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Archive for Bread-Crackers-Sandwiches

RECIPE: Melba Toast

Melba Toast & Crostini

Pate & Melba Toast

Salmon Tartare & Melba Toast

Raincoast Crisps

Raincoast Crisps Copycat Recipe

[1] Melba toast and olive tapenade. Here’s the recipe from Sprinkles & Sprouts. [2] Chicken liver paté and Melba toast, with a dab of marmalade. Here’s the recipe from Drizzle And Drip. [3] Salmon tartare and melba toast. Here’s the recipe from Olive Magazine. Crackers or crisps like these are thin and crunchy, but were baked that way. They are not toasted from bread, so are not toasts. [4] These are Raincoast Crisps (photo Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE), and [5] this is a copycat recipe from The Wandering Fig.

 

March 23rd is National Melba Toast Day, celebrating dry, crisp and thinly sliced toasts.

First, and with all due respect, packaged Melba toast has as much to do with homemade Melba toast as the Keebler Elves have with the best homemade cookies.

Melba toast, which became a diet staple in the U.S. thanks to manufacturers such as Devonsheer and Old London, dates to the end of the 19th century.

THE HISTORY OF MELBA TOAST

Melba toast was born in 1897 at the Savoy Hotel in London, where the legendary French Chef Auguste Escoffier ruled the kitchen, and César Ritz ran the hotel. Dame Nellie Melba, the great Australian soprano, was a guest.

There is an unsubstantiated tale that Melba toast was a mistake in the hotel kitchen; that the dieting diva asked for some dry toast which arrived as overtoasted, thin and crunchy slices. However, as with the story of the history of potato chips, the guest enjoyed the result.

The more likely explanation is that Melba toast was created by Escoffier* either as a lower-calorie food for the singer, or as simple fare during a bout of illness in 1897 when she was unable to tolerate richer foodstuffs.

It is said that César Ritz bestowed the name Melba toast, and put it on the menu.

Since then, manufacturers have marketed Melba toast as a reduced-calorie bread option.

But for those who want to enjoy a piece of Melba toast, modern crostini are a much closer match.

MELBA TOAST & CROSTINI VS. CRACKERS & CRISPS: THE DIFFERENCE

Those thin toast points served with caviar, pâté and steak tartare…those crunchy toasts served with cheese…are they Melba toast?

And what do they have to do with biscotti and bruschetta?

Melba Toast Vs. Crostini

These two are very similar. Both are cut from a loaf of bread and toasted. However:

  • Melba toast is toasted dry, saving calories.
  • Crostini are brushed with olive oil, and can be thicker than Melba toast.
  • Thin toast points made without added fat (butter, oil), as served with caviar, pâté, etc., are also Melba toast.
  •  
    Melba Toast Vs. Crackers/Crisps/Toasts

    In the U.S., makers of artisan crackers sometimes call them crisps, to sound more elegant. That works in the U.S., but in the U.K., crisps are potato chips.

  • Melba toast is a slice of bread that is toasted.
  • Crackers and crisps are made from a dough that is baked to its finished size and shape. They are not slices of anything
  • Toasts, or party toasts, are actually bread that is dry-toasted like Melba toast. They are baked to size, sliced and then toasted until dry and crunchy. They are a miniature, thicker type of Melba toast.
  •  
    Bruschetta Vs. Crostini

  • Bruschetta are grilled, crostini are toasted.
  • Bruschetta are larger and thicker than crostini.
  • Here’s more on the differences between bruschetta and crostini.
  •  
    Melba Toast Vs. Biscotti/Rusks

    What about savory biscotti?

  • Biscotti are made from a dough that is shaped into a loaf, then baked. The biscotti are then cut from baked loaf and baked again: twice baked, like Melba toast.
  • They are also called rusks (and have a history with teething babies).
  • However, biscotti, also known as rusks, are much thicker and larger than Melba toast.
  •  
    WAYS TO SERVE MELBA TOAST

    Whatever you call them, serve them:

  • As a crostini base.
  • With dips.
  • With pâté, rillettes and other fish and meat spreads.
  • With soft cheeses and cheese spreads.
  • With salads and soups.
  •  
    Are you ready to toast your own?
     
    RECIPE: MELBA TOAST

    Melba toast is made by lightly toasting thin slices of bread in an oven or under a grill (no grill marks!), on both sides.

    The thin slices are then returned to the heat with the untoasted sides towards the heat source.

     
    Ingredients

  • 1 unsliced loaf of bread, 1 or 2 days old
  • Serrated knife, sharpened
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 250°F. Remove the crust from the loaf. You can save them and turn them into parmesan crisps, or let them dry out overnight and pulse (or use other technique) to make bread crumbs.

    2. DECIDE on your toasting technique. 3a. Cut the loaf into sections 3 inches thick. Cut each chunk into triangles, then cut each triangle into three or more thin slices. 3b. Lightly toast thick slices of bread. While still hot, slice horizontally into two; then create triangles or rectangles as you prefer.

    3. PLACE on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown. Toast bread in oven, flipping slices halfway through, until dry, about 2 hours. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning.

    4. COOL thoroughly. Then store in an airtight container.
     
     
    *MORE FOODS NAMED FOR NELLIE MELBA

    Escoffier created four foods in total in Melba’s honor. In addition to Melba toast, there are:

  • Peach Melba, a dessert made of peaches, raspberry sauce, and vanilla ice cream.
  • Melba Sauce, a dessert sauce of puréed raspberries and red currants.
  • Melba Garniture, tomato stuffed with chicken, truffles and mushrooms in velouté sauce.
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Customize Your St. Patrick’s Day Bagel

    Green bagels are a novelty on St. Patrick’s Day. But here’s a more elegant way to enjoy your bagel, with green fruits and vegetables.

    The concept can be applied to any holiday or occasion with theme colors (see the lists below), and can be part of a bagel buffet for brunch. Bonus: It’s a way to add an extra helping of produce to your daily intake.

    On top of the cream cheese, arrange fruits and/or vegetables in your color theme, as demonstrated by Arla Foods, maker of the cream cheese spreads used on the bagel (photo #1 and photo #6 at the bottom).

    Fruit on bagels beyond a raisin bagel? See photo #5, below—and try it on English muffins, too.

    Pick some fruits and/or vegetables from your color list, and get started. The green group has the most options.

    (Note: Specialty colors, such as yellow watermelon or purple bell peppers, aren’t typically found at supermarkets. Head to a specialty produce store or a farmers market.)

    GREEN FRUITS & VEGETABLES

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli (including rabe and rapini)
  • Capers
  • Cucumber
  • Edamame
  • Green apples, figs, grapes, plums
  • Green beans
  • Green bell pepper
  • Green olives
  • Green onion (scallion) tops
  • Green peas
  • Herbs (basil, dill, parsley, etc.)
  • Jalapeño
  • Kiwi
  • Lettuces (everything from arugula to watercress)
  • Pickles/gherkins
  • Sprouts
  • Sugar snap peas, snow peas
  • Zucchini
  •  
    ORANGE FRUITS & VEGETABLES

  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Chiles (aji amarillo, habanero, Thai yellow chile)
  • Dried apricots
  • Kumquats
  • Mango
  • Orange bell pepper
  • Orange cherry or heirloom tomatoes
  • Orange or mandarin segments
  • Orange watermelon
  • Papaya
  •  
    PURPLE/BLUE FRUITS & VEGETABLES

  • Berries: blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries
  • Dried blueberries
  • Eggplant (grilled)
  • Purple figs, grapes, plums
  • Purple olives
  • Red cabbage
  • Specialty varieties: purple bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, corn, potatoes, string beans
  •  
    RED FRUITS & VEGETABLES

  • Dried cherries or cranberries
  • Jalapeño or other red chile
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Radicchio or red endive
  • Raspberries or strawberries
  • Red apples, grapes, plums
  • Red bell pepper
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Red grapes
  • Red onion
  • Red tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  •  
    YELLOW FRUITS & VEGETABLES

  • Apples (golden delicious and others)
  • Chiles (aji, banana, golden cayenne, lemon, Hungarian yellow wax, pepperoncini, etc.)
  • Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Yellow bell pepper
  • Yellow tomatoes
  • Yellow watermelon
  •  

    Green Bagel Toppings

    Green Bagels

    Green Bagels

    Shamrock Bagels

    Bagel With Fruit Topping

    [1] and [6] The alternative solution from Arla Foods. [2] Conventional green bagels from Einstein Bros Bagels. [3] Fancy (and $6 each!) at the Wynn Las Vegas. [4] The creativity award goes to the shamrock bagels at Sunrise Bagels and Cafe in Wyckoff, New Jersey. [5] Fruit-topped bagel from Number 2 Pencil.

     
    Green Bagel Toppings

    [6] Bagels with a buffet of green fruits and vegetables (photo courtesy Arla Foods).
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Reuben Sandwich Day & Recipe For Reuben Muffins

    Reuben Sandwich

    Reuben On Marble Rye

    Turkey Reuben On Rye

    [1] A classic Reuben Sandwich (photo J. Java |Fotolia). [2] A Reuben on marble rye (photo courtesy Boar’s Head). [3] A Turkey Reuben on plain rye instead of pumpernickel (photo National Turkey Federation).

     

    In 2013, March 14th was declared National Reuben Sandwich Day by the city of Omaha, birthplace of the Reuben Sandwich.

    HISTORY OF THE REUBEN SANDWICH

    As the story goes, Reuben Kulakofsky (1873-1960), a Jewish Lithuanian-born wholesale grocer, invented the sandwich in the late 1920s for his weekly poker game. He may have had input from members of the group, which held forth in the Blackstone Hotel from about 1920 through 1935.

    The Reuben he created is a grilled or toasted sandwich on rye or pumpernickel, with generous amounts of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and either Russian or Thousand Island dressing (the difference is the pickle relish in the latter).

    Among the poker players was the hotel’s owner, Charles Schimmel, who added it to the Blackstone’s lunch menu, where it was quite popular.

    But the Reuben Sandwich became known nationally when a hotel employee won a national contest with the recipe.

    The National Sandwich Idea Contest was a promotion held during National Sandwich Month, to inspire professional cooks to create excitement in the sandwich category. It was sponsored by the Chicago-based Wheat Flour Institute.

    The first winners were announced in 1956, and top honors went to Fern Snider, a cook at the Blackstone [source]. The sandwich recipe was provided (restaurant sized, for 48 sandwiches!) to restaurants nationwide.

    Another story credits Arnold Reuben (1883-1970), the German-Jewish owner of the Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York City (open 1908 to 2001, changing locations numerous times).

    In a 1938 interview with Arnold Manoff, a writer with the Federal Writers’ Project of the WPA, Arnold Reuben details his creation of the “Reuben Special,” but it was made with roast beef, not corned beef, in 1926 [source—a seven-page transcript of the interview].

    He also claims, in that interview, to have created the concept of sandwiches named for celebrities. That claim is not contested.

    The evidence says Omaha wins. But it took until March 2013, in Omaha, for the mayor to proclaim March 14th as Reuben Sandwich Day.

    Check out our Sandwich Glossary for other sandwich histories.
     
    REUBEN SANDWICH VARIATIONS

    The Reuben has been adapted many times over, including a substitute of pastrami, turkey (photo #2) or tongue for the corned beef, and coleslaw for the sauerkraut. Rye or marble rye (photo #2) can stand in for the pumpernickel.

    Some variations aren’t grilled (so the cheese isn’t melted, alas). Some variations:

  • Georgia Reuben: a Michigan variant of a turkey Reuben that substitutes barbecue sauce or French dressing for the Russian/Thousand Island dressing.
  • Grouper Reuben: a Florida specialty that substitutes local grouper for the corned beef.
  • Lobster Reuben: this Florida Keys variation substitutes lobster for the corned beef.
  • Montreal Reuben: substitutes Montreal-style smoked meat for corned beef.
  • Walleye Reuben: a Minnesota version that features the state fish, the walleye, instead of corned beef.
  • West Coast Reuben: substitutes Dijon mustard for the Thousand Island dressing.
  •  
    We’ve also published recipes for Reuben Egg Rolls (photo #5) and Reuben Collard Wraps (photo #6).

    A Reuben on a pumpkernickel bagel (photo #7). Oy vey! A pumpernickel wrap sandwich is a much better homage (they’re made by Tumaro’s and can be found nationwide, including at Walmart).

    How about Reuben Tacos?

    This year we have Reuben Biscuits (photo #3). The recipe follows.

     

    RECIPE: REUBEN MUFFINS

    Thanks to King Arthur Flour for this variation (photo #4). Prep time is 15-20 minutes, bake time is 22-24 minutes.

    The muffins are delicious with scrambled eggs.

    Ingredients For 15 Biscuits

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose Flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 cup diced Swiss cheese (1/4″ dice)
  • 3/4 cup diced ham (1/4″ dice)
  • 1/3 cup well-drained sauerkraut
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Cream for brushing
  • Optional: Thousand Island dressing
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.

    2. WHISK together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Work the butter into the flour until the mixture is unevenly crumbly. Mix in the cheese, ham and sauerkraut until evenly distributed.

    3. WHISK together the sour cream and milk and add to the dough, stirring to combine. The dough should be sticky. Drop the dough by the 1/4-cupful onto the prepared baking sheet (a muffin scoop works well here).

    The biscuits can be spaced quite close together. About 1″ apart is fine.

    4. BRUSH the biscuits with a bit of cream; this will help their crust brown.

    5. BAKE the biscuits for 22 to 24 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool slightly in the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. Thousand Island dressing is a nice accompaniment.
     
     
    MORE REUBEN RECIPES

  • Reuben Egg Rolls
  • Reuben Collard Wraps (meat or vegan)
  • Reuben Tacos
  • Reuben Burger
  • Vegetarian Reuben with vegan pastrami
  • Reuben Hors Bites or Beer Bites
  • Reuben Hot Dogs
  • Reuben ravioli from Chef Michael Symon
  •  

    Reuben Biscuits

    Reuben Egg Rolls

    Reuben Collard Wrap

    Reuben On A Bagel

    [4] Reuben Biscuits (recipe and photo courtesy King Arthur Flour. [5] An Egg Roll Reuben (photo courtesy Dietz & Watson). [6] A Reuben Collard Wrap (photo courtesy Spring Vegan). [7] Reuben on a pumpernickel bagel—with added mustard. Oy vey! (photo courtesy

     

      

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    ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Chocolate Peanut Butter Irish Soda Bread

    We love Irish soda bread, in the traditional recipe with raisins and a savory version made with cheddar cheese (in the same article).

    But here’s a version of Irish soda bread that is not tradition in the Emerald Isle. It was created by Christine Fischer of Wry Toast Eats.

    Christine uses Chocolate Dreams peanut butter (photo #4) from PB & Co., to create swirls of dark chocolate PB in the bread.

    Can’t have/don’t like peanut butter? Add the chocolate chips only, and substitute 1/2 cup of dried cherries, cranberries or raisins for the PB.

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER IRISH SODA BREAD

    Prep time is 30 minutes plus freezing time; cook time is 40-45 minutes.

    Ingredients For 8-10 Servings

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon nonfat milk
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour + extra flour for kneading
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoon salted butter, melted
  • Shortening to grease
  • Parchment paper for peanut butter chocolate chunks
  •  
    For Serving

  • Butter (softened)
  • Tea (Irish Breakfast tea can be enjoyed any time of day)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MELT the chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat, about 2 minutes. Once melted, add the peanut butter and vegetable oil, stirring until well combined. Pour into parchment-lined baking dish, distributing evenly (photo #1). Transfer to the freezer and chill for at least 1 hour (photo #2).

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 360°F. Amply grease a round 9” baking pan and set aside.

    3. COMBINE the milk and white vinegar in a small bowl, stirring gently. Allow the ingredients to sit for 10 minutes until the milk begins to curdle. Once the milk curdles…

    4. COMBINE the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in large mixing bowl, whisking until mixed. Gently stir in the frozen chocolate chunks.

    5. SLOWLY ADD the curdled milk to the flour mixture, stirring until the dough begins to take shape. If needed, add an extra tablespoon or two of milk. Once the dough has formed…

    6. TRANSFER to a floured surface and kneed several times before forming into a ball. While kneading the dough, the peanut butter chunks should begin to melt and spread. It’s a bit messy, but use the extra flour as needed to make forming a ball manageable. When ready…

    7. TRANSFER the dough to the greased baking pan. Cut an “X” into the top of the dough. A cross cut before baking allows the heat to penetrate into the thickest part of the bread. As a bonus in a Catholic country like Ireland, it adds the symbolic note of giving thanks.

     

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/Dark Chocolate Dreams Irish Soda Bread cookingwithcake ilovePB 230

    Chocolate Irish Soda Bread Recipe

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/Chocolate PB Irish Soda Bread ilovePB 230

    Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter

    [1] Step 1: Melt the chocolate, then [2] freeze it for an hour. [3] Fresh from the oven. [4] Photos courtesy Christine Fischer and PB & Co.

     
    8. USE a pastry brush to coat the entire surface with melted butter. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out of the center clean and the top is browned and crisp (photo #3).

    9. SLICE and serve immediately, slathering with extra butter as desired; or let it cool as you prefer.

    THE HISTORY OF IRISH SODA BREAD

    Baking soda, called bread soda in Ireland, was invented in the early 1800s. In those days most people didn’t have an oven. They cooked in a fireplace over coals or a peat fire (called turf fire in Ireland). They placed the dough in a lidded cast-iron pot which went right on top of the fire.

    In County Donegal and County Leitrim, there was a tradition of adding caraway seeds to bread. Immigrants brought that recipe to the U.S. In America, the recipe evolved to include butter, eggs, raisins and sugar—ingredients which frugal housewives in Ireland wouldn’t have thought to add to the dough.

    Today, the soda bread recipe options include:

  • White soda bread: all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, buttermilk and optional caraway seeds.
  • Brown soda bread, also a traditional recipe that substitutes whole wheat flour for part or all or all of the white flour.
  • Irish soda bread with raisins and caraway, the classic Irish-American version also made with sugar, butter, and eggs.
  • Numerous modern recipes, from healthier variations of whole grains, flax and sunflower seeds to walnut soda bread to oat soda bread with browned butter, rosemary and black pepper…to the recipe above with chocolate peanut butter.
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Omelet Roll

    Omelet Roll

    Baked Omelet Roll

    Ham & Cheese Omelet Roll

    Omelet Roll With Salad

    Pesto Omelet Roll

    Chinese Omelet Roll With Chicken

    [1] The inspiration for this article, from The Wholesome Fork. [2] With a bright garnish from Fabulessly Frugal. [3] Ham and cheese roll from Mangia Bene Pasta. [4] Omelet roll with a side salad, from All Recipes. [5] A chunky pesto roll from A Little Bit Of Spice. [6] A Japanese-style steamed chicken omelet roll, from Yi Reservation.

     

    Recently, we were reminded of one of our mother’s breakfast specialties: omelet rolls. She had two favorites: cream cheese and jelly, and cream cheese and smoked salmon.

    We loved them, but the one food we can’t seem to make well is an omelet (sorry, can’t explain it). Personally, we’ve never seen rolled omelets at restaurants, except for sushi restaurants, which slice the plain pan-cooked egg “loaf,” tamago (literally, grilled egg; but often called egg custard) into pieces for sushi or sashimi.

    When we landed on Esther Schultz’s website and saw the top photo, a re-visitation was required.

    Esther’s inspiration was to make a wrap sandwich using eggs in place of bread. Her turkey arugula omelet roll, is below.

    Esther prefers healthy recipes, so we’ll share her enthusiasm that “Just one of these turkey arugula omelet rolls contains a whopping 19 grams of protein. That is about the same amount of protein as you would find in 2 ounces of roast beef.

    “The calorie count is just 173 calories, making it an excellent protein-rich snack, or a delicious lunch when paired with a salad.

    “It is also a wonderfully child-friendly choice. You can let your children choose their own fillings and roll them themselves making them a fun, customizable lunch.

    “And the best thing about them? They only take 10 minutes to prepare.”

    They taste great at room temperature; and if you don’t like your omelet flipping skills, you can bake the omelet in a pan.

    However you make them, if you slice them you can call them pinwheels.

    IDEAS FOR FILLINGS

    We like the idea of omelet rolls for brunch, or instead of (or in addition to) tea sandwiches, even as cocktail nibbles. The choice of fillings are endless. Consider pairing your favorite:

  • Breakfast meat (bacon, ham, sausage) with lettuce and tomato (for example, a BLT roll)
  • Cheese, e.g. cheddar, pepperjack, swiss/gruyère
  • Cheese and vegetable(s), e.g. goat cheese and spinach
  • Deli meat, bacon or sausage with cheese, e.g. ham and swiss, bacon and cheddar
  • Dessert roll*, such as mascarpone or cream cheese with preserves
  • Cream cheese and jelly* (Mom used grape jelly)
  • Cream cheese or Boursin-type cheese (with garlic and herbs), smoked salmon and onion
  • Fruit roll*, such as mascarpone and berries or ricotta and shaved chocolate/chocolate chips
  • Leftovers roll, such as cranberry sauce and stuffing
  • Pesto roll, blending the pesto with ricotta or other soft cheese for body
  • Soft cheese roll, savory with herbs or sweet with preserves or dried berries, such as goat cheese, basil and dried cranberries
  • Sweet roll*, such as cream cheese and jelly
  •  
    Next, consider:

  • Garnishes: cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs, toasted nuts
  • Savory toppings: barbecue sauce, pesto, salsa
  • Sweet toppings: fruit sauce, syrup
  •  
    For a light lunch, serve with:

  • Green salad
  • Raw or cooked vegetables (e.g., crudités with dip)
  • Soup
  •  
    RECIPE: TURKEY ARUGULA OMELET ROLL

    Prep time is 5 minutes, cook time is 5 minutes.

    Ingredients Per Roll

  • 2 large eggs
  • Pinch of salt, freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • Cooking oil
  • 1 slice deli meat (Esther uses reduced sodium turkey)
  • ½ cup arugula
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK the eggs with the salt and pepper.

    2. HEAT a skillet over a medium heat with a splash of oil. Add the eggs and cook slowly without stirring. When the eggs are mostly set, gently flip the omelet and cook for another 30 seconds.

    3. PLACE the omelet on a plate, topped with the turkey and arugula. Carefully roll the omelet, cut in half and serve.

    ________________

    *Add a pinch of sugar instead of salt and pepper

     

     
      

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