Whole 30 Prep AND HI I’M DOING WHOLE 30

As you know, I’m on Whole30…also affectionally called (by me) Hell30. I’m not gonna lie, it’s not a walk in the park. It’s hard and that’s because I’m totally addicted to sugar and my body is really mad about it. I’m technically on Day 10 right now and I feel really good. The good news […]

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Winging It in the Kitchen — Chopped After Hours

On Chopped, competitors are expected to create transformative dishes out of the mystery basket ingredients, but, if you really think about it, much of that creativity must include some winging it. That’s exactly what Scott Conant, Marc Murphy and Geoffrey Zakarian do in this episode of After Hours, cooking terrific meals on the fly all while having a lot of fun — including a prank at Scott’s expense. Using the entree basket from the Whiskey and Wings episode, they have to cook with turkey wings; a caddy of hot sauces; carrots, celery and blue cheese; and quinoa whiskey. But first they need a celebratory shot to start things off.

“Let’s wing it,” announces Geoffrey as the guys take shots of the whiskey. “Did that put hair on your chest?” Marc asks Scott after seeing him throw back the entire shot. “Too late for that,” says Scott. “Thirty minutes to drink as much whiskey as possible and perhaps make some dishes while you’re at it,” Ted announces as the clock starts the 30-minute round.

In just that short amount of time, all three judges manage to infuse lots of flavor into their dishes. Geoffrey not only uses the required hot sauces in his turkey wing chili, but he also toasted and reconstituted dry chiles to add depth. To break up the heat, he serves it with a blue cheese pico de gallo. “It makes the whole dish,” Scott says of the pico. Scott makes a turkey wing soup with mushrooms and blue cheese dumplings. “You would think this broth had been cooking for hours,” Marc says of Scott’s success in extracting so much flavor. And Marc himself manages to create a whiskey-based pasta sauce, which he made by simmering a thick broth and reducing it. “This reminds me of penne alla vodka,” says Geoffrey. “I used a lot of whiskey,” admits Marc. “You practically blew up the kitchen,” Ted adds.

Click the play button on the video above to watch the entire After Hours episode and see the dishes Scott, Marc and Geoffrey created. Then browse behind-the-scenes images for an insider’s look at the cooking.

Start a conversation with fellow fans and tell FN Dish in the comments below how you would have approached this basket: What would you make out of turkey wings; a caddy of hot sauces; carrots, celery and blue cheese; and quinoa whiskey?

Catch up on past Chopped After Hours episodes by watching all the web-exclusive battles online.

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9 New (and Genius) Ways to Make Your Favorite Dishes

Even though it’s “new year, new you” season, there are some things we’ll never change — like the meals we make ourselves over and over again. But if you want to freshen up the ol’ routine, you might try a new (and, dare we say, potentially better) technique for getting your favorite flavor fix. These new recipes come with clever twists that give meal prep a makeover.

Sideways Lasagna Roll-Ups (above)

This family-friendly dish (stuffed with the creamy ricotta and comforting sauce that always pleases everyone) becomes worthy of a dinner party with some small tweaks: Build the recipe in a springform pan so you can display it dramatically on a platter, and turn the roll-ups on their sides to show-off the pretty lasagna ruffles and crannies filled with cheese.

Slow-Cooker Whole Chicken

This set-it-and-forget-it dinner is the definition of no-fuss. Our trick for an evenly cooked bird? Rubbing it with spices and setting it on canning lids in the slow cooker so it doesn’t get soggy.

Sheet-Pan Bacon Egg Sandwiches

Breakfast for a crowd doesn’t have to mean a casserole or a giant bag of bagels. Make cheesy egg sandwiches for 16 (!) by baking the filling in a sheet pan and then slicing individual portions.

Ginger-Scallion Chicken Parchment Pack

Chicken tenders are a tried-and-true dinner option, and cooking them in a parchment pouch ensures they stay moist — without any added fat. This healthy recipe boasts savory Asian flavors that will definitely rival your favorite take-out order.

Two-Ingredient Pizza Dough

Homemade pizza dough doesn’t have to be a big project. For a weeknight fix, just mix self-rising flour and full-fat Greek yogurt, knead for a few minutes and you’ve got the makings of an easy, last-minute pizza night.

All-Crust Sheet-Pan Scalloped Potatoes

When everyone in your family clamors for the crusty piece (don’t we all?), some extra surface area can help you please the whole group. Food Network Kitchen dreamed up a version of this classic recipe that employs a sheet pan (instead of a casserole dish), so crust is king.

Microwave Spaghetti Squash

You might normally roast this subtly sweet, pasta-like squash. But if you don’t feel like turning on the oven, you can cook it in the microwave in just 10 minutes. Top with marinated tomatoes and ricotta for a side that goes great with turkey meatballs.

Cornbread-Topped Skillet Chili

This recipe is a comforting, stick-to-ribs main and its bready partner all in one skillet. And the pairing is utilitarian too — the steam from the chili keeps the cornbread moist as it cooks.

Sprinkled Sugar Skillet Cookie

If you like a sugar cookie that’s super-tender in the middle, but nicely caramelized on the outside, it might be more easily achieved in a big-batch skillet rather than in scoops on a baking sheet. Plus a big cookie (and we’ve got more — try peanut butter, snickerdoodle or chocolate-chip) is just plain fun.

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At Last, a Wipeable Onesie for People Prone to Pizza-Sauce Spills

At last, a Wipeable Onesie for People Prone to Pizza-Sauce SpillsHere’s one for the “products you never knew you needed until someone invented it” file. A tomato-sauce-stain-resistant wipeable onesie — purportedly the world’s first — made especially for those who want to scarf down pizza in their PJs and emerge unscathed. (Well, at least as far as their clothes are concerned.)

Domino’s has announced that it will offer its limited-edition pizza-proof loungewear — targeted to the 73 percent of Brits who change into PJs the second they get home — at a number of its U.K. locations. (Don’t worry, United States pizza-and-pajamas fans. Your time may come.)

Both fashionable and functional, the zipper-front onesie combines a stain-resistant outer fabric, printed with pepperoni-pizza slices floating against a fetching blue background, and a velveteen interior that is pleasing to the touch.

Created by Charlotte Denn, who took 13 hours to perfect the PJ prototype, it also features extra-deep side pockets “to store dips and drinks, letting pizza lovers to ‘dip and sip’ with ease,” according to a press release.

Domino’s says it will donate the proceeds from the sale of the onesies, which come in a pizza box and retail for about £25 ($30.81 U.S.), to several charities, including the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Photo: Copyright Domino’s Pizza Group Limited. All rights reserved.

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Californian wine: everything you need to know | plus bottle suggestions


Over-ripe, over-oaked and over here: Californian wines can be hard to love for those of us who like a little finesse and subtlety in our glass. California is the world’s fourth largest wine region, and wines by its big brands, whose bottles flood the shelves of our supermarkets and corner shops, are generally as synthetic as a C-lister’s smile.

In contrast, the state’s A-listers are super-charged, super-expensive wines made by hard-hitting producers. These dudes focus on macho fruit-bombs, so grapes are grown to über-ripeness to maximise their sugar and thus alcohol content – it’s not uncommon to find wines at a burly 15% abv. Ageing in oak gives structure to the wines but often masks more interesting flavours. Like Hollywood blockbusters, they’re big, bold, brash, often artificially enhanced and not to everyone’s taste.

But a new style of Californian wine is emerging from a generation of maverick winemakers who are taking more of an art-house approach and making fresher, more elegant wines. Grapes grown in cooler parts of the state are picked earlier and are treated more gently, bringing nuance and delicacy to the fore. These wines typically don’t come cheap but many still compare well to the Napa Valley big boys; careful shopping will reap rewards.

There’s never been a more exciting time to drink Californian wine; seek advice from a decent wine merchant, roll out the red carpet and get stuck in.

califonian wine

Richard Bruno, Santa Lucia Highlands Riesling 2015 (£8.99, nakedwines.com)

Full of ripe tropical fruits with a gentle lime-peel zest, this is off-dry and luscious without being cloying. It sings with on-trend Thai flavours and would sit nicely as a not-too-sweet partner with our passion fruit puddings.

La Crema, Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2014 (£14.99, robertandspeight.co.uk)

Made with a gentle hand on the oak, La Crema is rich and buttery but has a fresh lift, too. Drink it with the roasted cabbage steaks with hazelnut dressing, or a creamy chicken pie

Moobuzz, Monterey Pinot Noir 2013 (£15, robersonwine.com)

Ripe red fruit, balanced with a pleasing streak of acidity. Firm up its soft edges by chilling it slightly in the fridge before serving it with our Maryland stuffed ham.

Karen Birmingham Lodi Zinfandel 2014 (£13.49, nakedwines.com).

For lovers of traditional Californian heft, this is rich and spicy but still has poise. Try it with our slow roast duck with sweet tamarind recipe.

Add to the library…

BBR Wine Book

Exploring and Tasting Wine by Berry Bros. & Rudd (£20, Pavilion). Britain’s oldest wine merchant runs an award-winning wine school and its excellent Introduction to Wine course is covered in this book. Looking at the world’s classic grapes and key regions, it’s informative but not dreary and has great infographics. Follow the course cover-to-cover, or dip in and out at your leisure.

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Beer: the expert guide | by Ciaran Giblin


Craft beer: a brief history

pint

Craft beer is a relatively new idea in Britain but it has been around in the States for much longer; they’ve been experimenting with beer styles since the mid-60s. My definition of craft beer is ‘modern interpretations of traditional European beer’.

Given that the US has a much shorter history of brewing than most of Europe, they tend to be much more likely to experiment as they don’t have a wealth of tradition holding them back. Imagine asking a monk to change the recipe of the beer his monastery has been making for 500 years – I doubt he’d dignify that with an answer.

In Britain, Meantime is one of the founders of the craft beer movement. Meantime started brewing in 2000 when, inspired by both European and modern American brewing, our brewmaster and founder Alastair Hook wanted to shake up the relatively dull brewing scene in this country. 2000 doesn’t seem long ago, but when Meantime started there were fewer than 10 breweries in London – a city which was once the brewing capital of the world. Now there are close to 100.


So what’s brewing?

beer ingredients
Hops

According to the 500-year-old German purity law, reinheitsgebot, there must only ever be four ingredients in beer; cereal (grain), hops, yeast and water. Hops haven’t always been a key ingredient in beer – they were introduced in the 15th century from Belgium and used as a preservative.

Being the stubborn cluster of islanders we are, the British didn’t take to them straight away. Hops have revolutionised beer for the drinker who wants to try a wide variety of flavours. They can be compared to grapes in wine, where the biodynamics of their growing environment dramatically affects flavour.

Most craft beers tend to favour hops from the West Coast of America, but there are amazing flavours on offer all over the world. When describing hops, I refer to them as the ‘seasoning’ in beer.

At Meantime, we often add interesting and complementary ingredients to give you something new to try; the Raspberry Wheat beer has (you guessed it), raspberries; the Chocolate Porter, chocolate. We produced a beer recently in our Pilot Brewery that included scotch bonnet chillies. We always use the same four principal ingredients; water, malts, hops and yeast, but beyond that the world is your oyster (stout).


How to pair beer with food:

My top tip for beer and food matching is to remember the three C’s; complement, contrast and cut…

3 pints

To complement, think about how big the flavours are and try to keep it a similar flavour size. For example, hot curry probably needs a big beer to match the flavours. As much as it’s what we’ve been taught, pale lager isn’t really the beer for a curry: instead pour an IPA to complement the curry rather than washing it out.

To contrast, think about two flavours that might not obviously go together but could be appealing; a great example is blue cheese and dark beer. The roasted notes of the beer contrast with cloying notes in the cheese, almost like a wholegrain cracker would.

To cut, think about scrubbing your palate. For example, wheat beer with risotto – the esters and light carbonation will clear your palate of the starch coating your mouth.


Key styles:

IPA

IPA is pale ale on steroids. During the 19th century, India was very important in Britain’s empire, and lots of troops and traders lived there. Pale ale couldn’t take the nine-month journey on a wooden ship, so brewers upped the hop content and alcohol level – the preservative agents in beer.

Bitter

Up until the end of the 18th century, grain was roasted over an open flame, making the beer so smoky that the bitterness of the hops couldn’t be tasted. When more efficient slow-roasting, with hot air rather than flame, was introduced the bitterness came to the fore. It seems strange now as there are still bitterer beers from the continent, but the name has stuck nevertheless.

beer bottles by meantime brewing

Porter and stout

London was built on dark beer. As the water in the 18th century spread cholera and dysentery, Londoners had two drink options; gin or dark beer. Life expectancy was low if people chose gin, but beer was a much healthier choice. Porter was the original dark beer, named for the ships’ porters and manual labourers who drank
a lot of it. Stout was a higher-alcohol version to drink in the pub. With the taxes and recipe changes of 300 years, the lines have blurred so much that there isn’t any difference; it’s all up to the brewer to decide what they want to call their dark beer.

Saison

A beer style from Belgium and France, this beer was made for farm workers who usually worked during the summer, known as ‘saisonniers’. These are lighter ales that tend to have spicy and fruity notes due to the hybrid yeasts used by the farm brewers of the time.

Pilsner

This was first brewed in the year 1842 in the town of Pilsen in the Czech Republic. In 1841 there was a riot in Pilsen; the locals were so unimpressed with their local breweries that they ransacked them, poured the beer away and burnt the breweries down. When the town elders planned a new, central, brewery, they used local yeast and hops coupled with newly developed pale malt to create this style. Pilsners tend to have less flavour than most other beer, but that’s the point. Sometimes an 8% IPA or a super smokey porter can be overwhelming. 93% of the beer drunk on earth is pilsner!

Look out for:

We’ve only gone and made our own beer! That’s right, we’ve collaborated with the team at Meantime, pioneers of the craft beer movement in the UK, to create a delicious pomegranate porter. A take on their classic London porter full of chocolate, coffee and gentle smoke, the addition of pomegranate gives our Portergranate a unique, tart twist. It’s the perfect, refreshing, moreish pint with a dry finish to get you through the cold months. Find it at the brewery shop, or online at meantimebrewing.com. £22.99/12 x 330ml

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The Chefs’ Take: Parsnips

A thick, taupe-hued version of the ubiquitous, snack-friendly carrot, the parsnip is an unsung root vegetable seldom eaten raw. Then winter arrives, and its nutty profile deservedly gets the spotlight in a barrage of hearty soups and braises. But, there are other clever ways to celebrate the parsnip’s complexity this season.

Five nights a week, chef/owner Nicolas Delaroque of Nico in San Francisco serves a five-course tasting menu. Inevitably, parsnips make a cameo this time of the year. “I enjoy their versatility. We can use them in so many types of cooking,” he explains. That’s why he embraces the vegetable’s floral notes and incorporates them into a dessert. One splurge-worthy scoop of brown butter ice cream is dressed with fried parsnip chips and wood sorrel. “Parsnips have a sweet disposition, and with the cozy, warm feel of maple and bourbon, it just makes sense on a cold day.”

Before mopping up a fragrant seafood curry at La Thai Uptown, in New Orleans, patrons might want to order chef/owner Diana Chauvin Gallé’s salad with julienned parsnips and carrots along with their go-to order of rice paper summer rolls. Inspired by her mother’s recipe for classic Thai papaya salad, it’s brightened with fish sauce and Bird’s eye chiles, along with garlic, lime, cilantro and green onions. “I added cashews and pumpkin seeds for crunch, and to enhance the earthiness of the parsnips,” says Gallé. “Yet it remains light, refreshing, and healthy.”

Parsnips also provide a leaner alternative to sushi at Gramercy Farmer & the Fish in New York. Chef/owner/farmer Michael Kaphan swaps sushi’s traditional log of starchy white rice for a mélange of riced root vegetables—parsnip, as well as Scarlet turnip—and tops it with wild salmon, Bigeye tuna sashimi and basil. Parsnips, he says, “have a great texture and gingery-apple flavor that works really well with most recipes. I feel that they are usually overlooked by most chefs who forget how wonderful they are fresh.” In Kaphan’s case, they come straight from his five-acre farm in Westchester County.

Alia Akkam is a freelance writer and former Food Network intern who covers the food, drink, travel and design realms.

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Chatting with Fanny Slater, a Co-Host on Kitchen Sink

Fanny Slater“Yes, my name is actually Fanny, and no, it’s not short for anything.” That’s what Fanny Slater told us when we asked if there was anything she wanted to say to fans to introduce herself. We recently caught up with her on the set of Kitchen Sink, the brand-new series all about party-ready dishes and can-do techniques, and she told us about her style of cooking and a few of her favorite dinners and ingredients. Read on below to hear more from Fanny in a one-on-one chat and learn her secrets to becoming a “CEO.” (Spoiler: It’s not what you think.)

Many Food Network fans might know you from when you won Rachael Ray’s Great American Cookbook competition. But for newcomers, how would you describe your style of cooking? What will you bring to the party on Kitchen Sink?
Fanny Slater: I would say I’m bringing a little fun and silliness and storytelling, and the food that I love to eat from my childhood, which is really what the cookbook was based on. Just what I grew up with and how I put my own spin on it. So [I’m] definitely sort of a storytelling type of person. I love when food has a story behind it.

Do you gravitate towards to certain cuisine or style of cooking?
FS: I like elevated comfort foods — comfort foods in a tuxedo. Things that are familiar to me or things that are comforting to me but done up a little bit, definitely nothing too fancy. I don’t really gravitate toward a certain type of cultural cuisine — I guess maybe American or New American if I had to pick one.

What are you most looking forward to in terms of working with an ensemble?
FS: Everyone grew up with different culinary backgrounds, and that aspect of it, bringing them all together — everyone has a different bite of food that tastes like childhood to them, and I think that bringing all those things together in one bite is really fun. So you’re getting such a variety of types of foods, types of flavors and types of personality in the food. That’s what’s fun about us. It’s not just you and your ideas, but it’s also getting to work with a team of people who also love food as much as you do.

Let’s say it’s a regular Tuesday night and you are at home. What are you making for dinner?
FS: Cast-iron chicken thighs … Whatever I have in the fridge is a go-to with the chicken thighs. But I just love getting the skin extra crispy in the cast-iron and doing the whole thing in there. But I’ll usually do lemon — lemon gets all nice and charred in the oven — fresh herbs and then potatoes in there too, and it’s kind of a one-pot meal.

Tell us a bit about your approach to reading a recipe and how viewers have the potential to make any recipe their own.
FS: In almost every case, you can substitute whatever you want. So if you need a cheese that’s really melty and oozy, you don’t want to use feta or something like that. But in most instances, I think everyone can really just substitute vegetables and citrus and proteins for whatever flavors they enjoy.

What do consider to be your signature dish?
FS: There is a breakfast sandwich that my dad made for me when I was growing up. He would wrap it in tin foil, and it was always the same thing — it was eggs and cheese. And he would give it to us in the car. He was the one who made it, but he would turn around, and he’d say, “What did you get?” So we’d call it the Tin-Foil Surprise.” So I make my own version of that, and it’s pretty much always on an English muffin [with] fluffy scrambled eggs, and I love to toy with a different cheese, a different jam. The orange-lavender fig jam is what my book is named for. So I would say that breakfast sandwich and just making it fun using a different spread, a different jam, a different herb oil, different cheese, different vegetables in there. I think that breakfast should be different and fun and exciting every day, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Food hacks are all the rage these days, and they’ll certainly make appearances on Kitchen Sink. Do you have a favorite food hack, or perhaps a helpful shortcut?
FS: I think when you’re cooking a lot during the week, a lot of things that people don’t enjoy doing are all the prep. I think sometimes on a Sunday it’s a great day to do a bunch of prep for the week, so that way when you get home, you don’t have to do all the chopping. So for example, if you know you’re going to use garlic almost every night — I never buy the store-bought minced garlic. I’ll just take a couple heads of garlic, which obviously are very inexpensive, and pop the cloves out, put them into a food processor with a little bit of oil, and that will give you your own fresh homemade garlic. And just put a little bit of oil in it and that’ll keep for the week. And that can go into all your dishes.

Is there one store-bought ingredient that you do condone people taking to make prep work a little easier?
FS: Most definitely. There is a Thai red curry paste that I use. The Thai red curry paste — all day long — is a great store-bought ingredient. [It] keeps in the pantry. Once you open it, [it] goes in the fridge — keeps forever. All you really need with that is ginger, lemon grass, garlic, the red curry paste and some coconut milk, and you’ve got this great sauce base for any vegetables, any protein, any starch.

What food trend from 2016 are you hoping doesn’t stick around in the new year? Is there something that you are hoping does become a big deal in the food space in 2017?
FS: Yeah, the rainbow everything. Like rainbow bagels, rainbow this, rainbow that. I think it’s fun and it looks fun, but it doesn’t really have any flavor. … I would rather eat something that isn’t as colorful but just blows my mind with flavor, rather than look at something that I’m like, “Cool, it looks like a unicorn but tastes plain.” So I could say good bye to that.

And as for things that I would like to welcome, I would like to bring back artichokes. About time. Hail to the artichokes. … I think they are very underrated. They’re so much fun to make, so easy to cook and so much fun to eat. Such a great appetizer for your family instead of, like, chips and dip. So, all hail artichokes.

On your blog, you call yourself a “CEO (Chief Eating Officer).” What advice would you give someone who also wanted to be a “CEO” and pursue food or recipe writing, like you did?
FS: For me, in my down time I always focused on what I wanted to be my job, which was food writing and blogging and recipe development. So any spare time that I got — because it was something that I enjoyed — I tried to devote that additional time to it, and for me it was kind of leisurely. And then another great tip that is at least very helpful for me — if I have an idea in mind or something that I need to work out, whether usually with writing or a recipe, what helps me is I live on the river walk, and it’s such a great place to go run. So I would say that getting out and doing a little exercise, whether it’s running or taking a walk through a pretty area. … I don’t believe in over-working yourself to death. I believe in the balance of doing work but also doing things that are good for you inside and out, and I think one of those is literally going out and taking a walk, even if it’s 15 minutes. I meditate, but a lot of people don’t do that. But I think it’s just a great way to clear your head, and sometimes when you do that, that helps you see things a little clearer. But as far as you taking that jump, you have to reach out for every opportunity that’s in front of you. You have to say yes to everything. You have to get out there and meet people and network. I live in a small town, and I made sure that everyone knew who I was in every circle, because I thought, this is what I want to do and I want to make sure that people remember my name. And so little touches were a big part of it — dropping off sandwiches or sending writing samples. And it’s the Gary Vaynerchuk Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook method. It’s all about not really asking for anything. It’s just about giving of yourself, even if it’s just a little piece, and hoping that putting it out there into the universe kind of gives you something back.

Tune in to Kitchen Sink on Sunday, Jan. 15 at 11a|10c.

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Rachel Roddy’s recipe for fish poached in tomato and wine | A kitchen in Rome

Some recipes aren’t an exact science – such as pesce all’acqua pazza, or fish in crazy water – where whole bream is poached in a glistening sauce of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, chilli, and tomatoes and wine

“It is not a recipe, but a way.” It must be 10 years since Vera said this to me. We were making pasta and chickpeas in her small, organised kitchen, which was on the other side of the wall from my not-so-organised small kitchen. We were just about done and drinking coffee, the soup at a simmer. I was writing things down and asking questions, to which she was responding more with handfuls and tastes, rather than grams and minutes. Then she said it: “This is not a recipe, but a way.” It wasn’t a new or revelatory idea, we all know that most of the time cooking is not guided by exact recipes or precise measurements, but her words summed it up well, and the expression stuck.

Her way stuck too, a template for the thick bean soup with pasta variations of which I have written about many times: fry aromatic vegetables in olive oil for a soffritto, add a herb and cooked beans, then liquid, simmer, add pasta and cook until ready. Of course, when we make something, we may look to a specific recipe from specific places or people, to give something an authentic name. But most of the time we are cooking by “way” rather than recipe, following sketched rather than detailed maps; letting experience, taste and smell lead us. Baking is a different matter, which is possibly why it is not my strength.

Continue reading…

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