookers and non-members shows up and begins to ask the predictable questions. Does it only work if it’s sunny? How hot does it get? Can I fry a hamburger? Will it burn your food? Of course, a gathering of solar chefs themselves is always a “hoot”. It can get interesting and, at times downright competitive if two people are preparing the same solar cuisine. Then again, we have heard of chili cook-offs being held most notably in the southwest USA.
Other solar cooking assemblies take the other form of teaching others how to use and benefit from their use.
Many of the manufacturers have wonderful instructional you tube videos that will help the new solar chef every step of the way. Check out this one by Paul Munsen of Sun Oven International, as he shows you the great features of the All American Sun Oven:
So much for the solar oven floor show. Now, if you want to continue following a green lifestyle, and own your home. Consider using electric or other (hot water) radiant floor heating. Its very efficient and gives a great all around warmth to most homes. Yes, it is still August, but, before you know it, the heating system will be on and your energy bill will be on the increase. Researching radiant floor heating and adapting it to your situation, is work a look. There is money to be saved, as well as the planet.
Wow, there is so much information and interest in Paleo dieting! It’s a subject frequently visited by health and weight loss sites and blogs. There is a good reason for it. So many of us eat processed foods to the max. Much of that is not so good for us anymore, so the experts tell us. And, so many of us have autoimmune disorders.
A brief search and read of Paleo diet information reveals that loads of dishes and their recipes, use crock pots or slow cookers for their preparation. That’s where your solar cooker comes in. So many solar ovens and solar cookers take the slow and even approach to cooking the food. So with Paleo, you might be interested in baking some gluten-free bread or cake. A typical solar oven, like the All American Sun Oven, is the perfect choice for this, since its temperatures easily reach 300 degrees F and provide a slower baking process. The results are always astounding. Food cooked with nothing but sunshine as the fuel.
Here is some valuable information about Paleo Dieting:
An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from some form of autoimmune disease. If you are among them, you may know all too well how little modern medicine can do to alleviate your condition. But that is just no reason to surrender hope. In her groundbreaking book, Sarah D. Ballantyne, Ph.D., draws upon current medical research and her own battle with an autoimmune disorder to show you how possible it is for you to turn this situation around and become symptom-free…the natural way.