Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Solar Oven In The Snow!

For those who don't know, I'm in Utah visiting my folks and teaching several classes this weekend at the Honeyville Farms stores in Brigham City and Salt Lake City. If you're here to enter the giveaway for the quick cook beans go here.

Needless to say, as an Arizona girl, I haven't seen real snow falling from the sky in about 10 years. Tuesday when I woke up there was a beautiful blanket of white fluffy colder-than-cold snow all over the place. It was like waking up in Narnia. My parents have two cats. One looks like a cartoon character who swallowed a watermelon walking around on cotton ball feet and the other cat...a black feather duster on crack. I swore that the two cats better not start talking or I certainly would be in that mystical world of C. S. Lewis.

Since the cats didn't offer me marmalade and toast, I assumed I was still home, and therefore needed to try out the Global Sun Oven in the snow.  I'm a bit obsessed with my Solar Cooking. It's a hobby that started many years ago and now it's just how I live. I love it! Now, I'd read many times that they worked on the sunlight even in the cold. They've been used at the base camps of Mt. Everest! What the heck! So, a I thought I'd just give it a try. What's the worst thing that could happen? Right? So...we set it out on the patio...right next to the snow covered barbeque. Aligned it with the sun...waited about 10 minutes and then..

Stupid clouds. I spit on you. How rude.

 In that short time before the clouds came out, it did get to about 150 degrees inside. UM...that's in the snow!
 I had many errends to run so we packed up the oven and waited until the afternoon. Around 2:30 I ventured out again. The snow had melted off a bit but it was still stinkin' cold.  After 15 minutes we were over 250 degrees and I decided to put some grain in the solar oven. Quinoa Salad is very high on my list of favorite things and I wanted to at least cook the grain for my family to go along with our slow cooked Spanish beef and homemade Salsa Verde.
 We tightly covered the grain and water with some foil in a loaf pan and then covered the pan with a dark cotton cloth (to help with the heat absorbtion in the oven).
 It took about 45 minutes, which is a little longer than usual, but the sun was going behind clouds every few minutes. However...I'm happy to report that we still got some beautifully cooked quinoa!
 It was perfect for dinner's feast instead of rice.
I'm a big fan! So there you go! It can be done, even if it's just one dish to feed your family. I think if the sky had been clear, I could have done a lot more baking but for being in the snow, I was super impressed!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess


Holly said...

"Stupid sun! I spit on you! How rude!"
This cracked me UP!

I love my sun oven. I've used it mostly for baking and never really thought about cooking grains in it, what a great idea!

I hope you made a snowball. What a contrast of weather conditions you've had, from going outside barefoot to pick an orange off of your orange tree (still jealous) to snow! Enjoy your visit with your Mom.

Deanne Crim said...

omgosh! I am so excited!! I bought a Global Solar Oven last year, but haven't tried it yet :/ I also live here in Arizona, so there is NO EXCUSE other then I have no idea where to start?? What are your suggestions for a good Solar-cooked dish?? Do you have any other recipes for the sun oven???

Chef Tess said...

Deanne, anything you can bake in the oven can be done in a sun oven. I might add...I use all of my crock-pot recipes in the solar oven. Turn it toward the South in the morning and let it just cook all day! It's soooo fun! It's been a while since I did a sun oven class but I do have several tips, recipes and tutorials here. Really anything you cook or bake can be done in the solar oven.

SharleneT said...

Will be leading a solar exhibition here in NC August 4th. I purposely cook all recipes in the solar oven to show that it can be done. One of my best meals was done in December at 34F and the oven was at 275F. Cooked beautifully. Even my artisan breads cook well in the solar oven. I love your Sunflower bread and think I'll use that as part of the exhibit to keep with the solar theme! Come visit when you can.