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Posts Tagged ‘Global Sun Oven’

It is truly interesting how Bequia can change overnight from green to parched brown, from too much grass to loose, straying animals devouring what their owners did not plant.

I woke up this morning to the sound of my hedge being attacked.  The same goat, I had spoken to the owner about, only two days earlier, accompanied by its tag-along friend!  I could have chosen to start my day on an angry note but the world is too full of wars where those in the wrong believe they are right, while those in the right, well, respond by doing or saying something wrong–and two wrongs “don’t make one right”–pun intended.

The sunshine overtook the semblance of a cloud, and that was it!  It was somehow saying to me, “Smile–don’t frown!” And that’s what I did.  I had some leftover macaroni sitting in the fridge for a day or two.  Rather than waste good food I whipped up a recipe that, when finished baking, had me playing the role of Judge, Presenter, and Audience in my mental “Chopped” episode.  The taste was unbelievable.  Even my husband, who is not a fan of macaroni, agreed that my Sunbaked Macaroni Veggie Pie was fantastic.

As usual, I will only tell you the ingredients I used, and not the measurements. It is your dish so you measure to your taste and should feel free to add or subtract ingredients for your trial run.

Leftover macaroni, frozen mixed vegetables, coconut oil, Worcestershire Sauce, salt, black pepper, garlic, onions, eggs, corn starch, grated ginger, evaporated milk.  I am finishing this article I hand-drafted last week so I’m hoping I haven’t left out anything.  Although I did not use any wine in the recipe it reminded me of one of those dishes where you put in some wine to “up” the taste; or like Emeril who likes to “kick it up a notch–Bam!”

I put this baby out in the Global Sun Oven and the rest is history.  I plated and ate but neglected to take pictures of that, but the leftovers in the pot are pictured below.

With still so much sunshine wasting out on the deck I tried a completely new desert.  Sunbaked Cupcakes.  The ingredients:  molasses, sugar, grated coconut, butter, lime peel, baking powder, eggs, flour, Angostura Bitters. (Talking about lime peel, a few months ago when my tree had an abundance of limes I grated the skins from quite a number of them while I sat watching television, and froze them in a ziplock bag.  So now that comes in quite handy).

I only have one baking tray for cupcakes.  I can’t imagine where my old set disappeared to.  So into the sun oven I popped them, and forgot about them.  The nice thing about baking in a sun oven is that there’s no danger of burning food or smoking equipment.  Things might dry out but they won’t burn like in a conventional oven.  They were edible; not ruined, but had I removed them a bit earlier they would have been moist as cupcakes should be. 

I put in a second batch to bake and I leave you today with pictures of my day’s cooking adventure.

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It started out with an attraction– raw undeniable fascination.  The warmth, the brilliance, the uniqueness, the scents,  the style.

Then it grew into a longing that raised the inevitable question– to have, or just to behold?

It was a bold step. A conscious “I will”.  But when the knot was tied, after much acclamation, the not-so-obvious began to show up, casting a little doubt about the soundness of that major decision.  Would those challenges sour the relationship or would the irritations and disappointments lead to a greater commitment and determination to make it work?  That’s love and marriage.

An affair with your solar oven can be just like that.  After taking the plunge to join the increasing number of people signing on to solar cooking, you will run into the occasional unanticipated “mannerism” that can cause you to question your investment.  What are the not-so-obvious situations or attributes you will run into once you commit to this new lifestyle of solar dependence?

Into our third year of entrusting much of our cooking to the sun, we can honestly share our experiences with other users and potential buyers, and offer practical advice for handling the most common irritations.

The Global Sun Oven is yours and you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment.  You will discover its likes and dislikes.   You will soon notice that it lives up to the expectation of its firstname, so do not hide it in the shadow of a tree, building or other object, and keep in mind that areas not currently shadowed may be affected later by trees or buildings as the sun moves across the sky.

If you purchased a brand new Sun Oven, before initial use you should remove the protective film that was applied to the reflectors to protect them during assembly and shipping.  Otherwise you will be blaming the oven while you are the one at fault.

That little word, “focus“, is a powerful one.  Aim the front of the oven towards the sun.  Let the oven embrace the sun inside its chamber.  You can tell if it is properly focussed by ensuring that the shadows are even on both sides.  Tilt the oven enough to eliminate the shadows in the front and back portions of the oven chamber.  Don’t forget there’s an adjustable leg at the rear of the oven.  Depress the button so you can slide it into the appropriate hole for the height you are raising or lowering the oven.

Depending on what you’re cooking you might need to refocus the appliance. Some things like rice and cake on a very sunny day would normally take less than an hour to cook. For beef and baked chicken , pigeon peas, channa and other longer cooking items it necessary to adjust the focus to ensure that the temperature does not decrease as the sun changes position.  Know your environment and figure out the strongest cooking time so you can make the best of it.

I used to wonder why the glass door would get foggy at times and the temperature would decrease, until I discovered that most dishes needed to be covered. I have a brown glass dish with a cover in which I bake my cornish hens.  It so convenient because I don’t have to open the oven to see how things are progressing.  So one little secret is to use glass casserole dishes with their covers and cut down on the need to open and uncover.  Every time you open the door you are allowing heat to escape so the less in and out you practice the better.

I hate it when people leave specks of toothpaste on my bathroom mirror.  Although it is still possible to see, the reflection is not the best.  If a Sun Oven could have a pet peeve I guess this would be it–speckled reflectors.  Its reflectors are meant to shine and direct the sunlight into the chamber,  so when rain falls and the raindrops leave their specks on the reflectors a simple solution is to use some glass cleaner ( I use a plant-based biodegradable one).  A bottle lasts well over a year.  If the reflectors and glass are not kept clean the oven will not react its maximum temperature.

It only happened once in my three-year Sun Oven affair, and it wasn’t an issue addressed by the manufacturers.  Yet I don’t see it as a cause for rejection.  The area where I live can be very windy at times.  A strong breeze comes across the ocean. That day in question the Sun Oven sat like an angel with outstretched wings, basking in the glorious sunlight.  A mischievious wind suddenly decided to show off and toppled the oven onto the sundeck.  There was no loss or damage, but it provided me with an opportunity to be innovative.  I believe this bit of advice would be helpful to others wishing to avoid a similar occurance.  To provide stability in cases of high wind, a creative idea is to fill a tall bucket with heavy stones or bits of broken concrete.  Snuggle the oven over to the bucket and weave two bungee cords through the bucket handle.  Then stretch them around the bucket, right around the sides and front of the Sun Oven, and then hook them at the ends.  In case you are cooking on the beach I guess you can walk with the empty bucket, then fill it with wet sand as the stabilizer.  Another option would be to tie a cord around the oven and four lengths of string which you will stake down into the sand using tent stakes or wooden ones you can make from cut branches.

Creativity in marriage and in solar cooking helps to prolong a good thing and preserve one’s environment.  So tie some knots with no regrets.

Being Creative

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There was no doubt that today would have been an extremely sunny day.  I got a call since the sun rose this morning.  Someone else had also seen the beauty of this day.  Bequia looked inviting across the waters.

As much as I like fish, the whole chicken in my freezer said, “Bake me!” And so I did.

After thawing it out I sprinkled some Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar over the big bird and filled the cavity with ground onions, garlic, chives, oregano, cloves, curry, black pepper, roasted geera and a bit of salt.  I rubbed the outside with some salt and some sunflower oil.

It was 11:45 a.m when I seasoned and stuck the whole chicken into the Sun Oven.  I baked it in a covered glass dish so I could see it bubble and brown. At 1:45 after taking snapshots of the sun tanned chick in the oven I carefully lifted her out where she proudly sat in her self-made gravy.  Oh, how tender she was.  You might say she was overcooked but she was the talk of the table.  I served her with brown rice cooked in the other Sun Oven, garnished with parsley, and cucumber slices.

Today definitely was not my day for being a vegetarian.  That will be another day and another story.

And hey! Please remember when you are baking in glass dishes that placing the hot dish on a cold surface will cause it to shatter.  Dont forget to use mittens or a dry towel to remove the dish from the oven.

Bird Before Oven

Whole Chicken Prepared For Baking

350 Degrees In The Heat

See Through Baking

Golden Brown

Well Done Chick!

Baked Chicken & Suncooked Rice

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Captain Bligh was responsible for bringing the breadfruit to our island in 1793.  The breadfruit is a symbol of pride and a truly versatile food.

Here’s a before and after look at the breadfruit in its stages into and out of the Sun Oven.

Captain Bligh's Dream

Suncooked BreadFruit and Rice

West Indian Dish

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