Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bit More Solar Cookery and a Laundry Drying Triumph

So, in no particular order let's start with the bread and breadlike products:

 This bread was quite heavy since I made with 100% sprouted whole wheat flour, a bit of yeast, salt and water.  That's it.  It rose really fast due to extreme heat.  I punched it down and threw it in.  Then it didn't rise so much but it's QUITE good.  And it is keeping well.  I've left it in the pan (metal plus lid equals mouse proof...also, I took it in to work with a jar of almond butter I got on super sale to use for lunches this week)

This is service berry bread!  Service berries are similar to huckleberries or blueberries but grow on tall bushes and are easy to harvest.  IF you beat the birds to them.  It took me 3 or 4 days to accumulate a cup and a half.  Birds love them and I'm not going to put netting over random shrubs and make life harder for the birds this year.  Anyway, first I soaked the berries in my homebrewed honey vinegar to make a sort of shrub liquid to add to water, ginger ale, whatever.  It's delicious.  The berries are of course still good and a bit tangy.  I drained off the shrub and used the berries in this. 

The berries are a bit vinegary and tart, in a good way.  So I cut out one egg and added extra baking soda.  The soda mixes with the vinegar as leavening.  The vinegar made for a less sweet bread.  I'm liking it a lot.  In fact, it was gone in 3 days.  It was also made with all sprouted whole wheat flour but was not too heavy.  Quite moist.  Here's a view of it cut.

It was baked in a stainless steel fridge container with a slide on lid (hello mouse proof!) which made it easy to transport and works super well in the solar cooker.  I left the lid on for about an hour then took it off for a bit to let the top get a bit more crusty like I like it.

This and the bread above were cooked the same day.   The oven ran about 325 steadily without too much turning or aiming. I was a totally sunny clear day with almost no smoke or dust haze.  I'm not sure why the oven wasn't hotter.  I may need to do a better job getting dust off the mirrors and glass cone.

Here's an earlier whole wheat bread that was WAY too heavy.  I still ate it though.

The cooker was running even hotter that day and things got a tad burned.

Below is yet another bread.  This one part high gluten flour to help along the sprouted wheat flour.  It turned out fabulous.  The downside was i ate it all way way too fast.

 In the skillet is a squash and amaranth frittata (my word for stuff in eggs, baked or fried).  It was actually SO hot and sunny that day that when I opened the cooker and took the lid off the skillet to check the frittata, it was sizzling!  The cooker easily hit 375F that day.  Putting the cast iron skillet with lid in there, I suspect the frittatta was a bit hotter than that.

All this cooking was in the "Death Ray" or "Solar Chef".

I do still use the cardboard box corner with foil cooker to make my weekend coffee.  It isn't ready at 8am, but a lovely cup of coffee at 9:30 or 10 is a good reason for a break from hauling garden water or fretting about plans or whatever.   I was talking to Gramma last weekend as I drank that coffee and since I don't bother with careful filtering as I pour it into a cup, I noted that I had hit the grounds.  She said her dad's answer to that was another spoon of sugar and then chew.  I hadn't added any sugar but I may try it with the grounds.

And laundry triumph:

2 loads of laundry on the awesome 6$ thrift store purchased rack! (the same one that was inside before) Yeay!  That saved me about 4$.  And wear and tear on the clothes.  And I must say I much prefer the smell of sun and breeze on my clothes to leftover-bounce from public laundromat dryers.  These euro style drying racks are more compact than the american ones.  So far it's holding up well.  The cardboard under it is in case something fell off.  And to keep the grass/hay seeds off my clothes.  I spend too much time picking pine needles and seeds out of surprising places.

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