“Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.” ~ Al Bernstein
June is my favorite month. Okay, I'm biased. My birthday is in June, as is my anniversary. But despite that, June would still be my favorite month. It's a month of promise. The garden is looking good and beginning to produce, flowers are blooming, the air is warm and the sun is generally shining. It hasn't gotten too hot yet here on Long Island, although we did have a few extraordinarily super hot days last week, but for the most part it's pleasant. I can still feel the excitement, buried deep down from years past, of anticipation: School is almost over and summer is around the corner. Growing up that meant vacations to historical destinations with my family, or maybe even a summer crush. In high school I began dating Rick near the end of June, 6 years later I married him in the beginning of the month. June is named for Juno, a goddess of the Roman Pantheon. She is the goddess of marriage and the well-being of women. Perfect.
June also gives us here our longest days of sunlight—perfect for cooking in the solar oven. One of my all time favorite and most requested birthday dinners growing up was pot roast. Maybe a bit odd for a warm weather birthday dinner, but I loved it. Comfort food to the max. And since my birthday just passed I was feeling a bit nostalgic. I rooted through my freezer, but the best I could come up with was a 1 lb. package of beef stew already cut into cubes. Well, we just had a stew of sorts the other day, so I wanted something slightly different. After some thought, I came up with this recipe.
|Dinner on its way in after cooking in the solar oven|
salsa made from 1 tomato chopped, 1/4 – 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, 1 teaspoon of salt, a bunch of cilantro, and a splash of lime juice. Keep adjusting to your tastes. I used a lot of cilantro.
2. Add garlic, onion, green pepper, and serrano chile (I'm a wimp, but if you like spicy food add more serrano peppers) and saute for a minute.
5. Cover pot and place outside in solar oven for several hours. I put this outside at around 11:30 a.m. If you don't have a solar oven, cook slowly in a crockpot or even your toaster oven until the beef is tender.
I made saffron rice and a simple salsa to go along with the meal. When the rice was about done I brought in the beef and warmed some tortillas. We used the tortillas like bread, for dipping in the broth and for picking up the meat. We each used the salsa differently—spread on the tortilla, on top of the rice, or on top of the meat. Eventually we had it on everything.