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.

 

 

 

Easiest Sun Oven Chili Ever

Sun Ovens in W.C.

Canned beans and prepared mole sauce eliminate almost all the prep work for this satisfying vegetarian chili.

Three-Bean Vegetarian Mole Chili

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Crock-Pot Best Loved Slow Cooker Recipes)

1 can (15 1/2-ounces) chili beans in spicy sauce, undrained

1 can (15 1/2-ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (15 1/2-ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (14 1/2-ounces) Mexican style diced tomatoes, undrained

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 onion, diced

1/2 cup vegetables broth

1/4 cup prepared mole paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

Optional toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped onion

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot. Stir to combine. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the peppers and onion are tender, about 1 hour.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

2 teaspoons ground coriander

Soup for Supper

Sun Oven with 6qt Pot

Many of us worry about or waistline this time of year, myself included. One thing I’ve learned from being a lifetime Weight Watchers member is that the holiday meal on its own is not really the problem. It’s all the meals surrounding it. We spend so much time, planning, shopping for, and preparing the big feast that we completely forget about what we’re going to eat the days leading up to it. We may come home with a car full of groceries only to realize we don’t have anything for dinner that night. Easy to heat up, previously solar-cooked, healthy foods like this minestrone can save the day. This soup can be stored in the fridge for up to a week and is even better the day after it’s cooked.

Sun Oven Minestrone

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

Ingredients

4 cups vegetable broth

2 cups water

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup thinly sliced onion

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

2 cups peeled, diced potatoes

2 cups diced zucchini

1 cup diced green beans

3 cups shredded savoy cabbage

A saltine cracker-sized piece of Parmesan cheese crust, scraped clean (optional)

2/3 cup canned diced tomatoes, with their juices

1 2/2 cups previously cooked cannellini beans(or other white beans)

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

Remove the leveling tray from the Sun Oven, place a rack or a trivet on the floor of the cooking chamber, and set it out to preheat. Combine the broth and water in a medium pot and put in the Sun Oven to heat while preparing the rest of the soup.

The onion through the cabbage are each added to the pot and cooked briefly before adding the next. To save time, prep each one as the previous one cooks.

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until softened but not browned. Add the carrots and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Do the same with the celery, potatoes, zucchini, and green beans, cooking each a few minutes before adding the next. Then add the shredded cabbage and cook for about 6 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the warm broth form the Sun Oven, the cheese crust (if using), and the tomatoes. Season lightly with salt. Cover and transfer to cook until the vegetables are soft and the soup has thickened, about 3 hours. Stir in the beans and cook an additional 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the Sun Oven. Discard the cheese crust. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Adjust for salt. If not serving immediately, let cool and refrigerate in a covered container for up to a week.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

 

Vegan Stuffed Squash

T-Day SquashA tempeh stuffed squash can be a protein packed main course for any vegetarians that might be guests at your Thanksgiving dinner.

Hearty Vegan Stuffed Squash

Ingredients

1 acorn squash, halved and seeded

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

4 ounces (1/2 package) tempeh, crumbled

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 cup cooked beans

3 tablespoons whole wheat 0r regular pastina (orzo, acini di pepe, stelline)

1/2 cup vegetable broth or water

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat. Place a rack in a baking pan.

Rub the inside of the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, season with salt; set aside.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oli in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until just softened; about 1 minute. Stir in the the tempeh and continue cooking, stirring often until the tempeh begins to brown, about 4 more minutes. Add the soy sauce, cumin, paprika, and chili powder. Remove from heat and stir in the beans then the pastina. Spoon the mixture into the squash halves. Set the squash on the rack in the baking pan. Pour 1/4 cup of broth or water into each half. Cover the pan with a second baking pan and bake in the Sun Oven until the squash is tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

 

 

Slow Cooked Sun Oven Green Beans

Green Beans

This twist on the traditional green bean casserole is ideal for solar cooking. The longer it cooks, the more meltingly delicious it gets.

Solar Stewed Green Beans

(adapted for the Sun Oven from Mark Bittman’s Holiday Cooking)

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds green beans, washed and trimmed

1/4 cup olive oil

1 onion, minced (about 1 cup)

1 can (14 1/2-ounce) diced tomatoes, drained or 1 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh tomatoes

1/2 cup water

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Toss all the ingredients in an oven-to-table deep casserole dish or large pot. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the beans are very soft and the flavors have blended, at least 1 1/2 half hours.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup

Chunky SP SoupI usually use a white potato for this colorful vegetarian soup but I had just over half a sweet potato left over from yesterday’s gratin so into the soup it went.

Chunky Vegetable Split Pea Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 leek, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

3 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

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

1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced

8 cups vegetable broth

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

sour cream for serving (optional)

Preparation

Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, carrots, celery, garlic, and oregano. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the split peas, broth, and bay leaves. Cover and transfer the pot to the Sun Oven until the peas are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with a dollop of sour cream.

Makes 8 servings.

 

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