Creating memories in the kitchen...One meal at a time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Garlic-Roasted Chicken

This recipe comes from the Food Network magazine (my new favorite mag!) and is featured as a quick week-night recipe. I have found that a lot of quick week-night recipes aren't all that great, but this one is absolutely delicious! I am a huge garlic lover, so any recipe that takes whole garlic cloves, roasts them and spreads them on bread is a keeper for me. Plus it was so easy to prepare, and believe me, when you've got a 2 month old baby to take care of, quick and easy is the only way to do dinner these days!
I served it with Cauliflower Gratin that I will post next (another delicious quick week-night recipe).
Garlic-Roasted Chicken
from Food Network Magazine
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 skin-on, boneless chicken breasts (about 11/2 pounds) (I could only find bone-in)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 heads garlic
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 slices sourdough bread, grilled or toasted
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook, skin-side down, until browned, about 5 minutes.

Separate the heads of garlic into cloves but do not peel. Flip the chicken; add the garlic and rosemary to the skillet and transfer to the oven. Roast until the chicken is cooked through but still moist, 15 to 20 more minutes.

Place the bread on a platter and top each slice with a chicken breast. Add the vinegar to the skillet and scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add 3 tablespoons water and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Pour the sauce and garlic over the chicken and bread.
Posted By: Julia
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Breakfast (or Dinner) Burritos

I am loving the weather these days and watching the kids play outside all afternoon and come in exhausted! Along with the weather, it seems like there are so many activities and trips going on that by the time dinner rolls around I've got to get something on the table fast. A while back we had smoothies and breakfast burritos for dinner. It was a huge hit with both my husband and myself and amazingly, the kids! I loved that my kids were eating fruits and vegetables and not complaining.

Breakfast Burritos

adapted from Cooks Country

8 large eggs
1/4 milk (the original recipe calls for half and half)
1/2 teaspoon
table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
6 ounces chorizo sausage , chopped medium (I used italian sausage.You could also use andouille or keilbasa)
1 red onion , chopped fine
1 red bell pepper , stemmed, seeded, and chopped medium
1 jalapeno chile , stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 ounces
cheddar cheese
, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
3 scallions , sliced thin
6 flour tortillas (8- to 9-inch)
1 cup sour cream (optional, I left this out)
1 cup salsa , jarred or fresh (optional)
1. Whisk together the eggs, half-and half or milk, salt, and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the chorizo and cook until lightly browned, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño and continue to cook until they have softened and are beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chorizo mixture to a medium bowl and cover to keep warm. Wipe the skillet clean and return to the heat. Melt the butter in the skillet, swirling to coat the pan. Add the eggs and cook while gently pushing, lifting, and folding them from one side of the pan to the other until they are nicely clumped, shiny, and wet, about 2 minutes . Quickly fold in the cheddar and scallions, then remove the mixture from the pan. Fold in the chorizo mixture.
2. Place each tortilla between sheets of paper towels and microwave on high until the tortillas are hot and steaming, 30 to 60 seconds. Distribute the eggs evenly among the tortillas and roll into burritos. Slice the burritos in half and serve, passing the sour cream and salsa (if using) separately. Serves 6.

posted by: Salllie
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Classic Chicken Parmesan with Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce and Smoked Mozzarella

This was a delicious version of chicken parmesan. The oven-roasted tomato sauce had such a "rustic" flavor that reminded me of something you would find in a restaurant in Italy. It is definitely worth the extra effort to make the sauce. Enjoy!
Classic Chicken Parmesan with Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce and Smoked Mozzarella
From Emeril Lagasse
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5 to 6 ounces each)
2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning pasta
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup dried bread crumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 recipe Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or your favorite red pasta sauce
1/2 pound smoked mozzarella, sliced
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound linguine, cooked al dente and kept warm
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chiffonade fresh basil leaves

Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Season each chicken breast with 1/2 teaspoon of the Essence and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
Place the flour into a small bowl. Place the egg and milk into a second small bowl. Place the bread crumbs into a third small bowl. Dip each chicken breast into the flour, then the beaten egg mixture, and finally into the bread crumbs, shaking to rid of excess between each step. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining breasts. When all of the breasts are breaded, heat half of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the chicken, smooth side down, into the skillet and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the chicken breasts to the other side, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Spoon 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce over each breast and divide the mozzarella slices evenly among the chicken pieces. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook until the chicken is just cooked through and the cheese melts, about 4 minutes. Adjust the oven setting to broil and continue to cook until the cheese bubbles and is lightly golden, about 1 to 2 minutes longer.
While the chicken is baking, reheat the pasta sauce if necessary. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the pasta and toss until warmed through. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add enough of the pasta sauce to just coat the pasta and divide between 4 large serving plates.
When the chicken is ready, top each plate of pasta with a little more sauce and top each serving with a chicken breast. Garnish with the fresh basil and serve immediately.
Note: Regular smoked mozzarella works better in this recipe than fresh smoked mozzarella.
Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup

Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce:
3 pounds Romanita tomatoes, cored*
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large, 14-inch, oven proof frying pan, combine all the ingredients. Stir to blend then transfer to the oven and cook until the tomatoes begin to caramelize, about 30 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and stir well. Return to the oven and continue to cook until further caramelized and much of the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from the oven, cool slightly, and transfer to a blender, in batches if necessary, and process sauce until coarsely pureed. If the sauce seems too thick, thin with a bit of water or chicken broth. Use immediately or cool completely and refrigerate for up to 4 days in a non-reactive, airtight container.
The sauce is great on pasta as well as pizza and even makes a great dipping sauce for hors d'oeuvres. If you prefer a less rustic sauce, puree completely as described above and strain.
Yield: about 4 cups sauce

* If Romanita tomatoes are unavailable, use a combination of Roma and grape tomatoes to approximate the sweetness of Romanitas, or use another type of sweet tomato, such as Amorosa.
Posted By: Julia
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Maple-Butter Blondies

These brownies are a copy cat of the from Applebee's and oh so delicious!

Maple-Butter Blondies
From Foodnetwork Magazine

For the Blondies:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
1 cup walnut pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
6 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks

For the Topping:
1/3 cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream

Vanilla ice cream, for serving
1/2 cup walnut pieces

Make the blondies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter the foil. Pulse 1/2 cup walnuts in a food processor until almost fine (do not overprocess). Whisk the ground nuts, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat 10 tablespoons butter and the brown sugar with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the vanilla. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the white chocolate and the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake until the blondies are light brown around the edges and spring back when pressed, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly on a rack.
Meanwhile, make the topping: Place the maple syrup and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the mixture bubbles and thickens, swirling the pan, about 6 minutes. Add the cream and continue to cook until the mixture is the consistency of caramel.

Use the foil to lift the blondies out of the pan, then cut into large bars. Serve warm topped with ice cream, the maple-butter sauce and the walnuts.

Posted By: Julia
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hot Fudge Sundaes and another birthday

I don't know about you but it seems like I blinked and already we're half way through March. I can't believe how fast this year is going by.

Speaking of how time flies, my second to youngest daughter just turned six. I don't know how this happened. It seemed like one day I was in a house full of babies, changing diapers, feeding, rushing home so we wouldn't miss the all important nap! Now I'm entering the era of the Taxi Mom. Sports, dance, scouts, birthday parties, piano, etc. but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I just can't resist sharing a little about each child on their birthday. (Someday I'll print out these blog posts and it will be nice to have a little something for them to look back on since I'm the world's worst scrapbooker! )

Emma is my personality girl. I get so many comments about her. She's definitely the life of the party. Not only is she fun to be around, she has a funny side and is one of the sweetest little girls you'll ever meet. She's always the first to share or help whoever is hurt, especially her little sister. They're such good friends and it's so cute to watch them together. She loves music and is constantly singing to the radio or t.v.

Here are a few of her answers from her Kindergarten birthday interview.

Favorite color: pink

Favorite Food: brownies

Favorite part about school: snack time

What do you want to be when you grow up: A cheerleader

I can't believe she's six and it makes me a little sad because I know she'll be in school full time next year. I always shed a tear or two when my kids start 1st grade because I know I won't see them as much anymore. As much as I love to watch them learn and grow it's always a little bittersweet.

Emma is by far my pickiest eater. I think she lived solely on pb & j sandwiches, quesadillas, and waffles for the first four years of her life. She has branched out a little and we're working on trying new things everyday. For Emma's birthday dessert she picked hot fudge sundaes. Yum! For sure one of my all time favorites I figured since I was getting off so easy I might as well make the hot fudge sauce. I've tried a few recipes but this is one of my favorites. It comes from the famous Ben and Jerry as in the Ice Cream Ben and Jerry's. Chocolatey, silky, decadent, delicious! I like this sauce because it keeps really well in the fridge.

Hot Fudge Sauce

From Ben and Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream (for extra decadent, use all cream)

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring frequently. Add the cocoa and whisk until it dissolves. Using a slotted spoon, gradually stir in the sugar (the mixture should be the consistency of wet sand.) Cook over the simmering water, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Gradually stir in the milk and cream. Continue cooking and stirring for one hour, checking the water level in the double boiler and replenishing it when necessary. When the fudge is completely smooth and the sugar is dissolved, the sauce is ready. Makes one generous quart.

Posted by: Sallie

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Mom's Red Enchiladas

My Mom is a winner in the enchilada department! I still make both her recipes for beef (they actually come from someone my Mom babysat when she was younger. That's how long I've been eating these things!)and chicken enchiladas. Usually we have chicken because they are one of my husbands favorite meals but Sunday we had beef and I remembered how good they were. My favorite part is the filling with ground beef, melty cheese, and diced green chilies. I love it with corn tortillas but if you prefer flour tortillas you can use them with great results. One word of caution, the red sauce is a little inconsistent. I blame it on the El Pato sauce. Sometimes it's really hot and other times more mild. I recommend tasting the sauce and if it's too hot add a little more tomato sauce, too mild just add some more hot sauce. Great served with a dollop of sour cream. For a delicious meal serve chips and guacamole , beans and rice, and finish off with this delicious fried ice cream dessert! Yum!

Mom's Red Enchiladas

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 can diced green chilies

chopped onions

1-2 cups grated cheddar cheese

about 18 corn tortillas depending on how big you make your enchiladas

1 8 oz. can El Pato Sauce (A Mexican sauce almost like enchilada sauce in a yellow can. I have found it at most any grocery store in the Mexican food section.)

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp cornstarch

16 oz. can tomato sauce

2 tbsp. vinegar

sliced black olives (optional, we always use them)

Brown hamburger with onions; add green chilies and cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Soften tortillas in hot oil or in microwave. Put about 1-2 tbsp. filling down center of tortillas and roll up. Place seam side down in 9 x 13 greased baking dish.

Make Sauce: in a medium sauce pan stir together El Pato and tomato sauces. Taste to check spice level. Add butter. In a measuring cup or small bowl dissolve cornstarch in vinegar and add to sauce mixture in pan. Stir constantly over medium heat until thick and bubbly.

Cover enchiladas with sauce and more cheese. Add black olives if desired. Bake at 350 degrees 20-30 minutes or until hot and cheese is bubbly. Makes approx 15-18 small enchiladas. I usually use one 9 x 13 pan and another 8x8 pan.

Posted by: Sallie and Julia
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Monday, March 8, 2010

Crystal's Delicious Guacamole

We had another birthday and a baptism this week and were lucky enough to have my Mom and her husband and my sister and her husband and of course, their adorable baby! We had such a good time and ate lots of great food. My family is really partial to Mexican Food and Sunday my sister made some fabulous guacamole. It comes from her friend Crystal and is one of those recipes that you can tweak until it tastes just how you like it. I made it again at the request of my husband and put what I used just as guidelines.

Crystal's Guacamole

Fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice (we like lemon) (1/2 gently squeezed. I didn't use all the juice, just squeezed until it the juice wasn't coming out as easily)

fresh squeezed orange juice (1/2 an orange. same directions as with lemon)

finely diced tomato - I used one Roma tomato

finely chopped onion- about 1/2 a medium onion

garlic, minced and finely diced- 2 cloves

cilantro- I actually forgot about this and left it out but I'd say about half a handful, depending on how much you like.

salt- about 3/4 a tsp.

Serrano peppers (seeds removed if you don't want it too spicy and diced finely) I didn't have these so left them out.

avocados (mashed until desired consistency. We like ours a little chunky). I used 4 and we had quite a bit left over. We fed 10 people Sunday and had a little leftover using 4 avocados.

Mix all ingredients and serve with tortilla chips.
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Friday, March 5, 2010

Another Delicious Cake from Sky High

Being that my daughter Brinley and I have birthdays that are only two days apart, I was a little bit on chocolate overload (I know, shocking) with brownie sundaes and the devils food cupcakes. I wanted something light but delicious. I love my Sky High Triple Layer Cake book and want to eventually make every recipe in it. Every single recipe has turned out amazingly delicious, so of course I started scanning recipes. There were so many delicious sounding cakes but the Lemon Poppy seed Cake with Almond Cream Cheese Frosting caught my eye. It was everything I had hoped. The cake was light, yet moist with a hint of lemon flavor (not overpowering at all!). The frosting, oh my, I am a HUGE fan of pretty much anything with almond extract and paired with cream cheese, sugar and butter, how could it be anything but heavenly? It made me one happy birthday girl! This cake is best enjoyed freshly baked.
Lemon-Poppy Seed Cake with Almond-Cream Cheese Frosting
Sky High Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes

Makes an 8 in. triple layer cake; serves 12-16

3 cups cake flour

2 cups sugar

4 1/1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. poppy seeds
2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
5 egg whites
1/3 cup water
Almond Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
Optional Garnishes:sliced almonds, or poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. butter the bottoms of three 8 inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper; butter the paper.

Combine the flour, 1 3/4 cups of the sugar, the baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer on low speed, blend to combine and break up any lumps, about 30 seconds.

Add the butter, lemon zest, and 1 cup of the buttermilk to the flour. Beat on low until completely mixed. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-2 minutes to lighten and aerate the batter.

In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites with the remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk; whisk to blend thoroughly. Add the egg white mixture to the batter in 2 or 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only enough to incorporate. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes.

While the cake layers are cooling, make a lemon syrup. In a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the lemon juice with the water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Turn out the cake onto wire racks (use wax paper underneath to avoid messes) and generously brush the hot lemon syrup over the warm cake layers to moisten evenly. Allow the layers to cool completely.

To frost the cake,place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup of the Almond-Cream Cheese Frosting over the cake to cover evenly. Repeat with the next layer. Set the third layer in place. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish with poppy seeds or sliced almonds.

Almond-Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature

5 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon almond extract

In a large mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat until very fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the almond extract and mix well.

Posted by: Sallie

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Buttermilk Syrup- Two deliciously different ways

I have this recipe posted on my blog at the bottom of the Caramel Pecan French Toast recipe but it is so delicious it deserves a post all of it's own and I wouldn't want you to miss it.
My Mom first introduced me to this delicious syrup a couple of years ago when we had pumpkin waffles. Pumpkin waffles and buttermilk syrup are a great combination! Any waffles and buttermilk syrup are a great combination! The recipe she gave me produces a golden, buttery, indescribably delicious syrup.
In my food blog browsing I realized there was actually another way to make this syrup. Cooking the syrup for a longer period of time results in a delicious, caramel like syrup.
My husband prefers the second version. If I was forced to choose I think I prefer the first version although they are both so delicious it is too hard to choose.
No matter which version you try I can guarantee you'll be hooked for like.

Golden Buttermilk Syrup

1/2 cup butter (not margarine)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Heat butter, buttermilk, and sugar in a saucepan. Heat until boiling, stirring often. Boil for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add vanilla and baking soda. Stir until combined. Serve immediately over pancakes or waffles.

Caramel Buttermilk Syrup

3/4 c. buttermilk

1 1/2 c. sugar

1 stick real butter

2 Tbsp. corn syrup

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

Combine buttermilk, sugar, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda in a LARGE pot.

Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to low (as long as it's still bubbling, you're okay). Cook, stirring very frequently, for 8-9 minutes.
When it's done, it should take on a luscious golden-brown color. Remove from heat and add vanilla.Give it a good stir to mix in the foamy top. Enjoy!

*Either of these are amazing on ice cream or chocolate waffles, or both together!*

Posted by: Sallie

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Tortellini Salad with Asparagus and Fresh Basil Vinaigrette

This salad was so good and just one of those fresh tasting, hit the spot meals. My husband raved about it and that's pretty impressive when you're serving salad for dinner! The cheese tortellini was perfect with the crisp asparagus and tomatoes and I loved the lightness of the dressing and the fresh basil . This is one of those dishes that you've got to use fresh herbs. It just wouldn't be the same without. I served mine as a main dish but it would be great alongside some grilled chicken or fish. The recipe called for fresh tortellini but I used frozen and it turned out great.

Tortellini Salad with Asparagus and Fresh Basil Vinaigrette
Cook's Country

Serves 8 to 10
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 shallot , minced
1 clove garlic , minced
1 pound asparagus , tough ends trimmed and sliced thin on the bias
2 (9-ounce) packages fresh cheese tortellini (I used frozen with great results)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 pint grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 ounce Parmesan cheese , grated (1/2 cup)

1. Whisk the olive oil, basil, lemon juice, shallot, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a bowl large enough to hold the pasta salad.
2. Cook the asparagus in 4 quarts boiling water seasoned with 1 tablespoon salt until tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to a colander using a slotted spoon (do not discard the boiling water) and run under cold water until cool. Shake out any excess water and toss with the vinaigrette.
3. Return the water to a boil, add the tortellini, and cook until tender, following the package instructions. Drain the tortellini thoroughly, then toss while hot with the asparagus and dressing. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
4. Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Just before serving, stir the toasted pine nuts, tomatoes, and Parmesan into the salad and season with salt and pepper.

To Make Ahead
The salad can be prepared, covered, and refrigerated a day in advance. Before serving, freshen the salad with a spoonful of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Posted by: Sallie
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