Last updated: October 19, 2013
My name is Chef Stephanie Petersen. I specialized in pastry, but have had experience in many areas. I would like to add a few insights into baking with a solar oven that may help with the "anemic" look of breads and pastries and give a more natural glow to the food. Just following that a brief recipe for the crock pot that I have used for solar cooking and had a lot of success. More recipes and ideas are available at my blog on a regular basis.
Baking Bread in a Solar Oven
Sun baked bread....
The chamber in my solar oven is a lot smaller than a conventional oven. One thing I have found is that is is possible to only bake two loaves at a time. This is okay if you plan on making a few batches. Just start them an hour apart and they will be perfectly timed for the solar oven. The only situation this would not be true, is if you bake your bread in a WIDE mouth quart mason jar. Grease them pretty well! Then you can bake them 3-4 at a time.
Second, For bread, once you have formed it into a loaf, it is okay to put it in the oven immediately. The oven takes long enough to heat up that the final "proof" can be done there inside the oven. This allows your bread not to get too light and have better slicing quality.
Third, I heard that it was very difficult to get anything brown in a solar oven. The enclosed chamber holds in the moisture. They will get good and golden brown however, if you don't clasp the door shut. Close the glass, but don't clasp it. This allows moisture to escape but not all the heat. They are still pretty pale, but not white. Test them for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer in the loaf. If it registers 175 degrees, it is cooked.
One of my favorite Polynesian Cookbooks had a recipe for orange ginger chicken or Pork. I have changed the recipe a lot and added my own touches. Now, you have it. The perfected recipe that I adore. It is a wonderful base for Hawaiian Haystacks (a classic for church pot-lucks and banquets). Last summer when I cooked for my church's summer camp, this is the recipe I used...but we made a lot more of it! We pulled the meat apart and added it to a white sauce. It was awesome. If you do add it to milk based sauce, be sure to add a tsp of baking soda. The soda will neutralize the acid in the orange juice that would otherwise make the sauce curdle. This is how the soup companies make cream of tomato soup too! I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as I do! If you want to make this into a freezer meal, simply divide the finished pork between 4 quart size freezer bags, remove air. At service, defrost the meat, add the spinach, bell pepper, oranges, and coconut milk.
Ka'u Orange Ginger Pork (yield 15 servings)
6 lbs lean pork, boneless and cut into 1 inch cubes (or boneless skinless chicken thigh meat)
2 c. orange juice concentrate
2T sesame oil
1/4 cup fresh ginger root, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Dijon mustard.
Combine them all and cook in a 8 quart crock pot 5-6 hours low (or solar oven 3-4 hours) When cooked, drain excess fat.
Add and cook 15 more minutes:
2 cups chopped spinach
1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped (optional)
2 cups coconut milk (approx one can...I just use the can)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 15 oz can mandarin oranges, well drained.
Scoop and serve over cooked giant mounds of Jasmine rice.
Note: This recipe is excellent cooked in the solar oven! Give it a try!