Monday, June 09, 2008

It's Hot Enough to Cook Chickpeas Outside, Literally

The forecast called for searing heat in NY today. There was no way in the world I was turning on a stove. I set up a pot of dried chickpeas and a pot of dried kidney beans in my solar oven. Neither type of bean was presoaked and I filled the pots with cold water. I figured the kidney beans would cook and the chickpeas could finish cooking tomorrow.

Imagine my surprise when the chickpeas were fully cooked after 6 hours in the solar cooker! I really was flabbergasted, chickpeas take forever to cook!

I also wanted to make a quick breakfast food. Using the scone recipe from The Tightwad Gazette as my base, I divided the batter into a cast iron muffin tin and topped with cinnamon sugar. Since there was no room to be had in the solar cooker, I put these in a black covered roating pan. Baked goods always come out a little on the gooey side in the solar cooker, its a lot like the slow cooker, but they were clearly cooked. A quick go round in the toaster oven tomorrow morning and I think they'll be pretty good.

So what to do with these freshly cooked chickpeas? I mixed up a batch of Sesame Miso Vinagrette from La Dolce Vegan (of course I was out of rice vinegar and substituted plain white vinegar...), shredded some spinach, finely diced a very small onion and tossed in a few of the cooked kidney beans for color. I mixed this well and served it over lettuce and whole wheat couscous. Everyone devoured it, and the kitchen stayed cool.

I'll bet you noticed the lettuce and spinach. All I can say is horray for the CSA! Now, I'd better start planning for tomorrow's dinner right now since its supposed to be hotter than hell again!


Chile said...

I cooked beans in my solar cooker yesterday, too. Usually I put them in for about an hour and a half to do the "soak" phase. Then I change to new water and finish cooking them. I've never just left them to cook in the first water, thinking maybe two steps lowers the gas factor. Not sure though.

I've not been happy with solar baking due to the gooeyness. Are there any tricks to decrease that problem?

katecontinued said...

We of the north coast of San Diego are in June gloom period - grey weather due to marine layer or some such seasonal thing. (It followed grey May.) So, I am sad to say I haven't been using my solar oven.

Anonymous said...

Ugg--you have my sympathies! I have family in NY and I have heard all about your heat wave!

I am intrigued by your solar cooker...what is it?! I mean, I get the gist from the name, but is it something you made? Purchased?


Katie said...

Good point Chile, lowering the gas factor is a good thing. Although I don't notice it being as much of a problem with chickpeas.

I don't have any tips on solar baking although I was thinking that putiing a cloth napkin under the lid of the baking pot might help. A quick go through the toaster oven helps immensely.

June gloom, what I would give for a little cloud cover!

I didn't make my solar cooker, although there are certainly a ton of websites out there that tell you how to. Check out for a variety of ideas.

I have an SOS Sport check out their website

I also have a Sun Oven. Their website is

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the resources!


Meg Wolff said...

Thanks for the solar oven links. I feel like I'm missing out! I'm in sunny, but cool, Maine.