Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rosemary Rice - 2.5 hrs

I used one cup of jasmine rice (No, not minute rice. You could but you wouldn't have to leave it long. Minute rice might soak up the water without heating - Note to self - test it. ), 1/2 c. water and some rosemary.
(OK see the little pat of butter in there too? -- optional)

I wanted to point out that my lid is very tight fitting.

I also put tea out to brew in the glass pitcher next to the oven. It's 74 degrees here today. November 28th. Phoenix AZ area.

Note in the second picture to the right the oven's pointing Southeast toward the white five gallon buckets I grow my tomatoes in.  It was 0930am. (More on the self watering tomatoe buckets in a later post!)

Note the oven's position here at 1200 when I took the rice out. (225F) It is facing much more South than East now.  Tea's brewed too but I'll put it in the oven when the rice comes out because it eaks every last bit of tea out of those tiny little leaves if you "Brew" it longer. It will probably boil by 1300.

I had checked the rice at 1120 but it was still al dente.

NOTE TO SELF: Rice 2.5 hrs

Note how far the sun has moved and that the oven is now facing the Southwest at 1600 (4PM)

Note too the intensity of the sun has diminished and then look at the picture below to note why.

Tea in the oven was still 165F and too hot to take out without a pot holder. 

Looking off to the Southwest...

Solar oven Escalloped Potatoes - from food storage items

Cooking homemade scalloped potatoes from storage foods - cooking it in the solar oven too.

2 cups dehydrated potato slices
1 small can cooked ham
3 tbs butter (or any oil)

3 tbs all purpose flour
1 can condensed milk (not sweetened condensed milk) with enough water to make 2 cups
---- or 2 cups prepared powdered milk
1 cup grated Parmesan
3 Tbs dried onions
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
-- I added 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add flour, whisking well and consistently until a golden brown roux forms, about 3 minutes. Add milk slowly, whisking vigorously until well incorporated. Reduce heat off and add Parmesan cheese. Whisk slowly and frequently until sauce is smooth and rich, about 5 minutes. Add pepper and other spices as desired. Taste. If needed, add more salt and pepper (Note: sauce should be somewhat salty, as the potatoes will dilute the saltiness considerably when baking.)
In a greased glass casserole dish, line the potatoes on the bottom, overlapping them slightly. Pour a generous layer of the B├ęchamel sauce over the potatoes and scatter a handful of the canned ham. Continue in 1 or 2 more layers, reserving enough b├ęchamel to cover the top.

 I just use the solar oven all day with the casserole dish covered tightly with a lid or plastic wrap - nope, never had it melt. (Knew you were going to ask.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bread proofing and marinated chicken for dinner.

My backyard solar oven on an old BBQ grill frame. Mobile, I like it!

Today I baked bread using my solar oven as a bread proofer. My solar oven doesn't get hot enough to bake the bread because the 250 doesn't set the crust fast enough. It's a great proofer though when pre-heated and the door left ajar. I put a wet dish rag on the hot granite tile and a cooling rack over that. Moist heat... Just what the doctor ordered. See the steam on the window
Now here is the marinated chicken cooking away for tonight's salad. I cut it up in small pieces and then marinated it in Asian dressing. We are trying to augment our garden produce with smaller portions of meat for flavor and protein. I'm going to call it Cheesecake Factory Knock-off Asian Chicken Salad.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies - any recipe you like

These are done. 2 hrs in the cooker. (Maybe too long?)

My cookies in the solar oven come out very dry and crunchy. Next experiment is to cook them over a pan of water. Tasty though and thoroughly edible. Cook yours and tell me what worked and what didn't. You can see that they did brown on the bottom where they came in contact with the metal cookie sheet.

Cookie Dough

Solar cooking

Some browning on bottom.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Solar Ovens... One of the answers to the world energy needs.

Solar oven cooking requires no fuel except sunlight and can be done off the grid! Your solar oven can be used even in parts of the country where the daytime temps so not reach above freezing. With a well insulated oven you can cook year-round. Commercial ovens are available.

 Solar ovens are being used around the world to help communities heat their water and food. Bacteria in water is pasteurized and safe to drink after being heated to 160F.  There are several types of solar ovens and I will reference them here. I use a homemade model that I designed myself out of scrap lumber and an old window that my sister gave me when she remodeled her bathroom. Craigslist is a good source of free or cheap old windows. Future blogs will discuss construction, insulation, window placement and reflector use.

See my links below...

My goal here is to teach you (and myself) how to cook foods without use of fossil fuels. No wood chopping, no hauling propane tanks back and forth to the gas station to be filled, no electric bill.  In times of societal collapse, power outages, rationing etc., I will be able to cook foods that I grow or have stored. Ahhhhhhh - self-reliance.  Here is food BOILING in my own solar oven.

We can prepare healthy, flavorful, safe food.
Below are some commercial and homemade models. They are linked to their respective sites. Some have instructions for use and some even have plans. Look on Youtube for inspiration as well.

Here is an excellent link to get you started on Wikipedia