Sunday, October 7

Liquid Sunshine Makes Gods Laugh at Midtown Market 9/29

You would think, after all these years, that I would understand the Laws of the Universe – that is to say, the gods are only waiting to hear your plans, to give themselves a good laugh. This has been a great year at the Midtown Market at North Hills, with plenty of sunshine for solar cooking. But, on September 29, it was going to be a special day for mainstream solar cooking, with local television taping. So, it only made cosmic sense that Mother Nature would pick that day to flex her muscles and favor us with nonstop liquid sunshine (more commonly known as 'heavy showers')

The reporter and I had already agreed in advance that we'd be filming like the cooking shows, with a finished dish ready for the viewers, following the taping of the preparation steps. The sun shone bright on Friday and I solar cooked my recipes the day before so everything was at the ready. Well, Saturday, the rains put a stop to our plans and the taping was called off. On the bright side, there was plenty of food to share with family and friends -- a treat that doesn't often happen on market day.

They had my version of mini-Pigs in a Blanket, Roasted Onions with Lobster Stuffing, and Eggplant Wrapped Noodles. Now, wouldn't that have made a wonderful presentation for the TV viewers! In any event, I've decided to share the recipes with you and hope you like them.

Pigs in a Blanket – these were the easiest to make. I used some left over bread dough that I rolled into logs and then cut into 48 one-inch pieces. One pound of cocktail franks, each cut into thirds, was put in a large Ziploc bag and shaken in a combination of 2 tablespoons tomato powder, 1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper, 1/2 teaspoon powdered onion, 1/4 teaspoon powdered yellow mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, until the franks were evenly coated.



Each piece was then inserted into a dough ball, deep enough to prevent it from popping out while baking. (It doesn't hurt to pinch the dough across the top so that the frank is just visible because it will emerge as the dough bakes.) For softer hors d'oeuvres, place each dough-wrapped frank an inch apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. The ones in the picture were pushed further down into the dough because they had popped pretty high by the time the whole muffin tin was filled.  I prefer using muffin tins for solar baking and crunchier crusts. Place in a 225°F solar oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Roasted Onions with Lobster Stuffing – peel and core six medium-sized sweet onions, leaving approximately 1/4 inch for the onion shell and slice just enough off the root end so that it will remain upright in the baking pan.


In a medium bowl, combine 8 ounces chopped lobster, two medium shredded zucchinis, 1 cup finely chopped leeks (white bulb only), 4 ounces feta cheese, 4 ounces ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Panko crumbs, salt and pepper to taste.


Fill center of each onion with mixture, wrap bottom of onion with a piece of tin foil or use a foil muffin cup to hold juices and place in baking pan. Cover and bake in preheated solar oven at 225°F for approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours.


Eggplant Wrapped Noodles – this is a multi-process recipe but, oh, so worth the effort because it makes such a beautiful entrĂ©e. You can use any long flat wide noodle that you want, but I like using those frilly lasagna noodle edges. You'll need to precook the noodles just to the al dente stage and then trim off the edges, saving the wider noodles for other dishes. Slice two medium eggplants in quarter inch slices from stem to blossom end. (The skin of the eggplant can sometimes be very bitter and you may prefer removing it entirely.)


Fry each slice on both sides for approximately for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes in 2 tablespoons olive oil and place on paper towels to drain.


Spray your baking pan with oil and cover the bottom with your favorite tomato sauce. While each rollup should have five strips of noodles, lasagna noodles can be quite thick and four is more than enough. Divide your noodles so that you have enough for each eggplant slice. Arrange noodles crosswise at blossom end of an eggplant slice and roll towards stem end; place seam side down in baking dish. Place as many rollups as you can in the baking dish without causing any of them to pop above the others.
 

Add a tablespoon of sauce over eggplant part of each rollup, cover pan and bake in preheated solar oven at 225°F for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
 
 
 

A very wet day, indeed. My shoes were soaked and cuffs rolled. See?



But, 'tis an ill wind that blows no good, at all, and we ended up with some delicious recipes; don't you think.



 

7 comments:

  1. That is downright lousy. Your dishes would indeed have impressed the tv viewers. Has the taping been re-scheduled, I hope?
    Sharlene, these recipes look absolutely wonderful; delicious, charming, and very very appealing. Wowo, lobster-stuffed onions! I like the idea too, of shaking the cocktail sausages in a bag of seasonings,,that is a good idea. Everything must have been so enjoyable for those people lucky enough to be able to eat your food. I am glad you were able to cook the day before, though without taping the show I guess that was a lot of work. Anyway, thanks for sharing, and Happy Autumn!!!

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    1. No, there hasn't been a rescheduling because I have had previous interviews at the station and the market, so they went with that and it was fine. We did reap the benefits of some delicious food, though! Shaking the cocktail sausages in seasonings was a last-minute idea and I am definitely going to do it, again. Guess I have watched too many Chopped shows and didn't dare use them straight out of the bag. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Autumn to you, too.

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  2. I'm so sorry that the weather didn't cooperate! The county fair went on last week as well and there were only two days that were actually entirely dry.

    It's true though that your family definitely benefited from Mother Nature's sense of humor. I love the sound of the stuffed onions and that wrapped pasta looks fantastic.

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    1. It's always a bummer when the weather doesn't cooperate. Our State fair is starting today and it looks as though we will have some nice weather for the weekend. Some years, it's absolutely glorious; some years, there's little sunshine and very cold weather. When you have an extra 9 1/2 seconds in the kitchen, you really have to try the wrapped pasta because it makes a fantastic presentation and is so good. Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. To bad about the weather, that must have been the first day it´rained all summer :-) :-) :-) I do hope You'll get another chance to tape this! People need to know what a great and cheap way to cook this is!

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

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    1. That's almost the truth, Christer! We have had a very dry summer and more tomatoes than I ever want to see, again. :-) Because I had done to previous lengthy interviews, there was more than enough information for them to put it on the news, last week. As a result, there were people who stopped by my booth because of it and, little by little, there is no way this will be kept a secret. Now, I'll start pursuing other news outlets. Thanks for stopping by. Love the looks of your Blog Part II.

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