Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Chili cooked on Hazy Day- Recipe included!

Earlier this week I cooked 1 pound of Red Beans in two different pots with my panel and steel bowl cookers.

Yesterday, I wanted to make chili with part of those beans, but the day was really hazy. UV predictions were 9-10, but I'm guessing it was more like an 8.

So I put the beans straight from the fridge into the oblong granite pot, room temperature canned tomatoes, seasonings and a couple of beef bullion cubes. As I stepped outside to set up the panel cooker, I realized just how hazy it was. So, I thought I would experiment with the reduced UV.

I set the pot down on the ground to finesse the panel cooker, and in only a couple of minutes the lid was hot to the touch! I knew I could still cook.

I waited until the ingredients were 150F before adding the beef. I cubed it really small so that it would cook faster at the lower temps. I stirred the beef in making certain that all the meat had been nestled into the hot broth... again... Safe Food Handling Tyrant wanted to make certain that the beef got to 150 immediately.

I repositioned the cooker (as best as I could without much shadow), and at the end of 3.5 hours, I brought the pot in. It was still at 150F, which is 10 degrees above safe food holding temperature, but not hot enough to melt cheese. So, I set the pot on a burner for 5-7 minutes to come to boiling temp.

Added a handful of corn tortilla chips, cheese on top- Yummmy dinner!

Chili Recipe:

2 cups of beans in their own broth (this time I used Red beans, normally I use Pintos)
2 pounds (2 cups) of beef- cubed stew meat or ground beef
1 14oz can of HEB Chipoltle seasoned Tomatoes, about 1/4 cup of water to rinse can into pot.
2 teaspoons of dried onion flakes & cumin
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder & dried cilantro
2 beef bullion cubes
General Notes:
Normally, I would use store bought beef broth, but with the reduced sun and lower temps, this would not be loosing any moisture to steam, and I didn't want this too soupy.
I did NOT salt this, nor did I add any pepper. The tomatoes were pretty spicy, and the chipoltle seasoning on the bacon inside the beans added some spice. The bullion cubes and the salted beans added enough sodium to this dish.

Set pot of veges out in sun until they are 150F, then add meat.

Cook for 3+ hours to blend the seasonings and cook the meat.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Late Afternoon Focusing

These are photos of my twin steel bowl cooker late in the afternoon. I tip the bowls forward to capture more sun.

I have been trying to make the bowls, reflector assembly 'as bright as possible' when trying to focus the cooker to maximize the heat capturing potential.

To make sure the cooking vesel and glazing bowl are in sun, I look for a reflection of the reflector on the glass lid used for glazing.

Today, I took small bowls of navy beans straight from the freezer and in 3 hours the beans were ready to eat.

Sunny Cooking For a WEEK!

My husband saw a forecast that had us topping 100F for one week straight, so I'll be cooking every day, and freezing for rainy days.

Today's Entree:

Honey Whole Wheat, bacon, chedar cornbread, cooked in my stainless steel roaster solar oven.

Topped 250F and I left it out there for 2 full hours to make certain the bottom got cooked, even though the top browned a little more than what you would normally want. This is whole wheat and can handle the extra 'toasting.
After 1 1/2 hours, I rotated the pan so that the the front of the pan could get some extra sun.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hot Soup!

After I completed all my experiments, the sun was still high, so I dumped about 2 cups of soup into the same pot that had boiling water in it.

Within an hour, the soup had gone from 35-40F to 200F.

Yeah, I like my Steel Bowl Cooker.

Experiement Conclusion

At 12:30, I had to move the cooker out of the shade, and onto a bucket. I tipped it back slightly to capture more sunlight.

I put 2 cups of tap water out, again at 85F in the same configuration as the distilled water.

At 12:55, the water temp had climbed to 150F.

I didn't check this again for 45 minutes, and the water was up to 200F. I repositioned the cooker, to face the sun better.

At 2pm, the water was boiling.
Pros of this cooker:
I am pleased with this cooker, and its cooking capabilities.
It is definitely more 'permanent' than my cardboard panel cooker, and much easier to store.
The steel bowls are light weight and relatively inexpensive. The two bowls cost $10 each, and I will need a new reflector soon, so for about the price of a CooKit, I have a cooker that will last for years, instead of one season.
Finally, the bowls can be used for other things.
If you don't have a resturant supply store in your town, check my links for online stores where you can purchases these mixing bowls.
Cons of this cooker:
The interior of the cooking bowl will need a lot of protection to prevent scratches marring the surface.
I will need to experiment more to perfect the focusing of this cooker to maximize the solar capturing and heating potential. I may need to raise the pots higher for instance.
With a panel cooker, all the research has been done; you just set up the cooker and face it towards the sun.

Experiment Details

I set the cooker out, on the cement, at 11:30 am with 2 cups of distilled water.

By 12 noon, the temperature had gone from 85F to 150F. I turned the cooker a small amount to keep it focused on the sun.

By 12:30 pm, the temperature was up to 200F... when I brought that water in the house to make tea.

Experiments- This cooker Boils!

July 21, 2008, with a UV Index between 11-12, I did an official experiment with my twin steel bowl cooker.
I used:
* A 3 cup pot & a glass lid (that I removed the plastic handle)
* A pyrex mixing bowl
* On top of the Bowl is a lid from an old crock pot.
The pot sits on a black candle holder, to elevate it off the bottom of the bowl. That is the shiny surface in the bottom of the bowl.

The bowl sits on what I'm guessing was a plate stand or plant stand of some kind. Having the bowl in this stand allows me to tip the bowl- as the cooker must be tipped to catch the sun- and still keep the pot level.

More about the Steel Bowl Cooker

I used pinch style paper clips to attach the ends of the windshield shade to lip of the bottom bowl in the front.
I used a third clip at the back (where the depression is for the rear view mirror) to fill in that gap and get the shade to conform to the shape of the bowl better.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

3 pots in one day

Tuesday this week, I cooked three different things with three different cookers.
Ham and Taters
Navy & Vege soup
Lemon Blueberry (Whole Wheat) coffee cake

Steel Bowl Cooker

I took 2 steel mixing bowls, added a car reflector and created a solar cooker similar to a Parvati or a Parabolic cooker.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

ARNie's Roaster Solar Oven- details

I bought my stainless steel roaster at my local Target, and here it is listed at the Target Website... unfortunately... it is out of stock. I fear it may be discontinued. You might try writing to the company to find out who makes the roaster, and order it from them directly. The Roaster was in a clearance section with no box, and if it had any other packaging information, I threw it away long ago.

Stainless Steel Dome Roaster