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.


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.


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.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A quick first post

Can't just leave a newly created blog blank, so here is a quick first post.

Welcome everyone!

I have been the happy owner of a brand new GoSun Sport solar grill since my birthday three weeks ago.

The story of how it came my way is kind of amusing. A friend and I were reading a "Secret"-type book about your mind affecting the universe. On the Friday before my birthday we came to an exercise that said "think of something you want and tell the universe it has 48 hours to deliver it to you". I said "here goes nothing" and asked for a GoSun Sport. I really expected that nothing would happen. On Sunday, approximately 48 hours later, I had the GoSun Sport in my hot little hands because another group of friends had decided to chip in to get me one. Apparently I'd been nattering on about it for so long that they hoped that getting me one would shut me up. Or at least that's what they said.

So far any time I made grand plans to use it, the weather would not cooperate. But when it does, the adventure will begin.