Posts Tagged ‘All American Sun Oven’
At this time of year, zucchini is a garden favorite. We choose to consume our abundance of zucchini largely by soup making. The double box solar ovens come in handy when doing that, since the large oven chamber can accommodate a big pot. Of course, zucchini bread is always a welcome choice.
However, zucchini’s delicate flavor can be mixed with so many other vegetables and meats to create some amazing dishes. In an evacuated tube solar oven model, you can approximate a stir fry, in a parabolic solar cooker, you’ll have it.
On this particular sunny day, finding ourselves laden with a fresh zucchini or two, actually a lot of zucchini. You might say we had a raft of zucchini. So, we decided to make zucchini “boats”. It’s an easy way to use up the entire zucchini and a few extra ingredients and simple to make and bake.
Today we used the All American Sun Oven to bake the zucchini boats. Here’s the easy recipe:
Prepare the zucchini: First, cut off the ends of the zucchini, and then slice them in half. If they are longer ones, cut those halves across the middle so they fit into your solar dutch oven pot (3 quart “stoneware”). Slice lengthwise into the zucchini then make cross slices into it. Scoop out the chunks and save to make filing.
On the stove top, in a frying pan, first saute some garlic and diced bell pepper chunks, and black pepper, in olive oil, then add in a small skinned/diced potato, a few small diced carrots. The chunks of zucchini are then stirred in along with some spices, oregano and a catch-all “Italian Seasoning” and salt if preferred. Once all is softened, pour off the liquid (which you can use as a soup vegetable base), and add 2 ounces of your favorite salsa, and a cup of tomato sauce (we used Reggano’s). Stir all in and let simmer a few minutes. Then add in 2 ounces of finely diced pepper jack cheese and mix until melted. Next, simply spoon the filling into the “boats”, put the lid on your pot and set it into your preheated solar oven. After 2 ½ hours, the zucchini hulls were soft and about ready.
So, we sprinkled a cup of fiesta cheese blend to top our boats, and replaced them into the oven for another half hour. The temperature hovered around 250 degrees, and with some passing clouds, we found the zucchini boats were soft and ready to eat in about 3 hours of cooking time. They were absolutely delicious.
Having trouble keeping the bugs away while your zucchini and other plants grow? Here’s some help!
So, go have some fun…start cooking with the sun!
As an avid solar chef, sometimes it is really difficult to find that time for your solar- powered passion. Then, once you have found a few hours on a sunny day to create your newest delectable solar cuisine, it seems like the day just flew bye. It did! So, the answer is to “milk” out that time, that is; make the most of it. This way, everyone will have a better time.
To better utilize this cooking “event”, try taking only a few minutes during the week to plan your solar meals. It might be a weekday or the weekend when you do this. It will depend on your schedule. We are all busy people these days. Remember to jot down with the planned meal, any essential ingredients that you may need to pick up at the market. If you already like to cook, solar or otherwise, your cabinets and refrigerator are probably stocked with most needed items. Also, as mentioned in our previous posts, consider checking the weather report for the week to better plan your set up time for the solar cooking.
One other way to enhance the solar cooking day is to consider the solar ovens to be used and know how many will be at the table. If you have more than one oven or cooker, you can cook up a storm! Of course, depending on the other factors we have mentioned, which solar cooker you use for what food, can make a difference.
For those survival enthusiasts who cannot get enough “milk”, try out this stuff to get you through it.
We have mentioned this in prior posts, but since a member of our solar cooking group recently brought it to our attention, it’s a good topic to revisit.
THE WEATHER. Certainly you’ve heard the one about the weatherman having the best job in the world since he never has to worry about getting the forecast right. Well, those of us who have done all the prep work to get our solar meal ready often find ourselves at odds with him, right? Sure, a “partly cloudy” day can mean 20% cloud cover, or 60%, so your cooking time for a box cooker can vary a great deal under those “predictions”. Sometimes storm clouds appear much faster than anyone anticipates.
So, what’s the solar chef to do? Well, do your best. Make it a habit to watch your local nightly weather report. Want something even better? If you have a smart phone, try downloading a free app. Yes, like most things, some are better than others. PCMag.com recently did a great review of weather apps, and is a worthwhile read. No phone ? If you have access to a computer and the Internet, of course you can check out the apps and numerous sites in that way. We use a few and can recommend them: “weather underground”,” the weather channel”, and “weatherbug”. Each site has its various attributes, advantages and disadvantages. Some, and we’re not just including the 3 sites mentioned, are large and more technical sites. This affects download times and your device, and ultimately, your time.
In any case, whatever site you decide to use, we suggest getting one with a clear local radar picture. Why, you ask? Well, depending on how much time you have to contribute to your solar cooking, on a particular day, having some idea of how close a rain, snow or windstorm might be to your cooking site, is a good thing to know. Essentially, a weather radar picture will affect your planning /cooking schedule.
If you are hiking and camping, or are the survivalist type, you may already be prepared for oncoming bad weather. A good emergency kit or backpack should always contain a decent weather radio. This tool, will help keep you out of danger, and may allow for your uninterrupted solar cooking on the trail. Of course, the weather radio will still be a handy item wherever you do your solar cooking; the beach, backyard, or patio.
Some folks sometimes forget that, although the elements of rain, snow, wind & hail can affect your cooking, the seasons do not usually matter. Only a sunny day is needed for solar cooking. Check out this video from January.
Just remember to include the weather in your thoughts, before you set up your solar oven for the day. Weather it’s just passing clouds, a few raindrops or a tornado, it can affect your solar cooking fun 😉
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.
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.
Some folks use a number of solar ovens and solar cookers in combination on a good sunny day. That way, they can cook and prepare the food for storage, or near future consumption or freezing it.
For today’s menu, we simply used the GoSun Solar Stove to bake the Italian hot sausage with peppers, onions and mushrooms.
Sometimes the food comes out of the solar ovens so well, you feel like applauding!
So, crank up your solar cooking by using more than one cooker to make great meals. If you fail to crank up solar cooking, then try a crank radio or flashlight. They can help you when the power fails.
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: