Friday, April 30, 2010

Solar Lentil Stew

The plan for today was to get dinner started before going to the dentist. I was pretty sure that I wouldn't feel like doing any cooking, solar or non, after dental surgery. Lentil stew seemed like a good option. I could serve it with rice or pasta, or even with the bread I baked yesterday. I chopped up and sauteed an onion, a couple of carrots, some celery, and a few cloves of garlic in some olive oil in one pot, mixed in a can of dice tomatoes and put a cup of dried lentils and some water in another, and off I went. When I got back I mixed it all together. The surgery went well, the stew smelled good, but all I felt like eating was mashed potatoes. So I wound up doing a little more cooking anyway. Martin enjoyed the stew. He had it for lunch and dinner.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Solar and Non Solar Bread

It was just one of those days. I decided to try a different recipe from my "Kneadlessly Simple" bread cookbook. This one, "English Muffin Bread" called for a lower oven temperature, 375ºF instead of the 425ºF for the "Peasant Loaf". I wanted to get it ready and in the Sun Oven by 11:00am to take advantage of the warmest hours of the day, but I overslept. It wasn't ready until much later, about 1:30. And of course by then the status of the sun was a bit iffy. Every ten minutes or so a big cloud would roll in, blocking all sunlight and just when I would start to think it was time to call it a day for solar cooking the sun would come back in full force. The Sun Oven was hovering between 250ºF and 300ºF, a little bit lower than I was hoping for. So I compromised. I put one loaf in the Sun Oven and the other in the electric one. Even with the off and on sunshine the Sun Oven loaf seemed to be doing fine. Unfortunately, when it was close to being done a massive, dark cloud moved in and the Sun Oven temperature began to drop rapidly. Since the indoor oven was already on I finished baking it there. Both loaves came out good and there was very little difference between them. I think the breads that bake at a lower temperature are more suitable for the Sun Oven. I'll try again when the forecast is for a day of full sun. It's not like we don't get plenty of those here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One Bird - Two Solar Meals

The problem - Martin likes chicken better when it's cooked on its own, without rice, but I hate to see all the cooking juices go to waste. The solution - make "Chicken with Two Lemons", serve it with roasted potatoes, save the cooking juices to make "Rice with Vegetables" the next day. And by refrigerating the chicken broth overnight you have the added advantage of being able to easily skim the fat off the top.

Rice with Vegetables

Reserved cooking juices from "Chicken with two Lemons" (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup water
1 cup short grain brown rice
1 cup cranberry beans, soaked over night and drained
1 leek, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 small green cabbage, chopped
1 cup butternut squash, chopped
1 small turnip, peeled and chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbls fresh basil, chopped
1 Tbls olive oil

Combine cooking juices, water, rice, and chopped vegetables in a large pot. Stir to combine. Place in Sun Oven. Just before serving stir in cheese, basil, and olive oil.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Solar Potluck Update

Note to self: After spending eight hours in the Arizona sun at a solar potluck it is not a good idea to drive two hours to Phoenix, get up the next morning at 4:30a.m, fly to L.A., and drive back to Phoenix the following day. It's exhausting! The solar potluck part, however, was a lot of fun. I had two Sun Ovens going all day. For starters we had biscuits, eggs, banana muffins, and oatmeal coconut raspberry bars. Around noon I got a pot of chicken thighs with rice and vegetables, and a loaf of peasant bread going. At 5:00p.m. everyone brought their dishes to the picnic tables, and by 5:30 everything was gone.

Normally sitting outside in the heat is not my idea of fun, but I was so busy cooking and talking to people about solar cooking that I hardly noticed the sun beating down on me. I enjoyed myself so much that I can't wait until the solar cook-off in Bisbee, AZ in June. I only wish I'd taken more pictures. I've designated Martin as our official photographer for any future events. I tend to get so caught up in the food preparation that I forget about anything else.

Pictures can probably tell the story better than I can, so here they are:

There was a wide variety of solar cookers, many homemade, but I'd have to say the most popular was the Sun Oven.

Many people ask me how long a Sun Oven will last, this one has to be one of the first ones ever made and it's still working fine.

Here I am putting the final touches on the rice and chicken before serving it. I'm still working on perfecting the bread. The texture is still not right. The interior has improved from my first attempts, but the crust is not how I want it. It's hard to explain, but it almost seems like it's glazed and it's too crunchy. I'm not quite sure what other adjustments I can make. I'm putting it on a back burner for now. 

Oh, and just for the record, I did get something in the Sun Oven today too. Martin's favorite - Chicken with Two Lemons. It's always a good idea to stick to a tried and true dish after such a hectic few days.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Prepping for the Solar Potluck

Wednesday and Thursday were both cloudy which gave me plenty of time to get ready for tomorrow's solar potluck at Catalina State Park just north of Tucson. So of course I put everything off until this morning. I was so busy getting ready that the only solar cooking I got done today were a couple of Trader Joe's mini croissants. No small feat considering that you have to remember to take them out of the freezer the night before. As usual they were excellent. It's a good thing they have to proof nine hours or you'd pop another one in the Sun Oven right away. It's kind of a built in portion control system.

No picture today. I took one, but we're already in Tucson and my camera cord is at home. I'll make up for it tomorrow with lots of pictures of the potluck.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In Pursuit of the Perfect Solar Baked Loaf

 When my dentist's office called yesterday to reschedule today's surgery - the lucky dog is stranded in Europe because of the volcano - my first thought was, "I'll be able to bake some more no knead bread!" What else could one possibly do with an unexpected day off?

 I got it started right away and by 11:00 this morning it was ready for the Sun Oven. This loaf was better than Sunday's but still not quite as good as the conventionally baked one. The problem, I think, is the air-tightness of the Sun Oven's cooking chamber. The bread is coming out a little too moist. The loaf is baked in a pot with the lid on at first then uncovered towards the end of the baking time. The recipe calls for a temperature of 425ºF for 55 minutes, then the lid is removed and the bread bakes for another 20 minutes. Because of the Sun Oven's lower temperature I baked it covered for a full two hours and uncovered for another hour. Next time I am going to try leaving the lid slightly ajar to allow more steam to escape. Hopefully I'll get this right in the next few attempts. Consuming a loaf of bread every other day is not good for our waistlines.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Minestrone, Half Solar

There are probably as many recipes for minestrone as there are cooks. I don't have a set recipe of my own, it depends on what the market has to offer. Today I used mayocoba beans, savoy cabbage, leeks, carrots, celery, turnips, butternut squash, green beans and vegetable broth. After soaking the beans overnight and cooking them until soft, I combined them with the chopped vegetables and broth in a large pot and put it back in the Sun Oven. I served it over a slice of crusty bread rubbed with garlic and seasoned each bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, chopped fresh basil, and a dusting of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

I'm surprised I got any solar cooking done at all today. It wasn't until around noon that we started getting some intermittent sunshine. I figured I could at least get the beans going, if need be I'd finish up the minestrone inside. I set the Sun Oven out and was careful to refocus it often to get the most out of the little available sunlight. It wasn't until I went out to turn it the third time that I noticed it was empty; I'd forgotten to put the pot of beans in it. Oops. By the time the beans were cooked and the rest of the ingredients were chopped and ready to go it was starting to get cloudy again. I gave it a shot but after about an hour the clouds had taken over. This pot of soup was coming inside to simmer a little longer.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I Can't Believe It's Home Baked Bread!

I just may have made the biggest solar cooking discovery since the Sun Oven. By chance I picked up a cookbook titled "Kneadlessly Simple: Fabulous, Fuss-Free, No-Knead Breads by Nancy Baggett". It sounded too good to be true. My electric mixer died, the bread machine is not powerful enough for more artisan type breads, and for some reason kneading dough by hand just doesn't appeal to me. I had to give this a try.

At first glance it does not seem all that fuss free. The rising times are long, extremely long, 3 to 10 hours in the fridge followed by 18 to 24 at room temperature and another 2 after that. But once you've got the timing figured out, you're practically done. The ingredients are mixed and rise in the same bowl. All you have to do is move it from the fridge to the counter and deflate it once. When it's ready to bake, transfer the dough to a pot and bake. Pretty simple.

The author gives detailed instructions for each recipe. The first part of the book outlines the method and explains how it works. I will not go into that here. The author obviously put a lot of work into perfecting the technique. Buy her book, or check it out from the library; you won't be disappointed.

Now back to my results. Today's loaf is actually my second. When my first one was all ready to go the sun was nowhere in sight. As much as I hated to do it I had to turn on the electric oven. That was on Friday. I started a new batch that same evening and today the sun decided to cooperate.

It pains me to admit it, but the conventionally baked loaf came out better - this time. It was as good as any bakery bread I've ever had. Today's loaf was not quite as good. I didn't let it bake long enough. I'm sure with some minor tweaking and a little more patience I can get equal, if not better results with the Sun Oven. I'm going to try again on Wednesday.

Oh, and after the bread came out of the oven I had enough time to make a pot of solar cooked red lentil curry. I even mixed in the leftover pumpkin from yesterday, so that's one less thing I need to worry about.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Solar Cooking All Day Long

We were going to go to yard sales this morning, but opted to sleep in. It turned out to be a busy day for the Sun Oven. To start off I made a batch of pumpkin muffins. I found the recipe on I chose it because not only did it call for buttermilk - I had some that was about to go off and wanted to use it up - but I had all the other ingredients on hand too. The muffins were done by mid morning. They were pretty good. Only problem is now I have leftover pumpkin that was more expensive than the buttermilk. I see a batch of pumpkin chili in the near future.

By now it was lunchtime. Martin never says no to eggs, so I put one of the muffin tins back to work. I took the picture before cooking the eggs. It's easier to see the pancetta lining that way. I remembered to set the timer and after twenty minutes in the Sun Oven they were ready.

There were still plenty of hours of sun left for what was originally the only thing I was planing on solar cooking today; BBQ Chicken thighs. Just take some boneless, skinless thighs, trim the excess fat, rub them with a BBQ spice mixture, place them in a dark pot, sprinkle them with liquid smoke, cover and cook them in the Sun Oven for an hour or so. When they're done, shred them using two forks, mix with BBQ sauce and serve. It makes a nice lighter alternative to pulled pork.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Solar Almond Macaroons

What do eggs and cookies have in common? They are both among the few things that can over cook in the Sun Oven. Cookies can actually burn; mine almost did. Luckily I got them out in the nick of time. The smaller ones were a little on the crunchy side but, as Martin said, we can dunk them in milk. I guess the lesson here is when solar baking cookies or eggs always set a timer.

I usually use whole candied cherries instead of the mixed candied citrus peel, and I know I had some, but apparently there's a mouse in my pantry and I think his name starts with the letter 'm'.

Almond Macaroons

1 cup whole almonds, blanched
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg white
1/2 tsp almon extract
pinch salt

16 candied cherries

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Process almonds and sugar in a food processor (pulse) until fine, add egg white, almond extract, and salt. Pulse until combined. Roll mixture into 16 balls, arrange on baking sheet. Slightly flatten balls. Press 1 candied cherry on each cookie. Bake in preheated Sun Oven approx. 15 minutes. Cool on rack.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Solar Biscuits and Eggs, Take Three

It's not just out of laziness or lack of creativity that I'm making eggs and biscuits again. I need to perfect my technique. I want to make them - among other things - at the 28th annual solar potluck I'll be attending in Tucson on the 24th.

The biscuits were from Trader Joe's. They're the refrigerated in a can kind. I baked them first in the sun oven, instead of trying to bake them at the same time as the eggs like I did in the past. They were done in about 40 minutes. Mostly for their convenience factor, these are the biscuits I'll be making at the potluck. The eggs took 20 minutes and today I lined the muffin cups with pancetta and zucchini. The pancetta was yummy and I'm definitely using it for the potluck eggs, but I think I'll use spinach for the green.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coming Home to a Solar Dinner

We were both out all day today and I wanted to come home to a complete solar cooked meal. I didn't want to have to steam any vegetable, or cook some pasta, or even toss a salad. I wanted something that would go straight from the Sun Oven to my plate. Here's what I came with. Turkey legs with rice and vegetables.

I did all the prep work the night before. I chopped a lot of vegetables. I'll try to remember all of them: one leek, half a small head of savoy cabbage, a carrot, a stalk of celery, about a half cup of butternut squash, a small zucchini and a turnip. I also soaked half a cup of cranberry beans. I washed the turkey legs and removed any excess fat. In the morning I combined all the vegetables and the drained beans with a cup of arborio rice and a cup of liquid - half vegetable broth and half white wine - in a large cast iron dutch oven. I place three turkey legs on top, put the lid on, put it in the Sun Oven, and left for the day. When I got home around four I turned the Sun Oven towards the sun to and left it in until dinnertime. The well insulated Sun Oven, combined with the heat retaining cast iron pot, kept the food warm and at a safe temperature.

When we were ready to eat, around 7:00, I took the turkey out and removed the meat from the bones; I'll save myself this step next time by using chicken thighs. I stirred some olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, and freshly chopped basil into the rice. A little salt and pepper and dinner was served. It was very good. We both had seconds.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bulgar Blah

I've been looking for a way to solar cook bulgar for so long that when I found it used in recipe titled "Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie" in my book "The Healthy Slow Cooker" I completely ignored the fact that most of it's other ingredients were ones I am not particularly fond of. Namely sweet potatoes, parsnips, and mushroom. I'll eat all of them, but they each have to be prepared a certain way. I won't even go into the details of the recipe. All I'll say is I'll never make it again. It was boring and bland. Too bad I didn't follow my gut instinct and cut it in half. We now have a ton of it left over and I doubt even Martin will eat much more of it.

But as disappointing as the end result was, I did stumble upon a new solar cooking trick. The recipe was of course written for a slow cooker. I used the stoneware insert of mine. It was the only thing I had big enough to hold the whole mess. To absorb the excess moisture a tea towel, folded in half, was placed over the stoneware insert before covering it with the lid. This just may be the solution to a common problem with the Sun Oven - too much condensation. Most of the time the condensation is not really a problem, in fact when it starts to form on the glass it is often a sign of doneness, but occasionally it is excessive. In those cases I usually open the Sun Oven and quickly wipe the glass door, but that can lead to longer cooking times, especially if you don't live in a hot sunny climate like Arizona. Today, with the tea towel in place, there was no condensation on the glass door at all. It was all absorbed by the towel.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Solar Cooking Weekend Update

After my saltless bread baking disaster on Friday, what did I chose to make in the Sun Oven yesterday? You guessed it, more baking. Banana Coconut Muffins to be exact. This is the second time I've made them using a recipe from This time to lighten them up a bit I cut the butter called for in half and substituted buttermilk for the rest. I also used a mixture of white and whole wheat flours and only half a cup of sugar. To be sure I didn't forget anything important, like the baking powder, I lined up all the ingredients in order and double checked each one. It took about forty five minutes to bake them to golden perfection in the Sun Oven. To reward ourselves for the many things we accomplished around the house yesterday, we enjoyed a couple of them with a nice cup of tea. The rest I froze for future treats.

This morning I roasted some sweet potatoes for a vegetarian shepherd's pie I'll be making tomorrow. I forgot to take a picture but I'm sure you know what they look like. Then I made a salmon loaf using a recipe from "The Healthy Slow Cooker". The recipes in this book are excellent and easily adapted for solar cooking. It's the second time I've made this too and I didn't make any major changes.

Here's how I made it:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
8 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 egg (the original called for three but I found that to be too much)
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 can (14.5 oz) salmon, including bones and liquid, skin removed
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup bread crumbs

In as skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally until celery is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tarragon and pepper and cook for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

Drain salmon, reserving liquid, and remove skin. In a large bowl beat egg with lemon juice. Add salmon and mash with a fork. Add reserved mushroom mixture, parsley, breadcrumbs and enough salmon liquid to obtain the right consistency.

Line an oval lidded roasting pan with a piece of foil. Lightly coat foil and pan with cooking spray. Shape salmon mixture into a loaf and place on the foil strip.

Cover and place in Sun Oven.

Today, mine was done in under two hours.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Solar Chef, Not Solar Baker

The day started out good for solar cooking. I had yesterday's solar cooked stew in the fridge, so dinner was already taken care of. I was ready to bake some bread. I got started right after breakfast. I doubled my normal recipe for 100% whole wheat bread. I usually use small loaf pans but today I wanted to use the larger standard size ones. I don't own any kind of electric mixer - that's something I have on my wish list - so I use my bread machine to prepare the dough. The double batch was pushing the poor machine to its limit, but it managed. When the kneading cycle was over the dough looked perfect. I formed two loaves and let them rise in their pans for about thirty minutes before placing them in the preheated Sun Oven.

About an hour later I took the two beautifully baked fragrant loaves of bread out of the Sun Oven to cool. I had to hurry off to run some errands and was extremely proud of myself for not devouring half a loaf right away. I actually let myself believe that I wouldn't even taste it until tomorrow morning for breakfast or maybe tonight with the stew.

Of course when I got back the two loaves were too tempting. I had to cut myself off a piece right away. It was a small piece. Just the heel; my favorite part. I didn't even bother to butter it. I bit right in and to my horror I realized I'd forgotten the salt - again. This is the second batch of bread I've ruined that way. Normally I have no problem fessing up to my culinary mishaps, but I confess that for the first time I felt a tiny bit ashamed to admit that I'd done something so stupid not once, but twice. I really do not recommend unsalted bread. It's insipid and bland. I was going to throw it all away but Martin said he'd eat it. He's such a trooper.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Make Ahead Solar Beef Stew

Beef stew is always better on the second day. We weren't eating at home tonight so I took advantage of the sun to make a batch for tomorrow's dinner. Tomorrow I'll steam some carrots to mix into it along with some frozen peas. I use a recipe from - Hearty Beef Stew with Green Peas and Carrots - I just adjust the quantities according to how much meat I'm using.

I browned the meat and sauteed the onions on the stove before putting the cast iron pot in the Sun Oven. When I use a heavy cast iron pot for solar cooking I like to start on the stove so it's already hot when you put it in the Sun Oven. If you start with a cold pot your cooking time will be longer by about twenty minutes.

I had a busy day today. I put the stew in the Sun Oven before going out around ten. Martin was home to do the refocusing. When I got home around three the meat was tender and smelled delicious. I'm looking forward to dinner tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More Eggs and Biscuits

Today's solar cooking project was once again eggs and biscuits. I was determined to get the eggs right this time. I like eggs for lunch; I usually have some kind of cereal for breakfast. This gave me plenty of time to bring the eggs to room temperature and preheat the Sun Oven.

Once again I put the biscuits in the Sun Oven first and let them bake for about ten minutes before the eggs. As soon as the muffin pan with the eggs went in the Sun Oven I set the timer for twenty minutes. Just having a timer going seems to keep me from getting distracted. The eggs were actually cooked to perfection after fifteen minutes. The biscuits still needed to bake a little longer, so we had the eggs with toast.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

All Day Solar Cooking

Take a frozen chicken. Put it in a pot with your choice of seasonings. Focus the Sun Oven to where the sun will be at noon. Go to work. Come home to a perfectly cooked chicken. I've heard Paul Munsen of Sun Ovens International say this so many times at his presentations that I repeated it when I taught a solar cooking class a few weeks ago. Problem is I've never actually done it.

Today I came close, but I used two cornish hens instead of a chicken. That's because I couldn't find a frozen chicken anywhere. Turkey, duck, even goose, and of course cornish hens - but no chicken. I guess most people buy fresh chickens and freeze them at home. My freezer is way too full of mystery items placed there many moons ago for safe keeping.

The two hens were seasoned with rosemary, garlic, and lemon. They went into the Sun Oven this morning at 8:00 and were indeed perfectly cooked when I got home for dinner as were the potatoes I cooked along with them. All I had to do was steam some broccoli and dinner was served.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Solar Vegetarian Delights

O.k., delights might be a little bit of an exaggeration but with very little work and a nice sunny day I was able to put together a pretty good vegetarian dinner. I was craving roasted vegetables, especially butternut squash and rutabagas. Luckily I had both in the fridge so I peeled them, sliced them up, seasoned them with olive oil and kosher salt, and spread them out on two baking trays that I could fit in the Sun Oven by stacking one on the other. On a whim I tossed a leek in too. After about an hour in the Sun Oven the veggies were looking pretty good. It was still early in the day, about two to be exact, and there was plenty of remaining hours of sunshine. I got to thinking that as tasty as the roasted vegetable looked, I'd probably be hungry for a little more than that come dinnertime. So I got out my two, trusty, red pots for some brown rice and lentils. After the lentils had softened I flavored them with some leftover tomato pasta sauce I had in the fridge. It was a simple meal, but satisfying nonetheless.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Reader Inspired Solar Easter Brunch

Thanks to the comments left by Sharlene on my post on eggs the other day, we enjoyed a nice solar cooked Easter brunch this morning. Her suggestion, to use a muffin tin to solar cook eggs that she freezes, inspired the eggs and muffins I made in the Sun Oven today. I don't have a go-to recipe for biscuits, if fact today may be the first time I've ever made them, so after browsing through a few at - some of them were surprisingly complicated - I decided to use a baking mix from Trader Joe's. I put the muffins in the Sun Oven about fifteen minutes before adding the eggs to give them a head start. To fit both pans in I stacked them, placing the biscuits on top of the muffin tin with the eggs, using a couple of canning jar rings to allow for air flow. Again the eggs were slightly overcooked, but that's probably because I got distracted. In the future I may just bake the biscuits first and cook the eggs while they are cooling. It would be easier to monitor the doneness of the eggs that way. I was planning on freezing the leftovers, but over the course of the day we managed to polish everything off.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Super Easy Solar Pasta Fagioli

If you can find two tall, skinny, light weight, dark, metal pots that fit side by side in the Sun Oven snatch them up. I find this much more practical than stacking two pots when you want to cook two things at the same time. I found mine in a thrift store so unfortunately I cannot steer you to a place to purchase them.

Pasta e fagioli is a perfect example of a dish where side by side cookware comes in handy. One pot contains half a pound of mayocoba beans that were soaked overnight, drained, and put in one pot with enough water to cover them by about two inches. In the second pot is olive oil, a finely chopped onion, two finely chopped carrots, two stalks of celery also finely chopped, a minced clove, a garlic, one tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, salt and a can of petite diced tomatoes.

I had a busy day today so I left the two pots simmering away in the Sun Oven while I went about my business. When I got home around three the beans were fully and the tomato base were fully cooked. I combined everything, including the bean's cooking liquid, into one large pot and put it back in the Sun Oven.

Now I had a dilemma. Do I finish the soup now or wait until after sundown and complete the soup on the stove? For a meal that was entirely solar cooked I'd have to puree some of the beans and add the pasta while the sun was still shining. That would have worked if we were planning on an early dinner but we still had quite a few things to do before we would eat. Cooking the pasta now to eat later was out of the question because it would have been soggy by the time we were ready to dine.

Of course I went for the better tasting option. When we were ready for dinner I pureed about two cups of the bean and vegetable mixture, returned it to the pot and brought everything to a boil - on the indoor electric stove. When the soup was boiling I added about one and a half cups of shell shaped pasta and cooked it for the time indicated on the package. When the pasta was ready, I removed the soup from the heat and seasoned it with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, chopped rosemary, freshly grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

That's all we had for dinner - well that and a glass of wine - and we ate all of it.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Solar Baked Milk Bread

Today was a bread day. Partly because we needed bread and partly because I haven't baked any in a while. I was in the mood for white bread, not the 100% whole wheat I usually bake. Yeah, I know, whole wheat is healthier, but you can't always be 100% healthy and most of my family prefers white bread. I used a recipe from my bread machine book by Jennie Shapter. It's a milk bread. I chose this recipe because we accidently opened two cartons of milk yesterday. The only thing we normally use milk for is coffee, so one of the cartons would have gone off before we could finish it.

As usual with solar baked bread, is was delicious. Even though we had just had lunch when I took it out of the Sun Oven we immediately devoured almost half a loaf. Hopefully we'll have enough left over to make meatloaf sandwiches to bring with us when we go volunteer at the Humane Society tomorrow.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Solar Meatloaf with Mixed Veggies

Fortunately isn't always right. Contrary to their forecast, yesterday afternoon was sunny and today there were no showers. That meant I could make my meatloaf and avoid freezing the ground beef I had in the fridge. I no longer follow a recipe for meatloaf. I just use whatever I have on hand. To make it less calorific I always try to mix in as many vegetables as possible. Today I used a mixture of onions, carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms. After sauteing the shredded veggies in a frying pan with some olive oil, I allowed them to cool before mixing them with one pound of ground beef, a slightly beaten egg, and a slice of bread soaked in milk. For seasoning I used dried basil, mustard powder, salt, and pepper. I always line the roasting pan with a strip of tin foil; it makes it much easier to remove the loaf when it's done.