Sun to Table, October 2015

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Use your Solavore Sport as a dehydrator and more.
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Sun to Table
Solar Cooking Around the World with the Solavore Sport
October 2015

 

Take Dehydrating up a Notch with Your Solavore Sport
 

Preserving summer’s bounty in dried form has great appeal – less work than canning, and less shelf space. Sweetness and color blend for great kid appeal. More practical for a fall hike than a bag of frozen peaches (and more amenable to M&M’s and nuts tossed into the mix.)  No matter how tasty and practical the result of dried fruits and vegetables, however, many of us shirk from the hours of power consumed in the process of using an electric home dehydrator.

Enter the Solavore Sport, the truly off-the-grid, no-fossil-fuel cooking appliance ideal for slow-cooking, baking, and - you guessed it - dehydrating. The solar oven’s low cooking temperatures are a perfect fit for the 170º - 200º range ideal for dehydrating fruits and vegetables. Two minor modifications: cook on a screen or mesh instead of a tray or a pot (unless you’re making leathers as in the recipe below), and prop the lid open ¼” to allow moisture to escape.

Stone fruits come first to mind - peaches, plums, apricots. Beet jerky (yes, you read that right) too. But our latest find takes solar dehydrating up a notch, out of the snack bag and on to the hors d’oeuvre table. From Solavore contributing blogger Elizabeth Van Huffel of Local Savour, it starts with a simple fruit leather process (tomatoes are a fruit, after all) that puts your bursting basil crop to good use together with tomatoes of any variety. Skewer the dried tomato basil leather strips around fresh mozzarella balls for an elegant and savory tribute to autumn’s bounty.
Tomato Basil Leather Caprese Bites {Made with Sunshine} 
 
Servings 8-10 1" strips
Prep Time  10 minutes
Cook Time 5-6 hours 
 
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes   I used a mixture of sun golds & grape 
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil 
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 18-20 small balls of fresh mozzarella cheese 

Instructions 

1. Chop tomatoes if needed and place all of the ingredients (except the cheese) into a blender and pulse until well combined –– about 45 seconds.   Pour tomato mixture into a colander or strainer. Press firmly down onto the tomato mixture to drain off as much liquid as possible. Let drain for a good 10 minutes or until most of the water has been removed.

2. Cover a half sheet pan with tin foil and pour tomato mixture out onto the pan. Spread out evenly onto the tinfoil. Place into your solar oven and let cook for 5-6 hours or until firm and cooked through. 

3. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan. Take foil out of the pan then using a flat spatula push the edges of the leather off of the foil. Gently peel back the leather until it is completely removed from foil. Lay out flat onto a piece of parchment paper and slice into 1" strips. 

4. Using a skewer or pick layer the leather between the cheese balls and push through to hold together. Continue the process until all of them are made and serve. 

Recipe Notes 

If using a regular oven, preheat oven to 170 degrees and let cook for 5-6 hours or until firm and cooked through.

For an illustrated how-to, visit www.localsavour.com.
Vocabulary Lesson:  Insulation & Insolation
 
Kids love the magic of cooking in the sun. And teachers know that hands-on learning sticks. Solavore was recently invited to demonstrate solar cooking for the elementary grade science classes at the Journeys School of the Teton Science School in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade independent school that has been teaching about the natural world and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem since 1967.  
As their name implies, The Teton Science School takes the subject seriously, and these kids are sharp.  In our vocabulary challenge I had them on insulation vs. insolation (materials that help to retain heat by slowing down the transfer of heat vs. the power produced by the sun (from Latin insolare, to expose to the sun). They stumped me on phenology, the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena. And with just a hint (carnivore, one who eats meat), they quickly deduced that a solavore is one who eats of the sun.  (I did confess to that being a made-up word.)

We all earned our solar chocolate chip cookies baked in the warm Teton sunshine.
 

Anne's Recipe for a Perfect Fall Day
Step 1:  Load up your Solavore Sport, aim it at the mid-day sun.

Step 2:  Escape.  Whether you’re gone for one hour or six, you’re relaxed knowing that your meal will be moist and savory, no risk of burning or drying out.

Step 3:  Enjoy!  These ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, smoky-spicy sweet and savory. Find the recipe here.
Spread the Solavore Word
 
It’s hard to believe how the hard-working Solavore Sport consistently delivers – from appetizers to desserts, from succulent roasts to healthy vegan. That’s why word of mouth is the best way to spread the word, and we need your help! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram
And if you’d be willing to get serious about building the Solavore community, with Solavore’s affiliate program you’ll be rewarded handsomely for your efforts, cash that you can donate to your favorite cause (or your piggy bank). Click here to learn more about how this program works and see if it’s right for you.