Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Maple Soufflé Québécois

Maple Souffle
I love a good a tradition.  I love that my husband and I celebrate our anniversary at the same restaurant each year, that we give each other the same number of presents at Christmas, that we eat specific food every spring when we open the Montauk house, and that my Christmas morning menu hasn't changed in decades.   I find comfort in repetition.  It gives me space to relax and enjoy.

One of the newer traditions in my life was  started by my Dad and it has quickly become a favorite.  Every time we see each other, we cook a new dish.  A dish he has researched, a dish he wants to share or try with me, a dish we will remember.  This past weekend, we made a Maple Soufflé from Quebec and his home town.  An oozy, sweet, pillowy soufflé chock-full of Canadian goodness with one full cup of maple syrup.

This new tradition lets us to sneak away and enjoy a few precious moments together, alone in the kitchen.  A great tradition indeed.

Maple Soufflé Québécois
  • 1 cup of Canadian maple syrup
  • 1.5 cups of milk
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 eggs, separated 
  • Butter for casserole dish 
  • In a double boiler on your stove top (make shift like ours below works just fine!), combine the maple syrup and milk heating until warm
  • Add the oil and flour, whisking constantly for 10 minutes
  • Beat the egg yolks and whisk them into the pot
  • Let the mixture cool while heating oven to 375
  • Meanwhile, beat the whites until stiff
  • Fold the whites into the maple pot and gently transfer all to a butter casserole dish
  • Place casserole dish in a large pan filled with hot water and bake for 50 minutes
  • Serve immediately
My Dad and our make-shift double boiler 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mark Bittman's Chickpea & Fennel Ratatouille

 Mark Bittman's Chickpea and Fennell Ratatouille
The mark of a good dish can be many things.  The creativity, the flavor, or just the simplicity.  As the holidays approach and I start to plan a number of larger family meals, the main mark for me becomes making it onto my extended holiday menu. That list of 2-3 meals, outside of the traditional big holiday events, that I will cook for a crowd.  After just a few bites, this list was all I could think of when devouring this ratatouille. 

Sure, it came from the Vegan Before Six marketing bonanza series. Yes, it happens to be gluten free.  But I promise you none of that matters.  This dish is just so so so right.  When Mr. Bittman calls it one of his best, he really isn't exaggerating.  It is deliriously aromatic and so rich in flavor I challenge any meat lover to not enjoy it.  It will grandily and happily grace our table this December 26th as a delicious, healthy second act to Christmas eating.

Chickpea & Fennel Ratatouille
  • Optional: 1 pound eggplant cut into large chunks
  • 3/4 pound zucchini, cut into large chunks
  • 1 pound Roma (plum) tomatoes, cored and chopped, or 1 28-ounce can, drained
  • 1 onion, finely sliced 
  • 2 bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, rimmed and cut into large chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
  • Salt & Peppers to taste
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  • Combine all ingrediants except the oil, chickpeas and thyme in a roasting pan.  Drizzle the oil over, toss to combine
  • Roast in the oven, stirring twice, for about 30 minutes
  • Add the chickpeas, stir to combine, cook for another 10 minutes.  Add the herbs, season to taste and enjoy over rice or alone.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds - Flash Tip

If, like us, you are late to the pumpkin carving and seed roasting this year I have a tip for you!  Clean your seeds, and then boil them in salted water for 10 minutes.  The boil, I learned, ensures that the entire seed cooks evenly and that the inside doesn't blacken up!   Post boil, dry them, sprinkle with salt pepper and cayenne, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 10 - 12 minutes at 325.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Roasted Mushrooms with Crispy Sage and Walnut Oil

Roasted Mushrooms
You may not have walnut oil in your cabinet, but you are going to buy some.  You may have slight sticker shock at the price, but I can all but guarantee you will thank me when you taste these mushrooms.

I've had walnut oil in my cabinet for sometime and just recently started exploring with it again thanks to the nudging of one of my besties.  She was touting the health benefits, of which there are many, but really, it's the huge, earthy flavor that I adore.  In the dish below, the sage crisps up, the mushrooms drip and the nutty flavors just scream fall.  Enjoy!

Roasted Mushrooms with Crispy Sage and Walnut Oil
Ingredients (serves 2 as a side) 
  • 2 cups of whole button and portobella's chopped into a 2 inch dice. note: bunches of enoki would be glorious here
  • 1.5 tablespoons of walnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 - 12 sage leaves ripped in half
  • Salt to taste 
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  • Drop the whole button and chopped portobella on a baking sheet, condensing into a single, close knit center
  • Drizzle with the two oils, sprinkle with sage and toss to coat
  • Cook for 15 - 20 mnutes until fragrant, but not too shrunken
  • Season to taste and enjoy

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Marcella's Tomato Sauce

Now that my work life and personal passions are so wonderfully, blissfully aligned, I find myself trying things in the kitchen that I wouldn't have otherwise had the gumption to.  I've made homemade bread, TWICE, in a week.  It was pure elation eating homemade grape jelly on my inaugural loaf of bread last week. 

This inspiration has lead to  more exploration with tomatoes,  which as you may know, is an unexpected turn.  When I read about Marcella Hazan's passing, I knew it was time to try my hand at her tomato sauce.  Run to your local market, scoop up the last tomatoes and do the same.   I included a few yellow heirlooms creating the lighter hue.

Marcella's Tomato Sauce

  • 2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, (skins peeled**) or 2 cups canned imported Italian tomatoes skin less, cut up, with their juice
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
  • Salt to taste 
  • Put the tomatoes, butter and onion in a saucepan, and cook uncovered at a simmer for about 45 minutes until the butter slick floats on top. 
  • Stir from time to time, mashing up large chunks with the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Taste, add salt, discard the onion and enjoy. It's best soupy over pasta with freshly grated cheese. 
**Boil water and drop the whole tomatoes in for just a minute.  Remove, let cool slightly and peel. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Romano Bean Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette & Egg

I love this salad. It includes a just hard-boiled egg, which as you know, makes everything better.  It takes less than 20 minutes to prepare, a major win when on those nights when you just don't feel like putting a lot of time into dinner.  And even the little man in my life loves it.  He first sucks off all the dressing, then delicately pries open the pod to fish the inner bean out with his tongue.  It is a specific and sweetly enjoyable process.

Romano Bean Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette & Egg
  • 1 pound fresh Romano beans, washed and ends trimmed
  • 1 just hard boiled egg 
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Steam the romano beans to your liking. I prefer them still crispy, just 3 - 4 minutes in a inch of boiling water
  • Meanwhile,  hard boil an egg, keeping it in the water about 10 minutes post boil so the inner most yolk is still tender
  • Make the dressing by whisking the finely minced shallot, olive oil, vinegar and mustard, then add salt and pepper to taste.  You want this dressing to be bright and bold to stand up to the thick beans, so add more vinegar if necessary
  • Arrange the beans on a plate, crumbling the hard boiled egg over top, and then drizzling with dressing 
  • This salad is best warm, or brought back to room temperature before serving 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lauren Lately: Roasted Summer Vegetable Pasta

"Lauren Lately" is a series featuring the latest quick meals in my rotation when I cook but don't necessarily create a blog-worthy meal. 
This is my new midweek staple. It's barely a recipe and so easily uses up all those summer squash in your crisper.  Make it the next time you are long on squash or tonight for a easy mid-week meal. And the little hand grabbing at the vegetables is pretty cute too. Yes, I am biased, but who doesn't love a blurry chubby wrist?

Roasted Summer Vegetable Pasta 
  • 3 - 4 cups of one-inch cubed summer vegetables such as zucchini, peppers, eggplant, carrots and/or tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup of shredded mozzarella
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, basil or oregeno
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper  
  • 1/2 pound of pasta
  • Chili oil (optional) 
  • Lightly coat all the diced vegetables in oil, salt, pepper and dried herbs.  Toss with the white wine, and roast in a deep dish or pan at 425 for 35 minutes, stirring once.
  • Meanwhile, cook 1/2 lb of pasta according to instructions, drain and set aside. 
  • Tear up the chunk of mozzarella into bite size pieces.  
  • Remove the veggies from oven, toss in the cooked pasta, 1 cup of sauce, the shredded cheese and if you wish a 1 - 2 tablespoons of chili oil, toss to mix.
  • Bake for 5-10 minutes until the cheese melts. 
  • If desired, top with more chili oil, then enjoy!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Genius Grilled Fava Beans

This recipe single-handedly changed my view on the large lump of fava beans that frequent my CSA.  It literally transforms them into the loveliest, gooiest summer appetizer.  No need to peel, no need to boil, no need to pop out the little inner bean out... just toss, grill and enjoy!

It, of course, comes by way of the amazing Kristen Miglore at Food52 who scours the internet and cooking world for transformational recipes. And it makes for gorgeous photos to boot!

Genius Grilled Fava Beans
  • 1 pound fresh fava beans in their pods
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground chile pepper
  • 1 teaspoon  rosemary
  • cloves chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to finish
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 lemon
  • 8 canned anchovies in oil, chopped finely

  • Mix all the ingredients except the lemon and anchovies together in a bowl, toss the fava beans well to coat and place them on a grill over medium-high heat. 
  • Grill the favas for several minutes, until charred, then flip them over and char the other side.
  • Remove from grill, and plop them back in the bowl.  Toss the pods to re-coat, and drizzle with fresh lemon juice.   
  • Add the anchovies to the bowl, and mix well.
  • Arrange the pods on a serving platter and serve! 
About Fava Beans
It's not all Hannibal Lecter and Chianti, though the latter sounds like a wonderful addition.  Fava beans or broad beans as they are referred to in the UK, are native to North Africa and Southwest Asia and can withstand very harsh climates. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Quick Strawberry Rhubarb "Jam"

There is a reason these two summer staples are so frequently paired.  The sweetness of the berry  complements the tartness of the rhubarb.  When combined, the sturdy rhubarb strings bind so the result isn't too thin. 

Roasting, my undoubtedly favorite quick cooking technique, brings this together in a snap.  Pop it in the oven and less than 30 minutes later you have "jam".  Enjoyed over ice cream, on toast, or mixed with goat cheese and spread over crackers, this quick jam is a keeper.

Quick Strawberry Rhubarb "Jam"

  • 1 quart of strawberries, cleaned, trimmed and cut in half
  • 4 stems of rhubarb, scrubbed and cut into 1 inch crescents
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • Toss the berries, rhubarb, sugar and balsamic vinegar together
  • Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer
  • Roast for 20-25 minutes, mixing once
  • Let cool, blend until chunky but combined

Thursday, June 20, 2013

And so it begins!

At last, it's late June and my first box has arrived.  Isn't the bounty just gorgeous?  I am dreaming of omelets, grilled radishes with mint, and garlic scape pesto.  A new friend and soon to be neighbor signed up for the same share.  Her instagraming of dry-aged meats, home-cased sausages and all around delicious looking meals has me totally inspired as I head into summer blogging.  I can not wait to talk veg and share ideas with you here.  Happy CSA Season indeed.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

Oh my.  I disappeared for a bit. Sorry about that!  But spring and its wonderful mass of produce is here.  I am feeling inspired again, over my winter root vegetable rut.  The farmer's market in town just opened, my CSA will begin next month and just moments ago my girlfriend and I lapped up a fabulous lunch of roasted mushrooms, from enoki to hen of the woods.

I have been cooking in my absense, and one particularly enjoyable meal was Elissa Altman's stuffed cabbage leaves from her new book, Poor Man's Feast.  I omit the sugar in her recipe and skip the raisins but otherwise loved these little pockets of tender goodness.  They kept all week, feeding the baby for dinner three out of four nights.

Elissa Altman's Galumpki (aka Stuffed Cabbage)
Serves 6
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika 
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef 
  • 2 tablespoons long grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large head cabbage
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 28-ounce can crush tomatoes 
  • 1 cup of golden raisins (optional, but really who likes raisins in meat?)
  • Bring water to boil in a large stockpot, add the cabbage and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.  Remove from the pot, let cool on a platter and then pull off leaves, flattening each one as you go
  • Meanwhile, place the diced onion in a large saucepan and cover with water by two inches.  Add the paprika and simmer over low heat
  • Combine the meat, rice and lemon juice in a bowl and set aside
  • Add the vinegar and half of the tomatoes to the onion pot and stir.  Raise heat to medium-low
  • Place 1/4 cup of meat into middle of each cabbage leave, rolling and tucking as you go until all meat is rolled
  • Carefully nestle each stuffed cabbage leave, seam side down, in the onion mixture.  Add the remaining tomatoes on top, increase heat to high and boil for 10 minutes covered.  Decrease eat to low simmer and cook, covered, for 2 hours.  
  • Serve with rice or bread

Poor Man's Feast Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

Poor Man's Feast Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

Monday, March 25, 2013

Stir Fried Cabbage with Fennel Seeds

While this dish may seem somewhat ordinary at first pass with it's monochromatic hues and functional title, don't be fooled.  It packs a wonderful flavor punch without being too hot.  I craved another batch for weeks after first consumption. 

Need further convincing?  My husband, typically a cabbage naysayer, sopped it up in seconds, commenting not once BUT twice how much he was enjoying it.  Basically, get chopping and stir frying.  Top it with a fried egg for extra protein and deliciousness points.

Madhur Jaffrey's Stir-Fried Cabbage with Fennel Seeds
  • 1 1/2 pound green cabbage (half a large head)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut lengthwise into fine half rings
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • Remove outer leaves of the cabbage, cut it in half lengthwise and cut into long shreds discarding the core.
  • Heat the oil in a nonstick or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin, fennel and sesame seeds. As soon as the sesame seeds begin to pop, add the onion stir frying for 4 minutes or until the onion has started to brown.
  • Add the cabbage and stir fy for another 6 minutes until the cabbage has browned. Mix in the salt and cayenne, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring now and then, for another 7 to 8 minutes or until the onions appear caramelized and soft.
  • Add the lemon juice and garam masala. Mix well and enjoy over rice, or with a fried egg.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Moroccan Carrot Salad Food52
Blink, a month zoomed by.  The crazy fun intensity of a new gig and suddenly it's mid February.  We've been in a stew, left-over, omelet phase as we navigate new schedules, with nothing terribly inspiring to share. Until now. 

In the Northeast, winter really dug her teeth in and I am finding myself more than a little ready for the change of seasonThis salad is the perfect antidote to these last long few weeks of winter.  Bright, zingy, citrusy... a refreshing alternative to all homey food of late. If you close your eyes, you can almost taste spring.

Moroccan Carrot Salad 
  • 2 - 2 1/2 cups of 1/2 inch thick carrot slices (4-6 carrots, depending on size)
  • 1 tablespoon of Harrisa or Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon (or 2 tablespoons, plus juice and rind of fresh lemon)
  • 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic 
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons white vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Optional: Fresh chopped cilantro  
  • Boil the carrots for 10 minutes in salted water until soft but not mushy
  • Drain, let dry and cool
  • Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, toss in the carrots and and refrigerate over night
  • Serve at room temperature, taste checking to see if more salt or vinegar is needed
PS I promise not all my posts will be from Food52.  Indulge me a little as the high of working here bubbles on.
Moroccan Carrots

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

40 Cloves of Garlic
An old roommate once told me she learned to love garlic living with me.  I frequently eat it raw when prepping, and double the amount in just about every recipe I follow try.  Surprisingly, I hadn't tried my hand at Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic until this week.  I suppose it just sounded daunting, 40 freaking cloves?

When the garlic from my winter CSA started piling into mini mountains in my cupboard, I knew it was time. I read a number of uninspiring recipes, like the ones that made a point to note you would not actually NEED all 40 cloves in their version. Isn't that just chicken with lot of garlic?  I am stickler for the rules!

I settled in on the trusted Smitten Kitchen's version which she calls "a cinch with a capital C." Get peeling, or heed her advice and buy peeled cloves.  Either way, you are in for a fragrant and juicy meal, that two of you and a baby can happily nosh from all week.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Smitten Kitten & New York Times

  • 1 3- to 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces or 3- to 4 pounds of chicken thighs at room temperature
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 40 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock 
  • Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper.  Place a deep skillet or dutch oven over high heat, add the oil and butter. When hot but not smoking, start browning the chicken skin side down. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Flip pieces and brown on the other side for an additional 5 minutes, working in batches until all the chicken is cooked. 
  • Reduce heat to medium, and nestle the garlic cloves under the chicken in a single layer at the bottom of pan. Saute, shaking pan frequently, until garlic is lightly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add wine and stock.
  • Cover and continue cooking 10 to 15 minutes more until the juices run clear when a thigh is pricked.  
  • Serve over rice or potatoes with plenty of pan juice.
Chicken with red potatoes

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Food52's Roasted Carrot Soup

The hubby's lunch, Roasted Carrot Soup and Sprouted English Muffin "grilled cheese"  
I am ecstatic to report that as of Monday, (this Monday, the day after tomorrow Monday!?!), I will be starting my new job as Director of Ad Sales at Food52. Apparently, dreams do come true.

If you haven't checked out the site, please do! It is a wonderful social cooking hub with mouth-watering photography, witty editorial, tens of thousands of user tested recipes and a food hotline.  It rocks my culinary world.  Outside of family, friends and yoga, I've always had two passions: my sales career and my love of food. The opportunity to marry these two worlds is beyond thrilling.  I literally can not wait to get to work!

In the middle of a particularly icky winter, and to unveil this amazing change in my life we enjoyed a Food52 Best Carrot recipe winner, Roasted Carrot Soup. Rich not heavy, robust not grassy, we all sopped it up.  By all, that means baby too!

Now pardon me while I get back to my happy dance.

Roasted Carrot Soup
Best Carrot Winner,
  • 8 large carrots 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock (low sodium)
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled
  • 1 sprig thyme, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Peel and cut the carrots into 1/2-inch rounds. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss carrots with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Set an oven rack 8 inches from the top, turn broiler on high and broil  carrots until they brown, turning them over with a spatula every 5 minutes or so; this should take 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring the stock to a boil, add the ginger and the sprig of thyme to the pot and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Place the diced onion in a stock pot with remaining olive oil. Brown over medium heat, stirring frequently. Then add the garlic, and carrots.
  • Remove the ginger and thyme from the stock, then pour the stock into the onion pot. Bring to a boil then simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Use an immersion or a standard blender to puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
My Amazing New Bamboo Personalized Cutting Board, from here
Bamboo Personalized Cutting Board

Carrot Rounds for roasting

roasted carrots
 Leftovers make GREAT Baby Lunches
Baby lunch, carrot soup

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pot Au Feu

This super easy Pot Au Feu hails from one of my first and most-used cookbooks, Martha Stewart's Healthy Quick Cook--Four Seasons of Great Menu's.  A good friend gave it to me as a housewarming present almost 15 years ago, and its worn edges and faded cover make me smile.

The hearty broth intoxicates the kitchen while simmering on the stove, and the mashed potato topping adds a royal dose of richness. I've enjoyed it for Sunday supper, with a group of skiers after a day on the slopes, at winter dinner parties and sometimes, when the root veg overflows my kitchen, as my lunch for the week. The best part about this dish is you can use any root vegetables you have on hand. 

I've made it twice this fall forgetting to photograph the final product. I suppose I can't wait to dive in!

Pot Au Feu

Root Vegetable

Pot-au-Feu with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
Serves 4
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound beef tenderloin, trimmed of fat
  • 6 cups / enough chicken stock to cover the veggies
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal and quartered
  • 1 rutabaga or turnip (1 pound) peeled, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal and quartered
  • 2 parsnips, pared, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal and quartered
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal and quartered
  • 1 leek, white part only, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig each fresh thyme, rosemary and parsley 
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2-4 tablespoons of horseradish
  • Salt, pepper and butter
  • Heat oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper and brown it on all sides. Add vegetables, cover with chicken stock and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring the potatoes to boil in salted water over high, then reduce to simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and return potatoes to pot. Mash until potatoes are to your desired consistency. 
  • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat milk and butter over medium-low until butter melts. Slowly pour mixture into potatoes, stirring until combined. Whisk in horseradish to taste, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Remove meat onto a cutting board. Season the broth with salt and pepper. Divide the vegetables among 4 large shallow bowls and ladle broth into them. Slice the meat into 8 pieces and place two slices in each bowl. Serve topped with horseradish mashed potatoes.
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