It’s all Greek to me!

My immediate apologies to anyone who has had authentic Greek food.

A friend of mine was telling me about some eggplant she had bought for a good price and how she planned to make Moussaka with it. All I could think about was the line from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” about “Moose Caca!”, but she made it sound delicious, so I went home and looked it up. It turns out that Moussaka is a ground meat dish with tomatoes that is topped in a white sauce. I’m not personally a fan of the meat thing, but my husband loves it, and it sounded like we could modify the recipe to be good for him.

So, below is our version. Again, my immediate apologies to anyone who has had authentic Greek food. This is GAPS friendly, and used some substitutes based on what was in our cupboards, so it probably tasted nothing like the real thing. However – it was good!

GAPS Moussaka

2-3 large eggplants – slice in 1/4 inch round slices and salt with kosher salt. Let drain in a colander for an hour.

On the stove:

2 T olive oil

1 diced onion

2 cloves garlic

2 lbs ground beef (you can use lamb too if you are trying to be more authentic)

1.5 C diced tomatoes

1/2 cup red wine

2 T chopped parsley

pinch cinnamon

pinch salt

pinch pepper

Combine the olive oil, onion, garlic, and meat in a skillet and brown the meat, then drain any fat from the meat. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.

Butter – 3T

Once you have the eggplant drained and the meat sauce made, start layering the two in a pan. Eggplant, then meat sauce, repeat.  Top off with the butter.  Cover and solar cook all afternoon.IMG_20140718_173809470

Rating: I only smelled it, but my hubby insisted it was delicious. Again, my immediate apologies to anyone who has had authentic Greek food. This recipe makes enough to feed about 6 people, so I would only try it if you have some extra room in your refrigerator or are having a party!

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Haitus

Sorry for the hiatus.  I meant to have a nice few posts about how brilliant solar cooking is while camping.  I mean, what could be better?  You can cook most anything.  You don’t need electricity.  It’s perfect!

So we went camping this past weekend, and I had an unforeseen solar hiccup – the large solar oven was too big to fit into the car with our other camping equipment.  Even with a two vehicle trip, there just wasn’t space.

But never fear!  I am continuing to cook at home, even though it hasn’t been anything sexy yet.  Yesterdays ago we made ghee for my husband (clarified butter).  It’s not something the vegans in the house eat, but knowing how to make it is cool if you are looking for a nice Indian food taste.  Here’s the recipe, just in case.

Ghee

1 pound of butter

Put all 4 sticks of butter (unsalted) into a loaf pan.  Warm it in the solar cooker until it is all liquid.  Use coffee filters and loads of patience to skim off the white part that floats to the top.  This is the whey, which contains any milk proteins left in the butter. What is left is primarily fat.  It’s yellow and has a high melting temperature.  Hubby loves it.  I can’t comment personally…

It’s nice to be back!  I’ll try to have some good solar postings soon!

Sharing

When you get married you have to learn to share. You share a house, desserts at restaurants, pool towels, etc. Now that we are doing so much solar cooking, I have to add solar cooker to the list.

Today, my husband wanted to cook a chicken and make chicken broth (he’s GAPS, so no vegan fare for him).  It’s simple enough to do – just put a whole chicken in water with whatever spices you like and leave it to cook, covered, for a few hours.  The problem, though, with sharing something like this is that it means that someone doesn’t get to bake. By the time we have preheated the oven and the cookware and then finished cooking the chicken, it is too late to cook much of anything else.

Oh well. Better luck tomorrow. Maybe what we really need to consider is a second oven?

Scones

I almost put the title in quotation marks. The solar baking I did yesterday involved a grain – free recipe with a few extra substitutions. It begs the question: at what point is a recipe something completely different then the meal you started out making?

The “scones” are part of my hubby’s GAPS diet, but the question holds for my vegan foods as well. At what point are they bean patties instead of burgers? I’m not sure, but I think I may need to reconsider what I call foods. Case in point, whenever I finally make edible banana bread without gluten, eggs, butter, or sugar, I will probably be forced to rename it.

At any rate, I tried baking two trays of scones yesterday. They took about an hour in the sun oven, and I noticed that the top tray browned nicely while the bottom tray did not. I suspect I should start rotating the trays half way through like you are supposed to do in a conventional oven. They turned out very crumbly, but my long suffering husband loved them. I’m not sure they are actually good, but they seem to make an okay snack.

GAPS SCONES

This recipe began from healthy home happy.com

2 1/2 cups almond flour

Pinch salt

2 eggs

4 T honey

1/3 cup applesauce

2 large strawberries, choppee

Mix together all but the strawberries, then fold the berries in. Shape them into triangular wedges and bake on greased cookie sheets for about an hour.

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Rating: not scones, but edible for what it is. I’m not sure I would recommend it if you are not on GAPS.

Lentil Salad

At the risk of being untruthful, I must immediately confess that I did not cook this in the solar oven. I should have though, and it’s super yummy, so I think it belongs here anyway.

Yesterday I made chili, which I already posted here awhile ago. My husband used the crock pot (for the last time, as it died immediately) to make an amazing lentil salad. The recipe is from the Esselstyn’s book How to Prevent Heart Disease. It could and should have been done in the solar oven, so here is the recipe:

Lentil Salad

2 cups green lentils

4 cups water

1 chopped onion

1 chopped red pepper

Combine the above ingredients and solar cook till the lentils are soft.

Then add in:

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup cilantro

2 Tbsp mustard

3 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp dill

Stir and enjoy. It’s good hot or cold!

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Rating: definitely one of the better recipes here. The kids devoured it, and it’s both vegan and GAPS friendly, not to mention gluten-free!

 

Happy Birthday Solar GAPS Cake

Happy birthday, sweetheart!

It’s my husband’s birthday, and he can eat enough foods that I can try to cook a cake for him this year. I attempted something that was supposed to be a cake last year and it was awful! Of course anything made primarily from almonds and sour cream is going to be bad. But have no fear! This year I am armed with a new recipe, and a solar cooker to boot.

I used a grain-free carrot cake recipe from realfoodforager, and just replaced the icing with stewed raisins. He loved it!

GAPS Carrot Cake

6 eggs

4 Tbsp ghee

3 Tbsp honey

8 pureed dates

1 tsp vanilla

1.5 cups grated and cooked carrots

3/4 cup pecan butter (homemade)

3/4 cup coconut flour

1 tap baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

Pinch nutmeg

2/3 cup raisins stewed with a bit of water

Combine moist ingredients, then stir in dry ingredients (except for the raisins) and bake in parchment-lined pan in the solar cooker for about an hour and a half. Mine made a small cake and six muffins. Top with raisins.20140404_181148

Rating: depends on your tastes. Hubby and the kids loved it. My brother and his family hated them. They are tasty but not sweet, so it may depend on what you are expecting. This was my first real solar baking to work out nicely without making me crazed 🙂