Wednesday, July 29, 2009

summer position

(Non solar readers: If using a standard electric or gas oven bake at 250 degrees. Black pots will cook faster. Use the same times in the recipes.)

The solar sport sits on its wider base in the summer. It does not the need the reflector. The reflector is used rarely, on overcast days, and after the equinox. If used, be vigilant on the timer, since this style oven gets hot enough to warp!

I like the solar sport because it holds two pots and is extremely fast to setup and use without the reflector. And it works well n hard to cook items like legumes, and root vegetables. The reflector is needed sometimes in the winter. The oven I use is about eight years old and saves about $15/- per month on gas.

HINT: Keep your recipe quantities small. There will always be another sunny day and solar cooking basics are worry free. So cook what you need. Stuffed pots have a higher heat quotient- much more important in the winter when the cooking times are restricted by uncooperative weather. I cook enough for a meal for four and generally augment with a salad.

For winter see this post.

Summer corn and cherry tomato salad with eggplant or avocado

Adapted from a recipe in this month's Sunset Magazine to conform with local ingredients at the Belmont Farmer's Market and what I have in the garden. Because of the stronger flavor of lemon and wine vinegar this recipe could be used on corn available all summer.

Calderon Market had sweet corn for .50c each. They are now going as far as Martinez. The Asian vendors had gorgeous eggplants. Most vendors had fabulous sweet cherry tomatoes.

Three heads corn husked and rinsed. Place in the 7" round pot with lid and cook in the solar oven for one hour in the summer position.

Let cool then remove kernels by running a knife blade down the sides. Then scrape the back of the knife down the husk to remove any leftovers from the kernels.

Cut one small eggplant in half inch cubes and salt in a colander. Rinse after a half hour, and bake in the solar over for one hour without the lid on the pot. With the Solar Sport both steps can be combined. Skip this step if using avocado.

Cut half a basket cherry tomatoes in half.
Chop half a small red onion small.
If not using eggplant core one avocado in small pieces.
Julian a handful basil and parsley as available.
Combine in a serving bowl.

For the dressing
Juice of 1/4 lemon
equal part wine vinegar
two parts olive oil if using avocado. Three parts for eggplant.
Salt to taste.
Chile cayenne pepper to taste.

Whisk and toss in the serving bowl.
Why solar cook?