Baby Back Ribs in the Pressure Cooker

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs
Happy New Year! Let's make some ribs!

I love the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker! (I hope you got/bought one during their crazy black Friday sale). I bought it last year and have been trying out different meals. Most of the time I take a couple photos on Instagram stories, but today I used my new camera. Oh yes, I bought myself a new camera! Canon 80D...I'm still figuring things out and watching many YouTube videos.

Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs
My local Sprouts Market had a sale on pork ribs so I picked up some baby back ribs ($2.99/pound, bought about 1.5 pounds) and when I brought it home, I googled Baby Back Ribs Pressure Cooker! NPR's The Salt had a piece from 2015 that I used as my guide.

Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs
Sprinkled some spice on the ribs

Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs
Put it in the Pressure Cooker along with 1/2 cup of water or stock (I used hot water). (See the NPR piece if you have a larger rack...you should teepee the meat - the photos will make sense)

Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs
Seal the pressure cooker and set for 30 minutes high pressure.
(This isn't a photo of setting it for 30 minutes - this was taken right after it was done!)

Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs
I used bottled BBQ sauce from Trader Joe's. About 15 minutes before the ribs are done, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a sheet tray with foil.

Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs
After cooking is complete, quick release the steam (you can let it go naturally, but I was hungry) and remove the ribs.

Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs
Brush on BBQ sauce and bake for 8-10 minutes, turning once. Watch your smoke alarm because it's a super hot oven and the sweet BBQ will burn a bit.

Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs
Next time I'll add more BBQ sauce and maybe even make my own sauce but they were tasty and super fast to make in the pressure cooker (and oven).


Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs

I used:
Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker

RECIPE from this NPR piece (June 28, 2015): Do Try This At Home: Hacking Ribs — In The Pressure Cooker


Note: Some of the link are affiliate links with Amazon. That means if you buy something, I get a few cents. All opinions are my own. And I love the pressure cooker.

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Dorie's Cookies - Jammers with Jam and Dulce de Leche

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dorie's Cookies - Jammers

Dorie's Cookies is out! 
Dorie's Cookies is out!
Dorie's Cookies is out!

We can make Dorie's Cookies! Let's do this!

Dorie's cookies are so good and now she has a WHOLE cookbook dedicated to cookies! You have to get it. First of all, it's heavy. If you think this is just a flimsy cookbook of cookies, you are so wrong. It's Dorie! Of course she gives us all her best cookie recipes!!

I was fortunate enough to be gifted Jammers from her former cookie store Beurre and Sel. They were sooooo delicious. I knew what I had to make first!

2016-11-07_05-15-48
Jammers are shortbread dough, topped with jam and surrounded by a buttery streusel topping. Really, does it get any better?

To get 1/4" dough, I roll the dough between parchment paper and use these yard sticks as guides. The guides are really a lifesaver as I'm not a good roller. I recently purchased these Rose Levy Beranbaum guides for thinner doughs (they come in 3/32" 1/8", and 1/16"). I haven't used them yet and am looking forward to giving them a spin.

Dorie's Cookies - Jammers
I used these Ateco 2" and 3" rings. Dorie's book explains how you can make them in a muffin tin too. Amazon sells them, but I bought a dozen each from Webstaurant Store online (Ateco 4901 3" Round and Ateco 4903 2" Round). They are super sturdy and will last a lifetime. [Update: I just bought a dozen more of the 2" rounds so I can bake 24 cookies at a time]

Dorie's Cookies - Jammers
I used Cherry jam. I love Bonne Maman jam. The best! Dorie says you need a thick jam and their jam is super thick!

Jammers - Dorie's Cookies
These cookies are so buttery delicious. Seriously delicious. It's like the rich jam is sitting on a cloud of butter goodness and topped with streusel. I can't even.

Jammers - Dorie's Cookies
Filled with Dulce de Leche (Trader Joe's sells really good prepared Dulce de Leche in a glass bottle).

Jammers - Dorie's Cookies
I can't decide what I like better - the big or small ones. I like them both!

You can find the recipe in Dorie's Cookies. It's also on Epicurious, but you really need to get this book. Great holiday gift too! 

Can you believe it'll be December this week? I better get going on my Christmas cookies - of course, they'll come from Dorie's new book! ~ mary


 
Full disclosure: I'm in the Amazon Affiliate program and if you click on the links and buy something, I get a few cents - doesn't cost you anything. 
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Black Friday Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Sale!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! I ate way too much.

I'm not a big Black Friday shopper. I haven't been out at the stores in years. However, I caught an online sale that is really great. The Instant Pot Pressure Cooker is having a big Black Friday sale on Amazon! IT'S $69!!!! It's 47% off. Dude. I bought mine in early October for $120.

I've only had it for a month but it is the coolest! I made a pot roast in an hour. Yesterday, I grabbed the turkey carcass, threw in some carrots, onions and leftover herbs and in less than 2 hours I had crazy good broth. My friends just made pork chili with tomatillos in 30 minutes. I'm still exploring (read: watching lots of YouTube videos...really like FloLum's video series).

I like the electric pressure cooker because it's a set it and forget it appliance. With the stovetop ones, you need to adjust the flame once it comes to pressure.

Bon Appetit wrote about it today - I like the title "The Instant Pot Will Change Your Life—No Joke". Really!!

And while you buying the Pressure Cooker, you should pick up Dorie's Cookies! Dorie Greenspan does it again with a great cookbook all about cookies! I'm working on a post for Dorie's Jammers - So delicious. Here's a sneak:

Jammers - Dorie's Cookies

Enjoy your holiday weekend! Talk to you soon, Mary

Disclosure: I'm an Amazon affiliate and get a few cents if you buy something using the link above (helps me buy more stuff on Amazon!)

 
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Blondies via the New York Times Cooking

Friday, November 4, 2016


Blondies from NY Times
Blondies

I can't believe it's already November! What what!? Here are some yummy blondies I made recently...to celebrate a fixed oven!

The oven is back!!!!!! Made these blondies from the NY Times Food Section...going to try them tomorrow morning. Yay! Heat! Oven! I've missed you!My oven died for a few weeks. The repair person cancelled an appointment, then that got rescheduled, only to find out that the problem was electrical. Then we had to ask around for an electrician and that person finally came out to fix the issue. But...YES! The oven is back! Sweet.

I just got the digital subscription to the New York Times. I already get the digital edition of the Los Angeles Times so more often than not, you'll find me reading the news my phone! I'm exploring more of the Food Section in the New York Times and this recipe looked great!

P.S. I've missed blogging. Things got busy in my life and motivation waned. I also post a lot to social media and don't want to write up a post. But as I type this and as I browse older posts, I love the diary format of the blog. It doesn't matter if one person to 100 people read it, it matters to me when I look back through the years. Trips taken, Meals consumed, Bundt cakes made. So, I hope to post more... they'll probably be quicker posts. My blog was never about capturing the best photo (man, there are tons of other blogs out there that are so much prettier) but it's about capturing me trying to bake from scratch and keep some memories. I hope I can write up some posts during my lunch hour or at least be a little more efficient. We'll see! Take care and see you soon! - mary the food librarian


Blondies from NY Times
I really like Blondies because they are easy to cut and go. Sometimes scooping dough can take time so spreading it out in a pan makes life easy.

Blondies from NY Times
You need to bring this to a meeting a work. I guarantee your co-workers will love you.

Blondies
adapted from the New York Times

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 ⅓ cups flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (recipes called for white chocolate chips but I don't really care for white chocolate, I used Nestle chocolate chips)
¼ cup Heath Bar Toffee Bits (recipe called for coarsely chopped Heath Bar)
½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (recipe called for pecans but I didn't have any so I used walnuts)

Instructions
1. Prepare a 8-inch square pan. I make a parchment sling, sprayed with baking spray, for easy removal.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
3. Melt the butter (1/2 cup or 1 stick) in a saucepan. Remove from head and stir in the sugar and molasses, and transfer the mix to a large bowl to cool.
4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
5. When butter mixture is cool, whisk in the egg until slightly fluffy.
6. Fold the flour mixture, then the chocolate chips, Heath bar and nuts.
7. Spread the batter into the pan with an offset spatula.
8. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 27 to 30 minutes.
9. Cool then cut into squares.
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Fresh Peach Cake (Barefoot Contessa)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Peach Cake
Fresh Peach Cake

Hello! I know, it's been forever since my last blog post. I've been working, eating, catching Pokemon, listening to the Hamilton soundtrack, and hanging out with my friends and family. I have been baking, but most of the stuff are repeats or greatest hits (brownies, bundts, and cookies).

I'm now on Snapchat...so if you want to take a look at the mundane covered in stickers (isn't that what Snapchat is about?!), then I'm @foodlibrarian on Snapchat.

So, onto this cake! It's summer and that means hella stone fruit. However, I missed my weekly Farmer's Market run and had to pick up peaches at the supermarket. Oh, the sadness. These peaches were so boring and lacking in flavor. I thought about adding them to a smoothie...and baking with them. I figure adding some sugar and spice would liven these up!

As I type up this post, I realize I made this cake with nectarines and almonds in 2011, but totally forgot about that post. It's 2016 and 2011 was a long time ago! :)

Peach Cake

On my Snapchat, I started at 4 am and took photos of the process. Making the batter, peeling peaches, layering the batter... and then I realize I'm using the wrong size pan. I had an 8" instead of 9" square. It was before 5 am and I had that wishful thinking moment of...let's bake it and just see what happens. Well, it was terrible because the center never cooked and the edges got dry. I was quite sad when I tossed that mess. (Remember, the difference between 8" and 9" square isn't just "an inch". 8x8=64" and 9x9=81" so that is 17" difference (yes, you should factor in the height, but for simplicity sake, I just want to say that using the right pan size is important!)).

But luckily (?), I had two more bad supermarket peaches and tried again after work! Here goes:

Peach Cake
(Some of these photos are from the error 8" square pan, but you get the technique. Two layers of batter and peaches!)

Recipe:
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa's Fresh Peach Cake

Peach Cake

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature (I used 2 large eggs from the fridge, put in warm water for 5 minutes before use)
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced (her recipe calls for 3 large peaches but I used 2)

Topping:
1/2 cups (100 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch-square baking pan. I created a parchment paper sling for easy removal.
2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon. This is the topping. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of the KitchenAid with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy on medium speed (about 4 minutes). With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth.
5. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined.
6. Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.
7. The recipe says to bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. However, my cake took 60 minutes to bake (both times I made this cake, so don't be surprised if it take a little longer).


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Meyer Lemon Curd Bars

Sunday, April 24, 2016

 Meyer Lemon Curd Bars
Meyer Lemon Curd Bars

Make These Lemon Bars.
Just do it.
There isn't much to say about it.
So, go. Make them!

Meyer Lemon Curd Bars

Meyer Lemon Curd Bars
I like lemon bars made with cooked curd because the lemon flavor is just soooo much more intense. 

Meyer Lemon Curd Bars
I used Meyer Lemons. Look at that color!!! I didn't sprinkle powdered sugar on top because...that color!

This is a Cook's Illustrated recipe - found on Leites Culinaria:  http://leitesculinaria.com/3357/recipes-lemon-bars.html

Meyer Lemon Curd Bars
I made these as part of a gift package I brought to one of our libraries. It's a small library... hope this was enough for the eight person staff! I made some to go boxes too...because it's good to share. :)

What are you doing still reading this post?! Get the recipe, grab lots of lemon and eggs, and make it! :)

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Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake in Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake

Chocolate + Espresso + Amazing Crown Bundt Pan = Simply Delicious!

You know that "Japanese Clutter" book (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo)? Well, she tells you to hold up every single item you own and ask, "Does this bring me joy?" If not, you toss it without regret because you only want to surround yourself with things that make you happy.

Therefore, I just want to tell you... I want to surround myself with this new Nordic Ware Bundt pan (and its cousins, all my other Bundt pans). This Crown Bundt is the diva of my Bundt world - totally cool and layered in gold.

(As an aside, I found the book interesting although sometimes crazy, but she has revolutionized my drawers so I now "stand up my folded clothes" and it saves so much space. Really.)

I'm excited to show you the new 70th Anniversary Nordic Ware Crown Bundt pan. Isn't it pretty? It's amazing that family-owned Nordic Ware has been making bakeware for 70 years! Most of their pans are made in America too.

As I've said for years on this blog, the best Bundt pans are made by Nordic Ware. And as you've seen over the years, I only have Nordic Ware in my kitchen!


Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake in Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake in Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan
Inside the Nordic Ware Crown BundtI really appreciate Nordic Ware's crisp lines in all their pans. The humps in the traditional bundts are well-defined and the designs really hold in the finished cake.

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake in Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan
This design was made specifically for the 70th Anniversary Celebration and honor Nordic Ware’s Scandinavian roots. It's a great 10 cup Bundt pan to add to your collection. And look at it!!! It's gold! For the first time ever, it has a limited edition sparkling gold-metallic finish. They have two other Bundts in the collection that have gold finishes too.

Hey, it's an Olympic year, so you deserve a Gold Bundt in your collection.


Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake in Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan
Here's a side view of the cake. This was a big hit at work. It's a perfect Bundt for a meeting or brunch - goes nicely with coffee or tea.

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake in Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan
For this recipe, I was inspired by my favorite Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt, but switched up the flavors. I added some instant espresso powder to highlight the chocolate flavor, and used butter and coconut oil. It's super easy to make - you just need to melt some ingredients and mix. No KitchenAid mixer is needed.

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake in Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan
If this new Crown Bundt pan doesn't spark joy in your life, then you are doing it wrong :)
Get the pan from Nordic Ware!

Disclosures: The nice folks at Nordic Ware gifted me the Crown Bundt product. Opinions are my own. Also, I'm in the Amazon Affiliate program and make a few cents if you click on some product links. 

Recipe: Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup coconut oil (it was solid when I measured it)
5 T cocoa powder (I use 30 grams of Hershey's cocoa)
1 cup water (it goes faster if you use hot water)

2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups (350 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

Instructions:
Prepare 10-cup or 12-cup Bundt pan (I prefer to use a baking spray (with flour) but you can also butter and flour the pan). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In a large bowl, whisk together: flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
2. Place water, coconut oil, butter, instant espresso powder and cocoa in a small pot and heat until melted, whisking to combine together. Remove from heat.
3. Add the chocolate mixture to the flour mixture, and whisk by hand until combined.
4. In a small bowl, lightly beat together the eggs and vanilla. Add to the batter and combine.
5. Add the sour cream and combine with the whisk.
6. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan. It will be a runny batter.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes (depending on your oven and pan), until a wooden skewer comes out clean.
8. Remove from oven and let sit on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto wire rack and let cool completely.
9. Eat plain or dust with powdered sugar and enjoy.
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Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola

Friday, March 25, 2016

Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola
Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola

I love granola! It's perfect on yogurt, cottage cheese or with some milk. I love the combo of toasted oats, nuts and dried fruit. I don't make it enough...but that'll change because I really like this recipe for Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola! It's simple, fast, and tasty!

Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola
This granola is filled with sweet, spicy and all things in between! It has old fashioned oats, Dried Pineapple, Crystallized Ginger, Dried Cranberries, Pepita Seeds, Walnuts, and Ground Cinnamon, Ground Ginger, and Nutmeg. The secret sauce is a combo of honey and coconut oil.

Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola
This recipe is inspired by "Honey and Hazelnut Granola" that Valerie Bertinelli made on her Food Network show. She used hazelnuts and dried apricots. Also, her batch was larger (I halved the basic ingredients).

I used walnuts and pepitas seeds, along with 2 cups of old fashioned oatmeal. I never have quick-cooking oats that were called for in the original recipe, but everything turned out fine with the old fashioned oatmeal.

Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola
The nice folks at Costco sent over some products to try including Kirkland Organic Coconut Oil and Kirkland Organic Honey. I've noticed that Costco is carrying a lot more organic products, including fresh produce. I made the Carrot Ginger Soup earlier with the Coconut Oil, and I've been using it to make popcorn practically every day. I already use the Kirkland Organic Honey (comes in a three pack). When I get sick, the first thing that usually hits me is a sore throat. I always reach for my honey bear (shouldn't honey ALWAYS come in a honey bear?), lemon juice and lots of hot water. My folks use the honey as well - my dad likes honey as the sweetener in his coffee.

I chose to include dried pineapple, crystallized ginger and dried cranberries in the granola. You can have any dried fruit you want, although the crystallized ginger adds a special ginger flavor.

Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola
How do you eat your granola? I like mine on top of plain yogurt or cottage cheese!

Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola
Makes 3 cups of granola
Inspired by "Honey and Hazelnut Granola" by Valerie Bertinelli

2 cups oats (I used old fashioned oats)
1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) walnuts, chopped
1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) pepitas/pumpkin seeds
3 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried diced pineapple
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 pieces of crystallized ginger

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the oats and nuts.
4. In a small saucepan, heat the honey and coconut oil until melted. Remove from heat.
5. Add spices and salt to the honey mixture, and stir to combine.
6. Pour hot mixture over the oats and nuts and stir until everything is well coated.
7. Spread oats onto baking sheet.
8. Bake until toasted, about 25-30 minutes. Mix at half-way point.
9. Let cool then add the chopped dried fruit. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

Disclosure: Costco sent me some products to try including Kirkland Organic Coconut Oil and Kirkland Organic Honey. I was not paid for this post. Opinions are my own.
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Dried Persimmons or My Mom Makes Dried Kaki That Are Crack

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Mom's Dried Persimmons / Kaki
Persimmon Tree + Dehydrator + My Mom = Dried Persimmons or Natural Crack

This is one of those combo posts...journaling a memory and writing a little bit about food. I wanted to wish my mom a Happy 73rd Birthday and show you her dried persimmons ("kaki" in Japanese). My parents have a tree in their backyard that is probably 40 years old. My paternal grandmother gave each son a persimmon tree back in the day and my parent's is still going strong.

By the way, these are some of my favorite pictures of my mom and I think it really captures her spirit. She's always in a happy mood. When she retired a few years ago from 30+ years as a teacher's aide and "the cafeteria money taker lady", the teachers invited our family to attend her surprise retirement assembly. The kids treated her like a rock star - she was giving high-fives on her walk up to accept hundreds of homemade cards from all the kids in the school.

IMG_2437
These dried persimmons are totally crack. Persimmons are already a very sweet fruit. And when you dry them? Glory be. The intense sweetness of the dried persimmon is incredible.

In the fall, my mom makes tons of batches...she figures she dried at least 300 persimmons this season! I mail them to friends on the east coast, gift them to local friends, and eat soooo many myself.

Cousin Stan and husband David (together I've named them Stavid) tried them for the first time this year and, it's true, just once and you're hooked. They say, "We're lucky if any of the dried persimmons make it home. We gobble them up in the car and wind up with an empty or near-empty zip lock bag."

Dried Persimmons made by Mom
Happy Birthday Mom!

Dried Persimmons made by Mom
Last fall, the crop was very good. And, OMG, we finally learned about and bought a fruit picker. CHANGED OUR LIVES. No more ladders! The first time we used it, both my mom and I yelled, "Why haven't we had this for the last 40 years?" If you have a fruit tree, you have to get one of these. It's awesomesauce. 

Mom's Dried Persimmons / Kaki
The persimmons need to be FUYU persimmons, not the Hachiya persimmons (Hachiyas need to be totally soft before eating them, while the Fuyu can be eaten hard or soft). The fuyu rules!

First, peel fuyu persimmons. Mom's pretty quick at this...lots of practice over the years!

Mom's Dried Persimmons / Kaki
Second, slice the persimmons the same thickness. That way, they'll dry at about the same time. 

Dried Persimmons made by Mom
Mom has them sit in the dehydrator for 8-10 hours...depending on thickness and ripeness. Mom usually has them go overnight and turns off the machine in the morning. She has a Nesco American Harvest dehydrator.

Dried Persimmons made by Mom
All the persimmons are gone and most of the dried persimmons have been eaten... I'm looking forward to next year!
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