So with the temperatures as toasty as they have been this summer, combined with high humidity, we have been very motivated to not add any heat into the small confines of our boat living space. The best way to warm up our cabin is to bake in our oven or cook on our stove – baking fresh bread along with boiling a nice pot of pasta do the trick nicely (which happened to be quite wonderful on the cold winter days we used to have in Redwood City!!). Not so wonderful now. In fact, aside from the few minutes it takes to boil some water in the kettle for my morning cup of coffee, we have gone the entire summer without using our oven and stove at all.
So how are we having any good home-cooked meals? Well, our BBQ grill does nicely for many a delicious grilled dinner (terriaki chicken, shrimp and veggies, hamburgers, sausages, I’ve even tried baking bread!). We’ve also figured out the right pot that fits on the grill so we can boil our pasta and/or steam veggies.
But our real cooking workhorse these day has been our new solar-cooker. While visiting home in CA earlier this spring, we were gifted (Thank you Grandma & Grandpa!!) with a fabulous solar-cooker which we happily found space for in the crammed car that we drove back to Mexico.
John quickly worked on a good place to stow it securely for when we would be under way, while I jumped into a whole new world of cooking!
Cooking with a solar-cooker is a bit like cooking with a crock-pot. Most things will cook/bake just fine but maybe take a bit longer than they would in a regular oven or stovetop. My first go with our cooker was to bake some chocolate chip cookies. I mixed up a small batch of dough, plopped them into the pans, slid them into the cooker, sat back and waited. The great thing with our cooker is that I put in a good place for getting sun that happens to be upwind from our cockpit. What makes this great is that once things start cooking, you start smelling what’s cooking. And nothing’s better than smelling some freshly baking chocolate chip cookies!
Ok, it’s pretty darn good smelling some baking lasagna when you haven’t had good Italian food for months! Or maybe a good batch of brownies. Or cheddar biscuits. Or apricot scones. Or sausages and roasted veggies. Or banana bread. Or cake. These are a handful of the things we’ve cooked so far with the sun and our solar-cooker. It’s so great to get a well-cooked meal or baked dessert, not to have heated up our cabin at all, and not to have used up any propane either!! We love it!!
The down side to cooking with the sun is that some days are rainy. We just came out of a stretch of days where the cloud cover was too thick to cook. I’m guessing solar-cooking probably isn’t going to catch on in Seattle. For the most part here, though, we’ve consistently had enough sun to cook a whole range of things. A few other successful eats we’ve enjoyed: pork chop and rice casserole, breakfast egg-dish casserole, apple crisp, spinach and pasta bake, zucchini bread, ham and egg frittata, polenta, and apricot bars. I might have to try a roast chicken sometime soon….
So there’s our plug for the environmentally friendly practice of cooking with the sun. We’re sold on the idea and maybe you can give it a try sometime, too! Bon appetite! 🙂