We continued our evaluation of the Global Sun Oven on our Four Corners trip so that we might see how well the design lent itself to overland travel. The route and timeline for the trip left only a few hours of daylight at the end of the journey most day's and only two days with a full afternoon in camp. Despite our aggressive travel plans the oven tagged along as we traveled some 2500 miles.
Valley of the Gods
Preparing for Transportation:
The oven's glass door was a concern for us as we would be driving on dirt roads for part of the trip. To reduce vibration and the potential for damage, we covered the supplied enamelware pot with a fleece blanket. We wrapped the reflector assembly with a second blanket to reduce vibration and potential damage.
The Sun Oven was placed next to our cooler, on top of the rear drawers, during transportation. The oven's leveling leg sticks out about 1/2" past the bottom of the oven when in the lowest adjustment. We made sure to insert the leg past this adjustment, allowing the bottom of the leg to sit flush with the bottom of the oven, to ensure the oven stayed in place as we traveled.
1 cup Mayo
1/3 cup Dijon Mustard
3 tbsp honey
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans halves
Makes 16, 2 tbsp, servings
Preheat oven to 350F. Place pecans on a cookie sheet and toast for 5 min, or until they become aromatic. Remove from the oven and let cool. Coarsely chop cranberries and pecans. Place in a bowl mixing in remaining ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste.
We first encountered OvaEasy, by Nutriom, at the 2011 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. I must say we were a little skeptical when we first approached the booth and inquired about the product. I had tried the typical dehydrated eggs in the past and was, well less than impressed. Memories of rubbery, off-colored, and odd-flavored scrambled eggs began to surface.
As we spoke with the Nutriom representative, he began to explain what set his product apart from the competition. "The process," he explained, "was the key to the difference." A low-temperature dehydration process maintains the egg's protein structure as it evaporates the moisture without cooking. They claimed their product tasted and acted just like fresh eggs and had a shelf life of 18 months.
To prove it, the representative offered to make up a fresh batch of scrambled eggs for us to taste. The taste was great and the texture was right. We were impressed!
OvaEasy comes in two forms, Whole Egg and Egg Whites. The wholes are sold in 1 and 6.5 dozen egg packages while the whites are sold in 2 and 4.75 dozen egg packages. Both can be purchased in sealed metal cans to extend the shelf life up to 7 years.
Okay, so we admit making scrambled eggs is easy, but how would OvaEasy holdup to the riggers of other recipes? We were lucky enough to bring two bags of OvaEasy home with us to test more thoroughly. We chose to prepare omelets with the eggs to test how well they would hold up to being folded and mixed with milk and cream.
You can read the rest of our review on our blog, www.LivingOverland.com, or by clicking here.
1 15oz can black beans
1 medium jalapeno pepper, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Open and rinse the can of black beans in cold water, placing them in a plastic container. If you are on the trail, as we were when we purchased the fixings for this dish, simply open the can part way, drain the liquid and add water to rinse.
Dice the jalapeno pepper, onion, and garlic and set aside. In a small saucepan heat vegetable oil on high heat to the point when it begins to shimmer; add diced vegetables. Saute, stirring constantly, for one minute or until the garlic and jalapenos become fragrant. Lower heat to medium and stir in the black beans, cooking while stirring constantly until heated through. Serve with your favorite fajita fixings!
For more recipes be sure to check out the recently updated Menu section of our blog by visiting www.LivingOverland.com
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes with Italian seasonings
1 ½ cups kalamata olives, drained and cut into halves or thirds
¼ cup capers, drained
1 ½ lbs large uncooked shrimp (we use 16-20), deveined and peeled
1 lb penne pasta
Drain capers and olives at home; olives can be cut at home as well.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil; when boiling season with a tablespoon of salt and cook pasta until al dente, drain.
In a small or medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and stir constantly until aromatic, about one minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and cook until simmering, about 4-5 more minutes. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Lightly salt and pepper shrimp, set aside. In a large skillet (preferably non-stick) heat remaining tablespoon of oil until over high heat until shimmering; add shrimp. Cook shrimp until pink on each side, making sure not to overcook, about two minutes on each side.
Once sauce is simmering add the olives and capers and continue to simmer another two minutes. Spoon sauce over pasta and place shrimp on top of sauce.
As with preparing meals at home, food safety is a critical aspect of a trip's overall success. Sometimes a clean work surface for food prep can be difficult to find when traveling in the back country. Space is valuable when traveling in the 4Runner and often limits the amount of equipment we are able to take with us into the field. For years we traveled around with two small, but heavy, white plastic cutting boards for our meal preparation. We have tried various designs over the years, but nothing seemed to really stand out until we found the line of silicone-backed cutting boards by Casabella.
Material: Silicone backed plastic
Price: $14.99/set of four
Color-coded to prevent contamination; there is a cutting board for fish, meat, chicken, and vegetables.
We have been using the Casabella cutting boards on our trips for about six months now, and the set of four has replaced the two heavy cutting boards we used to carry with us. The silicone backing does a great job of keeping them in place, even during the most vigorous of dicing--they don't slip or slide at all, even when wet. Having four cutting boards allows us the flexibility to prepare multiple dishes at once without cluttering up a single work surface. We found the hole, located at the top of each board, to be great for hanging the unused ones from a screw on the side of a drawer ready for use.
Looking for a great meal you can prepare ahead of time and serve the first night on the trail? This Antipasto Pasta Salad is sure to be a hit with everybody in your group.
8 ounces sliced pepperoni
8 ounces salami
10 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1-12 ounce jar pepperoncini with 2 tablespoons juice reserved, drained, stemmed, and chopped coarse
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1 pound penne or campanelle pasta
1 pound white mushrooms, quartered
1 cup shredded provolone cheese
12 ounces roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry, and chopped coarse
1 cup chopped fresh basil
In order to remove the excess fat from the pepperoni and salami, place one paper towel on a microwave-safe plate. Arrange pepperoni in a single layer on towel, cover with another layer of paper towel , and layer with salami. Cover with one more paper towel then microwave on highest power for one minute. Allow to cool slightly then cut pepperoni and salami into ¼ inch strips. Set meat aside.
Whisk 5 tablespoons vinegar, oil, mayonnaise, pepperoncini juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl.
In a large pot bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Season with 1 tablespoons of salt and add pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain pasta, return to pot, and toss with ½ cup of dressing and remaining vinegar. Spread dressed pasta across rimmed baking sheets and refrigerate until chilled, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring remaining dressing to a simmer in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until they release their juices and are lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cool.
Add meat, provolone, roasted red peppers, chopped pepperoncini, basil, and cooled pasta to mushrooms and toss well. Season with salt and pepper.
For additional recipes and gear reviews be sure to check out our blog at www.LivingOverland.com