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Now that I’ve been cooking in the Instant Pot for a while, I’ve been trying to think outside of the box about it. I’ve tripped up a few times (overcooked vegetables, undercooked beans), but I feel confident about Instant Potting everything from cheesecakes and flan to yogurt and paneer to risotto and biryani. It’s time for a new challenge.

I came across a recipe for country pate, a dish I had never tackled, done in the Instant Pot. Brilliant! Instead of being mildly overwhelmed by foil-wrapped bricks, water baths and caul fat, why not pressure-cook your forcemeat in a canning jar? And, if it’s already in a jar, why not take pate-in-a-jar to a picnic? And why not round out the offerings with more portable Instant Pot dishes?

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I built a portable Instant Pot menu around the rich spiced meat classic, adding a fun savory spinach dukkah-spiced cheesecake-in-a-jar to spread on crackers or pita chips, and a gooey individual chocolate dulce de leche pudding cake-in-a-jar to spoon up for dessert. Grab a baguette and some mustard, then throw your jars, some spreaders and spoons in a cooler and go. Add some crunchy cut up raw vegetables, olives, cornichons, and you are all set.

These recipes beg to be made ahead, but if the idea of slaving over a hot Instant Pot all afternoon gives you any form of discomfort, pick just one and tell your picnic pals to pack the rest of the basket. Staying home this weekend? The jars of pate and cheesecake make fantastic appetizers (with their super-cute jar presentation) for a dinner party, and I don’t need to explain to you how delicious those cake jars are served warm from the Instant Pot with gelato on top! Just let them cool down a bit before serving, so your guests don’t burn their fingers.

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