Saturday, August 8, 2009
Solar Cooker :: Country Breakfast Casserole (gluten free to boot)
I've come out of hiding. Truthfully, I haven't been experimenting very much with new recipes since I've been a whole lot busier with homeschooling this year. In fact, the recipe in this post isn't new, it's just cooked in a new way...with my father-in-law's hard work in solar energy.
My FIL (a.k.a. Grampy) spent his entire career inventing different films and machines and made his niche with solar films. When he retired in 1996, 3M had discontinued using many of his films because there just wasn't enough demand for the products...at the time. Oh, but with this fascinatingly new demand for solar power, they've begged, schmoozed, and pleaded for him to come out of retirement for the newbie engineers to glean as much as possible from him.
(Okay, I don't really know what they had to do to pull him out of retirement, but somehow they did it. Actually, I don't think he's getting paid, so what do you call that? A corporate volunteer?)
Anyhoo, when we visit Grammy and Grampy's house, our kids use all his old castoff films as their high-tech slippy slide. I get a little kick out of that! They also love to watch Grampy swooish down the hill on the film in his trunks that seem to be Teflon-coated. Visual: It's similar to Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation waxed taboggon speed.
Jimmer on Grampy's "high-tech" (hill + film + water hose) slippy slide.
If you look closely, you can see Grampy's spunky trunks that make him zip like the wind.
For many years now Grampy has worked with a lovely couple, Mike and Martha Port, and together they came up with a design for a solar box cooker for Port's nonprofit organization. The cookers use Grampy's patented solar films as its solar secret weapon (at least it seems much more interesting and exciting if I put it that way).
So, if you want a little excitement in your life, give solar cooking a try. If you purchase one of their S.O.S. Sport ovens, you also enable the organization to send one (or almost one) to needy folks in different countries that have used up to 98% of their forests for firewood and are suffering from lung and eye diseases caused from inhaling smoke from cooking fires.
Be green and philanthropic! Using a solar cooker taps into a unique side of culinary creativity and provides you with a wonderful sense of satisfaction that we can harness that blazing sun power for good--for ourselves and our neighbors in need.
As for yer vittles, follow this Country Breakfast Casserole recipe, spray the pots to prevent sticking, pour in the fixins, and go from this...
...to this in 3 hours of time you'd rather not heat up the kitchen, or use a bunch of energy that's not free.
Before I started cooking, I wanted to see how hot the oven would get by itself using the reflectors. It got up to 300 degrees. (I'd show ya, but the picture just turned out really blurry. See?)
Here's a non-blurry temp photo, but it was taken after I took off the lid and checked on the goodies.
When I put the mixture with the frozen potatoes into the solar cooker, it got down to 150 degrees, but then crept back up to 250 degrees as the average cooking temp.
I was thrilled with how it turned such a lovely shade of brown on top. Wasn't expecting it.
My taste buds were also thrilled.
As you can see, I'm a member of the C.P.C. (Clean Plate Club, as my Grandpa Hardie used to say).