Cooking over gas heat register on floor

Radford, VA(Zone 7a)

Here's something different--has anyone besides me wondered about cooking over your floor register, if you have that type of furnace? I know I'm weird, but I finally got brave enough to try it. It's VERY slow cooking, and the temp doesn't get very high (I'm experimenting with ways to fix that), but I made a DELICIOUS baked sweet potato.

I have also built an inexpensive solar cooker--easy to make too. I'll be trying that out in the spring, but expect to have good results.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Your solar cooker should work even in the winter on a sunny day. Curious to see how that works out for you.

How long did it take your sweet potatoe to cook?

Mid-Michigan, MI(Zone 5b)

I can't imagine my floor registers being hot enough to cook anything. If they were, my cat should be fricasseed by now... :)

waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

Ha! Ours too. We feel fortunate to have one vent to heat ourselves as they plant their butts smack over them and suck up all the warm air.

Radford, VA(Zone 7a)

About the solar cooker-I'd read that the UV index should be 7 or above. So, I'm not sure whether it would work now or not. Have you tried one?

The sweet potato took two days! : / It was delicious though, and no work involved!

My heat register gets to 150 above it--it's one of the old fashioned type--about 2 foot x 3 foot, and the gas furnace is directly beneath it. I'm thinking most cats aren't quite that tough!

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I would be concerned that bacteria could poison the food before it got done well, cooking that slow is a bad idea.
Food poisoning is very serious.
We tend to think that is not an issue unless it is meat, but fruits, veg and other foods do spoil, and can have bacteria.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Here is an idea. A slow cooker of sorts. Make a box of wood ar heavy cardboard. If using cardboard wrap it in foil. Be sure it has a tight fitting lid. Put straw or hay in the box leaving a nest in the middle. Using a heavy iron pot, fix your food and bring it up to the desired cooking temp and allow to cook for 15 minutes. Works best with stews, ect. Put the lid on the pot and remove from heat. Put the pot with the lid on, in the nest of the straw in your box. Make sure the straw is packed into the box and then cover the pot with more straw. Put the lid on the box and do not open until the afternoon. (you put it in there in the morning) Your food will be cooked byonly using 15 minutes of fuel. This idea is used for camping, ect. I have wanted to try it when we go trail riding. I want to put the stew together after breakfast before we leave on a day's ride and then supper will be ready when we get back to camp. just haven't been camping again since I found out about the idea. :(

Radford, VA(Zone 7a)

You're definitely right about the possibility of food poisoning if food is not cooked at a high enough temp. I am still 'perfecting' this technique and using an oven thermometer and a food thermometer to monitor the temp.

The important thing is to get the temperature high enough at the beginning, then allow the food to simmer.

Although another sweet potato (quartered, wrapped in foil and cooked in a cookie tin inside another cookie tin) took four days--not my idea of success--I was able to slow cook 'baked beans' and they turned out well. I think the difference was that the beans were in a liquid. I'll keep working on my roasted sweet potatoes--and I'll figure out how to roast regular potatoes and carrots too. I'll let you know when I get it right.

IT'S IMPORTANT, IF YOU PLAN TO COOK THIS WAY, TO DO IT WHEN THE OUTSIDE TEMP IS COLD ENOUGH THAT THE HEATER COMES ON PRETTY OFTEN!!

Here's how I made the delicious slow-cooked maple baked beans (the recipe actually calls for them to be baked at 150F, so that was just perfect):
I used precooked, canned beans, added ingredients for a nice maple sauce, placed it all in a wide mouth, 1 pint canning jar & closed the lid.

I place a pyrex pie plate on the heater grate, place the jar of beans inside, and cover it with a pyrex bowl. Then I place a bigger pan completely over the whole contraption. (Picture shows pan removed and heater off)

The minimum temp inside was around 150F, with it rising to about 225F each time the heater kicked on. The temperature inside the bean jar fluctuated less.

I found it made a tremendous difference in temperature (inside the jar of beans) if I placed the jar on its side, instead of upright. (The contents actually boiled and leaked out a bit, so I know it reached more than 160F.) Once the beans start to boil, it should be ok to stand the jar upright to continue slow cooking.

Since this particular recipe calls for the beans to be baked at 150F, it's not even necessary to let the beans get to boiling temp., but this should work for cooking dried beans, like pintos, etc. I will try that soon.

If you are interested in me continuing this post, please let me know.

Thumbnail by green76thumb
Mid-Michigan, MI(Zone 5b)

Have you tried a terra cotta baker or something like a tagine? I would be interested in seeing the results of a cast iron dutch oven....

Michelle
*who can't even warm her toes on her heat registers!*

Mid-Michigan, MI(Zone 5b)

Oh yeah, thought of something else. What temp do you keep your house? Mine is about 65 and my furnace doesn't kick on all that often...even when it's really cold. I know Michigan is a little colder than VA...just curious.

I have a wood burning open hearth fireplace and if I start a fire in it, I almost always cook something. Stews and chowders are my favorite.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Please continue. I find it very interesting.

Radford, VA(Zone 7a)

It may be sometime next week before I can try again.

I keep my house around 75F.

I don't know anything about terra cotta bakers or tagines. Is there a link you could give me? They sound interesting. I would love a cast iron dutch oven, but can't afford one. Maybe someday!

I'll be experimenting with soup/stew recipes this winter too. Since it's just me, I like to cook in a one pint jar. I dehydrated a lot of veggies and herbs this fall, so will make my soups from those.

Mid-Michigan, MI(Zone 5b)

Terra cotta bakers are very similar to Dutch ovens, but are make of terra cotta. You can make your own out of terra cotta flower pots:
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/9920/terra-cotta-baker-or-dutch-oven

Tagine is the name of a pot and of the dish that is made in it:

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=tagine&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=11873701090263338045&ei=bXArS_6eJoPUNd_c_P8I&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CCgQ8wIwBA#ps-sellers

Radford, VA(Zone 7a)

It looks like a tagine might work--but I'm not able to fork over that kind of money!

If I understand right, terra cotta pot baking uses very high temps, so that rules it out.

There sure are some delicious looking recipes for tagine!!

Mid-Michigan, MI(Zone 5b)

I took it to mean that the high temps were for bread. Those were only bread recipes on that forum.

If you took the flower pots and turned them over, they look just like the tagine. If it were me, I'd try the tagine recipe in the flower pot cooker. :)

Radford, VA(Zone 7a)

They do look tempting!!

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