I’ll admit, this is a recipe that still needs a little tweaking. The goal was, of course, a crispy coating without all the calories of fried chicken. That was partially achieved, at least the bit of coating that didn’t come off when I took the chicken legs off the rack was slightly crispy. I’d make two changes next time: I’d leave the skin on and I’d cook it uncovered.
Sun Oven “Fried” Chicken Legs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon hot sauce
8 chicken legs, skin removed
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
Mark likes toast for breakfast. I like muesli. This muesli raisin bread makes us both happy.
Muesli Raisin Bread
1 1/8 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 2/3 cups unbleached white bread flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat bread flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened muesli
3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons rapid-rise (instant) yeast
1/2 cup raisins
Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment or a baking mat.
Pour water, oil and honey into bread machine pan. Sprinkle flours over the water, covering it completely. Add the muesli and milk. Add the salt in one corner of the pan. Make a small indentation in the center of the flour and add the yeast. Set the bread machine to the dough setting. Press start. Check the dough after a few minutes of kneading and add a little water if it’s too firm. Add the raisins when the machine beeps or during the last 5 minutes of kneading. When the dough cycle has finished turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch it down gently. Shape the dough int to a round and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife make three cuts on the top about 1/2 inch deep, to divide the loaf into six sections. Cover the loaf with oiled plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 30 to 45 minutes, or until it has almost doubled in size. Bake the loaf in the Sun Oven until it sounds hollow when tapped, 45 minutes to an hour.
Makes 1 loaf
This time of year it might be hard to get these “muffins” done in one day. You can get a head start by prepping the vegetables the night before, or you could make hybrids; half solar, half conventional baked. Once they’re assembled they can be frozen. That way they’re ready to pop in the Sun Oven whenever the weather is favorable.
6 oz. pearl onions, peeled
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 cups rutabaga, peeled and diced
1 cups turnip, peeled and diced
1 cup leeks, diced
2 cups celery root, peeled and diced
If you have two pots that fit side by side in the Sun Oven you can get the base of this lentil stew going while the lentils cook in the other pot. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until the lentils are done and then make the base or cook it on the stove.
1 cup green lentils
1 cup red lentils
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
4 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
I have to admit I’d never even though of dehydrating bananas until I read the instructions that came with the dehydrating racks. I wasn’t even sure what shape I should cut them into; discs or strips. It seemed obvious that discs would dry out faster but I thought strips would make a nice portable snack. I decided to try both. To fill all three racks I also cut up a couple of apples and a pear.
The apples dried the fastest. They were completely dehydrated by the end of the day. As predicted the banana discs dehydrated faster than the strips. The pear took longer than I’d expected. Both the bananas and the pear had to be finished up the next day. The banana discs (and the pear slices for that matter) came out great. I lost my patience with the banana strips. I couldn’t tell if they were dry enough to store safely so I ate them – problem solved. I’m sure that in the summer months, when there’s more usable sunshine, I’d have been able to finish all the fruit (maybe even the banana strips) in one day.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that looked at the new dehydrating racks and thought “Could they be used for baking?” The answer is yes. Today I baked a full batch of drop cookies, over three dozen, in two Sun Oven loads. The same as it would have taken to bake them in a conventional oven. The top layer baked slightly faster, but by less than five minutes, pretty much the time it took to take the top layer inside and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.
Sun Oven Muesli Cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Cook the lentils in the Sun Oven the day before making this vegetarian twist on meatloaf. Serve it with a green vegetable, mashed potatoes, and vegetarian gravy. Any leftovers can be used for sandwiches.
Solar Lentil Loaf
2 cups cooked green lentils
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, shredded
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 slices white bread, torn into pieces
3/4 cup vegetable broth
Using a Sun Oven doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice convenience. Most frozen foods that can be reheated in a conventional oven can also go in the Sun Oven. Whenever I make a batch of Bolognese sauce I like to toss together a pan of rigatoni to store in the freezer. Solar reheating may take longer, but the results are just as good.
Solar Baked Rigatoni
1 pound rigatoni
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup frozen peas
Lightly butter a baking dish that can go from from freezer to oven.
Cook the rigatoni in abundant, boiling salted water. Drain when still quite firm, a little less cooked than al dente. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the meat sauce, Béchamel, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Toss thoroughly to coat the pasta well. Pour pasta into the baking dish; top with peas and remaining Parmesan cheese. Tightly wrap dish with plastic wrap than tin foil and freeze for up to 1 month.
When ready to bake, remove tin foil and plastic wrap. Cover with a glass, oven-proof lid and bake in a preheated Sun Oven until hot all the way through, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
I have only one complaint with it. Every recipe I’ve tried so far claims to yield 12 muffins, but actually makes quite a few more. They even give instructions to bake the excess batter in ramekins or a second baking so they are obviously well aware that the yield is off. I don’t have the patience for a second baking (I know I’d forget about the second batch) and fitting all the muffins in the Sun Oven in one go can be a challenge.
The solution pictured below is the best I’ve come up with so far. The baking pan on the bottom has sides that are high enough to stop the muffins from touching the upper layer as they rise and allows the air to flow. Still, I was only able to fit eight molds in the pan and there was enough batter for at least two more. I wound up, as usual, overfilling the tins.
Sun Oven Applesauce Muffins
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon