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.

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.

 

 

Vegetarian Chickpea Curry Pie

Curry Chickpea Pie

The easiest way to make this savory, vegetarian pie is in a skillet, but make sure yours fits in the Sun Oven. If not, bake it in a pie tin.

Curried Chickpea Pot Pie

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, finely chopped

8 ounces white mushroom, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups frozen chopped mixed vegetables

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup vegetable broth

1 tablespoon mild curry powder

1 1/2 cups previously cooked chickpeas or 1 (15-ounce) can drained and rinsed

salt to taste

1 refrigerated pie crust

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

 

Creamy Red Lentil Soup

Apple Lenti Soup

This soup has a sublime, velvety texture. The sliced apple garnish is a nice touch, but the soup’s just as good without.

Curried Red Lentil Soup with Apples

(adapted for the Sun Oven from WW Veg Power!)

Ingredients

2 Granny Smith apples

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon mild curry powder

3 cups water

1 cup vegetable broth

1 1/4 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed

sour cream for serving

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Peel, halve, core, and chop one apple. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped apple, onion, carrots, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry powder. Add the water, broth, and lentils. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the vegetables are soft and the lentils are very tender, about 1 hour. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.

Halve, core, peel, and thinly slice the remaining apple. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each serving with apple slices and sour cream.

Makes 4 servings.

Solar Energy to Go

Energy Squares

These home made bars are perfect when you need a burst of energy.

Sun Baked Energy Squares

(adapted for the Sun Oven from WW Veg Power!)

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds

1/2 cup dried figs, chopped

1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped

2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes

2 tablespoons dried cherries

2 tablespoons dried papaya, chopped

2 tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch cinnamon

pinch cardamon

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Line a 4 x 8-inch loaf pan with tin foil extending over the rim. Spray the foil with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and flaxseeds. Let soak for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together the figs, almonds, coconut flakes, dried cherries, dried papaya, chocolate chips, flour, maple syrup, baking powder, cinnamon, and cardamom. Add almond milk and flaxseed mixture. Stir until moistened. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Cover with a dark kitchen towel and bake until firm to the touch, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Use tin foil to lift from the pan. Cut into 8 squares. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Solar Simmered Classic Tomato Sauce

Simple Sauce

There’s probably not a household in Italy where this sauce does not appear on the table at least once a week. There also is probably not a single household where the home cook bothers to measure the ingredients; and you shouldn’t either. The quantities below are only a guideline. Just chop up equal amounts of onion, carrot, and celery to measure about 1 cup total and lightly sauté them in the oil. The choice of tomatoes is, on the other hand, essential to a successful outcome. Choose high quality, preferably imported, canned or boxed tomatoes that contain no other ingredients – no salt, no citric acid, no seasonings. My preferred brand is Pomì.

Classic Italian Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup onion, finely chopped

1/3 cup carrot, finely chopped

1/3 cup celery, finely chopped

2 cups strained or chopped Imported tomatoes

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon sugar

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté briefly. Add the carrot and celery and sauté for about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, and sugar. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the flavors have blended and the oil has separated from the sauce, about 1 hour. Serve over pasta.

 

Sun Oven Polenta and Cheese

Polenta

Polenta, a simple porridge made from cornmeal, was the staple food of northern Italian peasants. Traditionally it is prepared over an open fire in a copper caldron. It took close to an hour to cook and required almost constant stirring. I have neither a fireplace nor a copper caldron, much less the patience for the constant stirring. Luckily, Marcella Hazan’s no stir method can be easily adapted for the Sun Oven. Now, with minimal effort, I can enjoy it whenever the sun is shining.

Sun Oven Polenta with Gorgonzola Cheese

(adapted from Marcella Hazan’s ‘No Stir Polenta’)

Ingredients

7 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

1 2/3 cups polenta (yellow cornmeal)

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

4 ounces soft Gorgonzola cheese

1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Bring the water to boil in a dark, light-weight, lidded pot. Add the salt. Add the polenta in a very thin stream, keeping the water boiling and stirring with a whisk the entire time. When you have put in all the polenta, stir with a long-handled wooden spoon for 2 minutes, cover the pot and place in Sun Oven. Cook until the water has been absorbed, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Stir in the butter, Parmesan, Gorgonzola, parsley and pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8.

Root Vegetables with Herbs

AA-Oval-Roasting-Pan-300x200

Rutabagas are often overlooked at the grocery store. So much so that you’ll probably have to tell the cashier what they are.

Sun Roasted Root Vegetables

Ingredients

2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

2 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks

1 small rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks

2 shallots, peeled and quartered

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Spread the vegetables out in a large roasting pan. Pour the oil over the vegetables. Sprinkle with the rosemary and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat the vegetables evenly. Cover the pan and roast in the Sun Oven until the vegetables are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Makes 4 servings.

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Turmeric

Sun Oven in WC

This time of year most of my solar cooking is a bit of a hybrid, some in the sun some on the stove. That way I can take advantage of a sunny morning and afternoon and still enjoy a (partially) solar cooked meal after dark. The final step of this soup, blanching the zucchini to be added in, can be done while it gently reheats stovetop.

Yellow Split Pea Soup

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Mediterranean Food of the Sun)

Ingredients

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup yellow spit peas, pick over and rinsed

2 medium zucchini, finely diced

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

salt and pepper to taste

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 just softened; about 4 minutes. Set aside 1/2 cup of the zucchini and add the rest to the pot. Cook, stirring constantly, for a couple minutes. Add the drained split peas to the pot with the broth and the turmeric. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the peas are very soft and falling apart, 1 to 2 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Just before serving, bring a saucepan of water to a boil stovetop, add the reserved zucchini, and cook for 1 minute. Drain and add them to the soup.

Fall Veggies in a Curry Stew

Veggie Curry

A bowl of this rich, satisfying, vegan stew hits the spot on a cold winter’s night.

Curried Vegetable Stew

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Ellie Krieger’s Comfort Food Fix)

Ingredients

1 onion, coarsely chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled

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

1 1/2 tablespoons yellow curry powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder (or more to taste)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup light coconut milk

1 cinnamon stick

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 head cauliflower broken into 1 1/2-inch florets (about 3 cups)

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 larges carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds

2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

grated zest of 1 lime

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 can (15-ounce) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

5 cups baby spinach leaves

salt to taste

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Place the onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, and cayenne in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add the coconut oil and process until a smooth puree has formed. Transfer the curry puree to a Dutch oven over medium heat and cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and continue cooking and stirring until the mixture darkens; about 5 more minutes. Add the broth, coconut milk, cinnamon, pepper, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick (can be prepared up to this point then finished stovetop just before serving).

Transfer the Dutch oven to the stove over medium heat. Stir in the zest, lime juice, chickpeas, and spinach. Cook until the spinach has wilted; about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

Ladle into bowls or serve over rice. Garnish each serving with cilantro.

 

 

 

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