At my CSA today, I'll be doing the first of two solar cooking demos. This flyer will be available for those people who are inspired to get or make their own solar oven and start cooking with the sun at home.
Here are the foods I’ll be sampling today and Friday afternoon. Most of the produce came from the CSA shares.
Local Meat - contributed by the CSA Coordinator and cooked in his new solar oven (purchased with one of my coupons).
On Tuesday, we will have grass-fed beef chuck roast in prickly pear fruit sauce with nopalitos. The beef is local and sold at the CSA in prepaid shares occasionally. The prickly pears were harvested locally and the nopalitos came in our CSA shares.
On Friday, we will have naturally-raised pork tenderloin in grapefruit (or apricot) sauce with nopalitos. The pork is also local and sold at the CSA in prepaid shares. The grapefruits and nopalitos are from the CSA.
The CSA Coordinater had some solar-steamed nopalitos left over so he put together this delicious salsa.
I posted this recipe a couple of weeks ago when I did a trial run on the breadsticks. They take about 45 minutes to bake in a preheated solar oven. Use a dark metal pan for best browning. Line it with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
It's a good idea to check the weather forecast and conditions before you get all of the breadsticks rolled out and ready to bake. (I was forced to bake some in the regular oven this weekend when we had a cloudy day. The weather forecast Friday morning said sun all weekend but that changed!)
Pinto beans (from CSA)
Dried red chile peppers (from CSA)
Sort and clean beans. Soak in water overnight.
Drain and put in a cooking pot with plenty of water to cover. Add dried red chiles and a few peppercorns for flavor.
Cover and place in preheated solar oven. Let cook until tender.
Drain off some excess cooking water (or save for soup).
Remove peppercorns. They will be softened from the cooking and can be smashed with the flat side of a knife and then minced to add back to the beans.
Remove dried chiles. Using the back side of the knife, scrape the rehydrated flesh from the skin. Mince and add back to the beans. (Compost the skin.)
Add salt and Liquid Smoke to taste.
Green Tomato Relish
This flavorful relish tastes wonderful spooned on top of the pinto beans. The recipe can be found at the National Center for Home Food Preservation, a great resource for canning and preserving your CSA surplus. The relish is a tasty way to use the green tomatoes we get from the CSA at the beginning of summer.
Red La Soda potatoes (from CSA)
Yukon Gold potatoes (from CSA)
Dill pickles (I made the Refrigerator Dill Pickle recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, using the CSA Armenian cucumbers.)
Sweet pickled onions (Recipe here, using diced CSA onions)
Celery, sliced (optional)
Nasoya fat free soy spread (soy mayonnaise)
Nutritional yeast (1 tbs per 8 potatoes)
Salt & pepper to taste
Steam potatoes whole in a closed cooking pot in a preheated solar oven.
When cool enough to handle, remove peel and chop potatoes.
Toss immediately with some pickle juice. This step needs to be done while the potatoes are still warm.
While they are cooling, chop pickles and celery.
Mix a small amount of mustard in with the mayonnaise, along with the nutritional yeast, and pepper. Do not add the salt yet.
Add pickles, onions, celery, and dressing to potatoes and mix well.
Taste and add salt if needed.
Let chill at least one hour before serving.
Corn on the cob (from CSA)
Fresh tomatoes (from CSA)
Cucumber (from CSA)
Sweet pickled onions (or diced red onion from CSA)
Salt & pepper to taste
Heat water in a large covered cooking pot in a preheated solar oven.
Add corn to pot, cover and let cook until tender. This can take up to half an hour.
Meanwhile, dice tomatoes and cucumber. The Armenian cucumbers don't need to be peeled but you may wish to peel other varieties. If the cucumbers are large and seedy, you may wish to remove the seeds before dicing. (Feed the seeds to your chickens or your compost pile.)
Drain corn and let cool. Using a sharp knife, cut kernels from cobs.
In a large bowl, mix the corn, tomato, cucumber, and onions.
In a small bowl, whisk the basil vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper together. Toss with salad.
*To make basil vinegar, clean and pat dry one CSA share of basil leaves (small bag). Place in a pint glass jar and bruise with a wooden spoon. Heat 1 1/4 cups of vinegar almost to a boil. Pour over leaves. Cover the jar with plastic wrap or a non-reactive lid and set in a dark closet for a month. Strain through cheesecloth before using.
Candied Grapefruit Peel
I made these last month from CSA grapefruits. Here is the recipe for thick candied citrus peels. Here is a photo. Some of the simmering was done in the solar oven.
Candied Orange Peel
I also made these last month from the CSA oranges. I used the same recipe (process) as for the grapefruit peels. Here's a photo of the peels boiling in syrup. Some of the simmering was done in the solar oven.
Before candying the peels of the grapefruits and oranges, I juiced them to make the CSA recipe for a refreshing summer seltzer.
I hope all this tasty food inspires at least a few CSA members to start cooking with the sun. Water may not be abundant here in the desert, but sunshine sure is!
Upcoming posts this week: Solar Cooking Tips and Photos from the Demo.