Solar Oven Seeks Good Home

Well, it has been a year. My solar oven has served me well. Thanks to all of you who have read my blog or followed me! As you may know, we live in the Phoenix area, but are going to be relocating out of country for work. My solar oven needs a new home. If anyone wants to try, I will sell it to you with a muffin, bread, and brownie pan for $150, and I’ll even include the linseed oil to care for the top. The instructions on using it and recipes are on this blog ­čÖé Thanks again everyone!

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Jalape├▒o Cilantro Hummus

You know you have officially become a southwestern eater when you put salsa or cilantro on everything. Seriously. Avocados, tortilla chips, jalape├▒os, and cilantro are shopping list staples around here.

Not surprisingly, I went out to eat the other night and fell in love with the most delicious hummus ever. It was smooth and spicy (and green!), and I ate way too much of it. So, I had to try to make some at home.

I don’t cook with oils, so the texture is a little different from traditional hummus, but the taste is awesome!

Jalape├▒o Cilantro Hummus

1.5 cups cooked garbonzo beans

3 cloves garlic

1 bunch cilantro

1 jalape├▒o, chopped and seeded

Juice of one lime

Salt

Water

Solar cook the garbonzo beans and let them cook. In the food processor, process the garlic and jalape├▒o until finely cut. Add the cilantro and repeat. Then add in the beans and lemon juice. Slowly process while adding in water until you get the right consistency. It will be a bit more grainy then traditional hummus. Enjoy!

Rating: yummy! I love it with fresh veggies, but if you eat gluten, it would be food with pita too!IMG_20140810_115546346

Rainy Days

I was excited to cook more cookies yesterday – I was thinking that peanut butter blossoms would make a nice snack, when the haboob hit. For those of you who don’t love in the desert, a haboob is a huge wall of dust and dirt. You can’t see or drive in it, and it forces airline delays. Then, after the haboob came the rain and lightning. Not exactly solar cooking weather either.

It was cloudy all day, but it did clear up just in time to enjoy dinner. I almost tries a last ditch cooking effort, but I decided that it was too late. Hopefully there will be better cooking tomorrow!

 

Oatmeal Cookies!

I have been trying to find something to break my solar cooking ennui. It’s not that I don’t like to cook, it’s just that cooking involves going outside where it is very hot, and then as a reward for my troubles I get hot food. But who wants hot food in this heat?!
I was trying to think of a palatable dinner to cook outside when I realized that there is something that I always like, no matter what the heat is – cookies!
This morning I tried a gluten-free, vegan version of oatmeal raisin bars.

Oatmeal raisin bars
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup coconut oil
2Tbsp flax meal + 6 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
3 cups oats
1 cup raisins

Mix well and bake in parhment-lined pans. I baked mine at about 300┬░ F for about 40 minutes. I used a shiny pan on the bottom and two dull bread pans on top. The shiny pan cooked most evenly, but you can’t use it alone in the cooker because it reflects light. Using pans allowed me to cook it all in one trip, which was great!

Rating: easy and yummy. I will definitely make more bar cookies another time!

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Summer Living

I have been solar cooking.  I swear.  Everyday.

The thing is, it’s hot here, and most of the time, I am down to cooking as an act of need instead of as a fun exercise. ┬áFor example, the other day, my husband boiled a chicken. ┬áHe does this all the time, and it’s not really much to write about at this point.

I have been baking though. ┬áI made oatmeal raisin cookies for a party on Sunday. ┬áThey turned out well, though when you use vegan butter, they don’t spread out the way normal cookies do. ┬áThey more resemble little snowballs.

I also had my son’s birthday party yesterday for the family, and I made a carrot cake and carrot muffins for him. They turned out alright, though a little bit soggy at the bottom.

I have to say, I am amazed at how stable the temperatures are in the over. ┬áUsually, in good sun, I get up to about 300 or 350 in the early afternoon. ┬áIt doesn’t get higher when it is blazing hot outside (which it is often), and it isn’t much cooler when it is cooler outside. ┬áScience is so cool!

And now my confession, and the real reason I haven’t been updating this blog this week – it’s frankly too hot to cook. ┬áReally. ┬áEvery afternoon I think about making food and decide that it would just be better to heat something indoors, or go out to eat, or that maybe we all could use a good salad loaded with beans. ┬áApparently I am not alone. ┬áSeveral of my friends have commented on this (one is feeding her kids breakfast for dinner when it gets too bad). ┬áSo I will continue to try to log my solar cooking here, but it is surprisingly hard to cook with all this sun!

Wish me luck. ┬áIf you have any recipe or dish ideas, please comment. ┬áI’d love something new to try ­čÖé

Rice

I know! I am a bit behind in posting this. But never fear, I am continuing to solar cook!

I made awesome fajitas yeaterday, but as they are a grill item, all I could imagine to solar cook was the rice side. And, unlike the last two times I have attempted rice, I actually watched it and brought it inside before it got too crunchy!

For the record, brown rice in the solar oven seems to take me about 2 hours. I’m hoping it will take less time as the oven heats up more during the summer heat.

Rating : yum! Check out my portobello fajitas recipe for full details!

Squishy Squash

We hit triple digits yesterday. I suspect my days of blogging about how I can’t cook in the overcast conditions are over. That does not mean, however, that my solar cooking is going perfectly. Take, for example, my poor spaghetti squash. I meant to post this yesterday, but I wanted a chance to redeem myself first.

My husband loves spaghetti squash, so I put half of one into the Sun Oven in the morning yesterday to cook. And cook it did. By the time I got to it, it could reasonably have been labeled “well done”. The problem was that I put it out in the morning and forgot about it until dinner time. Because I did not even reorient the cooker to follow the sun, the squash had been sitting at bacteria-growing temperatures for several hours. I felt badly throwing it out.

So today I decided to try again to cook the other half of the spaghetti squash. I put it in a dish with a little water in the bottom and put a lid on it. I pointed the solar cooker at the sun, and about an hour later I went back out to check on it.

Boiling. It was boiling. The bubbles kept rising up from under the squash, which was actually sort of neat to watch. I brought it inside, and sure enough it was cooked through. My husband was happy to finally get his squash, and I learned that food is about to start cooking a whole lot faster!

Double Disaster

I wanted to solar cook yesterday. I did. However, I woke up with whatever germ my husband shared with me, and felt like I got hit by a bus. Undeterred though, I climbed to the window to look out, and it was completely cloudy and raining. So much for trying to make BBQ pizza. Better luck tomorrow. Is anyone else put there solar cooking now?