Cooking times for dried beans can be very unpredictable. A lot depends on the age of the bean. A forgotten bag from who know’s when in the back of the cupboard will probably not cook as fast as the one you bought yesterday. That’s one of the reasons I like to precook mine and store them in the fridge or freezer. They keep well, in their own liquid, up to three days if refrigerated or 3 months if frozen. It’s also a good way to take advantage of a sunny day if your Sun Oven isn’t being used for something else. Don’t let the fact that you didn’t plan ahead by soaking them overnight stop you. They’ll need to cook a little longer but will taste just as good. Just follow a few simple steps and you’ll always have some on hand to be enjoyed on their own or in recipes.
1 – Put the beans in a large bowl or pot filled with water and pick out any shriveled or broken beans in addition to any pebbles.
2- Drain the beans in a colander and rinse well.
3 – Put the rinsed beans into a large pot and add enough water to cover by about 1 inch.
4 – Place a lid on the pot and cook in the Sun Oven; adding about 1 teaspoon salt per 1/2 pound of beans when they start to soften. Start checking after about 45 minutes of cooking
5 – Continue cooking until tender.
6 – Drain if serving immediately or store in covered containers in their cooking liquid.
Despite it’s reputation for being a great big freeway, Los Angeles is a fantastic walking city. The hilly neighborhoods are dotted with hidden public staircases that are both fun and challenging to climb. Turn off of a bustling city street, walk a short distance, and you’ll find yourself immersed in nature. You might even spot some wildlife. I’ve seen raccoons, skunks, coyotes, and deer; all within the city limits. Urban hiking is also a good way to make new friends. Just about every weekend there are groups, lead by urban hiking enthusiasts, that attract quite a following. It was on one of these hikes that I casually mentioned my Sun Oven to a fellow walker, and much to my surprise he replied, “I have one of those. I love it. I use it all the time.” Here’s how he solar cooks ribs;
1 rack (about 3 pounds) babyback ribs
the juice from two lemons
1 sprig rosemary
If you’re not a very late riser it probably won’t be practical to serve this in the morning. Luckily, most people seem to really enjoy breakfast foods for dinner every now and then.
Sun Oven Strata
8 ounces French bread, (about 2 cups) cut into 1-inch cubes
8-ounces (2 cups) Cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
6 Roma tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
This is a sample of the what’s cooking post.
This roast is best when cooked to medium rare. Use a probe thermometer to know exactly when to take it out of the Sun Oven. Use any leftover meat for sandwiches.
Sun Oven Sunday Roast
5 yellow or red bell peppers (or a mixture), ribs and seeds removed and cut into 1-inch strips
2 red onions, cut into 1-inch wedges
3/4 pound new white potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled and each cut into 6 slivers
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
These scrumptious onions are delicious when served with an antipasto platter. Keep a close eye on them while they’re baking, if they get too soft they will turn to mush.
Sun Oven Roasted Balsamic Onions
1 pound pearl onions, unpeeled
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Today was the second time I’ve prepared the newly discovered (at least for me) black rice.
This time I made the mistake of following the directions on the package – add 4 cups of hot water to 1 cup of rice and simmer for 20 minutes – more closely. I suspected that was too much water and I was right. After an hour and a half in the Sun Oven the water had not been completely absorbed and the rice was overcooked. Back to the drawing board.
I do like the flavor, texture, and color of this rice enough to continue experimenting. Eventually I’ll hit on the perfect recipe for it. And when I do, I’ll share it here.
This buttery pumpkin cake will be a hit at any holiday party.
Sun Oven Pumpkin Cake
(adapted for the Sun Oven from The Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan)
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 large eggs, at room temperature, separated, yolks lightly beaten
Carrot soup is not my favorite but I pretty much always have some carrots in the fridge so every now and then I whip up a batch. If you have fresh ginger on hand use about a 2-inch piece of that in place of the frozen stuff. And if you’re lucky enough to live in one of the citrus growing parts of the country, I’m sure you have plenty of neighbors whose trees are loaded with oranges this time of year.
Sun Oven Orange Ginger Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cubes frozen crushed ginger
2 teaspoons orange zest
4 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
1/2 cup water
Sun Oven chicken is always a favorite. You can never have too many recipes.
Sun Oven Herbed Chicken Pot Roast
8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
8 ounces small boiling onions, peeled