I went out to check the chickens this morning and found an egg without a shell in the nest. One of our new girls, either Peep or Cheep, has laid her first egg. It is small and there is a membrane, but no calcium shell on it. This is common with very young hens and their first egg. I’m so excited.
I touched the membrane to leave a dimple so you could tell that this is membrane, not shell. With two new hens and three old ones, I should get 400 eggs easily this year. That is my goal. Barred Rock hens should lay 250 eggs a year, so I could very well get over 500 eggs this year. Bring it on!
Boneless beef pot roast was on sale this week, and yesterday was sunny, so I made pot roast in our solar oven. I don’t really measure things, but this is my best guess of what I did.
2.5 lbs boneless beef pot roast
1/4 flour for dredging and to thicken gravy
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp dry thyme
2 slices applewood smoked bacon, diced
1 large yellow onion
4 small or 2 large cloves of garlic
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4-6 carrots, scraped and cut into inch long lengths
6 small to medium tomatoes (mine were frozen whole)
1/2 C good red wine (I used old vine zinfandel that was leftover from the previous night’s dinner)
1/4 C water
2 bay leaves
Slice a yellow onion and mince four cloves of garlic. Dice two slices of applewood smoked bacon and fry, then add onion and garlic. Cook until bacon is done and onions are brown. Set aside.
Add 1/2 C red wine and 1/4 C water to pot and place in solar oven.
This is my Sun Oven brand of solar oven. I just love it. However, I started too late in the morning and didn’t get my roast in until 1 pm. There wasn’t enough sunshine left to cook the roast completely, so I finished it on the stovetop in a larger pan, adding a couple of tablespoons of reserved flour that I used for dredging. This was the best pot roast I’ve ever made.
The tomatoes and bay leaves were from my garden. I have a little bay laurel tree in a pot in the driveway and can pick a leaf whenever I want one as they are evergreen.
The nice thing about the Sun Oven is that you need very little additional liquid and the flavors are concentrated. The food comes out moist and tender. I can’t say enough good things about cooking with solar power. It saves natural resources (gas or electricity), and fights global warming. That’s assuming that you use it enough to offset the greenhouse gases that were generated in the manufacture and shipping of the oven. There is always that tradeoff. They are ridiculously expensive in comparison to a regular gas or electric range, especially given that it is just an insulated box with a glass top and aluminum reflectors.
If you used something from your garden or your stores of preserved food, visit Robin at the Gardener of Eden.