Sunday, June 5

Midtown Market - Ice Cream Bread and Being SQUARE!

Early morning, ready for visitors!
I'm starting to get the feel for actually demonstrating solar cooking at the North Hills Midtown Market. Didn't work, last week, because we had serious cloud cover and impending storms. The sun played cat-and-mouse for the entire duration and would shine for maybe ten or fifteen minutes before disappearing behind the clouds (very low, very dark, clouds, by the way) Market time was over before the rains came and we didn't have to worry about getting wet. But, I did have a box of Raspberry Bars going, just in case. They didn't finish cooking until just before noon, so most of the potential tasters had gone home to avoid the showers. One smart thing I did on Friday night was to create a little mini-catalog showing some of my dinners from this blogso folks could see what was possible with a solar oven. The Global Sun Oven(R)  is the one I'm using at the Market because it's so much lighter than the SolarChief(R) and is what I've been cooking in for the past five years. I want to show people that it's the process of solar cooking that's important and to choose whichever oven they want to begin to start reducing their fuel bills.

As I told you in the previous post, the hours are from 8:00 AM until Noon, and that seriously cuts into the most productive solar cooking hours. Foods have to be prepared, solar-cooked, and available for tasting before we have to take everything down. And, my 'kitchen' is a little red personal table. I'm trying to use recipes with just a few ingredients that are quick to fix, and available for tasting within 45-55 minutes. Yesterday, I decided on an Ice Cream Bread. Two simple ingredients, pop in the solar oven, and you have a light, delicious, quick-bread in under an hour. Two cups of your favorite ice cream (my sister chose Butter Pecan) and one-and-a-half cups of self-rising flour was all that was needed.
Butter Pecan Ice Cream Bread in the solar oven!

Fifty minutes later! Yummy!
To find out when the solar oven would heat up at my location, I opened it up within minutes of my arrival, around 7:15 a.m.  I kept a steady watch and the sun was brilliant, but nothing started to happen until 9:30 a.m. By 9:45 a.m., the internal temperature was at 225F and ready for the bread. With stopping for visitors and answering questions, I didn't get to put the bread in until 10:10 a.m. and the toothpicks came out clean by 10:55. But, just to be on the safe side, I left it in the oven for another five minutes, let it cool for another five, then served to let the people judge for themselves. A rousing success! The bread dough filled the throw-away pan halfway up and rose to just above the top edge. The recipe calls for a loaf pan but I'm trying to keep my workload light and easy.

It was a good day, with a steady stream of visitors taking solar brochures and signing up for my e-mail newsletter. A couple of sales gave me a chance to use my new Square that let me take credit cards right there at my tent. I had to ask the first couple to be patient because the sun was so bright, I couldn't see the face of my phone. And, neither could they. I finally had to complete the sale by dropping down below the tablecloth. Too funny. BUT, that's not the best part. What I'm trying to share with you is this fanastic little dongle you can put in the earpiece of your iPhone and receive credit card payments at only 2.75% per sale! That's it. No lease fees, extra bank charges -- nothing. And, the dongle is free! The fellow that invented it is Jack Dorsey, the same guy who invented Twitter! If you are doing any form of craft or service sales at little fairs and out of your home, this is the thing to have. It's fantastic. So, please go check them out. Having had a bricks-and-mortar store with outrageous fees for accepting credit cards, this is a godsend for the budding entrepreneur.

As I said before, it was a glorious day and from ten until we closed, they had a fabulous band to entertain us. Whether you're a hard fan of Bluegrass or not, just click on the following songs to hear a taste of what filled the air on Saturday. I know you'll enjoy it.

Sourwood Mountain Band, great traditional Bluegrass. Here's a few songs they did: They're MP3s on QuickTime  "Waiting for the Boys", "Man in the Middle," and "Foggy Mountain Breakdown."  Not a bad background for a Farmer's Market; eh, wot? The Commons was filled with young and old, alike, dancing, joining in the singing, and just plain enjoying the music. It was a glorious Spring day!

I'll be there next weekend, too, before going back to the regular schedule of every other week. So, if you're in the area, stop by and say hello.


I really want to hear from you, so please, share your thoughts. We're not really strangers -- we're just friends who haven't met. Please use language suitable for young people to view. I'll be visiting you before long. Meanwhile, thank's for stopping by and leaving some comment love!

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