Solar Simmered Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

 

A solar cooked hearty bean soup always makes for a good dinner.

Sun Oven Cuban Black Bean Soup

Ingredients

1 pound dried black beans, picked over, rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained

12 cups water

1/3 cup olive oil

3 onions, finely chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 bay leaf

4 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream for serving (optional)

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

In a large soup pot, combine the drained beans and the water. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the beans are tender, 1 t0 1 1/2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead up to this point. Refrigerate beans in their cooking liquid and bring to room temperature before continuing) While the beans are cooking, heat the oil in a wide pot or skillet. Add the onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook the vegetables, stirring often, until just softened, about 3 minutes. Place 1 cup of the cooked beans (leave the Sun Oven out) in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add the pureed beans to the vegetables; mix well. Return the bean and vegetable mixture to the soup pot along with the thyme, oregano, bay leaf, vinegar, cumin, salt, and pepper. Return the pot to the  Sun Oven and cook until the beans are very soft and the flavors have blended, about 1 hour. Remove bay leaf. Ladle soup into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream if using.

Makes 8 servings.

Sun Braised Tofu

New Sun Oven

The miso and tamari sauce infuse the tofu with flavor as it cooks. It can be served with rice as a main course or wrapped in rice paper with your choice of fresh vegetables.

Miso-Braised Tofu

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker)

Ingredients

3 shallots, thinly sliced

1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained, cut into 1/2-inch slices

2 tablespoons miso paste*

2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon water

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Spray a pot or baking pan with cooking spray.

Spread the shallots out over the bottom of the pan. Arrange the tofu slices over the shallots in a single layer. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso paste, tamari, oil, and water. Pour the miso mixture over the tofu. Cover the pan, transfer to the Sun Oven and cook for about 1 hour.

*miso paste can be found in the Asian foods section of most supermarkets

Wheat Berry Breakfast Cereal

Breakfast Cereal

 

Unless you work the night shift a hot breakfast from solar cooked isn’t very practical, but if you don’t mind getting a little help from your microwave previously cooked Sun Oven hot cereal can be reheated in just a few minutes.

Basic Hot Breakfast Cereal

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker)

Ingredients

1/2 cup wheat berries

1/4 cup cracked wheat

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

3 1/2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

Optional add-ins: raisins, dried cranberries, blueberries, chopped fresh fruit, nuts, brown sugar, maple syrup, milk.

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

In a large pot, combine the wheat berries, cracked wheat, oats, water, salt, and cardamom. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the wheat berries are soft, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Store in the refrigerator or freeze in individual-sized servings until ready to use. To serve heat stove in the microwave or stovetop, stir in desired add-ins just before serving.

Roasted Carrot Soup

Roasted Carrot Soup

Roasted the vegetables in the sun before adding the broth gives this soup it’s delicious flavor. I used rainbow carrots because that’s what was in my vegetable box this week. Regular orange ones work just as well, if not better.

Sun Roasted Carrot Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter

1 onion, chopped

1 leek, white and pale green parts only, chopped

1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

3 cups vegetable broth, hot or at room temperature

salt and pepper to taste

Additional chopped thyme for serving

Preparation

Set Sun out to preheat.

In a large pot, melt the coconut oil or butter over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, carrots, garlic, thyme, and fennel seeds; stir to combine. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 30 minutes. Stir in the broth and continue cooking in the Sun Oven until the vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes if using hot broth or 1 hour if at room temperature. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle thyme on each serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Aromatic Indian Lentil Stew

cats and Sun Oven

Dal, a lentil or bean stew, is a staple throughout India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Like most bean dishes, it can easily be prepared in a Sun Oven.

Solar Dal

ingredients

2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter

1 onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon peeled fresh ginger, minced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 cups dried brown lentils, picked over and rinsed

1 1/2 cups previously cooked red kidney beans

3 cups water

salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Use a food processor or blender to puree the onion, garlic, and ginger. Add the onion mixture to the pot and cook, stirring often for about 3 minutes. Stir in the coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, mustard, cayenne, and all spice. Add the lentils, kidney beans, and water. Stir well, cover, and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the lentils are very soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove to cups of the dal from the pot, process it in a food processor or blender until smooth, and return it to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over rice.

Makes 6 servings

Solar Baked Stuffed Tomatoes with Herbs

Sun-Ovens-in-W.C.-259x300

Use an assortment of different colored tomatoes for this pretty side dish that goes well with roast meats and poultry.

Aromatic Sun Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients

4 large heirloom tomatoes, halved crosswise, seeds removed

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons herbes de Provence

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation

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

Arrange the tomato halves in a single layer, cut side up, in the prepared baking pan. In a small bowl combine the panko, parsley, Parmesan cheese, herbs de Provence, garlic, and salt. Top each tomato half with a spoonful of the bread crumb mixture. Drizzle each tomato half with olive oil. Cover the baking pan with a second pan or aluminum foil and a dark dish towel. Bake the tomatoes in the Sun Oven until lightly browned, about 45 minutes.

 

Vegetarian Sun Oven Bolognese Sauce

Lentil Sauce

The trick to enjoying whole wheat pasta is finding the right sauce. The bolder flavor of whole grains might over power more delicate toppings. This hearty sauce pairs perfectly with just about any shape whole wheat pasta, from spaghetti to fusilli.

Lentil Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 leek, white and pale green parts only, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

8 ounces dried brown lentils, picked over, rinsed, and drained

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 can (15-ounce) crushed tomatoes

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving.

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the oil in a large enamelware pot place on a heat defuser over medium-high heat (if you don’t have a heat defuser use a Dutch oven or other heavy pot. It will take a little longer for the sauce to cook but the end result will be the same). Add the leek, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add the drained lentils stirring to coat. Turn the heat up and add the wine, stirring until evaporated. Stir in the tomatoes and 2 cups of water. Add the thyme and bay leaf, cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the lentils are soft, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove and discard the thyme and bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta. Dust each serving with Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

 

 

Take and Bake Pastitsio

Pastitsio

A lot of non solar prep work goes into this Greek inspired baked pasta. Luckily, it can all be done the night before. The next day all you’ll have to do is heat up the Sun Oven and pop it in. It’s great for picnics, especially if you’re somewhere where you can set up the Sun Oven.

Vegetarian Pastitsio

Ingredients

For the Pasta:

12 ounces dried penne pasta

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 can (13-ounces) evaporated whole milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup small-curd cottage cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

For the Vegetable Topping:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 can (7 1/2-ounces) tomato sauce (or 1 cup homemade)

3 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

1 package (11-ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Lightly butter a deep casserole, set aside.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly to prevent browning, for about 2 minutes. Slowly add the evaporated milk, whisking constantly. Cook the sauce until thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. In a large bowl, mix 1/2 cup of the white sauce into the eggs. Mix in the remaining sauce, cottage cheese, mozzarella, and drained pasta. Spoon the pasta mixture into the prepared casserole dish and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the basil.

Spread the thawed spinach over the pasta in the casserole dish and spoon the tomato sauce over the spinach. (Can be prepared up to this point the night before, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake) Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, cover with a lid or aluminum foil and a dark dish towel. Bake in the Sun Oven until bubbling, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 

Veggie Balls for Pasta and More.

Lentil Balls

Serve these over spaghetti with your favorite tomato sauce or use them in meatless ball sandwiches. Double the recipe and freeze half (before baking) for future use.

Mini Lentil Balls

(adapted for the Sun Oven from The Meatball Shop)

Ingredients

1 cup dry lentils, picked over and rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon salt

4 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 t0 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Spray two mini-muffin pans with cooking spray, set aside.

Put the lentils in a pot with enough water to cover them by an inch (use very hot water for faster cooking) cover and cook in the Sun Oven until soft but not mushy, 35 to 45 minutes. Drain and let cool. Leave the Sun Oven out.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, and salt. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and continue cooking for about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened and the all the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and let cool. When the vegetables are cool add the lentils followed by the egg, cheese, 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs, parsley, and walnuts. If the mixture is too moist add more bread crumbs as needed. Use your hands to mix until all the ingredients are well combined. Refrigerate the mixture for 25 minutes.

Roll the mixture into balls and place them in the prepared mini-muffin pans. Use a rack to separate the two pans and stack them in the Sun Oven. Bake until firm, about 45 minutes. Let rest in pans before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

Solar Cauliflower and Potato Soup

Celery Root Soup

It looks like cauliflower is the new kale. I’m seeing it everywhere: menus, food magazines, blogs, and in my weekly vegetable box. Here’s a soup I whipped up with a few other ingredients I had on hand.

Cauliflower and Potato Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 leek (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

1 cauliflower, chopped

1 russet potato, peeled and diced (2 to 3 cups)

4 cups vegetable broth

1/2 milk, at room temperature

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

salt taste

2 tablespoons chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the leek and cook, stirring often, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper and continue cooking until fragrant, about 1 more minute.

Put the cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it resembles a coarse grain. Add the processed cauliflower to the leek mixture along with the potatoes. Add the broth, cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the potatoes are very tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir in the milk and cheese. Season to taste with salt. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle each serving with parsley.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 

 

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