Sun Oven

I really did NOT need another kitchen gadget but this amazing lady I follow (Impulse to Legend on FB and instagram) started using a Sun Oven and posting the results on her page. It was nothing short of amazing.

I snapped one up right away! I definitely can see the many uses of this:

1. In the summer, it’s often too hot to use the oven. But the sun’s intensity during these months will make using the sun oven outside a brilliant idea.

2. Sunlight is abundant almost year round here in Southern California, a totally eco-friendly alternative to gas or electricity.

3. Sunlight is free! I can bake to my heart’s content without using precious resources. As long as you can cast a shadow on the ground, you can cook!

4. It is super portable, it folds up like a small suitcase and weighs just a bit over 20 pounds.

5. It is perfect for camping, no fuel required and no fire danger issues! A great plus specially in high fire danger areas like here in California.

6. Food won’t burn. I still do not understand how this works but yes, I left a pan of my bread rolls there for over 2 1/2 hours (not on purpose though, got busy and forgot about it) and it was just perfect.

7. Food won’t dry out. It cooks/bakes with moist heat, unlike the oven, but it is not wet like steam cooking. You can see moisture accumulate on the inside of the glass door when you cook. The chicken I baked was cooked through but moist and tender.

8. Emergency situations when power is out. A perfect excuse for me to get this item, like mentioned above, as long as there is sunlight, I can cook and bake.

9. Cooking/baking while on the beach anyone? I see people lugging grills and stoves and even a pizza oven once! I am not one of these people but you could totally bring this too! Me, I just take some drinks, fruits or chips, and sometimes sandwiches. I like to just chill on the blanket or body board at the beach.

I love this oven so much that I asked Sun Ovens to allow me to market these and they gave me a special link. These are affiliate links, where in I might earn a little commission when someone buys the oven using my link, without affecting your purchase price at all. It helps keep my blog going, and I truly appreciate any support.

Click here to purchase the oven and get a free oven cover with purchase(a $59 value!): https://www.sunoven.com/promotions/ref/bluedolphins_tere@yahoo.com

Click here to attend a free webinar that runs every Tuesday and Thursday evening. During the webinar, each participant will be emailed a link to a special offers page where they will be able to purchase an All American Sun Oven with $118 worth of free products! This includes a free oven cover and their latest cookbook: https://www.sunoven.com/brighter-way-webinar/ref/bluedolphins_tere@yahoo.com

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For my first recipe, I tried the 1 hour bread recipe I have on my website: https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/07/03/1-hour-hamburger-buns/

I made it into 24 rolls, and placed 12 dough balls in 2 13×9 pans. I placed the pan in the Sun Oven, stacking the second pan on top. Of course accidents happen and it dropped straight down, flattening the rolls below. Oh well…..I guess flat bread is still bread.

It baked for less than an hour before it was golden brown and the fragrance of baking bread was wafting in the backyard. Time to get it out!

When I removed the pan, I realized that bread in the bottom pan was not browned so I adjusted the oven and left the second pan in there. I forgot about it and got it about 2 1/2 hours later. I’m happy to report that it browned and even though I left if too long, it did NOT burn.

Next was a whole chicken. Now, this I had to finish browning in the Ninja Grill as I started past 4 pm. I spatchcocked the chicken, rubbed it with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary. Grabbed a lemon from the yard and sprinkled lemon juice over it before placing it in the preheated oven.

I left it for about an hour, but by then my backyard is no longer sunny, as a matter of fact, it is completely shaded by the house. I moved the oven to the front yard and left it for a few minutes but decided to finish it up in the Ninja Grill. It took about 20 minutes to brown the chicken nicely and cook it thoroughly.

Next, I found a couple of over ripe bananas on my counter so I decided to make Banana Bread! I used my recipe here: https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/08/06/banana-bread-2/

I replaced the brown sugar with Splenda brown sugar, used sugar free chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips. Poured the batter into 2 greased loaf pans and into the preheated Sun Oven they went.

It was in the oven from 1:27pm to 2:19pm and it was done!!! Golden brown and smelling delicious!

It does look like it was baked in a regular oven but the bread is moist and very flavorful. Not dry at all.

Look at the slices below! They are absolutely beautiful!

So next, since it was still a bit sunny, I decided to cook this Spaghetti Squash that is in my panty.
I cut it in half lengthwise, removed the seeds using a spoon to scrape it away, placed it cut side down on a baking pan, and placed it in the oven.

I decided to leave it there until past dinner, hoping the residual heat will cook it through. I wasn’t mistaken. It cooked wonderfully!

See how it looks like spaghetti? The video below is to show you how tender it was.

I totally recommend this oven if you are like me and want to bake in the middle of summer! I will keep experimenting with recipes that I can bake in it, hoping to use it all year long.

Happy weekend everyone!

Sourdough Focaccia

We have been making homemade pizza for a few years now and it’s become a staple that I have 2 outdoor pizza ovens at the moment.

I also make our sourdough bread every week and need to switch it up with a few varieties using different flours, inclusions, or liquid to flavor the bread. Marshmallow stout instead of water for a chocolate chip sourdough batard anyone??

Between bread and pizza, there’s also focaccia! And here is a very easy recipe complete with a timeline to guide you!

You can split this bread in half crosswise to use for sandwiches, or just cut into squares, or rectangles to eat as is! Dip in olive oil, Trader Joe’s Garlic dip, hummus, baba ganoush…..It’s crunchy and soft, salty and herby…just delicious specially when still warm from the oven.

I use really good olive oil and salt as I believe it contributes to the overall taste of the focaccia. The olives are dry cured from Trader Joe’s, tomatoes and rosemary are from the backyard.

I doubled the recipe and made 2 13”x9” focaccia to eat and have enough to trade with a dozen home grown eggs. So please don’t be confused by the discrepancy between the instructions and the photos. 😊

I hope you will like this recipe as much as we did!

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Ingredients:

423 grams all purpose flour

181 grams bread flour

460 grams water

11 grams salt, plus more for sprinkling

115 grams starter, I used one straight from the fridge

12 grams good quality olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Toppings of choice, chopped herbs, olives, tomatoes, etc.

Procedure:

1. 10 am to 11 am

In a large bowl, mix flours, water, salt and starter. Mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dough comes together.

Set aside for about 15 to 30 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the water.

Then mix the dough thoroughly, drizzling in the olive oil and pulling the dough up until well mixed. Use a plastic bench/dough scraper to help you pull up the dough and mix the oil in.

Cover (I use a clean, unused plastic hair cover!) and set aside for 30 minutes

#1

2. Bulk 11:15-1:15

#2
#3

Perform 4 sets of stretch and fold every 30 minutes, for 2 hours.

Photos 1 – 4 are the stretch and fold in the first 30 minutes, #2 at an hour, #3 at an hour and thirty minutes, and #4 was after 2 hours, the last of 4 folds. See how stretchy and smooth the dough looks after?

#4

3. Proof 1:15- 5:15

Pour some olive oil in a 13 x 9 inch pan.

Transfer dough to the pan and cover.

Every 30 minutes on the first hour, uncover the dough and stretch gently to fill the pan.

Cover and let rest for the remainder of the 4 hours.

4. 5:15 Preheat oven to 450F.

5. Drizzle the dough with about 2 -3 tablespoons of good olive oil.

6. Wet your finger tips and dimple the dough all the way to the bottom of the pan, multiple times.

7. Sprinkle with chopped herbs, olives, capers, cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, etc.

*I used halved cherry tomatoes, chopped rosemary, olives, and Maldon sea salt. The other focaccia had the same toppings except it did not have tomatoes, as I only got a handful from the garden.*

8. Sprinkle with good quality salt.

9. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.

*After baking, tops should be golden and edges crusty.

*Bottom should be toasted. This looks perfect!

Cut for sandwiches, this is what the crumb look like on my bake. Yummy!

Electric Lunchbox # 96: Creamed Corn Cornbread

Good morning everyone!

After posting the Jiffy Spoon bread recipe for the ELB, I got a few requests for a “from scratch” recipe as Jiffy is not readily available where they live. I had that problem once in a while too, so I am more than happy to accommodate that request.

The texture if this is not as soft as the spoon bread recipe, but it is close. I hope you try it both and decide which one you like better!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup sour cream

1 egg

1/2 cup cornmeal

3 tablespoons canola oil

3/4 cup canned creamed corn

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

3 ELB cups water for the base

Procedure:

1. Spray the big ELB bowl with nonstick spray. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, place sour cream,

2. Egg,

3. Cornmeal,

4. Canola oil,

4. Creamed corn,

5. Salt,

6. Baking powder, and sugar.

7. Stir everything together until just mixed.

8. Pour into prepared bowl and level the tops.

9. Cover with foil and set on the ELB base. Pour 3 ELB cups water in the base, cover, and let steam until it shuts off, about 1 hour.

10. Carefully open the ELB and check the bread for doneness by inserting a skewer in the middle. It should have little moist crumbs attached to it.

11. Cool for a few minutes on a wire rack. Invert onto a serving plate and serve warm.

Electric Lunchbox #95: Spoon Bread made with Jiffy Mix

Spoon bread…

I went to school in Virginia briefly when I was in high school. I was lucky enough to have cooking/baking class as my elective class of choice. The counselor asked me a few questions about interests/hobbies and asked me to choose my elective. Kitchen it is!

It was my favorite time of the day! I learned to make lots of food (sugar cookies, lasagna, manicotti, Welsh Cakes…) and we get to keep a portion to take home, or eat at lunch. I still have a few recipes I copied from that time in a blue notebook that I still make frequently.

One of the things we made was spoon bread. I didn’t quite understand it at that time, but yes, just as the name implies, it is a soft, moist quick bread that you’ll use a spoon to scoop up to eat. It is soft like pudding but with a little more structure that you can cut it.

In this recipe, I used a readily available cornbread mix to make life easier. And the amount of the ingredients are adjusted to fit the big ELB bowl.

Enjoy!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup canned creamed corn

1/2 cup canned sweet corn kernels, drained

1/2 cup sour cream

1 egg

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup Jiffy Cornbread Mix

3 ELB cups water for the base

*Use the big bowl of the ELB!*

Procedure:

1. Spray the big ELB bowl with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a bowl, place melted butter,

3. creamed corn,

4. corn kernels,

5. sour cream,

6. egg,

7. sugar,

8. salt,

9. and Jiffy cornbread mix.

10. Mix everything together until well blended.

11. Pour into the prepared ELB bowl. Cover with foil.

12. place 3 ELB cups of water in the base. Place the bowl in the ELB base, cover and steam until it shuts off, about 1 hour.

13. Carefully open the ELB and check the bread for doneness by inserting a skewer in the middle. It is done when a few moist crumbs are sticking to the skewer instead of thick batter.

14. cool completely and unmold carefully. Slice and serve or use a spoon to scoop up individual portions.

15. Enjoy!

Mackerel Pate

Hello my friends!

Today I’ll be making a delicious fish sandwich spread. As you might know, I make our bread at least once a week and of course, I want the best sandwich fillings to go with it.

My very favorite will always be butter and orange marmalade, but tuna salad, and BLT are close contenders.

We do have the usual Turkey and/or Ham with cheese and mayo quite often too.

My mom was taking about how she eats some canned mackerel more often now as it is very good fo your health, so imagine how excited I was when I found these at Trader Joe’s.

I was going to mix it up like my tuna salad but figured out I can make a more tasty spread using cream cheese. It makes a thicker spread that you can thin out using some mayonnaise. I hope you’ll like it!

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Ingredients:

1/4 red onion, chopped

4-6 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of ground black pepper

Pinch of Salt

1 6oz can mackerel, drained

1 hard boiled egg, peeled and chopped

*you can add 1 – 2 tablespoons mayo to loosen up the pate if you like it more spreadable*

Procedure:

1. In a bowl, mix together onions and cream cheese.

2. Add garlic powder,

3. Ground black pepper,

4. And salt.

5. Open the can of mackerel and drain well.

6. Place the fillets in the bowl.

7. Mash and mix everything together.

8. Add in chopped eggs.

9. Mix well. Add mayonnaise if using.

10. Spread on a thick slice of toasted bread.

11. Enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #94: Apple Rum Cake

Apple. Rum. Cake.

Apples were on sale this past few weeks so I had bought my fair share. Actually MORE than my fair share that I had to dehydrate some to save them from going bad.

So I thought about making apple torte (https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/11/27/apple-cream-torte/). But then someone mentioned apple cake with rum…so off to testing I went! I was told that spiced rum works best but I only had Bacardi so I used that. It worked!

You can definitely taste the rum in this cake. Which I like, but feel free to lessen the amount if you have to. Or replace it with apple juice to make it kid friendly.

Hope you like this recipe!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1-2 tablespoons Bacardi rum

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 big apple, peeled and chopped

3 ELB cups water for base

Procedure:

1. Spray the big ELB bowl with nonstick spray. Set aside.

2. Melt butter in a microwave safe dish.

3. In a medium sized bowl, pour melted butter,

4. Brown sugar,

5. Rum,

6. Vanilla,

7. Egg,

8. Mix everything well together.

9. Add four,

10. Baking powder,

11. Salt,

12. Mix until no more trace of dry flour remains and the ingredients are well combined.

13. Gently fold in chopped apples. Make sure to try and coat the apples with the batter.

14. Pour into prepared ELB bowl. Cover with foil and set onto the ELB base,

15. Place 3 ELB cups water in the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off , about 1 hour.

16. Carefully open the ELB and check the cake for doneness. Poke the center with a skewer. It should come out clean.

17. Enjoy warm or cold! A scoop or 2 of ice cream would be great with this too!

18. Enjoy!

Jalapeno and cheddar sourdough bread

This is a variation of my usual sourdough recipe. Filled with Pickled Jalapeño and cubed Cheddar Cheese, it is delicious on its own and makes awesome grilled cheese or turkey, or ham sandwiches!

Start by feeding your starter in the morning. Then prepare your dough after dinner, stretching and folding an hour later, 30 minutes apart, for about a couple of times.

Then you leave it on the counter till the next morning when you’ll work in the cheese and jalapeños, shape, let proof and then bake.

Just want to mention that you want these to cool completely before slicing, otherwise your bread might get gummy inside. It is hard not to devour a hot, fresh baked bread but it’s worth it, believe me!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup starter

3 cups water

4 2/3 cups bread flour

3 1/3 cups all purpose, kamut, or spelt flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon sea salt

2/3 cup sliced pickled jalapeños

2 cups cubed (1/4 inch or so) cheddar cheese

Procedure:

1. Start by mixing your starter into the water until it breaks up. Add your flour and salt and mix just until you have a ball of dough coming together.

2. Cover and set aside for about an hour.

3. After the first rest, stretch and fold for at least 2 times, 30 minutes apart. If you can do 4 stretch and folds, it’s better, otherwise 2 sets will do.

4. Cover and set aside overnight at room temperature.

5. The next day, prepare the cheese and jalapeños.

6. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Working with 1 part at a time, stretch your dough on the counter and place half of the cheese and jalapeños on top. Fold 1/3 into the center, from both sides, then turn over and fold top part down, bottom part up. Pinch edges to seal and place in a floured banneton.

7. Repeat with the remaining dough, cheese, and jalapeños.

8. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2-4 hours.

9. Preheat oven to 500F. You can place 2 oven safe dutch ovens in to heat up with the oven. Or you could start from cold, like in this article https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/01/22/baking-bread-without-preheating-the-oven/

10. Lower the heat to 450 after you place the breads in. Bake your breads 25 minutes covered, 20 minutes uncovered.

11. Remove from oven when done. Cool breads on a wire rack completely.

12. Enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #89: 1 hour dinner rolls

Delicious steamed bread in the ELB, done in about an hour or so, and enough for one, or two, or even three if you feel like sharing!

Made with only 6 ingredients, which I believe everyone has in their pantry, you could prep this before 5 pm and have fresh, hot rolls by around 6 pm! Perfect to serve with soup or stew!

Or make them in the morning for hot breakfast bread! Either way, I promise you a very tasty, soft, and delicious bread that you might want to make this often!

I like to use olive oil and enjoy the mild flavor in the finished bread, but feel free to use canola oil if you prefer a more neutral flavored bread.

You can also knead in some chopped rosemary, chopped olives, cheese cubes and jalapeños, or fill the dough rolls with whatever filling you like. I like an – red bean paste, ube – taro paste, cream cheese, cream cheese and strawberry jam, sliced chinese sausage, Filipino Menudo, or nutella. Make it your own!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup warm water

1 1/2 tablespoons olive or canola oil

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 tablespoon instant yeast

3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Procedure:

1. In a small bowl, place water,

2. Oil,

3. Sugar,

5. And yeast.

6. Mix everything together. Set aside for at least 15 minutes.

7. This is what it’ll look like after 15 minutes.

8. Add flour and salt to the yeast mixture. Stir everything together until it forms a ball.

9. Knead for about 3 minutes, until the dough looks smooth.

10. It should look like this after kneading. Divide dough into 3 or 4 pieces. Roll into smooth balls and pinch seams.

11. This is how it would look like after shaping the dough into balls.

12. Spray the medium or large ELB bowl with nonstick spray.

13. Place the dough balls in the greased bowl, leaving space between them as they will puff up. Cover with foil and place on the ELB base. Add 2 ELB cups of water to the base, cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

14. Turn the ELB on and let steam until done, about 30 – 35 minutes.

5. Carefully open the ELB and check bread for doneness. Add more water and steam longer if needed.

6. Enjoy the bread warm with butter and jam, soup, stew, or curry dinner!