Saturday, April 26, 2008

More solar cooking

leeks, carrots and greens
Originally uploaded by wbajzek
Since the last time I'd used the solar cooker, I bought an oval-shaped aluminum roasting pan, which is painted dark. The hope was that it would heat up more quickly than the cast iron dutch oven did and NOT impart that cast-iron flavor on everything. It did the trick, and has a pretty big capacity. WIth enough preparation, I could cook multiple dishes in it at once.

The dish in the rear of the photo consists of carrots and leeks roasted in the solar cooker with sage, mint, oregano, chopped crystalized ginger, and olive oil. They cooked for about 4 hours and came out a bit crunchier than I'd intended but still very good. I am not sure they would have been better off cooking longer, but since there was a lot of juice at the bottom, I wonder if covering them with foil or something would have caused them to be soften up a bit more.

I never would have thought to eat leeks like this before I read "Seitan a la Ficelle" from What the hell does a vegan eat anyway. I was so inspired by the photos that I decided to have leeks some way other than boiled for a long time in soup, and also to perhaps start posting more photos as well. To that end, sorry for the blurriness of this photo, the lighting was not good and I had not properly prepared for it. 

The mustard greens and rapini were steamed for 5 minutes and then given a sprinkling of salt, pepper, olive oil, and fresh-squeezed meyer lemon juice. This dish came out nicely, too; the greens were a bit bitter when raw but they mellowed out nicely with the steaming.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Solar-baked beer bread

Solar-baked beer bread
Originally uploaded by wbajzek
Our oven broke a while back and rather than replacing it, since we're pretty sure our landlord wants to tear this whole place down, anyway, we decided to try out a "green" replacement for it.

I baked this beer bread in our (very) shiny new CooKit!

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup garbanzo flour
3tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
fennel, cumin, thyme, and marjoram
12oz Gordon Biersch WinterBock (leftover from party)

stuck it inside the cast iron dutch oven, sealed it in a plastic oven bag, and put it in the Solar CooKit at 9am, angled optimally for midday (since I'd be out all day). It spent 9 hours in there, probably longer than necessary, but it came out moist with a nice crust on top.