Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sourdough Toast with Green Onion Pesto and Hard Boiled Eggs

You guys.  

Peeling hard boiled eggs is the equivalent of getting a root canal for me.  Except getting a root canal is much more pleasurable and relaxing. 

I have read and done every hard boiled egg tutorial known to man, my eggs were weeks old, I have tried salt in the water, peeling under cold water, blah, blah, blah, and, for me,  it's still the toughest job in the kitchen.  I just can't do it without pulling off large chucks of the white flesh.  And I accept that.  I am at peace.  And although I love to eat them, I just don't make them often because of my rage issues.

(Just kidding.  I don't have rage issues.  Until I begin to peel hard boiled eggs, then yes.)

But I suffered through a batch yesterday, because for the last month I've been toying around with a recipe idea in my brain, and I finally made it yesterday.  And let me tell you, it did not disappoint.  

This green onion pesto screams spring to me.  I can always find green onions at the store and they are fragrant and flavorful and, I think, a little under-appreciated item in the produce section.  And making them into pesto is the perfect condiment for your Easter table and for all those leftover hard boiled eggs you will have.  Green onion pesto on some toasted and buttered sourdough bread topped with hard boiled eggs is a lovely, lovely, breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Or snack.  

I bet you will have some leftover hard boiled eggs this weekend, right?

Have a blessed and happy Easter Sunday, my friends!  

My notes:

--This pesto is kind of creamy.  I didn't think it would be, but it is.  It's lovely, really.

--I used a mini food processor because that's all I have.  If you had a larger food processor with a chute, you could drizzle in the olive oil at the last, like it's traditionally made.

--You can adjust the amount of olive oil to make it thinner or thicker.  Mine was pretty thick.  You could also add a little bit of water to thin it out.

--You could also use a different type of nut.  Pine nuts are traditional in pesto, but I used pecans.  You could also use walnuts.

--I think this would also be delicious on chicken, fish, or pasta.  But I love, love my sour dough toast.

Green Onion Pesto

1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 package (5.5 ounces) green onions, trimmed, washed, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until creamy and a spreadable consistency.  Serve immediately.  

Serve on buttered sourdough toast, then top with sliced hard boiled eggs.  Also great on chicken, fish, or pasta. 

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Maple and Oat Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches

Happy spring, everybody!

This is what spring looks like in Mississippi:

These pictures also represent someone who had been completely irritated and annoyed for a solid week and is trying really hard to think peaceful and kind thoughts in her mind.

The struggle is real, folks.

I didn't think I would be so happy to see spring because I love winter so much, but, yes, I am happy spring is here. Spring has won me over. *Standing ovation by blogger for spring*

And since the days are getting warmer, I've got a great little recipe today that will cool you off,  Maple and Oat Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches.


This recipe is pretty darn healthy. (And no doubt, when it is published, the healthy police people will stop by and leave a comment about how I messed up and what I did was not 'really' healthy, and blah, blah, blah.)

But I am still going with my thoughts that although this recipe may not be perfect, we really liked it, there are some healthy things in it, and I feel really good about.  So there.  Baby steps.

Here are my notes:

--You will absolutely need to line your pan with foil, to lift out the frozen layers.

--You could probably leave out the 5 teaspoons of maple syrup in the ice cream part if you want--the banana ice cream is sweet enough without it, but I just wanted a subtle maple flavor throughout.

--You could probably substitute with honey instead of maple syrup.

--I am proud of myself because I didn't use any sugar other that the maple syrup. *big cheesy grin*

--I used 5 bananas, but that could probably be adjusted depending on how thick you want your middle layer to be.

Maple and Oat Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 cups quick oats
1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts
5 medium very ripe bananas, peeled and cut into small chunks and completely frozen
5 teaspoons maple syrup
  1. Heat butter and 1/2 cup maple syrup in a small sauce pan, whisking until melted and smooth. Place the oats and walnuts in a large mixing bowl. Add the maple syrup mixture and mix to evenly coat.  
  2. Line two 8 x 8 inch square pans with foil letting foil hang over sides, then lightly spray with cooking spray.  Divide the oat mixture between the two pans, pressing firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan.  Freeze until very firm, about 3-4 hours in deep freeze.
  3. Place the bananas in a food processor with 5 teaspoons maple syrup and process until smooth and creamy. 
  4. Immediately spread the banana ice cream evenly over one frozen oat layer.  Carefully lift the other frozen oat layer out of the pan by using the foil, then peel the foil off and place on top of the ice cream, pressing down slightly.  Freeze until firm.  Remove from pan using the foil to lift it out, then cut into bars quickly.
Tip:  I peel my very ripe bananas and freeze them on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  When they are frozen they go into a ziplock bag to store in the freezer for smoothies or ice cream. is my grandson and his freckles.  Because I can.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

These.  These are better than the box variety, I promise. And they're not hard to make. Basically, it's like making macaroni and cheese but with potatoes. No biggie. Except it will be big to your family who will appreciate you just a little more.

And you know you could use some appreciation.

Yeah, me too.  *hugs*

This is such a simple, basic, but delicious recipe.  You can even make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you're ready to bake it.  (See my notes.  I have a note about that.)

Listen, friends don't let friends eat scalloped potatoes from a box.  They just don't.

My notes:

--You can use all milk if you'd like.  I have before.  But I prefer part half and half and, yes, I can tell the difference.

--I have actually assembled this the day before and stored it in the refrigerator to bake the next day.  Be aware that salting the potato layers is going to pull out a lot of water from them overnight, though.  Mine were very watery the next day when I put them in the oven, but the water did cook out and they tasted great.

--This is just a basic, although delicious, recipe.  There a a million things you could add.  Parsley thyme, onions, garlic, chives, bacon, ham, different cheeses...the list goes on and on.  Do something wild.  Or not.

--I much prefer to shred my own cheese from a block than to buy pre-shredded cheese.  I think it melts much better and the shredded cheese in the packages just seems waxy and weird to me.

--You are going to have to cook this until the potatoes are tender, and that is going to probably be over an hour.  Just stick a fork in them to make sure their done.

--Let this cool and sit for at least 20 minutes before you serve it.  This is really important because A) this stuff is scalding hot, and B) the sauce will be super runny and it will thicken a little as it cools.

--The thinner the slices, that faster it cooks.  Slice them as evenly as possible.

Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

1/4 cup butter plus extra for buttering the baking dish
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup half and half
3 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper for seasoning
3 1/2 pounds potatoes (russet, red or golden) washed and scrubbed, peeling left on

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium to high heat; add flour and whisk for 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in the milk and half and half; continue to cook over medium to high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly.  Stir in 3 cups of the shredded cheese until melted.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, slice potatoes thinly, no more than about a 1/8 of an inch thick.  Generously butter a 13 x 9 inch or equivalent size baking dish.  Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom in an even layer.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour 1/3 of the sauce evenly over the top.  Repeat twice, then sprinkle the top with the remaining shredded cheese.
  4. Bake for 60-75 minutes OR until potatoes are fork tender all the way through and the top is golden brown.  (If top starts getting too brown before the potatoes are tender, cover with foil.)  Let cool for about 20 minutes before serving.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Chewy Peanut Butter or Almond Granola Bars

You just can't trust what's in food these days.  Chemicals, hormones, additives, and crazy DNA that shouldn't be there.  I try to cook from scratch as much as possible for my day to day cooking so I know what goes into my food.  A lot of store-bought granola bars claim to be healthy and natural, but they're anything but.

These are my current favorite granola bars.  And let me tell you my favorite way to eat them--straight out of the freezer.  I know, weird, right?  But I actually make a big batch of them and wrap them all separately and store them in the freezer.  (Tip:  I store them in my regular freezer which is set to keep things frozen, but not rock hard like a deep freeze does.  So I can still actually bite into them straight from the freezer.  You might want to adjust your freezer's temperature setting if your ice cream freezes like a brick.)  You can store these at room temperature too.

More and more, I am trying to use organic as much as possible in my everyday cooking, which are things we eat on a regular basis.  I am very limited in my rural area and yes, organic items cost a lot, but I do try.  So if you want to really up the healthy aspect of these, use organic ingredients.  I was excited to see some organic Smucker's natural peanut butter the other day.

PS.  Mississippi Kitchen is getting a makeover and a brand new home.  We have been feverishly working behind the scenes to make this happen, and by we I mean the person I have hired to do all this tedious work.  Stay with me please because some good things are coming soon.  (Like a recipe index, hallelujah!)  I am still here, alive, and cooking up a storm, but trying to hold off a lot of blogging until my transfer is done.  You understand, don't you?  I *knew* you would.  :)

Here are my notes:

--I use both almond butter and peanut butter.  If I make them with almond butter, I use chopped almonds, and if I make them with peanut butter, I use chopped walnuts.  Both of these nut butters will require stirring before measuring.

--I leave the nuts raw because I have read they are better for you this way.  I LOVE the flavor of toasted nuts, but this is a great way to get my share of raw nuts since I don't love eating raw nuts plain.

--I am sure you could use whole oats.  I just usually have quick oats on hand.

--I try to use raw, unprocessed honey which is so much better for you.

--Press the mixture in tightly with the back of a spatula or you can even use the bottom of a measuring cup.

--The chia seeds.  Yes, they are weird but very nutritious.  They form a gel like substance around them when they get wet.  It's strange.

--I have found the easiest way to wrap these is to stick one in a cheap sandwich bag and fold it over, the kind that are not zip lock (because you would use too many and that would be expensive), but fold over  instead.  I think they are sold about a 150 to a box.

Chewy Peanut Butter or Almond Granola Bars

Printable Recipe

5 cups quick oats
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 cups chopped raw walnuts or almonds
8 tablespoons butter
1 cup honey (preferably raw organic)
6 heaping tablespoons natural style peanut butter or almond butter (preferably organic)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, chia seeds, and nuts.
  2. Place the butter, honey, peanut butter or almond butter, brown sugar,  and salt in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Cook until melted  and smooth, whisking often.
  3. Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and stir well.  Line a 13 x 9  inch metal pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Press the mixture well into the bottom of the pan using a spatula.  
  5. Freeze for several hours before cutting into squares.  I like wrap these individually and store them in the freezer.  They can be eaten cold or brought to room temperature.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Roast Beef and Cheddar Panwiches with Caramelized Onions and Horseradish Mayo


Cheesy, gooey, roast beef and cheddar toasted sandwiches with sweet caramelized onions and a zippy horseradish mayo, made in a pan all at one time.  Think of all the precious time you will save by not having to stand there and grill each one.

I know, right?

How fun is that?

These were knockout awesome delicious and now my wheels are turning for more panwich variations. 

Here are my notes:

--This would be terrific with a big pot of soup.  Although I didn't, I feel certain you could assemble this earlier in the day and then refrigerate until you're ready to cook it or maybe even the day before.

--I know you're sitting there saying "but the meat and cheese are covering everything!"  No biggie.  You just slice throughout that in the end.  And let me tell you, you are going to want that cheese to leak out a little bit because when it gets golden and a little crispy around the edges?  SHUT UP!

--My bread was sort of oblong and it overlapped.  This was no problem, though, and in the end, I just cut each row into thirds because this sandwich is kind of rich.  You can use a pan that will fit your bread size if you have it.  Or just overlap it.

--I like my onions golden brown but not all the way super caramelized.  But if you like them SUPER caramelized and much browner, increase your cooking time.  

--My casserole dish measured measured a weird 11 x 12 1/2 inches.  Just substitute with a similar size baking dish, like a 9 x 13.

Roast Beef and Cheddar Panwiches with Caramelized Onions and Horseradish Mayo

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons horseradish

3/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

12 slices sour dough bread
3/4 pound deli sliced roast beef
1/2 pound (approx.) sliced cheddar cheese (I used 17 slices)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet, add olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat.  When butter is melted, add onions and cook until golden brown and caramelized, about 15 minutes, stirring often.  Stir in 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce.  Remove from heat.
  3. Stir together the mayonnaise and horseradish.  Set aside.  
  4. Melt 3/4 cup butter in a small saucepan; whisk in the dried mustard and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.  Brush the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch metal pan or glass casserole dish generously with about a 1/3 of the butter mixture.  
  5. Spread one side of each slice of bread with the mayonnaise.  Place 6 slices of bread, mayo side up, in the bottom of the pan evenly.  
  6. Place the beef evenly on the bread, followed by the cheese. (It’s okay to overlap them and cover all the bread.)  Spread the caramelized onions on top of the cheese.  Place the remaining 6 slices of bread mayo side down on the onions, lining up with the other bread.  
  7. Generously brush the top of the bread with the remaining butter mixture.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the top is golden brown, placing under broiler if necessary to brown the top.  Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting apart into individual sandwiches.  

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Two Ingredient Dark Cocoa Banana Ice Cream

You guys.

I've been seeing one ingredient banana ice cream float all over the Internet for a couple of years now, but I always told myself that it probably tasted like baby food and no thank you please.

But one day I realized I had an overaccumulation of bananas in my freezer, so I thought I'd give this "ice cream" everyone was raving about a try.

Now listen and listen good, I am not even stretching the truth a little bit when I tell you that this is delicious.  This is my go-to dessert when I want to be all healthy and stuff.  The texture is very, very much like soft serve ice cream.  It's really hard to believe but it is.

AND THIS--->>>  To me, it does not overwhelmingly taste like bananas.

I love bananas, but I want it to taste more like ice cream and it does.  To me.  Others may disagree.

If you are a banana hater, this is probably not for you. But if you're not and you want something healthy, creamy, cold, and delicious, you should give it a try.  Read my notes below, but honestly, it's a cinch.

Just think, it's non-dairy and no added sugar.

My notes:

--I like to add dark cocoa powder to mine.  I am not a fan of dark chocolate, but I LOVE the dark cocoa powder.

--There are lots of recipes out there with different mix-ins like peanut butter, Nutella, honey, nuts, etc.  I wanted to keep mine fairly healthy and simple.

--Give the food processor a little time to whip it up good.  Several minutes depending on your machine.  Mine is just a mini one, so it takes a bit.

--Depending on how hard the bananas are frozen and how powerful the food processor is (mine is not very powerful), it is helpful to add a teaspoon or two of heavy cream, half and half or regular milk to process easier.  I guess this would make it 3 ingredient, but you don't have to.

--It can be placed in the freezer to firm up a bit, but I love it soft and creamy.

--Ripe bananas are best.  I peel my very ripe bananas and freeze them on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  When they are frozen they go into a ziplock bag to store in the freezer for smoothies or ice cream.  

Two Ingredient Dark Cocoa Banana Ice Cream

1 medium very ripe banana, peeled and cut into small chunks and completely frozen
1 heaping teaspoon dark cocoa powder

  1. Place the banana in a food processor (a mini one works well) and process until almost smooth.  
  2. Add cocoa powder and process until very smooth and creamy.  Eat immediately or place in freezer to firm up.

Hint: Depending on how hard the bananas are frozen and how powerful the food processor is (mine is not very powerful), it is helpful to add a teaspoon or two of heavy cream, half and half or regular milk to process easier.

Tip:  I peel my very ripe bananas and freeze them on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  When they are frozen they go into a ziplock bag to store in the freezer for smoothies or ice cream.  

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Chocolate-Hazelnut Malteds

Happy Valentine's Day!

In case you woke up this morning with Dung Fever or a really bad splinter or even a raging case of out-of-control, over-forty, hormonal issues that make you want to lie in a fetal position on the couch and suck your thumb, I have a quick and easy recipe that you can throw together in a pinch to fill your chocolate quota for this glorious holiday.   You can even send your boo to the store to get the ingredients because they are pretty straight forward and he won't have to call you six times and ask which aisle the "kwi-no-uh" is on and just what the heck does that look like anyway?

 It does NOT get easier than Chocolate-Hazelnut Malteds, folks.

(Alright, *yes* it does if you eat Nutella directly from the jar with a spoon.  But, really, isn't your Valentine worth flipping a switch on a blender?  Yes, he/she/it is.)

These are totally yummy and quite romantic when sipped from one tall glass with two straws.  (But that may be kind of hard when your lying in a fetal position.  Just give him his own.)

Your welcome.

PS.  Be sure to check out this recipe and some more chocolaty goodness by me in this month's edition of eat. drink. Mississippi.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Malteds

1/2 to 1 cup whole milk (depending on how thick you want it)
2 1/2 cups chocolate ice cream
1/2 cup chocolate flavored malted milk powder
1/4 cup Nutella or hazelnut spread
Extra hazelnut spread for garnish
Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish

Place the milk in a blender.  Add the ice cream, malted milk powder, 1/4 cup hazelnut spread.  Blend until smooth.  Place a spoonful of hazelnut spread in the bottom of each of two tall glasses, then pour in the ice cream mixture.  Garnish with whipped cream and drizzle with extra hazelnut spread.  2 servings.

Hint:  Heat a tablespoon or two of hazelnut spread in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.  Stir until smooth.  This makes it easy to drizzle on top.  

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bacon-Cheeseburger Stuffed Cornbread

It's cornbread season again.

This is the time of year that for the last eight years (!) I have tested cornbread recipe after cornbread recipe with the hopes of making it to the final cook-off at the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.

You can read my story here.  I finally got to wear that extremely heavy, but oh so pretty cornbread crown.   *Cheesy grin*

(I like to use it now when we are under Tornado warnings and crouched in our hallway.  Very, very handy.)

And I was feeling a little lost this year not entering, so when Martha White invited me to participate in their virtual cornbread potluck, I didn't bat an eye.

I *cannot* say enough good things about the Cornbread Festival, Martha White, Lodge Cast iron, Brown Stove Works, and all of the other sponsors, volunteers, and people who put this fun festival on each year.

You should enter.  You really should.  You can find out all about it here.  

(I would soooo love to go back this year and just hang out.  Seriously thinking about it. We'll see.)

My recipe for the potluck today is Bacon Stuffed Cheeseburger Cornbread, and I have to tell you my family really loved it.  Even my four year old grandson gave it two thumbs up because kids + cheeseburgers= match made in heaven.  It's super simple and uses common pantry ingredients.  Recipe and notes below.


Nine other talented bloggers are also posting their fabulous cornbread recipes today for our potluck, so be sure to click on the links and check them out!  Here they are:

Tina Butler at Mommy’s Kitchen.  Tina made Chili Cornbread Skillet.

Stacey Little at Southern Bite.  Stacey made Mom's Mexican Cornbread.

Christy Jordan at Southern Plate.  Christy made Red Beans and Cornbread.

Brandie Skibinski at The Country Cook.   Brandie made White Chicken Chili with Cornbread Dumplings.

Linda Carman at Southern Pantry.  Linda made Monte Christo Cornbread Skillet.

My notes:

--I used a 10 1/2 inch Lodge Cast Iron Skillet.  This is what I would call the "regular size" one.  Now, listen and listen good:  my skillet was full to the very top.  But it did NOT run over in the oven.  And I have made tons of "stuffed" cornbread recipes before and I have never had one run over.  But it's a little scary just the same, so I put it on a baking sheet.  If your oven is not level, there is a chance is could spill over I guess, so be on the safe side and put a baking sheet under it.  Or, yes, you could probably use a slightly larger skillet.

--The first layer of cornbread does not need to brown.  It just needs to be set.  Mine took exactly 8 minutes in the oven.

--I leave about a 1/2 inch perimeter around the edge so that when I am pouring the final cornbread batter on top, it will form a crust on the sides and kind of seal it all in.

--I take a spatula and just press the filling down slightly before I pour the final cornbread batter over it.

--I start pouring the cornbread batter in the center so it will cover the pickles well, then run down the sides.  Don't worry, the pickles will show through a bit.  It's not that big of a deal, promise.

--Fry your own bacon, or buy it  already cooked.  Whatever you want.

--You could certainly swap cheese types from American to cheddar or Colby jack or pepper jack or Swiss…whatever you want.

--I let mine cool for 30 minutes and it was still warm enough to eat "hot."  I strongly suggest letting it cool for a while so it will slice better.

Bacon-Cheeseburger Stuffed Cornbread

1-1/4 pounds ground chuck
1/2 cup chopped onion
Salt and pepper taste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 packages (6.5 ounces each) Martha White Buttermilk Cornbread Mix
1 1/3 cups plus 1/4 cup whole milk, divided
2 eggs
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/2 cup ketchup
8 slices American cheese
8 slices pre-cooked bacon, chopped
20-25 (approx.) dill pickle slices
1-2 teaspoons sesame seeds

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a 10-1/2 inch cast iron skillet, cook and crumble ground chuck until almost brown.  Add onions and cook until meat is done, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Remove meat from skillet with a slotted spoon to a bowl.  Drain grease from skillet, then wipe clean.  Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in skillet over high heat.  
  2. Meanwhile, mix cornbread mixes with 1-1/3 cup milk, 2 eggs, and 2 tablespoons mustard until blended.  Pour 1-1/2 cups of cornbread batter into hot skillet, making sure bottom is evenly covered with batter.  Set aside remaining cornbread batter.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until set (does not have to be brown on top).  Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Stir cheddar cheese soup into meat mixture. When cornbread is done, spread beef mixture on top leaving a 1/2 inch space around perimeter.  Drizzle ketchup on top of meat.  Top with cheese slices. Sprinkle with chopped bacon, then lay pickle slices over top.  Stir remaining 1/4 cup milk into remaining cornbread batter, then pour evenly over top starting in the middle.  Sprinkle top evenly with sesame seeds.  Return to oven for about 25-30 minutes or until cornbread is golden brown.  Let cool 20 minutes, then cut into six wedges.  6 servings. 

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