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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Breakfast

RECIPE: Avocado & Sour Cream On Toast

Avocado and sour cream on toast is a favorite breakfast of Chef Lorena Garcia.

It looks like poached eggs, but it’s sour cream atop the chopped avocado.

And while it’s a south-of-the-border concept, it’s a great green dish for St. Patrick’s Day. Not everything has to be corned beef, cabbage and soda bread.

RECIPE: AVOCADO ON TOAST

Ingredients

  • Toasted peasant bread or rye bread
  • Avocado, sliced, cubed or otherwise cut up
  • Sour cream
  • Garnish: minced chives, chile flakes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. TOAST bread. Top with avocado slices.

     

    avocado-toast-cheflorenagarcia-230

    Delicious anytime, try it for breakfast on St. Patrick’s Day. Photo courtesy Chef Lorena Garcia.

     

    2. GARNISH with sour cream, minced chives and chili flakes.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Modern Oats

    nuts-and-seeds-modernoats-230-border

    A better breakfast option than many, but still
    high in sugar. Photo courtesy Modern Oats.

     

    Modern Oats is a packaging concept that puts oatmeal in a grab-and-go mode.

    All you have to do is add hot water to cover the oats in the coated paper container, put the lid back on, wait 10 minutes and enjoy. No microwave is required, and the colorful packaging gives a boost to starting the day.

    The rolled oats are grown by family farmers in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. They are minimally processed by steaming and flaking; you look into the carton and see what looks like “real oats,” instead of the small particles familiar to consumers of instant oatmeal. The oat flakes provide a textural differences that deliver a more solid bite (and, the company says, optimal absorption of nutrients).

    Modern Oats are produced in a 100% gluten free facility and are certified GF, Non-GMO, Halal, Kosher, Vegan and 100% Whole Grain. (Whew: There’s no more room left on the carton for any more certifications).

    Oats are naturally gluten free*, and are the only major grain proven to help blood cholesterol†.

     
    A MODERN BREAKFAST OPTION

    The containers were initially intended to be sold in coffee shops and other convenience locations, for a suggested retail of of $3.25 per cup. The brand’s parent company, Innovative Beverage Concepts Inc., develops products for cafés.

    While retail prices vary widely, we were surprised at the cost to buy them online:

  • On Amazon.com, a 12-pack is $44.00, or $3.67 per unit; in (individual flavors or a variety pack.
  • You can buy six-packs on the Modern Oats website for $21.00, or $3.50 per unit.
  •  
    Depending on how much you typically spend on breakfast, it could be a wash, a bargain or a convenience premium that’s worth it for the fiber grain infusion (one serving delivers 28% of the recommended Daily Value of whole grains).

    Or, you could cook up a weekly batch of steel-cut oats every Sunday, bring the portion to work and heat in the office microwave. If you enjoy your oats without sugar or with a noncaloric sweetener, you can also save the not-insignificant sugar calories in the various flavors:

  • Apple Walnut: 310 calories, 17g sugar
  • Chocolate Cherry: 310 calories, 20 g sugar, 9g protein, 7g fiber
  • 5 Berry: 250 calories, 46g sugar, 9g protein, 7g fiber
  • Goji Blueberry: 310 calories, 18g sugar, 9g protein, 8g fiber
  • Mango Blackberry: 300 calories, 20g sugar, 9g protein, 7g fiber
  • Nuts & Seeds: 280 calories, 14g sugar, 8g protein, 6g fiber
  •  
    But, there’s just as much—if not more—sugar in many of the foods we pick up for breakfast. Interestingly, a Pop Tart, though empty calories, has fewer calories and the same amount of sugar.

    And if you think you’re not getting sugar in that bagel and cream cheese, check again. According to Self nutrition data, a small plain bagel, half to one-third the size of today’s supersized bagels, has 6g of sugar.

    Is a cup of Modern Oats better than grabbing a bagel or a pastry? Absolutely!
     
    *In the milling and processing process, oats are susceptible to cross-contamination; so that not all oatmeal and other oat products are gluten free. /font>

    †Eating three grams of soluble fiber from oats each day, as part of a diet that’s low in fat and cholesterol, has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. This may reduce the risk of heart disease.

      

    Comments

    VALENTINE FOOD: Heart Shaped Bagels

    When bagels are made, ropes of dough are twisted into the familiar circular shape.

    So why not twist them into heart shapes?

    That’s what the bagel makers at Einstein Bros. Bagels and Noah’s New York Bagels have done—and they’ve thrown in some dried cranberries to replace the raisins in a cinnamon-raisin bagel.

    The love-worthy bagels are available at select locations through February 14th.

    To go with your bagels, how about making cranberry, strawberry or raspberry cream cheese? Even if you only have conventional bagels, pink cream cheese will make your Valentine’s Day breakfast special.

     

    bagels-valentine-valentine-einsteinbros-230b

    Love thy cranberry bagel. Photo courtesy Einstein Bros.

     

    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY CREAM CHEESE

    Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup berries, hulled; or substitute 2 tablespoons cranberry, strawberry or raspberry preserves and omit the confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • Optional:1 tablespoon orange zest
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until smooth and well blended.

    2. REFRIGERATE until needed. Ideally make the day before to let flavors blend.

      

    Comments

    VALENTINE FOOD: Strawberry Banana Pancake Stack

    Enjoy this special occasion pancake stack for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or other occasion when taking the extra step makes a big hit with family and guests. The pancake “cake” is sliced into six wedges.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes. Thanks to Hungry Jack Pancakes for the recipe.

    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY BANANA PANCAKE
    STACK

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 2 cups pancake mix
  • 1-1/3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • Butter flavor no-stick cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter*, divided
  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced
  •  

    A pretty pancake stack to share. Photo
    courtesy Hungry Jack.

  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam, divided
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries, divided
  • Whipped cream or whipped topping
  • Pancake syrup
  •  
    *This recipe used Jif Whips Whipped Creamy Peanut Butter. We wanted to add a touch of chocolate, so used the companion product, Jif Whipped Peanut Butter & Chocolate Flavored Spread.

     

    jif-whips-chocolate-spread-230

    Jif Whips is made in creamy peanut butter
    and this chocolate peanut butter spread.
    Photo courtesy Jif.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 375°F.

    2. STIR pancake mix, milk, oil and eggs in large bowl until smooth. Let stand 3 minutes.

    3. COAT a griddle or large skillet with no-stick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat (375°). Make 7 large pancakes, seven inches in diameter, in batches, by pouring a scant 1/2 cup batter for each pancake onto hot griddle to form 7-inch circle. Cook until bubbles appear and edges are dry, about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Turn and cook an additional 1 minute or until golden brown.

    4. PLACE 1 pancake on oven-safe serving plate; spread with 1/3 cup peanut butter. Top with another pancake. Completely cover surface with banana slices. Top with third pancake; spread with 1/4 cup strawberry jam. Completely cover surface with 1 cup sliced strawberries, mounding strawberries near outside edge. Repeat all layers. Top with remaining pancake. Cover with foil.

     

    5. BAKE 5 to 10 minutes or until heated through. Insert 6 decorative wooden skewers into stack-up, if desired, to secure each wedge. Cut into wedges. Garnish with whipped topping, if desired. Serve with syrup.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Breakfast Cupcakes

    What’s the difference between a cupcake and a muffin?

    Cupcakes have a finer crumb (from using cake flour versus all-purpose flour), a bit more sugar and are iced, adding even more sugar.

    While muffins do have somewhat less sugar, don’t let the name lull you into a sense of “better for you”: They are cake rather than bread.

    The line between cupcakes and muffins can be thin indeed, as you can see in these “breakfast cupcakes” from the blog Lovely Little Kitchen (photo at right; here’s the recipe).

    Both the frosting and the cupcake batter contain Greek yogurt, which delivers more protein and less fat. They cupcakes contain two cups of zucchini and are garnished with heart-healthy almonds.

    After you make the first batch, you can decide to lower the sugar, substitute agave or honey, use whole wheat flour, etc. (Look online for how to substitute—slight adjustments are necessary.)

    Here’s a fun breakfast idea:

     

    zucchini-almond-cupcakes-lovelylittlekitchen-230

    This a zucchini almond cupcake is the fraternal twin of a zucchini muffin. Photo courtesy Lovely Little Kitchen.

     

    Buy or bake carrot or zucchini muffins made with whole wheat or other whole grain flour (brown rice flour, cornmeal, whole oats, blends, etc.) Both the flour and the vegetables provide added fiber. Let everyone ice and garnish their own.

  • Icing options: nonfat versions of cream cheese, sour cream or Greek yogurt, plain or sweetened with agave, honey or a non-nutritive sweetener
  • Nuts: chopped, sliced or whole smaller nuts (pistachios and pine nuts, for example)
  • Seeds: chia, flax, hemp, pomegranate, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower
  • Fruit: fresh or dried berries, dried cherries or cranberries, raisins or other favorites
  •  
    While you can’t call these cupcakes health food, the are a better alternative to conventional muffins and breakfast pastries—not to mention cupcakes.

    And they help you get some nutrition into the breakfast-resistant.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: MAKE A STRATA

    Looking at a lot of leftovers today? Make a strata!

    A strata is a layered casserole, related by eggs and cheese to a fritatta or quiche, made from a mixture of bread, eggs and cheese plus any vegetables and proteins you have on hand. You can serve it for any meal, from breakfast through dinner.

    Wile it sounds Italian, the strata is actually American in origin. The earliest recipe has been found in a 1902 book, Handbook of Household Science. That first recipe used white sauce instead eggs.

    Today’s variations include everything from sweet stratas like French Toast Strata to savory stratas, like the recipe below. A strata can make good use of leftovers:

  • Breads: baguette, brioche, challah, cornbread, panettone, whole grain, seasoned bread crumbs for topping, stuffing or any type of bread
  • Cheese: any type at all, from blue, goat and feta to cheddar, gruyère and mozzarella
  • Seasonings: chile, garlic, pesto, etc.
  • Fruits: apples, berries, dried fruits (including raisins), pineapple
  • Meats: Bacon, chicken, ham, sausage
  • Onions: caramelized onions, chives, leeks,
  • Crab, smoked salmon, tuna, any leftovers
  •  

    Yummy layers of eggs, bread and any leftovers you have. Photo courtesy National Pork Board.

  • Vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, herbs, mushroom, spinach, potato, pumpkin, tomato, zucchini
  •  
    Here are hundreds of strata recipes.

    This recipe is from the National Pork Board, which has many delicious recipes at PorkBeInspired.com.

    RECIPE: PORK ROAST STRATA WITH GREEN CHILES & GOAT CHEESE

    The National Pork Board says: This recipe is wonderful for Christmas morning or New Year’s Day because it takes advantage of the previous night’s leftover roast. You can substitute cooked sausage—breakfast or Italian—or even diced ham for the pork. On the side, serve a citrus and avocado salad and cinnamon-laced coffee.

     

    Don’t like goat cheese? Bell peppers?
    Whatever? Substitute an ingredient you do
    like. Photo courtesy iGourmet.com.

     

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • 12 ounces cooked roast pork, shredded or cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 5 cups)
  • Oil spray
  • 12 ounces crusty Italian or French bread, with crusts, cut or torn into 3/4-inch pieces (about 12 cups)
  • 1 7-ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 4 ounces (about 1 cup) spreadable goat cheese, crumbled*
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 7 large eggs
  • 3 cups milk (regular or lowfat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

    2. SPRAY a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking oil. Arrange 1/2 of the bread in the dish. Top with 1/2 of the pork, 1/2 of the chiles, 1/2 of the cheese, and 1/2 of the sage. Repeat 1 time, making 2 layers. Set aside.

    3. WHISK the eggs in a large bowl; then whisk in the milk, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over casserole and set aside for 20 minutes, pressing on the bread occasionally to help it absorb the liquid.

    4. BAKE until browned and the center is set, about 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

     
    *Don’t buy pre-crumbled goat cheese; it doesn’t melt as well.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pandoro Star Shaped French Toast

    Turn star-shaped pandoro into holiday French
    toast. Photo courtesy Giovanni Rana
    Pastificio & Cucina | NYC.

     

    At least three famous Italian Christmas sweet breads are imported to the U.S.: panettone (a Milanese specialty), panforte (originally from Sienna) and pandoro (from Verona). Most regions have their own Christmas bread recipes.

    Panettone is a yeast loaf packed with candied fruits and raisins; panforte is a short, dense loaf with spices honey; and pandoro is an eggy yeast bread made in an eight-pointed star shape, topped with icing or confectioners’ sugar.

    All have become popular gift items—the equivalent of the English fruitcake.

    As with any prepared food, brands range from mediocre to magnificent. Chef Francesco Berardinelli of Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market prefers the Perbellini brand, which others also feel is the best brand in Italy. You can get it in the U.S. from A.G. Ferrari: sweet, light and delicate yet rich.

    Here’s his recipe for Pandoro French Toast, a lovely star-shaped breakfast treat; you can also serve the French toast with fried chicken, instead of waffles; or serve it à la mode or with whipped cream for dessert.

     

    RECIPE: PANDORO FRENCH TOAST

    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 1 slice pandoro bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom honey, or to taste
  • 5 whole strawberries
  •  

    Preparation

    1. CUT a 1-inch thick slice of pandoro.

    2. MIX the eggs and cream in a bowl. Submerge both sides of the pandoro in the mix.

    3. MELT the butter in a hot sauté pan and sear the bread on both sides.

    4. GARNISH with confectioners’ sugar, orange honey and sliced strawberries.
     
    Variations

  • Substitute strawberry butter for the honey.
  • Add orange zest to the cream mix.
  • If you don’t have orange blossom honey, use the honey you do have.
  •  

    Pandoro is molded into an eight-point star and typically topped with confectioners’ sugar or icing. Photo courtesy Know.brrp.com.

    OTHER THINGS TO DO WITH PANDORO

  • Make breakfast toast, served with butter and marmalade.
  • Make baked French toast, which surrounds the pandoro with rich custard (here’s a recipe).
  • Slice it and layer with custard, fruit curd or icing into a stacked “Christmas tree.”
  • Eat for dessert with a glass of sweet wine; crème fraîche, mascarpone or whipped cream optional.
  • Make bread pudding or trifle.
  •  
    Other ideas? Let us know.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: What Does The Fox Say?

    What does the fox say? Ring-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding, for starters (here’s the official video on YouTube.

    Sing the song as you enjoy these foxy pancakes, designed by Angie Ramirez for NatureBox, an e-tailer of healthy snacks. Angie shares yummy food, easy DIY crafts, adventures of motherhood, and everything in between on her blog, Little Inspiration. She intended this pancake to be a bear. Bear, fox: take your pick.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time 5 minutes per pancake.

    RECIPE: FOXY PANCAKES

    Ingredients For 8 Pancakes

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 16 strawberries
  • 24 blueberries
  • 16 saspberries
  •  

    The fox says: “Make these pancakes!” Photo courtesy NatureBox.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk in milk, egg and melted butter.

    2. PREHEAT griddle or non-stick pan. Scoop a small amount of pancake mix (about 3 tablespoons) in the middle of the griddle to form a circle. Cook until bubbles start to form, about 2-3 minutes. Carefully, flip pancake to the other side and cook until lightly brown, about 2 minutes.

    3. ASSEMBLE.

  • For the head: use a round pancake.
  • For the ears and body: slice the strawberries into thirds, and use the middle section for the ears and body.
  • For the tail: slice a sliver of a rounded edge of strawberry.
  • For the eyes: use blueberries, sliced in half.
  • For the legs: use raspberries, sliced in half.
  • For the arms: cut a small piece of pancake to create an arm shape.
  •   

    Get more healthy ideas and delicious snacks by joining NatureBox. Enter coupon code NATURE for 25% off your first month subscription!

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Chicken & Waffles

    The edgiest chicken and waffles. Photo
    courtesy Rusty Mackerel | New York City.

     

    The hippest “chicken and waffles” we’ve ever seen are at the The Rusty Mackerel in Washington Heights (northern Manhattan).

    Chef/owner James “Mac” Moran, former Executive Chef de Cuisine of Todd English’s “Olives” restaurant, goes switches out the chicken for jerked quail, the gravy for miso-sweet potato purée and the waffles for homemade waffle ice cream cones filled with the sweet potato purée and a topping of smoked maple “fluff.”

    Personally, we’ll keep going up to the Rusty Mackerel rather than attempting to make it at home. But if you’ve got the chops, Chef Mac has shared his recipe for the accompaniments. Prepare your own favorite recipe for chicken, jerked quail or any bird that suits your fancy.

     

    RECIPE: RUSTY MACKEREL’S “CHICKEN & WAFFLES”

    Spice Mix Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups allspice
  • 8 cups salt
  • 5-1/2 cups garlic powder
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 cups chipotle powder
  • 1/2 cup ground clove
  • 2 cups dried thyme leaves
  • 2 cups ground black pepper
  • 4 cups cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup ground cinnamon
  •  
    Spice Mix Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients and store them in an airtight container.

    2. RUB onto your meat of choice, roughly about 1-1/2 teaspoons per serving. For best results, marinate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

     
    Miso Sweet Potato Purée Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons of white miso
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Coarse sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SIMMER potatoes in chicken stock until tender and cooked through. Place into a food processor (the restaurant uses a Vitamix, filling no more than half way (process in to batches if necessary).

    2. ADD the miso paste as the appliance pulverizes the potato, mixing until thoroughly integrated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    3. STUFF into waffle cones and top with “marshmallow fluff” (both recipes are below). Also use as “gravy drops” (see photo below).

     
    Smoked Maple Marshmallow “Fluff” Ingredients

  • 1 quart of grade A maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of quick smoke stick tinder
  • 1 tablespoons of versa whip*
  •  
    *A thickener and stabilizer similar to egg whites or gelatin but much more powerful.

     

    Smoked Maple Marshmallow “Fluff” Preparation Ingredients

    1. PLACE maple syrup in a half hotel pan (a deep roasting pan—here’s more about hotel pans) and place into a full hotel pan.

    2. ADD the tinder into a 1/9 size pan and place inside the full hotel pan parallel to the maple. Ignite to create good smoke. Cover with aluminum foil and allow to smoke. For best results, let it steep overnight.

    3. PLACE into blender and add the versa whip, allowing the blender to shear it thoroughly. Add mixture to a Kitchen Aid mixer (or equivalent) with a whip attachment and blend on high until stiff peaks appear. Put into a piping bag and pipe to fit top of waffle cones. You can also pipe smaller sizes as plate decorations.
     
    Waffle Cone Ingredients

    The restaurant makes their own, but you can buy cones:

     

    The “waffles” are waffle ice cream cones stuffed with puréed sweet potatoes. Photo courtesy Rusty Mackerel | NYC.

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Special equipment: waffle cone iron, wooden cone-form
  •  
    Waffle Cone Preparation

    1. WHIP the cream until mousse-like. Sift the remaining ingredients together stir them into the cream mixture. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes.

    2. HEAT the waffle iron and brush with little oil. Pour in some batter folllowing the manufacturer’s specifications. Once browned, move quickly and roll the waffle over itself to form a cone. Let cool on the waffle mold.

    Serve with the chicken/poultry preparation of your choice.

    Whew! We’re exhausted just from reading this recipe. It‘s time to head to The Rusty Mackerel and let the professionals do the work.

      

    Comments

    HOLIDAY: National Oatmeal Day

    It’s National Oatmeal Day.

    The original oatmeal enthusiasts were the Scots, who were eating them many centuries ago when their English neighbors were only growing oats as livestock feed.

    The groats—the hulled kernels of the cereal—required soaking overnight and cooking for perhaps 30 minutes, so oatmeal was not exactly a convenience breakfast. But modern processing has made it very easy for us to enjoy oatmeal in a minute—and good oatmeal in five to ten minutes.

    ROLLED OATS

    Rolled oats are what most Americans think of as oatmeal. Quaker Oats’ Old Fashioned Oats have been breakfast fare for generations.

    To make rolled oats, the groats are flattened under giant rollers, which makes them easier to cook but removes much of the fiber-filled bran in the process.

    There are different types of rolled oats:

     

    The most familiar form of oats are rolled oats, where the groats are rolled flat. Photo by Kelly Cline | IST.

  • Rolled oats, which cook in 5-10 minutes.
  • Quick oats which are cut into smaller pieces and rolled thinner, have less chew than standard rolled oats. They cook in one minute.
  • Instant oats, the fastest-cooking oats. They are cut smaller and rolled thinner still, then precooked and dehydrated so they can instantly mix with hot water.
     
    The thinner that oats are rolled, the more surface area they have, the quicker they cook. However, the more oats are processed, the more nutritional value is lost. And, alas, texture and flavor is lost as well, creating a blander, mushier product—and the popularity of highly sugared and flavored instant oats.

  •  

    Steel cut oats, the original oatmeal. Photo by
    Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

     

    STEEL-CUT OATS

    Steel-cut oats, also called cut oats, Irish oats or Scottish oats, and coarse-cut oats, are groats (the whole oat kernel) that have been cut into very small pieces using steel discs. This produces a different result from rolled into flakes.

    They are a far better source of fiber than rolled oats, and delightfully chewy (note: baked goods should be made with rolled oats, unless you want a chewy oat bread or muffin).

    Cooking time is considerably longer than for rolled oats—30 minutes—but the cooked oatmeal has a nice texture to it—it’s more al dente than rolled oats (and our favorite).

    The luxurious texture and longer cooking time imparts more flavor as well. Oatmeal imported from Ireland and Scotland, like McCann’s and Flahavan’s, tends to be steel-cut oats.

    Our trick to speedier steel-cut oats: Make a double or triple batch; refrigerate the extra portions and microwave them for “one-minute steel-cut oats.”

     
    The Health Benefits Of Oatmeal
     
    Oatmeal Serving Suggestions

     

      

    Comments

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