Saturday, May 29

Solar KFC Chicken Rice Ham Roll

Solar KFC Chicken Rice Ham Roll
Well, there it was, again, daring me to do something -- a bucket of leftover KFC legs, and we actually had some sun, today! A solar cook has to take advantage of a sunny sky, right? Checked out the refrigerator for whatever survived my being gone for a few weeks and worked from there. And, the garden offered up some beautiful fresh lettuce and spring onions to make it interesting.

I used one of those plastic Sushi Rolling Mats to get the final result, but it does take a little practice for an item this big.

Tuesday, May 25

Solar Baked Spaghetti Equals Comfort Food

Solar Baked Spaghetti is My Comfort Food
Sometimes, you just know that a serving of comfort food is just what the doctor (that's me) ordered. Baked Spaghetti says it all. When you don't know what to do -- eat pasta! 

This is two-part solar cooking. The pasta was made by bringing water to a boil, adding the pasta, returning the water to a boil, then removing it from the heat and letting it sit for 18 minutes (the al dente stage). Whilst waiting for the pasta to do its thing, the solar oven was opened up to pre-heat. I made my sauce by sweating two chopped Vidalia onions in 1 Tablespoon tallow/olive oil. When soft, I added 8oz of my hamburg-beef heart mixture, 4oz. chopped mushrooms, 8oz. of last year's roasted tomato-pepper mixture, 1/2 tsp. stevia leaves, 1/4 tsp. each of oregano, thyme, and sweet basil; 1/8 tsp. mace, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste. 

Oil-sprayed the corning baking dish and arranged the drained spaghetti on bottom, added the sauce and gently blended it into the spaghetti. Placed six slices of cheddar cheese over the top and sprinkled it with breadcrumbs. Baked in the 275F solar oven for 50 minutes, while I stayed inside eating bon-bons and having pure thoughts...

Thursday, May 20

Energy Bill Shows Solar Drop - Awesome

Utility Bill Shows Solar Savings
Just got my second springtime utility bill and the drop was so much the meter reader installed a new meter! Yup. I've only blotted out my account number, payment, and address.  The bars tell it all. From last May through September, I had a pool pump running almost 24/7, plus a/c with solar cooking. Our December through February was C-O-L-D and heating took a heavy toll. I'm old and have chosen comfort in my retirement, with occasional solar cooking. Then, I started solar cooking in earnest at the end of February-early March. April and May show the drop with warmer days and solar cooking.  I think it's worth it. Don't you?

Monday, May 17

Newcomer's Chance to Review Older Posts

Newcomer's Chance to Review Older Posts
If you're like me, you really, really, want to look at all the postings on blogs you've discovered or choose to follow, but there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day. So, I thought I would give my regulars a chance to share a cup of tea and their thoughts on any of my recipes they may have tried, whilst the new folks sort of catch up. [photo adjusted from]

To discover the deliciousness of cooking breads in the solar oven, this English Muffin Bread recipe takes the cake! (huh?)
Need to feel good after people diss your cooking? Here's a simple way to lift your spirits.
Expand your entree repertoire and surprise your guests with just plain yummy! Wait till after dinner before revealing the 'secret' ingredients!

Would love to hear from any of you who may have actually taken the plunge and tried my recipes. If you haven't, it's not the end of the world.  I still love you!  And, a big welcome to all my new followers. Sooner or later, I will visit all of you and leave my mark.  Cream...sugar...?

Wednesday, May 12

Solar Cooking Comes to Food Channel!

Solar Cooking Comes to Food Channel!

Hey! Check out this recap of  the  It Ain't Easy Being Green Episode 5 for the new series, Private Chefs of Beverly Hills. There's a segment for one set of chefs that requires solar cooking! It would be one of the few days when there's very little sun in Beverly Hills but, in spite of the chef's doubts about the food being cooked, it turns out perfect...Chef Manouschka Guerrier prepared Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Rosemary Muffins with Candied Pansies. Get the recipe here.

Do you know what that means, in the larger picture? It means that little by little solar cooking is being introduced into the mainstream as a viable method of preparing foods. Granted, the family they were preparing food for was completely off the grid and the chef really didn't understand how to use the oven -- but, that's not the point. She held the door open the whole time she was talking to the other chef saying there was no heat inside the oven. Of course there wasn't, she was letting it escape by holding the door open. I think this is one instance when the homeowner could have explained exactly how to use the oven to avoid any problems. Nonetheless, the ovens were there for all the world to see. They had both a Global Sun Oven (which I'm currently using) and the Tulsi Hybrid, a solar oven that has back-up electrical capability. And, the food cooked was perfect. This is wonderful news.

Monday, May 10

Solar Turnover With Carmelized Onions, Greens, Mushrooms & Three Cheeses

Pizza Dough Turnover With Carmelized Onions, Greens, Mushrooms & Three Cheeses
Pizza Dough Turnover? -- what the heck is that? It all started when I wanted to make a galette but then I remembered that they're mostly used for sweet dishes and I don't really care for sweet entrees. No, I was more in the mood for a chewier pizza dough.  In the broadest sense, I could have called it a 'calzone,'; but I didn't want to make a tomato sauce. I just wanted a dough to stuff with carmelized onions, greens, mushrooms and cheese, so, this is my solar turnover and my vegetarian friends are going to love it! 

Friday, May 7

Solar Southern Chicken Irish Stew

Solar Southern Chicken Irish Stew
Well, there it was, leftover Bojangles chicken just daring me to come up with something and the old thinking cap was doing overtime. Even though it was pretty hot, today, I really didn't want to do the salad thing, but I thought I'd keep it light. (Get it? Light? All the colors are varying shades of beige...) Had to do something to offset the serious spice infusions, too.  I know Irish Stew is traditionally made with lamb or mutton, so I was already outside the box, so to speak, using chicken but it seemed to me that having the other basic ingredients, potatoes and onions, were to my credit, with a touch of okra making it Southern.

All the vegetables were coarsely chopped and, after removing skin and bones, so was the chicken. Finely chop the inside lighter celery stalks that have lots of leaves and thinly slice the okra. So, let's get cooking.

Monday, May 3

Ferns and Fence Finished - Phew!

Ferns Are in Place Thanks to Lasagna Gardening
Clouds were forming and we've been waiting for thunderstorms, all day. I wanted to get the ferns in place before they dried out, as well as get the gate finished on the fence upgrade. 
You saw (on the left) what we worked out at the nursery and on the right is how it ended up. I used the Lasagna gardening method. The ferns are planted 'high' so I just set them on top of the layers and then added topsoil. Used a couple of bags of dried leaves for mulching. By the time the ferns settle in, the layers will have dropped down to about eight inches. That's an old plough that will have some bulbs growing out of the canisters in the next week or two.

Fence Finished and Gate is Smooth
Finally got the fencing and new gate done. Geez. What I used to be able to do in just a few days, took me a couple of weeks with lots of rest in between. But, I was able to upgrade the panels and really take my time on the gate closure. End result? A balanced gate that doesn't sag or drag on the ground.

Not bad for an old lady, eh wot? You can see where I haven't set up the fern garden, yet, on the far right. And, in spite of the dark clouds and moist air, not a drop of rain.

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