Posts Tagged ‘Vegan’

I saw this vegetable at the farmers’ market and thought it was a pumpkin.  Turns out, it’s not a pumpkin.  It’s a red kobacha squash, also known as a sunshine squash.  The guy at the stand assured me it was delicious though, so I figured it would sub just fine in this recipe.  It’s also the closest thing to a Halloween recipe I’ve got.

If you buy one, a word of warning.  Sharpen your knives, clear your countertop, and summon  your inner Freddie Krueger.  This is quite a bit more difficult than cutting a sandwich in half.  By the grace of God, goddesses, Xenu, and the Flying Spagetti Monster, I got this thing cut open without stabbing myself or breaking everything in my kitchen.  I had a few near misses, but chopped it all up without incident

 This is the first Rick Bayless recipe I’ve ever made, and I’m definitely interested in trying more now.  This recipe was unusual.  I don’t usually cook vegan meals, so it was a nice change.  I served it over rice, making it also a gluten free meal, so this dish would be a great contribution to a potluck or buffet, if you have a lot of friends with various dietary restrictions.   The recipe took a while to prepare, so it’s not really a good weeknight meal, but it makes a ton of food, so your labors will be worth it.  The recipe says it serves four as a main course, but my husband and I ate it for dinner, then for lunch, and still had leftovers.  To mix things up a bit, we  the last of it as a taco filling, piling it on corn tortillas and topping them with cotija cheese – really, really good. 

Smoky Braised Mexican Pumpkin (or Squash)
Recipe by Rick Bayless, via Martha Stewart


Three to six 1/4-to-1/2- ounce stemmed, dried chipotle chiles, or canned chipotle chiles en adobo
3 large cloves garlic
5 medium (about 8 ounces) tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and halved
2 medium round, or 4 to 5 plum, ripe tomatoes, or one 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups sliced Swiss chard
1 teaspoon coarse salt
4 cups peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes fresh pumpkin, preferably from a 1 1/2-pound wedge cut from a tan or green Mexican pumpkin or a 2-pound pie pumpkin 
2 poblano peppers, cut into 1 inch chunks (not in the original recipe, but I had some and figured I’d use them)


Make the salsa: If using dried chiles, preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add chiles and toast, turning frequently and pressing down with a flat spatula, until very aromatic, about 30 seconds.  Transfer chiles to a small bowl and cover with hot water. Let sit until chiles are rehydrated, for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure even soaking.

Place garlic and tomatillos in the skillet. Toast, turning occasionally, until soft and blackened in some spots, 3 to 4 minutes for the tomatillos and about 5 minutes for the garlic. Transfer garlic, tomatillos, and their juices to the bowl of a food processor or jar of a blender.

Drain chiles, either from the soaking water or their canning liquid, and discard liquid. Add chiles to the tomatillos and process to a fine-textured puree. Set aside.

If you are using fresh tomatoes, the original recipe recommends cutting them up and roasting them in the oven for a few minutes.  I didn’t see the point, and just skipped that step.  I don’t think it makes a difference, and the recipe is complicated enough as is.

In a large heavy skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Saute onions until soft and translucent.  Add the stems of the chard and the diced poblanos, if you are using them.  Saute for about 5 minutes or so, until they start to soften.  Add the chard and a few tablespoons of water. (I used the water leftover from soaking my chipotles.)  Add the salsa and tomatoes and stir to combine.

To make this dish ahead of time, cover and refrigerate sauce for up to 2 days, then continue cooking as follows.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the diced pumpkin and squash evenly in a glass baking dish (the recipe said 9×9, but I had enough food for a 8×13).  Pour the chard mixture over the squash.   Cover baking dish with foil and bake until pumpkin is tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Dish can be cooled and refrigerated at this point, if desired, then continue cooking as followed when ready to serve.

To continue cooking, uncover dish and raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Continue baking until sauce has reduced slightly and top becomes crusty, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately, with rice, corn tortillas, or whatever you’d like.


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It has been freezing here in Berkeley for the last week or two and a warm bowl of soup was just what I needed.  I found some lovely San Marzano tomatoes at the farmers’ market and this recipe from Epicurious got rave reviews, so I thought I’d give it a go.

It’s a lovely soup.  The recipe calls for 6 cups of stock, which is way too much.  Use 4 to get a thick, hearty soup.  It would be a good base for a minestrone or to add a small pasta noodle shape to it, in which case, the extra broth would probably be needed.  Don’t skimp on the herbs and use good, firm plum tomatoes to make this. 

Roasted Tomato Soup
Recipe from Epicurious

3 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
8 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1 1/4 teaspoons dried
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme or 1 1/4 teaspoons dried
1/4 teaspoon (or more) dried crushed red pepper
6 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil and grated parmesan, to serve

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place tomatoes, cut side up, on large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle tomatoes with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Roast until tomatoes are brown and tender, about 1 hour. Cool slightly.

Transfer tomatoes and any accumulated juices to processor. Using on/off turns, process until slightly chunky.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, rosemary, thyme and dried crushed red pepper. Add chicken stock; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until soup thickens slightly, 15 minutes or so. Remove from heat. 

To serve, season with salt and pepper, stir in the chopped, and a bit of grated parmesan. 

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This is a belated post on a dish I made a couple weeks ago, when my CSA box contained collard greens and apples. I had never tried collard greens before, and found this recipe on Epicurious and thought I would give it a try.

The recipe was essentially a salad, and the collard greens were raw. I didn’t realize this until halfway through my preparation, at which point, I tried a nibble of raw collard greens and realized that they really don’t taste good raw. Maybe some people like them, but I don’t. So, I decided to try wilting them a bit, but keeping the basic flavors of the recipe. That worked, and my husband really liked it, but if I were to do it again, I’d cook them down a little more than I did because they were just too raw tasting for me.

The flavors are excellent though, and really unique. So, I recommend trying this, but adjusting the cooking time based on your personal preference for the green. I think this would be really good with chard or even spinach as well.


2 red apples such as Gala or Idared
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pickling spice
1/2 cup walnut halves (3 ounces)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch collard greens (1 pound)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 shallot, finely diced (this is my own addition)

Note: I didn’t have any pickling spice so I used a half a teaspoon mustard seeds, a bay leaf, a pinch of cinnamon, a couple of cloves, and salt & pepper. There’s a bunch of different suggestions for pickling spice combos online, so if you don’t feel like buying a jar of it, you can google for ideas.


Pickled Apples

Quarter and core apples, then cut each quarter lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Boil vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pickling spice in a saucepan, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Add apples and return to a boil. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cool. Chill, uncovered, until cold, about 1 hour.


Coarsely chop 1 tablespoon nuts and finely chop remaining nuts. Toast walnuts in olive oil in a small skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until a shade darker. Cool nuts in oil.

Collard Greens

Halve each collard leaf lengthwise with kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cutting out and discarding center ribs. Stack leaves and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips.

To Assemble

Here’s the part I made up. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of the walnut infused oil in a large saute pan. Add the finely chopped shallot and saute for a couple minutes, until the shallot is soft and starts to brown.

Add the remainder of the oil and the walnuts, then add in all of the collard greens. Add water…about a quarter of a cup to help braise the greens. Cook for a few minutes, until the greens are soft enough for your liking.

Strain the pickled apples. When the collard greens are just about done, add the apples. Stir together and add salt and pepper, if needed.

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I made this last week for my elections party, and named it “October Surprise.” While the official recipe name is a salsa, it really is more like a bean dip, and it was so delicious that I would probably just eat a bowl of it, like chili.

The recipe comes from the Washington Post. (No, I won’t give up east coast newspapers ever. The San Francisco Chronicle sucks.)

1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (may substitute 3/4 pound prepped butternut squash cubes)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, cut into small dice
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 small jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
14 to 15 ounces canned, diced no-sodium tomatoes, drained
15 to 19 ounces canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds, toasted

The recipe also called for a zucchini, diced up, but that sounded disgusting to me, so I left it out. Who wants slimy, watered down zucchini in their salsa/chili? Not me.

The recipe is a labor intensive one, as it involves a lot of chopping, so I highly recommend buying the pre-diced squash, as it will really cut down on prep time. You’ll still have to chop it even smaller, but it does save time.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking oil spray.
Spread the squash cubes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and toss to coat evenly. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes, until slightly browned and fork-tender.
When the squash has about 15 minutes of roasting time to go, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapeño; cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden.

Add the tomatoes, beans, and cilantro (plus the zucchini if you are using it); cook for about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Add the roasted squash and stir to incorporate; cook for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

At this point, the salsa can be transferred to a slow cooker to keep warm, or it can be cooled completely, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Just before serving, sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top of the salsa.

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Nothing in this recipe comes from my farm box, but it just looked so delicious I had to try it. It is pretty simple to prepare, though it does involve a fair amount of spices, including saffron. I recommend the investment, as the dish really is delicious.

Again, another recipe from Food and Wine.


1 cup water
10 ounces baby spinach
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
Kosher salt
Pinch of saffron threads
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas with their liquid
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large tomato—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (I skipped the peeling and seeding, it was fine)
1/4 cup golden raisins
Pour the water into a large deep skillet and bring to a boil. Add the spinach leaves and cook over high heat, tossing frequently, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain the spinach in a colander, pressing hard on the leaves to extract the liquid. Coarsely chop the spinach.

I did this step, though I don’t know if you need too. There’s enough liquid in the recipe to add the spinach in at the end, if you’d prefer. You’d have to chop it first though.

Using the flat side of a large knife, mash the garlic to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the saffron.

Transfer the garlic paste to a small bowl. Add the paprika, cumin, cloves and black pepper and mash until combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chickpea liquid.
Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and tomato and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the spiced garlic sauce to the onion and tomato in the skillet and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chickpeas and the remaining liquid to the skillet. Add the raisins and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Add the spinach, reduce the heat to moderate, and simmer for 15 minutes.

I ended up simmering it for about 5 extra minutes to make it slightly thicker, and served it over couscous. The recipe suggests drizzling each bowl with olive oil before serving, which I skipped and it was still delicious.

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I found a new use for tomatoes and basil that does not involve pesto, cheese, or pasta. We got more of them in our box last Friday and I was determined to try something different with them this time. I pulled this recipe for roasted tomato tabbouleh out of a Martha Stewart magazine ages ago and it seemed like a good way to put these ingredients to use.

It’s a little labor intensive to chop all the herbs and wait for everything to cook and cool down, but it’s definitely worth it. The result was a light, fresh salad and the roasted tomatoes definitely make it more interesting than traditional tabbouleh.

1 cup bulgur wheat
1 cup boiling water
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped, plus whole leaves for garnish
1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, plus whole leaves for garnish
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped, plus whole leaves for garnish
4 plum tomatoes (10 ounces total), cut into wedges
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 scallions, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

I didn’t use roma tomatoes, but instead used a bunch of heirloom cherry tomatoes from my box. I just cut the big ones in half and left the smaller ones whole.

A note on the bulgur: I don’t think I’ve ever seen pre-packaged bulgar except for the kind that come in those prepackaged Near East instant side dishes. If you are having trouble finding it, check out the bulk food aisle at Whole Foods or your nearest hippie grocery store.


Preheat oven to 425. Place bulgur in a heatproof bowl, add boiling water, and stir. Cover tightly, and refrigerate until liquid has been absorbed, about 1 hour.
Combine chopped herbs. Toss tomatoes with garlic, vinegar, 1 teaspoon oil, and 2 tablespoons chopped herbs on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast until tomatoes begin to soften, about 12 minutes. Let cool.

Add roasted-tomato mixture, remaining chopped herbs, scallions, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and remaining 2 teaspoons oil to bulgur, and gently toss. Garnish with whole herb leaves.

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Friday’s farm share box contained a bag of tomatillos. I’m not really sure what one does with tomatillos besides make salsa verde or gazpacho. Not being a fan of cold soup, salsa it was. It helped that the farm share box also contained a few onions, making this a very easy recipe to shop for.

I found a fabulous recipe on Epicurious and the salsa turned out fantastic. And my two months of California living has turned me into a bona fide Mexican food snob, so I am qualified to make that call.


1 1/2 lb fresh tomatillos
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons coarse salt
5 fresh serrano chiles

Yes, 5 serrano chiles. Apparently the people at Epicurious have tongues of steel. Not wanting to set fire to the mouths of people who would be eating this, I used 3 serranos. As it turned out, it was a good call. The salsa was very spicy – probably about as spicy as most people would want.

Based on that, I would use:

1 if you want it mild
2 for medium heat
3 for very spicy
4 for your friends that dump Texas Pete hot sauce on everything and constantly complain about weak American palates
5 for Fear Factor style party games

Preheat the broiler.
Remove husks on the tomatillos and rinse under warm water to remove stickiness.

Broil chiles, garlic, and fresh tomatillos on rack of a broiler pan 1 to 2 inches from heat, turning once, until tomatillos are softened and slightly charred, about 7 minutes.

Peel garlic and pull off tops of chiles. Purée all ingredients in a blender. Serve at your next fiesta.

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Yes, you read that right.

A couple years ago, I became intrigued by the wonders of herbs in desserts when I made Martha Stewart’s Pine Nut Cookies with Rosemary. They are pretty amazing, and always a hit at parties. So, I like trying to find ways to use herbs in desserts. According to Food and Wine, this is also all the rage among pastry chefs these days, so clearly I am on the cutting edge of desserts.
So, here are two recipes that worked for me.

Lemon-Herb Sorbet
Two weeks ago, we received lemon verbena in our farm share. I had never even seen this herb, let alone cooked with it, so I had to do a bit of internet research to figure out what to do with it. I found a few lemon verbena desserts online, and this sorbet was born. The inspiration for this dish came from two different recipes, but it is mostly an arugulove original.

1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup + 2 tablespoons of sugar
a few strips of lemon zest
3 or 4 sprigs of lemon verbena
1 or 2 sprigs of rosemary
1-2 tablespoons of some kind of alcohol
* This is to keep the sorbet from freezing into a solid block of ice. The more you add, the longer it will take to freeze, and the softer it will be. I’d put 1 tablespoon if you want to eat it in the next day or two, more if you’ll hold on to it longer. I used dry white wine, but vodka, limoncello, grappa, or whatever you’ve got on hand that will taste good will work.

Bring water, lemon juice, and sugar to a boil, and cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the alcohol, lemon zest, and herbs. Cover and let it cool completely.

Once it has cooled, strain the herbs and zest out.

Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker for 20-25 minutes. Pour into a container and freeze for at least 6 hours.

The resulting sorbet will be more mild and interesting than traditional lemon sorbet. It is not distinctively herbal, but the herbs definitely elevate it into something a little more sophisticated. If you were really ambitious, you could make a batch of those Pine Nut Rosemary cookies to serve with the sorbet for a very elegant dessert.

I recently saw this in Food and Wine and thought it would be a good contribution to a dinner party. Thankfully, my gut instinct was a good one, as the dessert was a success. It’s a mildly flavored, fruity cake, with very interesting flavors. It really doesn’t taste like anything I’ve ever had before. But it looks and sounds very restaurant-ish, so I definitely recommend this if you want to impress.
Before I moved to the west coast, I didn’t realize that one could buy fresh figs, but apparently they are in season out here…who knew?

3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons pastry flour
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons bread flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
5 large egg whites

1 pound fresh figs, quartered or sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped thyme, plus 12 thyme sprigs for garnish
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup crème fraîche


Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper and coat lightly with nonstick vegetable oil spray. (I didn’t use parchment paper, and it came out fine.)
In a medium bowl, stir the pastry flour with the bread flour and baking powder. In a large bowl, mix the egg yolks with the olive oil, water, thyme, salt and vanilla and 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of the sugar. With a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg yolk mixture at medium speed until very frothy, about 3 minutes. I guess you could probably use a stand mixer, but since you need so many bowls, the electric mixer worked out well.

Add the flour mixture and mix at low speed until the flour is fully incorporated.

In a clean bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy.

Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until the egg whites are thick and glossy, about 4 minutes. Scoop a cup of the beaten egg whites into the batter and stir until combined.

Fold the remaining egg whites into the batter until no streaks remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes, until the cake is golden and starts to pull away from the side. Set the pan on a rack and let the cake cool completely, about 1 hour.

To make the figs, cut them in quarters or halves and put them in a medium size bowl.

Toss them with the sugar, olive oil, chopped thyme, black pepper and salt. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, until the figs begin to soften and release their juices.

I had fig issues. I had envisioned something more syrupy, and after they sat for an hour, they were still pretty dry, you could still see the grains of sugar, and there was not a lot of liquid in the bowl.

See what I mean?

So I added a couple tablespoons of water, stirred, and let it sit for another half an hour. It still wasn’t right, so I added two more tablespoons of water, another teaspoon of sugar, and another pinch of salt and pepper. Much better. By the time we ate the dessert about four hours later, it had just the right amount of liquid. So experiement here to get the right consistency.

To serve, cut the cake into 12 rectangles and transfer to plates. Spoon the figs and their juices over the cake slices, top each slice with a dollop of crème fraîche and a thyme sprig.

I admit, I omitted the thyme spring, but I still think the finished product looks pretty good. Well, better looking than this photo. I have camera issues. This is the only finished product picture I have, so you will just have to trust me that looked good in real life.

And it tasted divine.

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On Friday, our farm share box contained a ton of beautiful heirloom tomatoes. Some of them were really ripe, so I wanted to use them quickly. Food and Wine had a good looking recipe in their July issue, which focused on local produce, so it seemed like a fitting way to use them up.

The recipe comes from Brian McBride of the Blue Duck Tavern in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to try it while I was living there, but I may have to try to put it on my agenda for my next visit back.

Pickled Farm Stand Tomatoes with Jalapenos

1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

* this seemed like a lot of liquid, so I reduced them each to 3/4 cup

1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
6 tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds), each cut into 6 wedges

* I used the six tomatoes shown, plus a handful of the cherry tomatoes cut in half
4 scallions, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
2 jalapeños, thinly sliced into rings and seeded

In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar, brown sugar and salt to a boil, stirring. Remove from the heat.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic, grated ginger, mustard seeds, black pepper, turmeric, ground cumin and cayenne pepper and cook over low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

At this point, your kitchen will smell amazing.

Carefully pour the hot oil into the vinegar mixture. Tumeric can stain, so you want to be careful when you pour to avoid splatters staining your clothes.

In a large heatproof bowl, combine the tomatoes, scallions and jalapeños. I didn’t follow directions and diced my jalapeno instead of slicing it.

Stir in the hot pickling liquid and let stand at room temperature for 4 hours or refrigerate for 8 hours, then serve.

The magazine suggests serving it with fish or steak, but I ate it with a simple lunch of bread, cheese, and olives. Absolutely wonderful!

And, even with my reducing the liquid, it created a lot. I wound up chopping additional tomatoes and throwing it into the mix after eating some.

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