Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Solar Pizza

Today I'm going to cook my pizza in the Sun Cook solar oven from Sun Co, a Portuguese company that makes the most sophisticated solar cooker in the world.

The Sun Cook is also the sexiest solar box cooker I've ever seen. The design has been refined to appeal to European sensibilities, and you can tell every aspect has been thought through. This cooker should be in all the High Street appliance stores. Soon it will be.

The package is elegant and streamlined. The colours are fun and cheerful. The durable and long lasting shell is resistant to dents. This cooker will travel well, and has two discretely hidden handles, one on each side, for easy lifting. The solar sundial shown projecting from the front in this picture should be removed and stored inside the cooker when not in use, or in transport. The Sun Cook also comes with two cooking vessels; a pot and pan, lightweight and dark coloured for solar cooking.

Open the cooker's lid with the self locking latch and you can see how the side reflector folds away neatly for easy storage. The other reflector is integrated with the lid. I love it!

The double glass oven door with lock prevents heat from escaping the cooking chamber and unwanted access to the solar oven, from children or animals. Thick insulation on the sides prevents solar heat from escaping into the ambient air. There is also a little vent to release steam.

The solar clock allows you to time cooking using a sundial. Orient the cooker so the sun's shadow falls on a number, represnting the cooking time in hours. Adjust the reflectors so that there are no shadows in the cooking chamber. Walk away. Again - I love it! They've thought through everything.

Inside the cooking chamber, reflective mirrors focus sunlight on a flat plate solar absorber, which heats up, as does the lightweight cooking vessel. I like to pre-heat both the cook pot and chamber together if possible. Not all recipes allow for that.

I added my own oven thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the cooking chamber.

The Sun Cook pre-heated to 300 degrees Farenheit on a July day with intermittent clouds. This took 50 minutes, which is how long it took to prepare my pizza for the oven.

So to the pizza.

I use a thin crust, pre-made. You can make your own pizza dough if you have a good recipe.

I take an organic heirloom tomato, one of the first to ripen in my garden. Store bought tomatoes are often tough and flavourless. Mine are sweet. Remove all the seeds and watery juices, and chop into fine peices. (It's important to remove the watery juice around the seeds, as extra moisture could make the crust soggy in the solar cooker. This juice prevents the seeds from sprouting inside the fruit.)

Add fresh basil and oreganno to taste, salt, pepper, olive oil and a touch of lemon juice if you like. Mix this fresh "sauce" in a bowl, and then sprinkle on the pizza crust.

Add sliced onion and mushrooms. I finished this pizza with organic goat cheese and some ground pepper. You can use whatever cheese and toppings you like. I simply used what was close at hand.

Pop the pizza in the solar oven.

The top of the oven door fogged up somewhat. But that cleared up after an hour. It's amazing to see steam comming out of the steam vent, and to think that - that's solar energy cooking my food! I'm not burning any fossil fuels or emit any greenhouse gasses to cook my dinner.

Clouds lenghtened my cook time to about 1.5 hours. No matter. Everybody at 2 Matilda St. devoured my solar pizza. The onions melted, the mushrooms browned up and the cheese melted nicely. The crust was crispy and good. I'm making this one again!



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1:17 PM  
Blogger gooboo said...

that pizza looks nasty. maybe you should learn how to cook first than try to make some good pizzas.

love your homegirl (gooboo)

7:06 AM  
Blogger johneruthless said...

I think your pizza looks yummy way better than the boring pepperoni and cheese. Love solar ovens!

5:11 AM  
Blogger Annie Khan said...

Superb blog .... I know a few people that have done fairly well for themselves by investing in smaller but more secure companies................ ...... solar panels cost

9:54 PM  

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