Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 5:19 pm
|This is also posted on the Lounge in a reply to someone. I am also posting the two “wacky” solar recipes on the Recipe forum. Please excuse my typos. I did not have a lot of time to proof this.
I just uploaded a collage (of 3 photos of my Sun Oven in use) to Flickr. These photos were taken during the first part of December 2007 here in the northern part Florida. You can view this collage at:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3251/271 ... c5e1_b.jpg
Unfortunately, I do not know the functions of all of the little gismos and things that shown on these solar cooking sites: www.solarcooking.org & www.solarcookers.org
BUT I think they LOOK fascinating! If you explore these sites in detail, I am sure you can find explanations for everything they show photos of.
As far as what the best cooker to buy or make is, I cannot say. Here in the northern part of Florida, I can use ANY type of solar cooker -- ranging from the simple one-reflector box cooker to whatever. However, the further north you live, from here, the more reflectors your cooker has, the better off you will be.
Most people who solar cook will tell you that black enamel is the best cookware for solar cookers -- especially for box-type cookers and panel cookers. Well, I AGREE that they are correct. BUT I prefer cookware that I can SEE THROUGH because it PREVENTS the NEED for me to have to OPEN the cooker and the lid of the pot/pan in order to check on the food. Both of these actions let out large amounts of heat and can slow down the cooking time!
This is why I often use black lids on top of clear oven glass dishes OR dark-colored Visions Cookware OR similar type things. However, you will have to experiment in order to find out which cookware is best for your needs.
Different people solar cook different ways. Here is how I do it…. (in my little six-reflector purchased Sun Oven and in my large one-reflector homemade solar box cooker )
Baked Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Other Root Vegetables, Pumpkin, Squash, Etc.
*When I solar bake potatoes -- especially sweet potatoes which can sometimes ruin pans -- I just set whole ones on a metal tray lined with a couple layers clean, food-safe paper (that was headed for the recycle bin) and cover them with EITHER an upside-down SQUARE OR an upside-down RECTANGLE OR an upside-down ROUND cake pan that is BLACK on the outside. (If this covering pan is aluminum, I will put one layer of paper on top of the potatoes to prevent any aluminum from touching them.) I usually do NOT prick the potatoes with a fork, when I solar bake them, BUT it might be a good idea TO DO SO -- just to be on the safe side.
*Carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, and other root vegetables can be solar baked like whole potatoes. You can remove the dark lid when these are almost done and continue cooking them uncovered -- in order to dry out any collected moisture and to give them more of a roasted flavor. Also, ALL types of ROOT vegetables (including onions and potatoes) can be cut up and solar cooked very nicely in a tightly covered pot with NO added liquid. (They will produce some liquid as they cook.)
*When solar cooking pumpkin, I sometimes put pieces of raw pumpkin (skin side down) on a paper-lined tray. Then, I cover and solar bake the pumpkin like potatoes. I cook large winter squash the same as pumpkin. Sometimes, I will cook small winter squash whole (pricked once with a fork) on a tray and covered -- like potatoes. Sometimes, if the pumpkin or squash is REAL MOIST, I will put chunks of it in a pot (rather than on a tray) -- with NO added liquid -- and cover and solar cook it until it is done. (It will produce liquid as it cooks.) Season the squash and pumpkin however you like -- either before or after you cook it OR use plain cooked squash/pumpkin in other recipes such as pumpkin bread, etc.
*When I solar cook potatoes for mashing, I put chunks of them in a pot and add water ONLY to NO MORE THAN about 1/3 of the way up on them. Next, I stir the potatoes so that ALL of the chunks are moistened by the water -- in order to prevent the slight possibility of them turning dark from air exposure. Then, I cover the pot and solar cook the potatoes until they are tender. I usually use ALL of the cooking water to mash them in. (The more liquid a solar cooker has to heat, the more cooking time is required!!! That is why I use AS LITTLE LIQUID AS POSSIBLE when solar cooking.)
Rice, Other Whole Grains, Dried Beans, Etc.
*When I cook rice, I just use the conventional amount of water, cover the pot, and solar cook until the rice is done. Sometimes, as soon as the rice reaches a good boil, I will STOP turning the cooker directly toward the sun. I do this in order to PREVENT the rice from getting TOO HOT and from SCORCHING while it absorbing the last of the water.
*I solar cook dried beans, in the conventional amount of water, in a manner similar to rice. However, please note that most beans take longer to cook than rice. Make sure you have bright skies -- all day long -- when cooking dried beans.
Cakes and Quick Breads
*When I solar cook cakes and quick breads, I just put their batters in pans -- the same way as if I were going to bake them conventionally. Then, I simply cover them with a loose fitting dark lid and solar bake them in a one-panel box solar cooker (that has preheated in the sun for about a half hour or so) until they are done -- for however long it takes. I use the same basic procedure for my six-reflector Sun Oven -- EXCEPT that I often remove the black lid from the baked goods about halfway through their cooking times in that. In my opinion, fat-free vegan type baked goods tend to be extremely moist, anyway. Therefore, when I solar bake them, I will either use a little less liquid in them or add a little cornstarch to them (or both) to keep them from being TOO MOIST. (Black lids are NECESSARY when using a one-reflector solar box cooker or a panel cooker -- but they can sometimes hold in too much moisture. However, when using the six-reflector Sun Oven, black lids can be often be removed from the tops of quick breads and cakes, about half way through their cooking times. Therefore, excess moisture in baked goods is LESS of a problem in the Sun Oven. That is why I prefer the Sun Oven for cakes and quick breads.)
Soups, Stews, Casseroles, Etc.
*When I solar cook soups, stews, and casseroles, I simply put them in a pot or casserole dish, cover them, and solar cook them until they are done -- stirring the soups and stews ONCE about two thirds of the way through their cooking times. For these type foods, I will often use a black pot/casserole dish with a clear lid OR a clear pot/casserole dish with a black lid OR dark-colored Visions cookware so I will not have to open the cooker so often to check on them.
Other Vegetables and Fruit
*Veggies such as green beans, green peas, and leafy green vegetables tend to turn white when solar cooked. Therefore, it is best to solar cook them IN soups, stews, and casseroles rather than by themselves.
*Tomatoes and fruit solar cook very well in a covered pot by themselves or in things.
Hope this helps!
Two “wacky” Solar Recipes!
S B’s Solar Cooked Fat-Free “Fried” Green Tomatoes
(using the six-reflector Sun Oven)
Heavily dust both sides of slices of fresh green tomatoes with dry cornmeal, set the dusted slices on a non-stick baking sheet, sprinkle their topsides with the desired amount of salt & pepper, and then set this baking sheet of tomatoes in a HOT solar cooker -- ON TOP of the black cover of a tray of some ALMOST DONE potatoes (or whatever). Quickly close the cooker and let the tomatoes cook until slightly browned on top. By then, the tomatoes and whatever was cooking under them should be done and ready to eat -- at the same meal! Serve the tomatoes IMMEDIATLEY -- or they will get soggy.
Since the cooker is already very hot and the top of the black cover is very hot when the tomatoes go in the cooker, there is usually no need to cover the green tomatoes. They will cook very quickly, under these conditions, if the sun is bright! Besides, a cover might hold in too much moisture -- and you do not want soggy “fried” green tomatoes. However, if you feel you need to cover the tomatoes, in order to get them hot enough, then go ahead and cover them -- BUT be sure to UN-cover them and let them cook a little longer -- to help dry out any excess moister that might have accumulated in their tray.
S B’s Solar Cooked Fat-Free “French Fries”
(using either a one-reflector solar box cooker or the six-reflector Sun Oven)
Put slices of raw potatoes on a nonstick tray (or one lined with paper) and cover them with a dark lid. Solar cook the potatoes until they are almost done. Then remove the lid, quickly close the cooker, and let the potatoes continue to solar cook until they have very lightly browned. Serve IMMEDIATELY! You can cook them with nothing on them or you can cook them with a brush of fat free Italian dressing or whatever you like on them. Serve them piping hot with “high fructose corn syrup-FREE” ketchup or homemade ketchup [1 part plain tomato paste, 2 (or more) parts water, 1 part (or less) vinegar, a pinch of sugar (optional), and salt & pepper and spices to taste].
I believe we McDougallers can have a loud enough voice to influence enough people to cut back on livestock consumption/farming that we CAN have a positive impact on global warming -- if we REALLY try!