Lately I’ve been raiding Mark’s stash of corn chips when I go looking for a snack. They’re about the only thing we ever have in the house that are not sweet and require absolutely no preparation.
That’s the funny thing about my house, it’s always full of food but apart from fresh fruit there’s almost nothing that can just be eaten as is and sometimes I want to eat something now. I was hoping seasoned dehydrated veggies could become a new-found version of chips; a salty snack ready to eat straight from the container, but I think I’m going to have to keep looking. Not that the dehydrated zucchini I made the other day are bad, they just lack the satisfying crunch of chips.
Making them was, however, a good learning experience. I got started early and had the thinly sliced, lightly seasoned zucchini ready to go as soon as the sun hit the back yard. By the last rays of the day they were dehydrated to perfection. I’d seasoned them with garlic powder, dried basil, and salt. The flavor was good, and I did manage to stay away from the bag of chips in the pantry, but I think they’d be better as an ingredient in risottos or soups than on their own. I guess I’ll have to find something else to deal with the mid-afternoon hunger pangs.
You’ll spend almost as much time chopping the vegetables for the soup as it will take to cook it in the GSO. Fennel, also known as anise, is becoming more and more available in the produce section of most grocery stores, even though it seems like most of the cashiers have never seen it before in their lives.
Solar Simmered Fennel and Zucchini Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups fresh fennel, dices, fronds chopped and reserved
Mixing shredded vegetables into meatloaf is a good way of cutting down on meat consumption. This recipe uses onion, carrots, and zucchini but be creative and use what you have on hand. Cabbage, kale, or leeks are just a few alternatives that come to mind
Beef and Vegetable Loaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 clove garlic, minced
1 slice white bread, torn into small pieces
1/8 cup dry red wine
1 lb ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat.
Drape a long piece of tin foil folded in two over the bottom and up the sides of an oval, lidded roasting pan and coat it with cooking spray.
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook until softened; about 5 minutes. Add carrots, zucchini, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened; about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Combine bread and wine in a small bowl; let stand for 10 minutes
In a large bowl, combine beef, egg, basil, salt, pepper, cooled vegetables and soaked bread. Shape beef mixture into an oval loaf; place into prepared roasting pan. Bake in GSO until cooked through, approx. 1 1/2 hours. Remove from GSO and let stand 5 minutes. Lift loaf out of roasting pan onto a platter using tin foil lining.
Serves 6 to 8
This is a very moist bread that is not too sweet. Tightly wrapped, it will keep for three days at room temperature, a week if refrigerated. And it’s under 200 calories per slice.
Sun Baked Carrot Zucchini Bread
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plain low fat yogurt
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups carrots, shredded
1 cup zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat. Coat a 5×9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
Whisk together flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Whisk together yogurt, brown sugar, applesauce, oil, and egg whites in a medium bowl Add the yogurt mixture to the flour mixture; stir just until the flour mixture is moistened. Gently stir in carrots, zucchini, and walnuts.
Scrape batter into the pan. Bake in GSO until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 60-70 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Remove bread from the pan and let cool completely on the rack.
Yields 16 slices.
I’ve made these chips both in my Global Sun Oven and my conventional oven; the Global Sun Oven wins hands down. The biggest challenge, no matter which oven you use, is fitting them all on the baking sheets. One small vegetable goes a long way when it’s sliced 1/8 of an inch thin.
A mandolin will make the prep work easier, but with a little patience and a sharp knife you can slice everything by hand.
Solar Veggie Chips
(adapted from Weight Watchers®)
1 Zucchini, sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 yellow summer squash, sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 small sweet potato, peeled and sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon oregano
Remove leveling tray, place a rack on the floor of the cooking chamber, and set Global Sun Oven out to preheat.
Spray pizza pans, or any baking sheets that will fit in the cooking chamber. Spread the sliced vegetables on the pizza pans. Coat with more cooking spray and season with salt and oregano. Stack the pans using canning rings or cookie cutters to keep them separated. Place the pans in the cooking chamber. Keep the glass door propped open by resting it on the latches turned inward. Keep the Global Sun Oven focused to maintain a temperature between 200ºF and 250ºF. Roast until vegetables are crisp and dry, removing the ones that may crisp faster as you go along. It should take about 1 1/2 hours to roast all the vegetables.