Cooking on Your Car Engine for 'Wasted Heat' Picnics

Car Camping Picnic photo

Photo via Steffe @ flickr.
Car cooking is not exactly novel, but the Swedes at Sweco sustainable engineering company are now putting together an entire cookbook of main meals that don't need an oven to prepare. In our car-free household we get to picnics with our bikes and carry our very cool picnic pannier pack that has all the necessary implements. So we couldn't do this 'Chevre chaud' with hot goat cheese, tomatoes and olives that Lotta Lundgren dreamed up, but the waste heat approach to cooking is interesting. Click forward for the recipe and other ideas for oven-free eating. And add your own hot tips for low-carbon outdoor cooking.
Car Engine Picnic photo

Photo of car-cooked veggie meal via jek in the box (has gone camping) @ flickr.
Instead of green grilling, car cooking
Let me just say that it is an unknown fact that Swedes are completely crazy for grilling on those two weeks of the year when the weather is fine and the mosquitoes aren't biting. Grilling is so much an integral part of the Swedish psyche that the ubiquitous disposable grills have become a terrible environmental blight as well as a fire starter.

In addition, however, Swedes are some of the world's best heat recyclers - lots of passive house construction in this country includes reusing waste heat from district heating systems. And there's the Stockholm subway project which uses human-generated heat to warm a nearby building.

Car Engine Cooking photo
So perhaps it's not surprising that Swedes are taking an engineering approach to reusing waste heat from car engines for picnics. In the "Chevre Chaud" recipe, engineers estimate about 40 kilometers is the right distance to create a luscious warm salad ready to eat on arrival.

For two portions:
4 large pieces heavy-duty aluminum foil
2 small red peppers
300 grams cherry tomatoes
1/2 red onion
fresh thyme, 7 or 8 sprigs
one lemon
2 tbl olive oil
salt and pepper
150 grams goat cheese
150 grams olives
honey for drizzling

Chop the veggies and divide them between two sheets of the aluminum foil. Wash and zest the lemon, divide zest and juice and olive oil between the two packets. Add salt and pepper, divide the goat cheese slices and lay them on top of the veggies. Fold the packet as flat as you can and place it directly on top of the engine. ">Jek in the box (has gone camping) suggests using wads of foil to secure the packets, and to reuse these wads for future meals.

Other of Lundregn's oven-free meals include a dishwasher omelette - find the TreeHugger recipe for dishwasher salmon here - and two different carpaccios, one salmon and the other sun-dried fruit.

Read more at TreeHugger about waste heat and cooking
Moving Bodies Help Warm Stockholm Building
Green Grillin'
The Hot Box: Eco-Cooking Without an Oven

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