Garlic-Potato Soup

Garlic Soup

We’ve been fighting off colds this week and got tired of the usual chicken soup. I’d heard garlic is another good way to keep a cold at bay and decided to put it to the test with this recipe.

Garlicky Solar Soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

24 cloves garlic, peeled

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

salt to taste

Fresh thyme and sage for garnish

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking and stirring until the onion is softened and the garlic cloves are just beginning to brown, about 5 more minutes. Stir in the potatoes. Pour the broth over the potatoes. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the potatoes are very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Use a handheld immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Garnish with thyme and thinly sliced sage.

Makes 4 servings.

Single Serving Solar Cheese Cakes

Cheese Cakes

If ever there was an excuse to by some of those cute, colorful silicone cupcake lines this recipe is it. They will make your life so much easier. But if you’re still not convinced, line the tins with a strip of aluminum foil to use as a handle.

Mini Raspberry Amaretto Cheese Cakes

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Weight Watchers In One Pot)

Ingredients

1/2 cup amaretti cookie crumbs (or ginger snaps)

1 tablespoon butter, softened

12 teaspoons raspberry fruit spread

2 (8-ounce) packages Neufchâtel cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Line two 6-cup muffin tins with silicone baking molds or spray with cooking spray and line each cup with a 2 x 6-inch strip of foil, allowing the foil to extend above the rim.

In a small bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs and the butter until well combined. Press 2 teaspoons of the mixture onto the bottom of each cup; refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Spread 1 teaspoon of the fruit spread over the crumb mixture in each cup. Keep refrigerated while preparing the filling.

Put the cheese in a medium bowl and use an electric mixture to beat until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until fluffy, about 2 more minutes. Beat in the egg, egg white, zest, and vanilla extract. Divide the cheese filling evenly among the cups. Bake in the Sun Oven until the edges are set and the centers jiggle slightly, about 30 minutes. If the pans do not fit side by side use a rack to separate them and cross stack them in the cooking chamber; the top pan will cook slightly faster. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Cove with foil refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days. Pop cheese cakes out of the molds or us the foil to lift them from the pans.

 

Sun Oven Chicken Soup Dinner

Chicken Bok Choy Soup

Prepare the flavor infused broth in the Sun Oven early in the day. Come dinner time it will only take five minutes to put the soup together.

Asian Style Chicken Soup with Bok Choy

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

1 piece (1 1/2-inch) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

1 bunch (about 5-ounces) green onions, divided

2 Thai or jalapeño chile peppers, divided

1 bunch fresh dill

6 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, caps sliced, stems reserved

1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken breasts

2 heads baby bok toy, quartered

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Set aside 1 green onion, 1 chile pepper for the garnish.

Chop the remaining green onions and one of the chile peppers. In a large pot, combine the stock, water, ginger, chopped green onions and chile pepper, dill, and mushroom stems. Add the chicken, cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the chicken is cooked, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer the chicken to a bowl. Drain the broth through a fine sieve and discard the solids. Return the broth to the pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushroom caps and the bok choy. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Finely chop the remaining green onion and thinly slice the chile pepper. Slice the chicken and divide it among four bowls. Ladle the soup over chicken in the bowls. Garnish with green onions and chile pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

 

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos

Burritos

The vegetable box I had delivered last week included a pound of fingerling sweet potatoes which are not one of my favorite things. This came as a bit of a surprise to me because when I initially read the contents my brain skipped over the word sweet – I was expecting regular fingerling potatoes which are one of my favorite things. In any case, these burritos were pretty good.

Sweet Potato Burritos

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled or scrubbed clean, cut into 1-inch chunks

2 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil, divided’

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

pinch cayenne pepper

1 1/2 cups previously cooked black beans (or 1 15-ounce can drained), mashed

1 teaspoon mustard

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 to 3 tablespoons water.

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

4 burrito size flour tortillas, warmed

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil in a baking pan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add the sweet potatoes to the pan, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with salt, cover with another baking pan, and transfer to the Sun Oven. Bake until the potatoes are soft, about 45 minutes. Mash the potatoes in the pan with a fork; set aside. Leave the oven out.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic followed by the cumin, chili powder, and cayenne. Stir in the mashed beans, mustard, and soy sauce. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, to reach the consistency of refried beans. Removed from heat and let cool slightly.

Spread 1/4 of the mashed sweet potatoes in the center of a tortilla. Top with 1/4 of the beans and 1/4 of the cheese. Fold the tortilla into a burrito and place it, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining 3 tortillas. Transfer the baking pan to the Sun Oven and bake until the burritos are heated through, about 30 minutes.

 

 

Spiced up British Fare

New Sun Oven

While most Americans know that the British consume a lot of fish and chips many have never heard of mushy peas. They have a consistency similar to mashed potatoes and every fish and chip shop in Great Britain has them on the menu. Traditionally they are cooked with marrow fat and no other seasoning. My version uses olive oil and curry powder. At a recent fish fry we hosted they were the surprise hit of the evening.

Curried Mushy Peas

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 cup dried split peas, picked over, rinsed, and drained

2 2/3 cups water

salt

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the curry powder. Remove from heat. Stir in the split peas. Add the water, cover, and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the peas are very soft and the water has been absorbed. Season to taste with salt. Serve as a side dish or over rice or quinoa (shockingly good) as a main course.

Makes 4 servings.

 

Parsnip Persistence

Parsnip Soup

I’ve given parsnips more second chances than almost any other food I can think of. Once or twice a year I say to myself, “Maybe they’re not that bad after all”. This recipe, that includes potatoes and bacon, sounded good on paper. I’ll admit, it wasn’t that terrible, but I’ll probably just make potato and bacon soup next time. Luckily my husband likes parsnips and hopefully the soup freezes well.

Parsnip and Potato Soup

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Rachael Ray)

Ingredients

6 slices bacon, cut into 3 pieces

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 1/4 pound Russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 pound parsnips, peeled and chopped

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 sprig flat leaf parsley, tied into a bundle with string

4 cups chicken broth

salt to taste

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Chopped chives for garnish

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Line the bottom of a soup pot with the bacon (it’s o.k. if it overlaps a little). Place the pot, uncovered, in the Sun Oven until the bacon is crisp, 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Peel and chop the vegetables while the bacon is cooking. When the bacon is crisp bring the pot inside; leave the Sun Oven out. Transfer the cooked slices to a paper towel. When cool enough to handle finely chop the bacon and set aside. Drain all but two tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pot then add the butter. Add the potatoes to the pot, stirring to coat. Top the potatoes with the parsnips, onion, garlic, pepper, nutmeg, and parsley. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the vegetables begin to soften, about 40 minutes. Remove the parsley and discard. Add the hot broth, cover, and continue cooking until the vegetables are very soft, about 4o more minutes. Remove the pot from the Sun Oven. Add the milk. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with the reserved bacon bits and chives.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Bacon for Soup

Sneaky Mac and Cheese with Tofu

Tofu Mac and Cheese

It’s the end of the year and time for something new. This week I’ll be experimenting with some of my least favorite foods. Not the ones I can’t stand. The ones I don’t really care for. The ones I’ll politely eat if I’m a guest but rarely, if ever, prepare at home. Among those foods, tofu used to at the top of my list. Over the past year I’ve learned to use it as an hidden ingredient and it’s lost its most disliked food status, but it still makes the top 10.

Silken Tofu Mac and Cheese

(adapted for the Sun Oven from grouprecipes.com)

Ingredients

9 ounces (dry) pasta, cooked according to the package directions until al dente, drained

12 ounces cauliflower florets, steamed or microwaved until soft

1 carton (12-ounces) silken tofu

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup milk, hot

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons dried bread crumbs

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Coat a baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.

Put the steamed cauliflower, ricotta, and Parmesan cheese in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add the Cheddar, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper and process again until smooth. Put the cooked pasta in a large bowl and pour the sauce over it. Stir well than spread the mixture out in the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the pasta. Cover the pan with another baking pan or lid and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until bubbly and golden on top. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Bean Soup with a Hint of Garlic

New Sun Oven

Once you’ve solar cooked the beans this thick, slightly garlicky soup can be put together stovetop in minutes.

Bean, Parsley, and Garlic Soup

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Marcella Hazan’s Classic Italian Cookbook)

Ingredients

2 cups dried cannellini beans, rinsed, picked over, soaked overnight, and drained

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)

Toasted Italian bread for serving

Preparation

For the beans:

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Put the beans in a large pot with enough water to cover them by about about 2 inches. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until very soft, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Set aside until you’re ready to make the soup.

For the soup:

Finish the soup stovetop just before serving. Heat the garlic and oil in a large soup pot over medium heat until the garlic is just starting to brown. Stir in the parsley, then add the drained beans. Cover and gently simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove 1/2 cup of the beans from the pot and puree them in a blender or food processor. Return the pureed beans to the pot along with the broth. Let the soup simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place a slice of toasted bread in each bowl and ladle the soup over it.

 

Rice, Lentils, and Onions Lebanese Style

mujadara

This Lebanese style lentil dish is best served straight out of the Sun Oven and despite the fact that it has more active steps than most solar recipes, if you get it going early it will be ready in time for lunch.

Rice and Lentils with Caramelized Onions (Mujadara)

Ingredients

1 cup brown dry brown lentils, picked over and rinsed

1/4 cup olive oil

3 onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cinnamon stick

3/4 cup uncooked basmati rice

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Put the lentils in a medium pot and cover with water by 1 inch. In a separate pot, toss the onions with the olive oil to coat. Season with salt. Stack the pots with the one with the onions on top, cover the top pot, and transfer both to the Sun Oven. Cook until the lentils are soft but non falling apart and the onions are golden, 45 minutes to 1 hour for the lentils, up to 2 hours for the onions. While the onions and lentils are cooking toast the cumin seeds in a small pan over medium-high heat, stirring often, until fragrant; about 30 seconds. Set aside. When the lentils are ready, bring the pot in, leaving to onions to cook more. Drain the lentils reserving the cooking liquid; set aside. When the onions are golden bring them inside; leave the Sun Oven out. Use tongs to transfer 1/2 of the cooked onions to a bowl; set aside. Add enough water to the reserved lentil cooking liquid to measure 2 cups and bring it to a boil in a sauce pan. Heat the pot with the remaining onions over medium heat. Stir the cumin, cayenne, toasted cumin seeds, and cinnamon stick into the onions. Stir the rice into the onion mixture. Add the hot water and cooking liquid mixture. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes (do not over cook). Stir in the lentils and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Top with reserved onions. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

 

 

Solar Sweet and Sour Onions

cipolline

These would take just as long to cook stovetop as they do in the Sun Oven. But in the Sun Oven, not only do you save on fuel, you don’t need to constantly monitor them as you would stovetop. If you can’t find cipolline onions (I had to go to three different stores to find mine) use small white onions. They go great with any kind of roast or braised meat.

Sweet and Sour Onions

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Marcella Hazan’s Classic Italian Cookbook)

Ingredients

2 pounds cipolline onions or small white onions

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

To peel the onions, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and immerse the onions for about 30 seconds, drain. Remove the outer skin and the dangling roots only. Use a sharp paring knife to score and cross in the root end of each onion. Spread the onions out in a single layer in a large pot. Dot with butter. Add enough water come about half way up the side of the onions. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until very soft and have absorbed most or all of the liquid, about 3 hours.

makes 4 to 6 servings.

 

 

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