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Archive for the ‘Ethnic Foods’ Category

For whatever reason, the health virtues of  rye have been popping up left and right in my reading material recently.  That prompted me to pick up some dark rye flour from Bob’s Red Mill the last time we were in Portland.  On the drive home I was contemplating how I could use the flour in a meal and I started thinking about what I used to love rye with.  The Reuben sandwich was the hands down winner.  So how could I transform this sandwich classic into an alternative meal?  With a smile on my face it occurred to me that I could make a dark rye pasta with caraway seeds…and the daydreaming just went on from there.

Russian Dressing Pasta Sauce

This is a wonderful sauce that can also be used as a salad dressing or sandwich spread when cooled.

Ingredients:

1 onion, medium dice

3 oz tomato paste

2 cups vegetable stock

1 package organic firm silken tofu

1 T vegan worcestershire sauce

1 tsp chili garlic paste

sea salt

freshly-cracked black pepper

olive oil for sautéing the onions

Directions:

Sauté the onions in a small drizzle of olive oil until softened.  Add the tomato paste and spread onto the bottom of the pan to caramelize.  Add the stock and whisk gently until the tomato paste is incorporated into the sauce.  Add the worcestershire sauce and chili garlic paste.  Mix well.

In a food processor, pulse the tofu until creamed.  Add a ladleful of the tomato sauce to the food processor and pulse.  Transfer the contents to the pan on the stove containing the tomato sauce and mix until fully homogenous.  Simmer over medium low heat for 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Dark Rye Pasta

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup dark rye flour [Organic Dark Rye Flour]

1 cup semolina flour

1 tsp caraway seeds

4 tsp olive oil

12-16 oz of water [more may be necessary depending upon the moisture level of your flours]

Directions:

Add the flours to a food processor.  Drizzle in the olive oil and pulse.  With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the water and continue to do so until the dough pulls off the sides and clings to the center “S”-blade.  Remove the dough from the processor and place upon a flour coated surface.  If the dough is too tacky then incorporate in more flour until it is no longer tacky to the touch.  Knead the dough a dozen times or so and then shape into a flattened round.  Wrap in plastic and set aside to rest for 15-30 minutes.

Remove plastic and divide into two.  Run through the largest setting on the pasta roller twice, then repeat two settings higher.  Either cut with the fettuccine attachment or by hand into strips.

When ready to cook, gently drop into salted boiling water and cook until the pasta comes to the surface.  This should take between one and two minutes.

Pastrami-Spiced Tempeh

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 – 8 oz package tempeh, cut in 1/2-inch strips

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp smoked salt [I used an applewood-smoked salt]

1 T  sweet paprika

1 tsp corriander seeds

1 tsp brown sugar

1-1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds

1-1/2 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp white peppercorns

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp dill seed

3 allspice berries

2 juniper berries

Directions:

Grind the whole spices in a spice grinder and then add the rest of the spices and sugar to the grinder and pulse to mix well.  Transfer to a gallon-sized zip bag with 1/3 cup olive oil and mix well.

Steam the tempeh for 15 minutes to remove its bitterness.  Set aside to cool.   Once cooled, add to the spiced oil in the gallon bag and even coat each piece, gently.  If you need more volume to completely coat all the tempeh pieces, add more oil.  Refrigerate as long as possible up to a few days.  The longer the rub sits upon the tempeh, the deeper the flavors will penetrate.  Gently flip the bag every few hours or so in order to evenly marinate the tempeh.

Brush off any spice clumps that may have formed on the tempeh.  If you do not do this they shall burn in the grill pan.  Place the strips upon a heated grill pan and sear.  Crumble into bite-sized pieces.

 

To assemble the dish you shall need:

1/4 cup crisp sauerkraut per person [I used It’s Alive’s Raw Sauerkraut with Dill]

fresh dill, for garnish

caraway seeds, for garnish

2 sliced green onions, for garnish

Place the cooked pasta on a plate and top with a generous amount of Russian dressing pasta sauce.  Add a layer of tempeh pieces.  Sprinkle with some sauerkraut, caraway seeds, sliced green onion and  fresh dill.

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Raw food, how I am growing to adore you…You are beautiful to look upon and grace my meals with vitality and health. 

 

Raw Falafel

Ingredients:

2 cups sprouted legumes [I used a combination of garbanzo beans and lentils]

1 cup freshly chopped parsley

3 cloves garlic, minced

Juice and zest of ½ lemon

½ cup raw walnuts

¼ cup chopped shallot

¼ cup raw tahini [What a wonderful flavor this has!  It reminds me of an unsweetened halva, something regular tahini has never hinted at to me]

1½ tsp ground cumin

1½ tsp ground coriander

1 tsp turmeric

crushed red pepper flakes [I used about ¼ tsp for a little zip, add more if you like it spicier]

sea salt

freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well combined.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I used raw organic collard green leaves as wrappers for the falafel and rolled them with a slice of tomato and cucumber.  I served this with some dilled raw tzatziki sauce.

 

Raw Dilled Tzatziki Sauce

I purposefully made this sauce on the thin side because I wanted it more as a dipping sauce rather than a dip.  If you want a thicker sauce, use ½ cup cashews.

Ingredients:

⅓ cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours

¼ cup water

Juice of ½ lemon

1 -2 cloves garlic, depending upon how garlicky you like it

2 T fresh dill, divided

¼- ½ cup cucumber, deseeded and diced

Sea salt

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Directions:

Place the cashews, lemon juice, 1 T dill and one clove of garlic in a blender and pulse until combined.  Slowly add the water until you reach a pourable consistency.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and if you wish more garlic flavor, add the second clove.   Blitz again until the sauce is smooth.  Pour into a container and add the remaining dill and cucumber.

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This is an unabashedly cheese-less pizza, and it is all the more delicious for its absence.  The savory richness of the chili-peanut sauce,  the fresh and vibrant vegetables, leafy greens, crunchy peanuts and chewy pizza crust will have you craving this combination from the first bite forward!

Spicy Thai-Style Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:

⅔ cup peanut butter [creamy or chunky works equally well]

⅔ cup warm coconut water [warm water could be substituted]

⅓ cup soy sauce [I use low sodium]

2 T lime juice

2 tsp freshly minced ginger

2 garlic cloves

1-2  tsp garlic chili sauce, depending upon your heat tolerance

1 tsp dark [roasted] sesame oil

Directions:

Mix the peanut butter and warmed coconut or plain water together first, dissolving any clumps with a whisk.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Pizza Ingredients:

1 large portion of pizza dough or large pizza crust  [Whichever type you prefer.  I do not make this from scratch, but rather buy it premade at a local grocery store.  It is in the refrigerated section in a plastic bag.]

1 block of tofu, broken into medium-sized crumbles

1 large zucchini, sliced

1 carrot, cut into thin strips using a vegetable peeler

1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced into rings

2 cups mesclun lettuce mix

1 cup mung bean sprouts

½ cup cilantro leaves

½ cup sliced green onions

4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly

⅓ cup whole peanuts

1 T Bill’s Best Chik’Nish vegetarian seasoning [This seasoning tastes like powdered chicken soup, without the chicken ;-)]

Pizza pan [I have an aluminum pizza pan that was really inexpensive price-wise but that has become an invaluable kitchen tool.]

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Stretch out the dough to the size of a large pizza and place upon a pizza pan.  Set aside to rest.

Sprinkle the tofu with the Chik’Nish and sauté over medium heat until lightly browned.  Set aside.

Sauté the zucchini, bell pepper and garlic over medium heat until slightly browned.  Set aside.

Assembling the pizza:

Spoon out a generous amount of the spicy peanut sauce over the pizza dough and disperse evenly. [Remember to save a bit of the sauce to dress the mesclun salad greens.]  Next, simply spread out the cooked ingredients:  tofu, zucchini, bell pepper and garlic.  Top with an even layer of carrot strips and peanuts.

Bake in the oven until the crust and toppings are browned.

Dress the mesclun greens with some of the spicy peanut sauce.  Top the pizza with the sliced green onions, cilantro, mung bean sprouts and dressed mesclun.

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A couple of weeks ago, Jasmin Singer of Our Hen House, and her partner Mariann Sullivan, shared on Facebook that they were going to begin a 10-day juice cleanse because they felt the need to “reboot” their systems.  Jasmin welcomed any and all to join them in the venture.  Over the course of the following few days, the idea intrigued me more and more because I’d never experienced such a thing.  Having always been somewhat curious about fasting/cleansing, I decided that I’d jump in with both feet and commit to the experience.   

It wasn’t as difficult as I’d imagined it would be.  Yes, I missed hot food and the textural quality of meals, but when I reminded myself that I was treating my body to a rich source of exceptionally digestible phytonutrients, thereby giving my digestive system a breather, things just didn’t seem quite so austere.  It also helped my will-power tremendously to know that I wasn’t alone in the undertaking.  The interesting results were that aside from losing five pounds, there were no physical manifestations that I could detect.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that there weren’t any, I just didn’t experience any of the usual detoxification symptoms such as crankiness, headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue or skin blemishes.   I suppose that it could be a testament to just how cleanly we have eaten this past year since we cut out all processed foods and animal products.  I know that I certainly feel better since we embarked upon our own food revolution, and I’m quite sure that Heather does as well.

In one of the last video logs of her juice cleanse, Jasmin remarked that she and Mariann would  like to start incorporating more healthy raw foods into their diets.  From my perspective, this was a fabulous thing to hear because it afforded me the opportunity to thank them, in my own particular way, for allowing me to tag along on the journey, and for all the support and community they provided along the way.  Simply because I didn’t manifest any outward symptoms of a cleansing doesn’t mean that I didn’t learn anything from the experience!  And so, Jasmin and Mariann…I raise my fork to you both in gratitude by dedicating the creation of my very first raw entrée to you.  I wish you and yours good health and vast happiness.

 

Raw Asian Mushroom Stroganoff with Blackberries

I purposefully chose the Asian pear, lemon zest and Brussels sprouts to add sweetness, bitterness and a touch of refreshing acidity, respectively, in order to cut through a very rich mushroom sauce which would otherwise become quite monotonous.   [I never could eat an entire plate of Fettuccine Alfredo for this very reason.]   Adding a variety of textures to a dish is also very important to me when considering ingredients.  The Asian pear “noodles” add a softness that is more familiar when thinking of a “noodle” dish than the interestingly crunchy texture of kelp noodles.  I also chose Brussels sprouts because Jasmin mentioned that Mariann was rather fond of them.  If you don’t share this love of the cruciferous, you could easily substitute with thinly sliced endive.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 bag raw kelp noodles [I used Sea Tangle’s ]

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours [I put them into a container with water the night before and placed it in the refrigerator]

1 Asian pear, spirally sliced [Alternatively, you could certainly use a vegetable peeler or box shredder to create shreds]

4 Brussels sprouts, cut into a chiffonade

6 dried shiitake mushrooms

2 T ground mushroom powder [I simply took equal parts dried maitake and shiitake mushrooms and ground them into a fine powder using a spice grinder]

2 oz  enoki mushrooms

1 T freshly-squeezed lemon juice

½ tsp lemon zest, plus some for garnish

2 tsp fresh thyme, plus some for garnish

¼ tsp sea salt

⅛ tsp white pepper

1 cup water

1 cup fresh blackberries

crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

Place the dried shiitake mushrooms into the water and allow to rehydrate for at least 30 minutes.  [You shall be using this soaking water later, so do not discard]  Squeeze out any residual water and reserve.  Remove the stems and then slice into thin strips. 

Drain the cashews and toss into a blender.  Add ¾ cup of the reserved shiitake soaking liquid, lemon juice, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper.  Process until smooth.  Add the mushroom powder.  Continue blending until the mixture is silky smooth and creamy. 

Slice the Asian pear into spirals or shreds and place in a bowl containing acidulated water [A good squeeze of lemon juice will do the trick].  Rinse the kelp noodles under cold water to separate.  Place both “noodles “into a colander together and drain well.

Transfer to a large bowl and add the Brussels sprouts, sliced rehydrated shiitakes and enoki mushrooms.  Add as much of the creamy mushroom sauce as you wish and mix well.  [I ended up using a tablespoon per serving]

Garnish with the blackberries, lemon zest, thyme and crushed red pepper.

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These flavors went so well together and that burst of heat from the chili peppers is tempered by the sweetness of the glaze.   This is a great way to celebrate summertime green beans which are overflowing at  farmer’s markets this time of year.

 

Thai-Spiced Tempeh with Green Beans in an Apple and Lemongrass Glaze

Ingredients:

8 oz tempeh

2 cups organic unfiltered apple juice

1 lemongrass stalk, outer layer removed and reserved, inner stalk sliced thinly

⅓ cup thinly sliced leek or onion

1 Thai chili, seeded and sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup cilantro

1 inch-long piece of fresh ginger, finely diced

Juice of ½ a lime

1 T ground flax seed

1 T light miso

¼ cup ponzu [without bonito] or tamari/soy sauce

Sesame seeds to garnish

Directions:

Place the apple juice on medium heat.  Add the outer layer of the lemongrass to the juice and reduce by one half.  

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

While the juice is reducing, add the leek, chili, garlic, cilantro, ginger and flax seed to a food processor and pulse until well combined.  Add the tempeh, ponzu and lime juice.  Pulse and use a spatula to reincorporate any of the mix that has climbed the processor walls.  Let stand for 10 minutes so the flax meal can hydrate.

Roll into marble-sized balls and place upon a non-stick baking sheet or Silpat.  Lightly spray with coconut oil and bake for 30 minutes until browned.

When the tempeh is halfway finished, put some water on to boil in a steamer.  Steam the green beans for 5-7 minutes until cooked through but still crisp.  Remove the lemongrass stalk from the apple juice reduction and stir in the miso.   Add the green beans and tempeh and toss gently.

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Mu Shu was always my favorite Chinese dish to order when I was a kid.  There was something special about it because you got to assemble it at the table and slather on the thick, dark and sweetly-rich hoisin sauce.  Thing is, like the machaca,  Mu Shu is traditionally loaded with animal proteins.  Since that just wouldn’t do, I needed to figure out another way to create this classic Chinese dish.  Once again, I turned to yuba because it has that wonderful chewy texture and takes on the flavors of marinades very well. 

Another part of this dish that I wanted to reinvent was the wrapper.  Rather than use a Mandarin pancake, which is simply white flour and water and brings nothing of nutritional value to the plate, I chose to use a supple steamed collard green leaf that is full of iron, calcium and fiber.  I also added red bell pepper to the mix in order to add a healthy dose of vitamin C so that the iron and calcium in the collards would be more readily assimilated.  This meal was fantastic and one that I shall make often.

 

Mu Shu Yuba with Collard Green Wrappers

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 block regular firm tofu [I used half a block of my homemade tofu]

2 oz dried bean curd sticks [Yuba], rehydrated in warm water and drained

1 large red bell pepper, cut into medium dice

1 large green bell pepper, cut into medium dice

1 cup finely sliced bok choy

6 green onions, sliced thinly

1 cup mung bean sprouts

Juice of ½ a lemon

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ inch fresh ginger, finely diced

2-3 dried wood ear mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced [@ a cup’s worth]

1 T tamari

1 tsp agave syrup

1 tsp dry sherry

1 tsp cornstarch

2 tsp sesame oil

¼ tsp turmeric

Hoisin sauce

2-3 large collard green leaves per person

coconut oil for stir-frying the vegetables and tofu

Directions:

For the Filling:

Cut yuba into thin shreds.  Place in a zip lock bag.  Add the tamari, sherry, half the sesame oil and the cornstarch.  Mix well and marinate at least one hour.

Drizzle a bit of coconut oil into a pan over medium-high heat.  Crumble the tofu into the pan and sprinkle the lemon juice and turmeric over it.  Mix well and cook until slightly browned.  Remove from pan and set aside. 

Add another small drizzle of coconut oil to the pan and add the onions and peppers.  Cook until slightly softened.  Add in the garlic and ginger and sauté for a couple of minutes.  Add in the marinated yuba, wood ear mushrooms and bok choy and cook for a few minutes longer.  Return the tofu to the pan and add the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil.    Add the bean sprouts and mix thoroughly until the entirety is heated through.

For the wrapper:

Cut the large thick part of the stem out of each leaf.  Steam or blanch the leaves until tender [This only takes a few minutes].  Spread hoisin sauce on the leaf and add the Mu Shu filling.  Roll it up and eat!

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I wanted something that felt more “old school” for dinner the other night and the notion of spaghetti and meatballs fit the bill, albeit with some serious modifications.  After having decided to use tempeh as the bulk of the “meatball”, I next wanted to make sure that I packed them full of nutritional value and loaded them up with vegetables and a couple of fruits [tomatoes and raisins] to boot!  I also chose to oven-bake them rather than pan fry to keep them on the virtuous side of the dinner line.  These were awesome over quinoa pasta, but I can see them being great in a sandwich piled high with sautéed onions and peppers and dripping with marinara sauce as well!

 

Tempeh and Vegetable “Meatballs”

[Makes 8 nice-sized meatballs]

Ingredients:

8 oz package tempeh

4 roasted Roma tomatoes [could sub with 4 whole canned Roma tomatoes]

1 onion, finely diced [1 ¼ cup is what I ended up with]

¼ cup carrot, finely diced

½ cup kale, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup toasted pine nuts

¼ cup panko bread crumbs

1 T ground flax seed

1 T raisins, minced

1 T fresh oregano, minced

2 tsp dried oregano

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp freshly-cracked black pepper

½ tsp red pepper flakes*

olive oil, for sautéing the vegetables

* [Optional if you want some extra heat]

Directions:

If roasting your own tomatoes, halve them and lightly spray with olive oil.  Place in a 400°F oven for an hour or until the tops have caramelized.

Add a drizzle of olive oil to a pan over medium heat.  Add onions and sauté until softened.  Add in garlic, carrots, celery and kale.  Sauté until the vegetables have softened.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a food processor, add tempeh and roasted tomatoes.  Pulse a few times.  Add flax seed, raisins, oregano [both fresh and dried], salt and pepper.  Pulse until well combined but do not over process.  You want a crumbly texture, not a paste.

Transfer the tempeh mixture to a bowl and add in the bread crumbs, pine nuts and cooked vegetables.  Mix well and set aside to rest for 10 minutes in order to give the ground flax time to hydrate.  Roll into 8 meatballs.

Place in an oven-safe dish and lightly spray with olive oil.  Place in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the outside of the meatballs have browned.

 

 

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Our local farmer’s market has a mushroom vendor with the most beautiful shiitakes, oyster, morel and porcini mushrooms imaginable. 

 

 

Each week, this stall is my first stop before winding my way through the bounty of gorgeous produce.  Garlic spears happened to be in season when I made this soup so I incorporated them into the recipe;  garlic scapes would work nicely as would scallions. 

 

 

Hot and Sour Mushroom and Greens Soup

Ingredients:

1 lb mixed Asian mushrooms [Shitakes and Oyster are what I used]

¼ cup tamari

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 tsp white pepper

1 quart No Chicken Broth

2 cups shredded leafy greens [I used Kaileen, but kale, mustard, turnip or any other green would work well]

2 Walla Walla spring onions, sliced [1 medium onion, sliced into half and then into half-moon slices would work as well]

¼ cup diced garlic spears [can substitute with a couple sliced garlic cloves and a bunch of sliced scallions]

1 T cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup cold water

Directions:

Sauté the mushrooms and onions in a bit of neutral oil until they have softened.    Add 2/3 of  the garlic spears [or sliced garlic and scallions] and cook for a couple of minutes longer.  Add in the No Chicken Broth, tamari, red wine vinegar and pepper.  Stir well and bring to a low simmer.  Slowly add in the cornstarch while mixing and bring back to a simmer.  Once thickened, toss in the greens and cover the pot.  Cook until the greens are tender.

Serve while hot.  Garnish with the remaining garlic spears or scallion slices.

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We’re back from our road-trip to Farm Sanctuary [photographs of which are posted on our Facebook page if you’d like to check those out] and were craving Mexican-style food after having seen countless taco trucks and Mexican restaurants in California.   My spin on this taco is way outside the norm, but they were amazingly good both in texture and flavor.

The main taco filling was some peachy chili beans.  We topped them with some grilled Maitake mushrooms, grilled corn cut right off the cob and more caramelized peach wedges.  A sprig of fresh and flowering cilantro from our garden added just the flavor to create a new summertime favorite.  We’ll definitely be having these again while peaches and corn are abundant and seasonal.

 

Peachy Chili Beans

Ingredients:

2-15 oz cans Pinto beans, drained and rinsed

2 peaches, sliced into sixths

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 T tomato paste

1 T chili powder

2 tsp Mexican oregano

½ tsp sweet paprika

½ tsp cumin

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1 sprig epazote

2 cups water

coconut oil

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Grill the peach wedges in a grill pan until they have caramelized grill marks on both sides.  Set aside in a bowl. 

Sauté the onion in a drizzle of coconut oil until softened.  Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the chili powder, paprika, cayenne, oregano and cumin.  Add the beans, water and epazote.  Cut the grilled peaches into a large dice and add them, and their grilling juices that collected in the bowl to the beans.  Bring to a slow simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced and the beans have a nice thick consistency.  Season with salt and pepper.

 

 

 

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Cherry Barbecue Tempeh with Long Beans and Carrots

There is something elementally satisfying about a great barbecue sauce.  This dish will be a favorite, for both its ease and its flavors.  Plus, it’s rich in tart cherry juice that is so good for you and helps to relieve your aches and pains after a long day.

Ingredients:

One package tempeh, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 bunch Chinese long beans, snapped into bite-sized pieces.  [If you cannot find long beans, green beans would work perfectly as well.]

4 carrots, cut into a thick julienne

Sesame seeds, for garnish

Sliced almonds, for garnish

For the Sauce:

1 cup hoisin sauce

2 cups tart cherry juice

¼ cup white miso

¼ cup sake

¼ cup double-concentrated tomato paste

¼ cup tamari sauce

2 tsp chili garlic sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a pan and bring to a low simmer.  Add the tempeh and continue to simmer for 30 minutes.

Steam the green beans and carrots for 5 minutes until the vegetables are cooked yet still retain a bite.  Transfer to a large bowl and combine with the sauce and tempeh.  Mix gently.  Garnish with sesame seeds and almonds.  Serve over brown rice or udon.

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