Monday, May 31, 2010
Here's the recipe as it was written:
Ingredients for 6 people:
500 gm dried beans, 1 onion, 1 celery stalk, 1 whole clove, 3 eggs, bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons grated parmesan, oil for frying.
(No mention of what kind of beans or if the onion should be quartered, chopped or sliced; same goes for the celery. And how much bread crumbs will you need? The instructions don't help much either.)
It goes on to say:
Soak beans overnight, then simmer them with the onion, celery, clove, and the salt. (salt was not mentioned in the ingredients) Drain and mash, add 3 egg yolks (oh, the eggs need to be separated?), the cheese, and enough bread crumbs to obtain a good consistency (whatever that means). Mix well. Make patties that you will dip in the beaten egg whites and then coat with bread crumbs and fry in hot oil. Serve immediately.
So what did I do? I used cranberry beans. That's usually what "beans" means in an Italian recipe. Then I messed up by converting 500 gm (1/2 kilo) to 1/2 pound. I didn't catch my mistake until after I'd mixed in the three egg yolks, of course. I quartered the onion and the celery stalk and removed them, and the clove, before mashing the beans. Probably due to the fact that I only used half the amount of beans the recipe called for and all three of the eggs my mixture was a bit moist. I wound up adding 1/4 cup of bread crumbs. I assume you'd need less than that with the correct bean to egg ratio. The instructions don't say how many, or what size patties. I got twelve good sized ones, probably about 1/4 - 1/3 cup mixture per patty. I really think the full recipe would serve at least eight people. Finally, in the picture in the magazine, and mine, you can clearly see lemon wedges. Granted, Italians always squeeze fresh lemon on deep fried foods, but it's an important enough touch to merit at least a mention.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Puttanesca Pasta Sauce
2 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp anchovy paste
3 cups strained tomatoes, preferably Pomì
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted, roughly chopped
1 1/2 Tbs drained capers, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
Put oil, garlic and anchovy paste in a a dark enameled pot and place in Sun Oven. Sauté until garlic is fragrant. And strained tomatoes, olives, capers, crushed red pepper. Cover and simmer in Sun Oven for approx. 40 minutes. Serve over pasta with freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Not new recipe, not even any new twist to it. I made it a couple of weeks ago and liked it enough to make it again today. Don't let the picture fool you, one can of salmon goes a long way, I actually had to use two baking dishes and stack them in the Sun Oven, only half the zucchini are pictured here, it's enough for six to eight servings. Looks like we'll be having the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
The onions do need to be browned on the stove before assembling the gratin, but that can easily be done while you're slicing the potatoes.
Sicilian Potato Gratin
1 garlic clove, halved
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
2 cups chopped onions
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
6 Tbs grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
3 Tbs drained capers
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Set Sun Oven up to preheat. Rub 11x7 - inch glass baking dish with cut side of garlic clove. Brush dish with olive oil. Heat 1 Tbs oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until soft and beginning to brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
Arrange 1/4 of the potatoes in even layer in prepared dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scatter 1/3 of the onions over. Sprinkle with 1 Tbs Pecorino Romano and 1/4 of the capers. Repeat for two more layers drizzling 1/2 Tbs olive oil on third layer.
Arrange remaining potato slices over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remaining capers. Drizzle with remaining 1/2 Tbs olive oil. Pour chicken broth over. Press down on potatoes to compact gratin.
Cover gratin tightly with foil, cover with a dark tea cloth, place in Sun Oven, and bake until potatoes are tender, 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining 3 Tbs Pecorino Romano. Bake gratin uncovered until cheese is lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Let gratin stand 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Chicken with Chickpeas
1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
6 chicken thighs, skinned
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
Combine oil, onion and turmeric in a large dutch oven. Add chicken, turning to coat. Add water, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and garlic. Place in Sun Oven for approx. 2 hours or until chicken is tender. Mix in chickpeas and leave in Sun Oven until heated. Serve over couscous with hot sauce.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I'll eat beets on occasion. There's a local restaurant we often go to - Joe's Farm Grill - where you can substitute beet salad for fries, and since I'm looking to cut calories wherever possible that's what I do, but I've never said to myself, "I could really go for some beets right now".
Before leaving this morning I scrubbed two beets, tossed them in a dark covered pot, and set it in the Sun Oven. In the past, out of habit, I would wrap them in tin foil first, but today I discovered that they come out even better without it. When I got home I took them out of the Sun Oven and when they were cool enough to handle I peeled them, chopped them up, and drizzled a little olive oil over them. They were so tasty I just may find myself craving more some day.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
If you know anything about the Weight Watchers point system then you know that most muffins are more points than they're worth. The low-fat blueberry muffin that a well known chain restaurant inexplicably offers as a choice with its entrees - I mean who eats a sweet muffin with dinner? - is eleven points; over half of my daily point allowance. I don't even want to know how many points the regular muffins come out to. And as hard as I tried to modify numerous recipes, the best I'd achieved without resorting to artificial sweeteners, weird reduced fat products, or muffins so small that you'd just wind up eating more than one, was three points per muffin. But today, on a day when I really didn't feel like doing any kind of solar cooking, I found a recipe for blueberry muffins that have only two points and used real ingredients. The trick? Kodiak Cakes Flapjack and Waffle Mix. I used the recipe on their website for low fat blueberry muffins and used Weight Watchers online tools to calculate the points. Their recipe does not specify how many muffins it yields, but I got fourteen standard sized muffins out of it.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
blog post; it's much easier to boil it the traditional way. And the endive? That could have easily been solar cooked. If fact I had planned on solar cooking it, but I forgot - and then the sun went down.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Sun Baked Phyllo Fruit Cups
8 sheets of phyllo dough, defrosted
4 peaches, cubed
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Preheat Sun Oven and spray a 8 cup cupcake pan with nonstick spray.
Toss peaches, sugar, flour, cinnamon and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Place on sheet of phyllo dough on work surface (keep remaining sheets of phyllo covered to prevent drying). Lightly spray the phyllo with cooking spray. Cut into four rectangles. Stack rectangles on top of each other. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets. Carefully press each stack into the greased cupcake pan. Divide blueberry mixture evenly among phyllo lined cups. Cover with the edges of the phyllo dough. Lightly spray fruit cups with cooking spray and sprinkle with additional sugar.
Bake in Sun Oven until golden brown, about 45 minutes.
Oh, and in case you were wondering - yesterday was too cloudy for solar cooking.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
The corn on the cob was an afterthought. I didn't even put it in the Sun Oven until after 4 p.m. I'd gone to the store to get some salad fixings and it looked too good to pass up. As you can see in the picture you can cook it in its husk. Give it a good wash and put it in the Sun Oven as is. You can cook it along with your main dish, just set it next to, or on top of the pot.
Basic Dry Rub - adapted from "Cheater BBQ" by Mindy Merrell and R.B. Quinn
1/4 cup paprika
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon dry mustard
Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to combine.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Schnepf Farms, because after a morning in the Arizona sun the last thing I want to do is cook. At dinnertime all I had to do was boil the pasta. We'd had a late lunch at the Queen Creek Olive Mill so neither of us was very hungry; a bowl of pasta and chickpea soup and few fresh peaches for dessert was all we needed.
Pasta e Ceci
Pasta e Ceci
Pasta e Ceci (chickpea and pasta soup)
1/2 lb dry chickpeas
1 TBS olive oil
1 leek, white and pale green part only, chopped (or 1 small onion)
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup chopped tomatoes, preferably Pomì
1 cup small tubular pasta such as ditalini
2 TBS chopped fresh rosemary
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
freshly grated parmesan cheese
You will need two pots that fit side by side in the Sun Oven
Soak chickpeas overnight. Drain, put chickpeas in a dark pot with enough water to cover them by about an inch. Put olive oil, leeks, carrots, celery, garlic, and tomatoes in another dark pot. Place both pots, side by side, in the Sun Oven. When chickpeas are cooked remove both pots from solar oven. Set aside 1 cup chickpeas. Combine the remaining chickpeas with the other ingredients in a large pot and blend with a emersion blender. If soup is too thick add some water. Stir in the reserved chickpeas, salt and pepper to taste and if at this point there is still enough sunshine you can add the pasta and put the soup back in the Sun Oven. Just before serving stir in the rosemary and balsamic vinegar. Serve with parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. If it's too late to cook the pasta in the solar oven complete the soup on the stovetop. Do not cook the pasta until you are ready to eat or it will get mushy. Serves 4 to 6.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Once again there's nothing new from the Sun Oven today. Just a batch of solar baked eggs with spinach.
Take six room eggs at room temperature, crack them in to muffin greased muffin tins lined with fresh spinach leaves, and bake in a pre-heated Sun Oven for twenty minutes. They come out perfect every time and can be frozen for future use. Just remember to set a timer and you can't go wrong.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
split pea soup. It turned out to be a good choice. The weather was marginal, as far as solar cooking goes. At one point it was completely overcast and, as luck would have it, that was during the only two hours I was not at home. But no need to worry. Even if the Sun Oven's temperature did drop while I was away the soup doesn't have any ingredients that could easily poison us, just oil, onion, carrots, celery, split peas, and marjoram.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The only thing I had in the fridge were some carrots so I got those started - I figured they'd need to cook longer than most vegetables - and headed off to the grocery store. The pickings were slim. I got a fennel bulb, some belgian endive, and a head of radicchio which I wound up not using. I also managed to round up a few, small, zucchini from our garden. For seasoning I used olive oil, kosher salt, tarragon on the carrots, fresh mint on the zucchini, and lemon on the fennel.
Parchment paper packets should come in handy. It would be easy to place them along side, or on top of, the main dish when another pot might not fit in the Sun Oven. And like I mentioned in my previous post - clean up is a cinch.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Cheater BBQ: Barbecue Anytime, Anywhere, in Any Weather". It's about as simple as they come. They use a crock-pot, but pretty much anything that can be made in a crock-pot can be made better in a Sun Oven. You line your pot - I used my oval black enamel roasting pan - with a large enough piece of tin foil to wrap the chicken, put the chicken in it, rub it with the spice mixture, put a quartered onion in the cavity, pour 1/4 cup of liquid smoke on it, and wrap it in the tin foil. I'm not quite sure what the tin foil is for. The book claims that skin will brown nicely but mine came out soggy. The overall flavor and texture of the bird was good, but "Chicken with Two Lemons" is still my favorite Sun Oven chicken recipe.
Monday, May 10, 2010
New York Times. Once the asparagus is seasoned - I used olive oil and kosher salt - and wrapped in the paper, it is then baked at 200ºF for about ninety minutes. Out of habit I set the Sun Oven out and focused it towards the sun for maximum exposure. When my packet was ready to go the oven had already reached 350ºF. I fiddled with the Sun Oven's position and got it down to the desired temperature by turning it out of the direct sunlight. I did need to continue turning it every twenty minutes or so to keep the temperature from dropping too far. It's actually a pretty good method for cooking asparagus. I like the texture and flavor much better than a steamer. I think I'll try the same technique with other vegetables especially because Sun Oven + parchment paper = zero clean up!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
salmon loaf recipe to stuff the hollowed out zucchini. I didn't have a big enough covered pan to fit all of them so I used a useful solar cooking trick; take a glass baking dish, cover it tightly with tin foil, then cover that with a dark tea cloth before placing it in the Sun Oven. It works, trust me. The tea cloth will not catch of fire and if you don't use one the heat will be deflected out of the cooking chamber and ruin your food.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Today I had little desire to cook anything and even less desire to go grocery shopping. Luckily I had quite a few leftovers in the fridge and I managed to throw together a pot of soup, Pasta Fagioli, to be exact. I started with a base of chopped leeks, celery, garlic, and a can of petite diced tomatoes. Normally I'd use carrots too, but I didn't have any. I tossed everything into the pot with a little olive oil. I didn't even bother to saute it first - it went straight into the Sun Oven.
After an hour or so in the Sun Oven it was time to add the rest of the ingredients. About two cups of beans that I'd cooked earlier in the week, a carton of broth, and the pasta.
Then it was back to the Sun Oven for another hour or so. When it was ready I stirred in a little more olive oil, some balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. A dusting of parmesan cheese and dinner was served.
I must say, solar cooking is perfect when you don't want to cook. It took me maybe all of five minutes to chop the vegetables, the Sun Oven did the rest.
Friday, May 7, 2010
I don't know how it happened, but I totally forgot to update my blog yesterday. I baked the cupcakes, took the pictures, even thought about what I was going to say, but after a night out I went straight to bed because I had to get up early this morning.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
1/2 lb dry pinto beans
1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 15 oz can mexican stewed tomatoes
1 15 oz can pumpkin
salt to taste
Soak beans overnight, drain, add enough water to cover them by an inch and simmer in the Sun Oven until tender. In a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients saute the onion in the oil until soft. Add the remaining ingredients and the drained cooked beans. Simmer in the Sun Oven until the sweet potatoes are soft.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
With dinner simmering happily away I went about my business. I kept an eye on the cloud situation, it was once again a day of on again off again sunshine, but the Sun Oven seemed to be maintaining a satisfactory temperature. I don't know why I finally decided to check the forecast on accuweather.com, but when I did I was surprised to see a big banner at the top of the page that said "Red Alert! High Wind Warning! Chance of Thunderstorms!". I'd never seen that before. I'd barely finished reading it when the wind in fact did pick up and within minutes the partly cloudy sky was completely overcast and dark. It was time to move the lamb inside. But wait, it doesn't end here. Half an hour later the sun came out again so I moved the lamb back to the Sun Oven where it stayed until dinnertime. And with all the back and forth I'd worked up a nice appetite.