Sunday, August 7, 2016

White chocolate blondies

White chocolate blondies are today's gem. They were delicious and disappeared too quickly for me to take a picture.

Ingredients

4 oz (approx. 120 grams) of white chocolate
1/4 cup butter
1 large egg
5/8 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/6 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of chopped nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios or pecans)

Instructions

In a bowl combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Melt chocolate and butter in microwave or in a metal bowl placed in a saucepan of water heated until the water bubbles (but doesn't boil). Please note that white chocolate has a lower melting/burning point than regular chocolate and can "glom together" if overheated. Beat egg until frothy, then beat in sugar. Beat in melted butter and white chocolate mix gradually so it doesn't "cook" the egg. Fold in the flour/salt/baking powder mixture and add the chopped nuts.

This amount of batter should fit into 8 silicone mini loaf pans in the GoSun.

It took about 40 minutes in late afternoon sun, but keep an eye on them because it could take less time. The blondies actually had a nice caramel tinge about the edges when they came out and they smelled divine.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Revisiting the banana bread

So I revisited the "banana bread surprise" and made another batch, and this time, I was able to bake it in the GoSun. I lined the tray with parchment paper and poured the batter in directly, instead of using the silicone mini loaf pans. The quantity adapted to a 6' by 9' baking dish fit perfectly into the tray. It took about 40 minutes in the early afternoon sun. Everyone who tried some agreed that it was delicious. It was way better than the last batch, for which I had to use the toaster oven.



By my calculations you lose almost a third of the volume of the tray if you use the silicone baking cups. The same amount of batter fit into 11 mini loaf pans, of which only eight fit into the GoSun.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Dinner for one

This one is pretty easy. Just take some meat, potatoes & veg, and pop'em in the GoSun.

In this case I used two pork tenderloin mini-skewers brushed with BBQ sauce, half a large sweet potato chopped into half-inch cubes tossed in olive oil and salt, and about seven asparagus spears drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. After I took the picture I put some fresh rosemary on the sweet potatoes.



Then I went away and gardened. I came back after about 45 minutes and it was all done. As it was a very sunny day, 30 or 35 minutes might have sufficed. I ate it all up before I thought of taking another picture and it was delicious! BTW I cooked the same meal today in a convection oven, and it wasn't all that different, except maybe the meat was a bit more tender in the GoSun. Also, in the GoSun the potatoes cook in the juices released by the meat, and that adds a nice flavour. And the GoSun was less fuss to clean.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Chicken with rice and veggies

Today's dinner adventure was chicken with rice and veggies in the GoSun.

Here are the ingredients:



About 8 to 10 oz. chicken, cubes or strips

1 cup assorted chopped veggies such as tomatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, peas, and asparagus.

Olive oil to marinate chicken.

Salt, pepper, garlic, spices.

1/2 cup of rice.

Method:

Marinate chicken cubes or strips in olive oil with salt, pepper, spices, and sliced clove of garlic.

Chop veggies.

Oil GoSun tray. Sprinkle bottom with rice. Lay chicken on top, intersperse with veggies. Add salt and pepper as desired. Insert tray in GoSun and cook. It will take about an hour, give or take 10 or 15 minutes.



I didn't start cooking until 5:30 and was worried that I would run out of sun. Forty-five minutes later the rice wasn't cooked yet. At about one hour some light cloud rolled in. Things started smelling delicious about that time. I let it go about an hour and 20 minutes, and I think that was a bit too long.



Observations:

It was a bit dry and the rice was crunchy and caramelized in places. The next time I would try deboned chicken thighs because they are moister. I also used veggies like carrots and asparagus that don't release much liquid. I should have probably used more tomatoes and peppers. I might also add a bit of broth to the rice, maybe a quarter cup or so, before inserting the tray in the tube. BTW this quantity easily served two.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Banana bread surprise

This is Trish's delectable banana bread recipe, originally adapted to be baked on a boat in a 6' x 9' pan. Because it's kind of hard to have less than one egg, it's difficult to adapt it down any further. It fits 11 mini silicone loaf pans, which is 3 more than what fits in a GoSun. I wonder, however, whether more would go in if you put it directly into the tube. Don't fill it too much, though, because it does expand.

Ingredients

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter

1 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

1 1/2 very ripe bananas (2 if they are small)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Optional: walnuts or chocolate chips

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients. Set aside. Mash the bananas, melt the butter, and lightly beat the egg. Add butter, egg, and sugar to mashed bananas, and combine quickly. Fold the liquid ingredients into the dry, mix together. Add vanilla extract, walnuts and/or chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into the silicone cups, leaving some room for it to rise. Bake.

Now here comes the surprise. I was all read to go, with the silicone cups neatly lined up in the tube. I went outside with the GoSun to set it up -- and there was no sun in the backyard. The whole backyard is now shaded by the large trees on the south side of the property. The last two times I used the GoSun, there were no leaves on the trees yet. Now there are. Big dilemma. I considered putting the GoSun in front of the house, where there was full sun, but then I'd have had to babysit it for the duration of the cooking time to prevent it from going walkies. So I cheated and put the mini loaves in the toaster oven at 340F for 25 minutes. I suspect in the GoSun it would have taken about the same time as the Johnny Cakes, about 50 minutes to an hour.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Beef stew

Today's experiment is beef stew. Here are the ingredients:

Approx. 8-10 oz. of stewing beef, cubed
6 small potatoes, halved or cubed
6 shiitake mushrooms
6 or 7 baby carrots
6 pearl onions
2 small tomatoes, halved or cubed
2 cloves of garlic, halved
3 sprigs of thyme
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. flour
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup each of red wine & beef broth



I tossed the potatoes and the pearl onions with a small quantity of olive oil. In a separate bowl I tossed the meat with olive oil too, then sprinkled on a tablespoon of flour and worked it in. Then I lined the tray with foil, arranged ingredients so there was a bit of everything everywhere, ground on some salt and pepper and lay the sprigs of thyme on top. After inserting most of the tray in the tube, I added the wine and the beef broth, then I closed and sealed it. I started cooking it just before noon. It's a cool day, with dappled sunlight (the dappling is from a tree). This is how it looks after about 45 minutes (it smells delish!):



I just checked it again after an hour, and in the meantime the shade has become a lot more than dappled, so I moved the GoSun to the deck into full sun. I also tasted the broth, and decided to add a bit more salt.

We are at an hour and a half and there is definitely cooking going on now! I see steam coming out. The potatoes are done, but the beef needs a bit more time, just to soften up. I note that putting in the foil was a bit useless, as there is liquid underneath it in the tray. I also think I will need to use a turkey baster to get said liquid out when it's all done.

And here it is after two hours:



The meat is on the bottom under the veggies. I only got about half a cup of liquid out of the whole thing, so after I put the "stew" into a small pot, I topped it up with more beef broth. I am not sure whether it would feed two, but with lots of fresh bread and cheese on the side it might. On second thought adding the flour to the meat was not a brilliant idea, so I'd omit that step next time.

Clean-up was relatively easy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Johnny Cakes

This is from my good friend Marli, whose idea it was to get me a GoSun for my birthday. The recipe is from her mom's collection of family recipes, converted to fit the GoSun. Essentially it's one third of the original recipe. She says she doesn't know why it is called "Johnny Cake", as it's a sweet cornbread. If you want it less sweet, reduce the sugar.

Ingredients

1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar (scant)
2 tbsp. melted butter
1/3 cup milk
1 egg

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add milk and melted butter and mix it in. In a separate bowl, beat egg. Add egg to mixture, mix well.

This amount will fill 8 mini silicone loaf pans and fit perfectly into the GoSun Sport.