Steamed Wontons

I learned about this recipe from a class I took last weekend on Caribbean Chinese Food taught by Kari Persad-Hernandez. Kari taught the class via Open Kitchen‘s public cooking classes. In addition to the steamed wontons, we learned how to make Chinese Fried Chicken with Sauce, Pepper Shrimp, and Spicy Black Bean Beef. Since we ate all the steamed wontons in class, I did not have any extra to bring home to Shawn to taste. So I made them last night.

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I did all the prep before starting the wonton filling and folding. First for the filling – garlic, ginger, green onion, and carrot. There is supposed to be water chestnuts too, but I do not like those so I just used more carrots.

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I added these to a bowl containing the chopped shrimp along with toasted sesame oil, cornstarch, salt, and white pepper.

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But do not put that cutting board and knife yet! I chopped some more ginger and garlic for the garlic-ginger sauce that the wontons would be cooked/steamed in.

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This sauce contained the garlic and ginger along with cornstarch, water, soy sauce, mirin (first time using), salt, and black pepper.

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Finally I sliced the green onions that would be added after cooking the wontons.

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Next I started filling the wontons. I laid out six at a time.

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And put a small amount on each wonton.

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I wet all the edges, folded each into a triangle, and then tucked in the bottom triangle points.

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I poured the garlic-ginger sauce into my non-stick skillet.

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And added the wontons. I could not get them all in. There were 8 leftover. I will just make more sauce and cook them this weekend.

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It cooked on low heat for 15 minutes covered.

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I sprinkled the sliced green onions on top and it was ready to eat.

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High Altitude Milk Buns

This recipes is from Curly Girl Kitchen. I think they came out well. I ate one with some soft Kerry Gold butter. It takes a few hours and I started in the late afternoon. I would make them again, but would start earlier.

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I started by making the tangzhong – water, milk, and flour. I whisked it in a small pan and then cooked until a paste formed.

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Then I scooped it into a small bowl and put it in the refrigerator to cool.

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Then in the same pan, I melted butter.

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Next I added milk to the pan and waited until the mixture had reached 115˚F.

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I removed it from the heat, checked temperature again, and then added yeast and sugar.

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I let it sit so the mixture could get foamy.

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I added bread flour, salt, and the cooled tangzhong to the stand mixer bowl.

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Then I added the yeast mixture.

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And finally the salt and egg.

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I mixed everything in the stand mixer with a dough hook adding the remaining reserved bread flour a little at a time during the 10 minutes. Then I scraped the dough from the stand mixer bowl and put it in a dough rising bucket. I set it aside to rise.

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After the dough had risen, I rolled it into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface.

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I cut it into nine squares.

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I took each square and pinched it to form into a bun. I placed each piece in a greased 9 x 9 inch baking dish.

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I had covered the dish and let it rise for 30 minutes.

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Then, I made an egg wash of egg and milk.

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I brushed the tops of the buns.

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I put the pan in the oven for 24 minutes at 350˚F.

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After letting them cool for 10 minutes, I tipped them out of the pan and tore one off to taste. They were warm, soft, and delicious.

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Stuffed Pasta Workshop with Christine Hickman @ Las Cosas

Yesterday, I attended a class on stuffed pasta at Las Cosas with Christine Hickman. We were a small class of five people. I worked on the Cannelloni with a partner. Part of the class included making pasta dough so that all dishes were using fresh pasta.

Class Description: Have you felt like saying stuff it lately; so have we but in a good way. Today Christine Hickman teaches us a menu of classic pasta dishes with a twist. Our menu includes: FAZZOLETTI “Handkerchiefs” with Spinach & Roasted Tomato, FIOCCHETTI (Stuffed Purses) with Ricotta & Pear, CANNELLONI with Chicken & Mortadella, ARUGULA, AVOCADO & FIG SALAD and for dessert, ESPRESSO RICOTTA with Seasonal Berries & Mint. Delicioso! (Hands-on)

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Cannelloni with Chicken and Mortadella

We started with the chicken filling. I cut up some chicken breast and it was cooked in a skillet.

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Since we were not going to put the filling in a food processor, the chicken needed to be cut up much smaller after we cooked it. We also had to dice some mortadella and prosciutto.

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We added that to the pan with the chicken. After the chicken was cooked, we transferred all the meat to a bowl and added Parmigiano-Reggiano, nutmeg, heavy cream, salt, and black pepper.

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While the meats were cooking, I started the béchamel – butter, flour, milk, salt, and nutmeg.

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The marinara sauce had already been made for us – olive oil, garlic, canned plum tomatoes, salt, black pepper, parsley, and basil.

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We added olive oil to the bottom of a casserole dish.

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After our noodles were boiled, we started adding filling and rolling them.

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We added them to the casserole dish as they were rolled.

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We poured the béchamel over them first, followed by the marinara sauce.

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Then we sprinkled Parmigiano-Reggiano on top with cubes of butter.

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We put it in the oven to heat everything up and melt the butter and cheese.

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The Other Menu Items

Fazzoletti “Handkerchiefs” with Spinach & Roasted Tomatoes – butter, shallots, heavy cream, lemon zest, salt, black pepper, spinach, tomatoes, pistachios, and Parmesan.

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Fiocchetti (Stuffed Purses) with Ricotta & Pear – ricotta, Parmesan, pear, and heavy cream.

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Arugula, Avocado and Fig Salad – arugula, romaine lettuce, avocado, lemon juice, figs, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt.

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Espresso Ricotta with Blueberries & Mint – ricotta, ground espresso, sugar, mint, and blueberries.

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Cinnamon Babka

This recipe is from High-Altitude Breakfast: Sweet & Savory Baking at 5,000 Feet & Above by Nicole Hampton. I was excited to finally try a babka. I think I did it correctly, but parts of the top were quite dark. I knew cinnamon sugar would have a tough fight with an oven.

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I heated some milk in the microwave until it was 115˚F and then added the yeast, sugar, and vanilla extract.

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Then I let it sit for several minutes.

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I added softened butter and eggs to a stand mixer bowl and mixed it with the dough hook attachment.

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Next I added the yeast mixture to the egg-butter mixture.

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After stirring the combine mixture, I started adding the flour.

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Once all the flour was added, I mixed everything with the dough hook attachment for three minutes.

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Next I kneaded the dough with the dough hook attachment for eight minutes.

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I covered the bowl with plastic and let is rise for 45 minutes. While it was rising, I worked on the filling. I melted some butter in a small pot.

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Then I added brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt off heat.

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I mixed it together until fully combined.

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Back to the dough – it had risen.

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I rolled it out on my pastry mat.

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Next I spread the filling on top.

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Then I started rolling the dough into a log. (I felt like I should have made this tighter.)

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Next I sliced the log in half lengthwise.

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And twisted the strands together.

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Then I folded the twist in half and put it in the prepared pan and let it rise for 20 minutes.

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While the dough was rising, I worked on the syrup for the top. I put water, sugar, and salt in a small pot.

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I brought it to a boil, stirred to make sure the sugar and salt dissolved, added the vanilla extract, and let it sit to cool.

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The dough finished its second rise.

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I put the pan in the oven for about 40 minutes. The parts where the cinnamon sugar was exposed got really dark.

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Next I brushed the top with the syrup and let the babka cool in the pan.

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After it was cool, I tipped it out onto my cooling rack. It came out easily.

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Then I sliced the babka for a taste.

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Recipe from High-Altitude Breakfast: Sweet & Savory Baking at 5,0000 Feet & Above (ISBN: 978-1-5132-8957-1) by Nicole Hampton

Pulled Pork

This recipe is the pulled pork part of a three-part recipe from Food Network. I think it was pretty easy but I am not sure that I really liked it.

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Before starting, I prepared Miss Brown’s House Seasoning (see information at the bottom of this post) and added that to brown sugar, salt, ground mustard, and cayenne. Then I mixed to combine.

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I had to again remove the bone from my pork shoulder because it always comes bone-in at my grocery store.

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Then I added the pork to the bowl with the spice mixture and coated all the pieces.

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Next I set my Instant Pot to sauté, added vegetable oil, and added the coated pork pieces.

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I cooked the pork pieces about 3 minutes per side. Then I removed them from the pot and set them aside. I also canceled the sauté function.

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Next I added chicken broth to the pot and scraped up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.

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And then I added the barbecue sauce.

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I continued to mix the liquids and scrap the bottom of the pot.

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I added the meat back to the pot.

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Then I put on the lid, closed it and set the function to high pressure for 45 minutes.

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After it cooked for 45 minutes at high pressure, I let it release naturally for 20 minutes. Then I removed pieces of pork to shred them with two forks.

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And I returned the shredded pork to the pot to keep warm.

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I took portions of the pork and put them on toasted brioche buns to serve.


Miss Brown’s House Seasoning that is often used in her recipes is equal parts of five ingredients.

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
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Shrimp Scampi with Orzo

This recipe is from NYT Cooking. This came together quickly, but be advised to have everything prepped and measured before you get started with cooking. It came out well and I would make it again.

Kelly and I did this as cook together via Facebook Messenger.

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I used frozen shrimp so I had to thaw that first. I put the thawed shrimp in a bowl with olive oil, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, and garlic. I set it aside to marinate.

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Next I put butter and olive oil in a skillet to heat.

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Then I added the orzo and some salt to the skillet.

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I was supposed to add this garlic to the skillet with the butter and olive oil, but I sometimes adjust when to add garlic to prevent overcooking/burning.

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I continued cooking the mixture to toast the orzo and heat the garlic.

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Next I added the white wine to the skillet.

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Then I added the chicken broth. The recipe gave you a choice between using water, chicken broth, or seafood stock. I thought a stock would add more flavor and had chicken stock on hand. Kelly had seafood stock and used that.

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Next I covered the skillet and let it cook for 12 minutes.

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After it cooked, I added the shrimp in a single layer on top of the orzo and covered the skillet.

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Then I let it cook for 6 minutes. (The directions said 2-4 minutes, but that was not long enough.)

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I removed it from the heat and let it sit for 2 more minutes covered. Then I added the chopped parsley and lemon juice.

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Chocolate Croissant Cookies

This recipe is from Cook’s Country (subscription needed for the link). If your library carries physical copies, it is from the December 2014/January 2015 issue. This recipe was a bit of a hassle and the outcome did not really make it worth the effort. It seems like the cookie part should have been crunchier.

Kelly and I did this as cook together via Facebook Messenger.

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I started with softened butter, softened cream cheese and sugar in the stand mixer bowl.

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I creamed the sugar, salt, and cream cheese together.

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Then I added the vanilla extract.

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In a separate bowl, I whisked together the flour and salt.

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I added a third of the flour mixture at a time to the stand mixer bowl.

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The dough had finally come together after adding all of the flour mixture.

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I pressed it into a flat disc and it went into the refrigerator for a little over an hour.

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Near the end of the dough’s chill time, I broke the five chocolate bars into the pieces of 3 chocolates each.

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I rolled the dough out into the 8 by 20 inch rectangle. The directions said to lightly flour the surface, but I went with heavy flour. Glad I did because this was way too sticky to work with as-is.

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I cut it into 20 pieces (2 x 4 inch each).

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I laid a slab of the chocolate across the piece so that I could fold the dough around it.

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My stupid regular oven was/is broken so I could only bake what could fit on this tiny baking sheet at one time. I have a countertop oven that always does a good job, but it does not have the capacity of the regular oven. There were 20 cookies and I could only fit eight on the sheet at a time – so three batches.

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After placing them on the baking sheet, I brushed them with an egg wash and sprinkled them with sanding sugar.

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They baked in the oven at 350°F for 20 minutes. The first batch were not very golden brown. The second and third batches came out much darker.

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The final step after the cookies had cooled was to melt the remaining chocolate bar to make a drizzle.

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This step was a bit messy and I was not convinced that the chocolate drizzle actually helped.

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Quick Cook Carnitas

This recipe is from Food Network. I will not be making it again. Yes, it was quicker to use the Instant Pot than the slow cooker method than I have used in the past, but this was weird. Part of the recipe had you making a gravy/sauce and that made it taste like I just put common pot roast meat into corn tortillas.

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I made the spice mixture to coat the pork pieces – cumin, salt, ancho chile powder, paprika, and cayenne.

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I cut up my pork shoulder into smaller pieces. There was a bone in it again because it is rare for me to find boneless pork shoulder. So it took even more work to get the pork prepared.

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I coated the pork pieces with the spice mixture.

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I put them in the Instant Pot.

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I could not get all of them in at the same time so I did this part in batches. It was supposed to cook until golden brown, but I find it impossible to figure that out when the meat is covered in a spice mixture.

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When I was finished browning the pork pieces, I started cooking the garlic and jalapeño.

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I put them into the pot and added some extra water since I was not going to be including onions. I used onion powder instead. I cooked them for about a minute.

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Next I added the orange juice, lime juice, and beer.

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Then I put the pork pieces back into the pot. This is where the pressure cooking began.

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When the pressure cooking was done, I removed the pork to a bowl so that I could shred it.

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Finally, the recipe called for bringing the liquid in the pot to a boil using the sauté function. I had made the cornstarch slurry and added to the pot. The liquid thickened and really looked a like a gravy. I ladled the cooked liquid over the meat.

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S’mores Bars

This recipe is from Cook’s Country (subscription needed for link). If your library carries physical copies, it is from the June/July 2020 issue. Making this was relatively simple, but dealing with the marshmallow creme was messy. These bars are very rich so follow the instructions for cutting into 16 pieces. That size piece is probably the most you can take at one time.

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I prepared the pan by making the foil sling as instructed. I also sprayed it with vegetable spray.

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Next I processed the graham crackers in my food processor.

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Then I added flour, brown sugar, and salt to the processor.

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And did a few pulses to combine.

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I had cut up some butter right before starting this and put it in the refrigerator to chill. I added it to the food processor.

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Next I ran the food processor enough to get the mixture to clump together like wet sand.

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Then I dumped the mixture out into the prepared pan and flattened it into an even layer.

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I baked it in the oven for 13 minutes at 425˚F.

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After letting it fully cool, I added the layer of milk chocolate bar pieces.

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Next came the messy part – the marshmallow creme. I have never had to use this stuff. The only marshmallow recipe I deal with is Rice Krispies treats. For that recipe you start out with regular marshmallows and melt them.

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With quite a bit of effort and lots of iterative hand-washing, I managed to get the marshmallow creme into a flat layer on top of the chocolate bars layer.

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And then I put the whole marshmallows on top.

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I put it into the 425˚F oven for 12 minutes. The recipe said 15 minutes, but I was checking on it and felt that it would have burned too much at the full 15 minutes.

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I sprinkled some milk chocolate chips on top right after it came out of the oven.

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The dish needed to cool and setup for four hours. And then I removed it from the baking pan using the foil sling.

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I cut the slab into 16 pieces using a knife sprayed with vegetable spray. You can see the layers below in this cross-section cut.

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One-Pot Chermoula Shrimp and Orzo

This recipe is from NYT Cooking. Working with the cilantro and parsley was tedious but I liked the final outcome of the dish so I would make it again. The cilantro/parsley was part of the chermoula and can be made ahead of time.

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Making the Chermoula

I started with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt, and sugar in a bowl.

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Preparing the cilantro and parsley took the longest time. The ingredient list asked for 1 cup finely chopped cilantro and 1 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley. I interpreted that to mean 1 cup of each after chopping. I separated all the leaves before chopping. It was a lot of green.

I added the cilantro first.

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And then I added the parsley and set it aside.

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Preparing the Shrimp and Orzo

In my Dutch oven, I added olive oil and butter to melt the butter and heat the oil.

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I was excited to try this recipe because it was my first time working with orzo.

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I added the orzo to the pot. Seems like I was toasting it here. I mixed it in with the oil and butter, kept stirring it and let it go for 3 minutes.

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Then I added the vegetable stock.

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And the chermoula.

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I mixed it all together and it was ready to be covered and cooked for 10 minutes.

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At the end of 10 minutes, a lot of the liquid had evaporated.

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It was time to add the shrimp.

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I was supposed to cover the pot and cook for 6 more minutes but the shrimp were not cooked at that point and the orzo was not soft enough. I added more water and cooked it for 10 more minutes. I was satisfied with it at that point.

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Before juicing the lemons for the chermoula, I zested them and set that aside to sprinkle on top of the served dish.