We’ve been using our Solavore oven for over 5 years and it has exceeded all our expectations.
The features we most enjoy are clean energy cooking, durability and volume. Using the sun for passive solar cooking is a no-brainer. We now wonder why it took so long to make the decision to purchase our Solavore oven to begin with. Probably good-ole skepticism to be quite honest. We didn’t know anyone who had one and we were afraid of throwing our money away. But, the husband read enough reviews to convince him to take the plunge.
We haven't had a single flop! Yes, we initially learned from other Solavore cooks online. Surprisingly, there really isn’t that much to it. If you are a slow cooker fan then this is definitely for you. Traditional slow cooker recipes fare quite well in this setup. Slow cooker enthusiasts know that reheated meals from a slow cooker method are just as delicious as the day they were created. On a good, sunny day you don’t even need the optional reflectors to slow cook.
The biggest kick we get out of our oven is cooking
for friends and family.
They are jaw dropped at the flavors, meat tenderness and utter simplicity of this setup. To be able to put a delicious home-cooked meal on the table in the middle of summer is a true treat. We live off-grid and are quite comfortable in our non-air conditioned home in the heat of the summer months. Passive solar home design has much to do with this. An off-grid lifestyle of cooking outside helps maintain cooler indoor temperatures.
HEARTY MEATLOAF & BAKED POTATOES
2 to 2-1/4 lbs ground beef (90 percent lean)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoon olive oil 1 cup coarsely chopped onions
1 cup coarsely chopped green or red sweet pepper 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (1/2 tsp dry) 1-1/2 teaspoons Himilayan sea salt 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1/2 cup crushed saltines 1/2 cup ketchup
Dump all ingredients in a large bowl. Using a potato masher or clean hands combine all ingredients. Coat the inside of one of your Solavore dutch ovens with olive oil and press in your meatloaf, slightly mounding in the center.
Choose 4 medium to large baking potatoes, big enough to mostly fill the other dutch oven. Make 4 parallel cuts about 3/4 of the way through in each. Rub each potato with olive oil. Using a knife, pry each slice open enough to place a thin slice of onion inside. Place in dutch oven and salt tops.
Place lids on both pots and bake with reflectors in full sun for 3 hours. Check for doneness with meat thermometer 160°F. Extend bake time as necessary. (4 to 5 hours without reflectors). Potatoes should be fork tender. Remove dutch ovens from your Solavore and top meatloaf with glaze. Enjoy!
I really thought claims of baking were going a bit too far, and was happy with just cooking meals. For grins one day I thought I’d give it a try. Pulled out my favorite banana bread recipe, doubled it for 2 pans, and was in utter disbelief at the results. With the reflectors on, the oven not only baked the bread to perfection, but the top browned beautifully. I was really expecting a gushy consistency with an anemic top, like what a microwave might produce. Couldn’t have been more wrong.
Adapted from my favorite recipe from an old Pillsbury cookbook. Bake using reflectors. The variations below are ALL very good as well,
especially the applesauce bread.
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 medium) bananas, mashed
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Grease, not oil, bottom only of dutch oven. In large bowl, blend first 6 ingredients; beat 1 minute at medium speed. Stir in remaining ingredients just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan. Do not use the dutch oven lid. Bake with reflectors until top is browned and check for doneness with a toothpick. Approx 2 hours.
Cool 5 minutes and remove from pan. cool completely.
If desired, add 1 tablespoon grated orange peel or 1/2 cup flaked coconut.
Honey Banana Bread - substitute 1/2 cup honey for all of the sugar and decrease milk to 2 tablespoons.
Applesauce Bread - Decrease sugar to 3/4 cup, substitute 1 cup applesauce for mashed banana, omit milk and add 1 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg with flour. If desired, add 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheese with nuts.
Note: Did you notice the fallen centers in the photo? We are at high altitude and this sometimes happens. Flatlanders should see a nicely rounded top.
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