|Great weather for watching football on the TV, not|
so great for using a Sun Oven!
The test of whether there is enough sunlight to cook in the Sun Oven is if it casts a shadow. That's not going to happen when the weather has been like this for a week. I'm going to post my initial experience today and revisit the topic soon.
After the chocolate chip cookie debacle, I'll admit that I was feeling pretty deflated. What's the good of cooking with the sun if the end product tastes like the tire off an SUV? Nevertheless, I pressed on. I announced to the family at breakfast the next day that I would be making dinner in the Sun Oven. Hubby Dear shot me a skeptical look and mumbled under his breath, "I guess I'll be picking up dinner tonight."
The recipe I selected is a simple potato soup recipe that I have been making in the Crock Pot for years. It only takes about 3-1/2 hours to cook in the Crock Pot, so I felt sure that if I started it around noon in the Sun Oven, it would surely be ready by dinner time.
First, the setup:
|Cooling rack in place in the bottom of the chamber|
Any pot big enough to hold a batch of soup for my family will not fit on the leveling shelf. I removed the shelf and placed a small cooling rack in the bottom of the Sun Oven. It is imperative that there is air circulation all around the pot so that it cooks evenly, hence the cooling rack.
|Pot covered with a dish towel|
I chopped the vegetables and assembled all the ingredients for the soup and placed them in a stainless steel pot and covered it with the lid. Since stainless steel is reflective, I covered the whole ensemble with the darkest dish towel I could find and took it outdoors.
It didn't take long for me to notice a problem.
|The wind pummeled the reflectors|
See the reflector on the left? It's not supposed to be bending like that. Our notorious country winds kept flipping the reflectors around. I didn't know what to do about that, so I just left the reflectors alone and readjusted the position of the Sun Oven throughout the afternoon to maximize the sunlight.
I was a bit disappointed that our local Jehovah's Witnesses didn't stop by that afternoon. The last group that stopped by asked me who I thought was in control of the universe. I was ready if they had visited while my Sun Oven was out. I was going to say excitedly, "You know who is in control? Really? Can you take me to your leader? We're establishing communication with our mother ship!" Maybe that would have weirded them out enough to keep them away for a while. As a rule, I try to be kind to proselytizers. We're just overrun with Jehovah's Witnesses who won't take no for an answer.
In the midst of my musings about Jehovah's Witnesses, I did notice that the thermometer didn't seem to be climbing as high as I expected it to. The oven hovered around 225 degrees.
I finally took the pot out around 5:30 PM and brought it inside to check the results.
More disappointment. The potatoes and other vegetables were still mostly raw. The soup smelled good, but it was far from edible. At this rate, it would take another 10 hours to cook the soup in the Sun Oven! Since my family wanted to eat dinner sometime before dawn, I went ahead and finished cooking the soup on my stove.
When we have a sunny, calm day, I'll try again. This shouldn't be so hard!
Sun Oven owners: any input on why my soup didn't cook?