Posts tagged cooker

BOOK REVIEW: Cooking With Sunshine

The Complete Guide to Solar Cuisine with 150 Easy Sun-Cooked Recipes

Here’s a great read for someone getting started in the world of solar cooking. Not only do Lorraine Anderson and Rick Palkovic clearly explain the reasons for integrating a solar oven into your life, they also back them up with a variety of yummy-looking recipes that are tailor made for solar cooking. And there are no messy equipment lists getting in between you and your solar cooking dreams. You can purchase a copy through Amazon here.

Here’s a list, taken from the book, about what foods are best and worst suited to solar oven cooking:

Easy-to-Cook Foods (1-2 hours)

Fish, chicken, egg-and-cheese dishes, white rice, fruit, above-ground vegetables.

Moderately Hard-to-Cook Foods (3-4 hours)

Bread, brown rice, root vegetables, lentils, most meat.

Hardest-to-Cook Foods (5-8 hours)

Large roasts, soups and stews, most dried beans.

The first half of the book is a summary of important facts about solar cooking, including the history, the areas of the earth best-suited, and how to construct a few solar cookers, all under $15 for supplies. They also include great “cheats”, or ways that you can make everything work with the items you already own. Then come the recipes. They’re divided by ease-of-cooking. A sample”starter” recipe:

Applesauce

6 Golden Delicious Apples, peeled quartered and cored
Juice of one lemon
Dash of Cinnamon (optional)

  • Place the apples in a dark pot, sprinkle the juice over the apples, and cover the pot tightly.
  • Bake in solar sooker for 3 to 4 hours, until apples can be easily pierced with a fork.
  • Mash apples with a hand masher or in a blender on low, adding cinnamon if you want.

Does it get any easier than that? Now that you’ve whet your cooking appetite, how about this artichoke frittata? It’s definitely on my “to try” list!

Artichoke Frittata

yield: 4 servings

6 eggs
6 saltines
2 (6-ounce) jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 bunches scallions, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
dash hot pepper sauce
dash Worcestershire sauce

  • lightly oil a dark 8-inch-square or 9-inch-round baking pan.
  • beat the eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Crumble the saltines into the eggs and beat again.
  • add the artichoke hearts to the eggs. Stir in the scallions, garlic, parsley, cheese, salt, pepper, hot pepper sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Pour into the prepared baking pan, cover, and bake for 2 to 3 hours in the solar cooker, until firm.

Mouth watering yet? This is just the beginning. Get this book and get cooking today!

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Building a solar cooker for under $10

When evaluating the options out there for solar cooking, the equipment lists for building an oven can sometimes be a little daunting. At least enough so as to be a good excuse never to get started! Well, no more. Here’s an easy solar cooker that you can build without even owning a pair of scissors. It’s made from the humble windshield shade, and has been tested successfully around the world. Full construction details here at SolarCooking.org.

Yesterday, I purchased two silver windshield shades with highly reflective surfaces, exactly like the one pictured below at the 99 cents only store. (Boy, I should really buy some of their stock, as often as I end up plugging them!)

The equipment list:

A reflective folding car sunshade
A Cake rack (or wire frame or grill)
12 cm. (4 ½ in.) of Velcro
Black pot, bucket or plastic wastebasket
A plastic baking bag

While there, I also purchased a small metal colander to act as a support for the pot, some velcro dots, and a metal oven thermometer. Nearly everyone has a black pot with a top somewhere in their house, so you aren’t likely to need to spend for that. Even I was able to pull out an old pot with no top, and then a rice bowl (from a rice cooker), which fits onto the top and creates a complete vessel. Pictures of my whole setup coming ASAP.

Bill, so far: $5.35 with tax

The only thing I’m missing right now is a big oven bag, which seems to be the only thing that will cost more than a dollar in the whole getup.

Notes on cooking with your new $10 solar oven. It WILL get hot (try 350 degrees!), so long as you point it toward the sun. Also, solar ovens are built around the concept of the closed pot. If you try to bake things with an open-topped pot, you may be disappointed to find that the bag deflates around your (unfinished) cake. Always cook with a top on the pot for best results. This, however, will not stop you from making great “can” breads and other baked goods.

I’ll update you when everything is complete and I’ve cooked my first meal. If you build one of your own, and test it out, share your experiences here!

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