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Welcome to Spike's & Jamie's "Spike’s Good Eatin’ Recipe Collection Archives"!!  Here we store all the back issues of the original "Spike’s Good Eatin’ Recipe Collection" and of the "Spike’s Jewish Good Eatin’ Recipe Collection". These newsletters were written by Spike (Jann McCormick) and published by Jamie from 2000 until Spike's death in 2008.  Spike loved to cook and share her cooking with those she loved.  Sharing her recipes was the next best thing.

[Spike’s Good Eatin’ Recipe Collection]   [Spike’s Jewish Good Eatin’ Recipes

(¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·->Spike’s Good Eatin’ Recipe Collection Issue 32<-·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯)

July 14, 2002
from: Spike's and Jamie's Recipe Collection

Many of these recipes have not yet been added to the recipe web site, so 
you are getting a "sneak peek" of future additions. We hope you enjoy 
these recipes. Spike's comments are in []Brackets[].

Shalom, from 
Spike the Grate & Jamie the Webmistress


[] Yesterday, July 10, 2002, was 110 degrees F. here in the Great Central Valley of California. I should have made my solar oven already, but didn’t. That will be my project for tomorrow. It’s going to be 106 deg. F. today. It doesn’t even have to be that hot for a solar oven to function. I include herein the directions for making a solar oven and some recipes for use in it. The drawings indicated in the text of the instructions are available at the website shown toward the bottom of this newsletter. Photos don’t work in this newsletter format. If you are not interested in the subject of solar cooking, put your cursor at the top of your screen, and click “delete” and it will magically disappear. Thank you for your attention. []


The "Minimum" Solar Box Cooker A great solar oven you can build quickly from two cardboard boxes

Experiments in Seattle and Arizona have proven that solar box cookers can be built more simply than even the simple method we have been using. These discoveries have paved the way for a simpler construction method that allows a cooker to be built in a few hours for very little money. 

When we designed this cooker, we named it the "Minimum Solar Box Cooker" because, at the time, it represented the simplest design we could devise. What we didn't communicate with that name was that this is a full-power cooker that works very well, and is in no way "minimum" as far as capabilities. 

What You Will Need 

Two cardboard boxes. We would suggest that you use an inner box that is at least 15" x 15" (38cm x 38cm), but bigger is better. The outer box should be larger all around, but it doesn't matter how much bigger, as long as there is a half inch (1.5cm) or more of an airspace between the two boxes. Also note that the distance between the two boxes does not have to be equal all the way around. Also, keep in mind that it is very easy to adjust the size of a cardboard box by cutting and gluing it. 
One sheet of cardboard to make the lid. This piece must be approximately 2" - 3" (4 - 8cm) larger all the way around than the top of the finished cooker. 
One small roll of aluminum foil. 
One can of flat-black spray paint (says on can "non-toxic when dry") or one small jar of black tempera paint. Some people have reported making their own paint out of soot mixed with wheat paste. 
At least 8 ounces of white glue or wheat paste. 
One Reynolds Oven Cooking Bag®. These are available in almost all supermarkets in the U.S. and they can be mail-ordered from Solar Cookers International. They are rated for 400° F (204.4° C) so they are perfect for solar cooking. They are not UV-resistant; thus they will become more brittle and opaque over time and may need to be replaced periodically. A sheet of glass can also be used, but this is more expensive and fragile, and doesn't offer that much better cooking except on windy days. 

Building the Base
Fold the top flaps closed on the outer box and set the inner box on top and trace a line around it onto the top of the outer box, Remove the inner box and cut along this line to form a hole in the top of the outer box (Figure 1).

Decide how deep you want your oven to be (about 1" or 2.5cm bigger than your largest pot and at least 1" shorter than the outer box) and slit the corners of the inner box with a knife down to that height. Fold each side down forming extended flaps (Figure 2). Folding is smoother if you first draw a firm line from the end of one cut to the other where the folds are to go.

Glue aluminum foil to the inside of both boxes and also to the inside of the remaining top flaps of the outer box. Don't waste your time being neat on the outer box, since it will never be seen, nor will it experience any wear. The inner box will be visible even after assembly, so if it matters to you, you might want to take more time here. Glue the top flaps closed on the outer box.

Place some wads of crumpled newspaper into the outer box so that when you set the inner box down inside the hole in the outer box, the flaps on the inner box just touch the top of the outer box (Figure 3). Glue these flaps onto the top of the outer box. Trim the excess flap length to be even with the perimeter of the outer box.

Finally, to make the drip pan, cut a piece of cardboard, the same size as the bottom of the interior of the oven and apply foil to one side. Paint this foiled side black and allow it to dry. Put this in the oven (black side up) and place your pots on it when cooking. The base is now finished.

Building the Removable Lid 
Take the large sheet of cardboard and lay it on top of the base. Trace its outline and then cut and fold down the edges to form a lip of about 3" (7.5cm). Fold the corner flaps around and glue to the side lid flaps. (Figure 4). Orient the corrugations so that they go from left to right as you face the oven so that later the prop may be inserted into the corrugations (Figure 6). One trick you can use to make the lid fit well is to lay the pencil or pen against the side of the box when marking (Figure 5). Don't glue this lid to the box; you'll need to remove it to move pots in and out of the oven.

To make the reflector flap, draw a line on the lid, forming a rectangle the same size as the oven opening. Cut around three sides and fold the resulting flap up forming the reflector (Figure 6). Foil this flap on the inside.

To make a prop bend a 12" (30cm) piece of hanger wire as indicated in Figure 6. This can then be inserted into the corrugations as shown.

Next, turn the lid upside-down and glue the oven bag (or other glazing material) in place. We have had great success using the turkey size oven bag (19" x 23 1/2", 47.5cm x 58.5cm) applied as is, i.e., without opening it up. This makes a double layer of plastic. The two layers tend to separate from each other to form an airspace as the oven cooks. When using this method, it is important to also glue the bag closed on its open end. This stops water vapor from entering the bag and condensing. Alternately you can cut any size oven bag open to form a flat sheet large enough to cover the oven opening. 

Improving Efficiency

The oven you have built should cook fine during most of the solar season. If you would like to improve the efficiency to be able to cook on more marginal days, you can modify your oven in any or all of the following ways: 

Make pieces of foiled cardboard the same size as the oven sides and place these in the wall spaces. Make a new reflector the size of the entire lid (see photo). Make the drip pan using sheet metal, such as aluminum flashing. Paint this black and elevate this off the bottom of the oven slightly with small cardboard strips. 

For more information contact:

Solar Cookers International
1919 21st Street, #101
Sacramento, California 95814 

This instructional document is published on Solar Cooking Archive at

[] There are several sites describing and instructing for building solar ovens, and also for purchasing them. I saw a “Sun Oven” for $299.00. []



2 Packages (8 oz ea) 1 Package (3 oz) cream cheese- softened (19 oz total)
3/4 cup sugar, 
3 tbsp flour, 
1 tsp freshly grated lemon peel, 
1/2 tsp freshly grated orange peel, 
3 eggs 

Crust (see notes below) 

With electric mixer, beat softened cream cheese, sugar, flour, and grated peels until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy. Pour into crust in baking pan (see notes) Cover and bake in solar oven at 200 to 250 F. Bake 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The cheesecake will rise some, and a toothpick inserted into center of cake should come out clean. When done allow to cool uncovered, then un-mold. Serve well chilled, if desired, top with strawberries or whatever. 

Notes: I use a small aluminum, square sided skillet that has been painted black with barbecue paint. The lid for the skillet is also painted black. Use a dark container with lid that is approx. 7 or 8 inches in diameter. 

The crust is simple- Heavily butter the walls of the pan and cover generously with graham cracker crumbs. Pour the mixture into this. The cheesecake can be made without the crust if the pan is greased and floured. 



1 lean beef chuck or similar roast- about 3 lbs- cut the meat into 2 or 3 chunks

1 pkg dry onion soup mix

Put the roast into a black pot ( I use "Granite Ware") or use whatever you have in the way of a dark pot or you can even use an oven cooking bag set into a pan or skillet. 

Empty one package of dry onion soup mix over the meat, cover, and cook in the solar oven for 4 to 6 hours or until tender. You won't believe how good this is! Remember, you can vary this recipe with any thing that you like. I used this example because it is the simplest. The oven can be 200 to 250 F. 


[] The recipe author is the “I” referred to in the solar recipes. Not Spike. I, Spike, am only the thief. []



1/2 lb pinto beans, soaked overnight.
fresh water to cover the soaked beans by 1/2 inch.
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp minced garlic (the kind you buy in a jar is fine)
1 rasher (strip) of bacon (optional) or a slice of ham (also optional)

Place all ingredients into a covered dark pot, such as a Dutch oven. Cook the beans ALL DAY in the solar oven. If you notice the water has boiled away, just add more hot water. They are done when they are tender. 



Make the container the day before: Use a 32 oz can (like a large V8 juice can) remove the top and paint the outside of the can with BBQ or grill paint found in the BBQ section of your big Depot type hardware store. There is black spray paint that says “non-toxic” on the can, or you can use tempera (poster paint). After the paint has dried, bake the empty container in the solar oven to cure the paint. This is the best way to bake a loaf of bread in a solar oven.

The recipe:

3 cups self-rising flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 12oz can of any beer
pinch of salt
1/2 to 3/4 cups of raw, unsalted sunflower kernels
Mix all ingredients to form a dough ball. Put dough into a greased 32 oz 
juice can that has been painted black on the outside with barbecue paint. Set can into preheated oven and bake until top is golden brown- 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours depending on how hot your oven is. Remove from solar oven and let cool. The bread shrinks a bit while cooling, and will slip right out of the can. This bread makes great burger and sandwich buns.



chicken legs
pureed, raw garlic (about 1 tsp for each leg)
salt and pepper to taste
cooking bag with tie

After spreading the chicken legs with the garlic puree, place inside the cooking bag in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Close cooking bag end with provided tie and place entire cooking bag flat on the bottom of the preheated solar oven. Put a small slit in the top of the bag. The oven can be anywhere in temperature from 200 to 350 degrees depending on the type of cooker that you are using. The legs will be done in 1 to 2 1/2 hours. These chicken legs are incredibly delicious! Intense in roasted garlic flavor! 



2 or 3 medium size, whole potatoes of any kind

Scrub the potatoes and place them in a dark, covered pot, and into the solar 

oven. There is no need to preheat the oven. Let them bake all day in a slow oven of about 250 degrees F. Here is where you can set the oven due south and just leave it alone while your are at work or playing. When you come home you will have the most flavorful potatoes you have ever tasted! Garnish them however you prefer or just eat them plain. The left-overs can be in the fridge to use another time, for example, the Scalloped Potatoes to follow.



2 previously-baked potatoes, sliced.
olive oil
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

Place the potatoes into a dark pot. Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil, add 1/2 cup of milk, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and a generous amount of Parmesan cheese. Mix briefly, then cover and place into a preheated solar oven and bake until hot- about an hour or so. 


[] There are more recipes available on the internet and in cookbooks. I may include one or two in some of my subsequent newsletters. []



from Spike the Grate and Jamie the Webmistress


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