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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 The Nibble

RECIPE: Broccoli Rabe Garlic Bread

Here’s a way of getting nutrient-packed broccoli rabe into something everyone loves. Make garlic bread using the greens and garlic butter. Nothing could be easier—or harder to resist.

If you keep a supply of broccoli rabe purée on hand, it takes no time at all to assemble. Make it peppery—or not; top the garlic butter with grated cheese—or not; and use a whole wheat loaf instead of white bread for greater nutritional value.

This recipe is by Julia della Croce, Andy Boy’s Chef-in-Residence and one of America’s foremost authorities on Italian cooking. She is a James Beard Award winning author and has written more than 15 cookbooks.

Prep time is 25 minutes, cook time is 5–10 minutes.

RECIPE: BROCCOLI RABE GARLIC BREAD

Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1 loaf good quality fresh ciabatta or baguette
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup broccoli rabe purée
  •    

    broccoli-rabe-garlic-bread-andyboy-230r

    Better than garlic bread: garlic bread with broccoli rabe. Photo courtesy Andy Boy.

  • Freshly ground black pepper or hot red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Fine sea salt to taste
  •  

    broccoli-rabe-andyboy-230

    Broccoli rabe, also called rapini. Photo courtesy Andy Boy.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.

    2. WARM the olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan over low heat until the garlic is softened and aromatic, about 4 minutes.

    3. BEAT the butter, broccoli rabe purée, garlic oil and salt until well blended.

    4. SLICE the loaf in half lengthwise, using a bread knife. Spread the broccoli rabe butter liberally on both sides of the cut surfaces. Reassemble the loaf and wrap it in aluminum foil. Bake until hot and aromatic, 10-15 minutes.

    5. CUT into 1-inch slices and serve hot or warm.

    Find more recipes at AndyBoy.com.

     
    WHAT IS BROCCOLI RABE

    Some 15 years ago, broccoli rabe began to appear in some restaurants. Also called broccoli rape, raab (pronounced rob), rapini, Chinese broccoli and Italian broccoli in the U.S., it then became available in produce markets. Now, it can be found at more and more quality supermarkets.

    Descended from a wild herb, like many of our greens, versions of broccoli rabe originated in the Mediterranean and in China.

    Broccoli rabe is not related to either broccoli or broccolini.

    Although it bears the name “broccoli,” tastes like a bitter and pungent form of broccoli (think broccoli crossed with mustard greens with some nuttiness) and looks like a relative of broccoli—it has broccoli-like buds and florets at the top of slender stalks—broccoli rabe is not related to broccoli but turnips.
    That’s why the leaves look like turnip greens and the vegetable is also called Italian turnip and turnip broccoli. Here’s more about broccoli rabe.

    Broccolini is not a young growth of broccoli, but a hybrid of broccoli and kai-lan, another cruciferous vegetable. The result looks broccoli but with smaller florets and longer, thin stalks.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Panettone Stuffing

    We love panettone, an Italian yeast bread filled with candied citron, lemon zest, and raisins (and sometimes other ingredients).

    If we get too much of it to toast for breakfast or top with ice cream for dessert, we make other favorites, such as Panettone French toast, Panettone grilled cheese and panettone PB&J sandwiches.

    And then, there’s Panettone stuffing or dressing*. While stuffing is most commonly prepared with days old white bread, you can use panettone to give your stuffing a sweet edge.

    This recipe is courtesy Bauli Panettone.

    PANETTONE STUFFING

    Ingredients

  • 1 loaf panettone (2.2 pounds)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 bunches fresh sage, leaves minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, julienned
  • 1/2 cup dried sour cherries
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1-1/2 cups minced yellow onion
  • 1 cup minced celery or fennel
  • 1 cup minced carrot
  • Up to 2 cups chicken stock or turkey stock
  • Optional: 2 eggs for a firmer stuffing
  •    

    pannetone-stuffing-bauli-230

    Cut a loaf of panettone into cubes to make the stuffing. Photo courtesy Bauli.

     

     
    *The difference: stuffing is cooked inside the bird and dressing is cooked in a separate dish.

     

    panettone-box-sliced-2014-230

    Panettone can be found in most supermarkets during the holiday season. Photo courtesy Bauli.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Cut the panettone into 3/4-inch squares and place in large bowl. Melt half of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and continue to cook until light brown, about 5 minutes.

    2. REMOVE from the heat and add half the sage. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sage butter over the bread and toss gently but swiftly. Spread out on 2 cooking sheets and place in the oven until light brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place back into the bowl. Meanwhile…

    3. PLACE the dried fruit in a large bowl; add boiling water to cover and then set aside for at least 10 minutes. This will plump and soften the fruit for cooking. Drain the fruit once it is plumped.

    4. RAISE the oven temperature to 375°F. Melt the remaining butter and add the onion, celery, and carrot. Sauté on medium-low heat until soft. Add dried fruit and remaining sage. Toss into cooled croutons. Gently toss and add chicken broth to moisten; add more broth if you like a softer stuffing. Stir in beaten eggs now, if using. Adjust salt and pepper, to your liking. Turn out into an oven-proof casserole.

     

    5. BAKE uncovered until golden brown on top, about 40 minutes.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Beer Menorah

    For 18 years, the Shmaltz Brewing Company has been handcrafting HE’BREW, classic beers with culturally-relevant names (certified kosher, of course, by KSA).

    Chanukah begins tonight, so take a look!

    THE CHOSEN BEERS

    The brewery currently makes:

  • Barrel Aged Funky Jewbellation
  • Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A.
  • Chanukah Beer
  • David’s Slingshot
  • Death Of A Contract Brewer
  • Genesis Dry Hopped Session Ale
  • Hop Manna IPA
  • Jewbelation 18 (18 malts, 18 hops)
  • Messiah Nut Brown Ale
  • Origin Pomegranate Ale
  • Rejewvenator Dubbel Doppel
  • Reunion Ale 2014
  • St. Lenny’s Belgian Rye Double IPA
  •  

    he-brew-beer-menorah-230

    Chanukah beer. Photo courtesy Schmaltz Brewing Company.

     

    There’s a He’Brew Gift pack of eight different styles that includes a custom glass an Chanukah candles to build your own beer menorah, and possibly enter it in the annual contest.

    This is non-denominational enjoyment: Feel free to participate no matter what your religious beliefs.

    To find a retailer in your area, contact your local distributor.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Mexican Christmas Pudding

    christmas-pudding-GerryLerner-230

    Oh give us some figgy pudding! Photo
    courtesy Gerry Lerner | London Lennie’s.

     

    Christmas pudding is an English tradition. It has been celebrated in song since at least the 16th century. Thought to bring luck and prosperity to all those who share it, it is typically made five weeks before Christmas, on or after the Sunday before Advent, known in the Anglican church as Stirring Sunday.

    BRITISH PUDDING VS. AMERICAN PUDDING

    Christmas pudding is also known as plum pudding and figgy pudding, popular pudding ingredients along with dates. Irish recipes vary the dried fruits with raisins, currants, sultanas and citrus peel.

    These are nothing the creamy milk-and-sugar-based dessert puddings familiar in the U.S. (chocolate, rice and tapioca puddings, for example), but solid puddings with a binding—essentially, steamed cakes.

    A Christmas pudding is essentially a very wet, alcohol-soaked, boiled fruit cake. Boiling creates a similar dense texture as baking, but more moist (British puddings can also be baked or steamed).

     
    In the U.K., the soft, creamy, thickened milk-based desserts that Americans think of as puddings are called custards if they are egg-thickened and blanc-mange, the French term, if they are starch-thickened (these are our soft chocolate, vanilla and butterscotch puddings).

    Making the Christmas pudding can be a social occasion. Family and friends get together to create the dessert, each giving the mixture a stir, then making a wish with the hope that good fortune will find them once the pudding is served on Christmas Day. The Christmas pudding is traditionally decorated with a spray of holly (which is not edible). In some homes, it is doused in flaming brandy and brought to the table in a darkened room.

    If you want to make a traditional English Christmas pudding, you need to start at least 30 days in advance so the flavors can meld and the alcohol can blend into the cake. Here’s a Christmas pudding recipe: Mark your calendar.

    But if you don’t have 30 days, there are other options to make right before Christmas.

     
    *Traditional British puddings can be baked, steamed, or boiled and can be sweet or savory. They range from Yorkshire pudding (bound with a batter, similar to a popover) to black pudding (also known as blood sausage, bound with blood), to bread pudding, noodle and potato pudding (all bound with eggs, the latter two also called kugels) or plum pudding (a.k.a. Christmas pudding, bound with suet and flour or some other cereal). Savory puddings are served as a side with a main course, sweet puddings as a dessert.

     

    BUDIN DE ROMPOPE, MEXICAN CHRISTMAS PUDDING

    As easy to make as any gelatin mold, budin de rompope, eggnog pudding, is a traditional Mexican Christmas pudding made from eggnog (rompope). It can be made on the day of serving.

    The eggnog, and subsequently the pudding, was originally made by nuns in the convents of Puebla, Mexico†. (These sisters were great cooks: They also invented the classic Mexican dish mole poblano, turkey in mole sauce, among other great recipes.)

    Like other puddings, rompope can be made in a mold or in individual dessert dishes. This recipe is courtesy of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

    You can add a bit of liqueur to the fruit sauce: Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur, or a berry liqueur to match the berries used.

    RECIPE: BUDIN DE ROMPOPE or GELATINA DE ROMPOPE

    Ingredients

    For The Pudding

  • 1 cup eggnog
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 egg yolks, large
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1 inch long) cinnamon
  • 1 envelope of flavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  •  

    gelatina-de-rompope-gopixpic.com-230

    Boudin de rompope, an eggnog-based Christmas pudding. Photo courtesy GoPixPic.com.

     
    For The Fruit Sauce

  • 1 pint fresh or package thawed frozen raspberries or strawberries (10 ounces)
  • Sugar to taste
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon liqueur
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SCALD the eggnog and milk by heating together in small saucepan over medium heat for about five minutes, or until the temperature reaches 180°F. Set aside.

    2. BEAT the egg yolks with all but one tablespoon of the sugar, until pale and thick. Add the salt and cinnamon stick. Whisk 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the beaten egg yolks. Pour the yolk mixture into the remaining hot milk mixture. Cook, whisking constantly, over medium-low heat, until the mixture coats the back of a metal spoon and thickens slightly (about 4 minutes). Do not boil. Set aside.

    3. SOFTEN the gelatin in cold water and let it stand 5 minutes. Whisk the gelatin into the milk mixture to dissolve. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Add the rum and vanilla.

    4. CHILL in the refrigerator until the mixture begins to set, about 1-1/2 hours. Whip the cream with the remaining one tablespoon of sugar until stiff. Fold the whipped cream into the milk mixture and pour into a mold or 8 glass dessert dishes. Chill until set.

    5. MAKE the fruit sauce: Process the berries in a blender until smooth, sweetening to taste with sugar. Add optional liqueur. Strain out the seeds if desired. Pour the sauce into a glass pitcher or gravy boat and serve with the rompope.

     
    †Puebla was one of the five most important Spanish colonial cities in Mexico. It is located in Central Mexico southeast of Mexico City and west of Mexico’s main Atlantic port, Veracruz, on the main route between the two.

      

    Comments

    CHRISTMAS: Avocado Salad Tree

    avocado-xmas-tree-hassavocados-230

    A delightful Christmas salad. Photo courtesy
    AvocadoCentral.com.

     

    Holiday buffets will look even more inviting when this pretty Christmas tree-shaped salad is on display. It’s served with a zesty chile vinaigrette dressing for a fiesta of flavor.

    Prep time is 30 minutes.

    Use ripe avocados that are a little on the firm side for best results, and brush the avocado slices with a soft, food-safe paint brush dipped in lime juice or lemon juice to prevent discoloration.

    This dish can also be made with granny smith apple slices instead of avocado.

    If you don’t like crab meat, you can substitute grated white Cheddar or other semihard cheese for the “snow” at the bottom of the platter.

    RECIPE: AVOCADO CHRISTMAS TREE SALAD

    Ingredients

  • 2 firm-ripe Hass avocados, halved, peeled and seeded (use more as needed)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils (seeds) and/or fresh raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
  • 1 green onion, white portion only, sliced into rounds
  • 1 slice star fruit (carambola) or pineapple
  • 6 small chives
  • 1 cup fresh crab meat, picked over for cartilege
  •  

    RECIPE: CHILE VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SLICE each avocado half into six equivalent size slices. Brush the slices with lemon or lime juice. Arrange them on a platter into the shape of a Christmas tree, as shown in the photo above, leaving at least 3 inches at the top and bottom of the platter. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

     

    avocados-board-hassavocado-230

    Hass avocados. Photo courtesy AvocadoCentral.com.

     

    2. ARRANGE the pomegranate arils or raspberries, cranberries and green onions on top of the avocado tree to look like ornaments.

    3. PLACE the star fruit at the top point of the tree. Alternatively, use a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut a star out of a slice of pineapple. Add the chives in a criss-cross pattern over the avocado slices, to emulate a garland.

    4. ARRANGE the crab along the bottom of the tree to resemble snow.

    5. PLACE the vinaigrette ingredients in a salad dressing carafe, cover and shake a few times to combine. Serve alongside the Avocado Tree Salad.
     
    Find more avocado recipes at AvocadoCentral.com.

      

    Comments

    GIFT: Nespresso Inissia

    inissia-blueberry-blue-230

    The Inissia: just 4.7 inches wide by x 12.6
    inches deep. Photo courtesy Nespresso.

     

    So many of us these days can’t live without a great cup of coffee, often leaving our posts one or more times a day to obtain one.

    The folks at Nespresso want you to have a great cup at your fingertips. They’ve created a new petite model, the Inissia: a single-serve coffee maker with a teeny footprint that fits in small spaces, from office desktops to dormitory rooms.

    And it’s only $99!

    Streamlined for maximum efficiency and simple to use, the small footprint (4.7 x 12.6 x 9 inches) weights a bit more than five pounds. The Inissia uses the same premium coffee capsules as the larger models. The water will be read in 25 seconds: an espresso (including the shorter ristretto and the taller lungo) or a full cup at the touch of a button.

    You can make up to 9 espressos without having to refill the water tank.

     
    A great gift for a college student or new member of the workforce, the Inissia is available in:
  • Blueberry Blue
  • Intense Black
  • Lime Yellow
  • Pure White
  • Ruby Red
  • Vanilla Cream
  •  
    It can be bundled with Nespresso’s wonderful Aeroccino Plus milk frother for $149.

     

    LARGER, WITH CREMA

    Another Nespresso innovation this year is the Vertuoline. It handles the larger American-style mugs as well as espresso cups, and tops both with rich, luxurious crema.

    Available in Black, Chrome and Red, the VertuoLine is priced at $299 and takes a new, flatter, rounder capsule than the original Nespresso machines.

    Check out the entire line at Nespresso.com.

     

    inissia-ruby-red-sideways-230

    A side view of the petite Inissia. It’s just 4.7 inches wide x 12.6 inches deep. Photo courtesy Nespresso.

     

      

    Comments

    STOCKING STUFFER: Bonnie’s Jams

    raspberry-lime-rickey-230

    Artisan jams are a great holiday gift or stocking stuffer. Photo courtesy Bonnie’s Jams.

     

    Most people won’t spend $8.99 on a jar of jam, opting for less expensive supermarket varieties that are higher on cloying sugar than on fruit flavor. That’s why artisan jam is such a welcome stocking stuffer or teacher gift.

    Why does it cost so much? The finest fruits, low sugar content (sugar is not only cheaper than fruit, but covers up sub-prime fruit) and hand labor to make everything from scratch in small batches, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    The flavors, which are made seasonally and are available until they sell out, currently include:

  • Apricot Orange
  • Fig Preserve
  • Peach Ginger
  • Raspberry Lime Rickey
  • Red Pepper Jelly
  • Strawberry
  • Strawberry Rhubarb
  •  
    In addition to the individual flavors, gift samplers are available.

     
    We especially liked the Raspberry Lime Rickey, sweet fruit with a delightful bit of citrus tang. It’s a charming variation on the always-popular raspberry jam.

    The recipes for the jams; but these are so good, most folks will want to enjoy them simply, on toast; or straight from the spoon.

    Check out the options at BonniesJams.com, and send some to people who will appreciate the difference.

    You’ll also find delightful recipes that use the jams.

     
      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Popcorn Trees

    Fun for decoration, party favors or festive snacks, these Popcorn Trees are easy to make. The recipe is from the National Popcorn Board, which advises that it’s important to use unflavored white popcorn for the best color and flavor.

    RECIPE: POPCORN TREES

    Ingredients For 10 Trees

  • 10 cups air-popped white popcorn
  • 1 10-ounce bag miniature marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Decorating sugar (green, blue)*
  • 1 tube of white frosting (with decorating tip)
  • Assorted small colorful candies, such as sprinkles and miniature silver dragées
  •  
    *Make your own colored sugar by adding food coloring to sugar, stirring in a bowl or shaking vigorously in a sealed container. Add more food coloring for more intense tones.

     

    popcorn_trees_popcorn.org-230

    A fun project for eating or decor. Photo courtesy Popcorn.org.

     

    Preparation

    1. PLACE the popcorn in large bowl.

    2. PLACE marshmallows and butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the mixture over the popcorn. Toss well to coat the popcorn evenly.

    3. LINE a baking sheet with foil. Spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray, then scoop up about 1 cup of the popcorn mixture. Shape the mixture into a cone shape, keeping the base flat. This forms the tree.

    4. SPRINKLE the tree with decorating sugar. Pplace the tree on the baking sheet. Continue to make the rest of the trees.

    5. PIPE frosting on the trees to make a garland, then decorate them with colorful candies.
     
    SERVING SUGGESTION

    Place each tree atop a sugar cookie and decorate the serving tray with shredded coconut to resemble snow—as shown in the photo above.

    Find more fun popcorn recipes at Popcorn.org.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Chanukah Cocktail

    Toast to Chanukah or winter. Photo courtesy
    SKYY Spirits.

     

    Spell it Chanukah or Hanukkah: The word for the Jewish Festival Of Lights was translitrated from the Hebrew alphabet. The name derives from the Hebrew verb for “to dedicate.”

    This year, Chanukah begins at sundown on December 16th and ends at sunset on Wednesday, December 24th.. The date is based on the Hebrew calendar months*, which are of different lengths than our Gregorian calendar months.

    Chanukah commemorates an event in the 2nd century B.C.E.: the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, that had been destroyed during Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire of Syria.

    According to the Talmud, for the rededication, unadulterated and undefiled pure olive oil with the seal of the high priest was needed to light the menorah (candelabra) in the Temple, which was required to burn throughout the night every night.

    However, only one flask of oil was found, with enough to burn for just one day. Yet, the oil burned for eight days, and during that time a fresh supply of kosher oil was prepared to continue.

    Based on this miracle, an eight-day festival was declared by the Jewish sages.

     
    Traditional Chanukah foods are fried in honor of the miracle oil: doughnuts, loukoumades (deep-fried puffs dipped in honey or sugar) and latkes (potato pancakes).

    But there is no official Chanukah beverage. So this year, for fun and festivity, we’re publishing a Chanukah cocktail recipe—colored ice blue, a color of the flag of Israel (which is blue and white). The recipe is from SKYY Spirits.

    You don’t have to officially celebrate Chanukah in order to whip up a batch. Several years ago, we received the very same recipe called the Winter Chill.
     
    RECIPE: CHANUKAH COCKTAIL or WINTER CHILL COCKTAIL

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 ounce citrus vodka
  • 1 ounce blue Curaçao
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • Ice
  • Optional rim garnish: blue or white sanding sugar (or a blend)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients with ice in a shaker.

    2. SHAKE vigorously and strain into a Martini glass.

     

    WHAT IS CURAÇAO?

    Curaçao (pronounced KOO-ruh-sow) is an orange-flavored liqueur made from the dried peel of a citrus fruit called the laraha, which is grown on the Caribbean island of Curaçao. The laraha was bred from the sweet Valencia orange that was planted by Spanish explorers.

    The orange did not grow well in the nutrient-poor soil and arid climate of Curaçao. It yielded small fruits with bitter, inedible flesh. However, the peels maintained much of the sweet, aromatic essence of the Valencia.

    Orange peel has utility and economic value, so the Valencia trees were eventually bred into the laraha species.

    To make the liqueur, the dried peels are soaked in a still with alcohol and water, and spices are added. The liqueur is naturally colorless like triple sec, another orange liqueur.

    But Curaçao is often colored, typically blue, which creates vibrant-colored, exotic-looking cocktails. The coloring in Blue Curaçao does not alter the taste.

     

    blue-curacao-dekuyperUSA-230

    Blue Curaçao and the oranges from which it is made. Photo courtesy DeKuyper USA.

     
    *Chanukah begins on the 25th day of Kislev, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. More about the calendar.

      

    Comments

    GADGET: SKrAPr

    skrapr-230

    The standard SKrAPr with the free mini version. Photo courtsy SKrAPr.

     

    Tired of expending elbow grease to clean burned on or dried food from cooktops, stoves, ovens, barbecue grills, baking pans and counter tops?

    So was Richard Lambert, who solved the problem by inventing the whimsically-spelled SKrAPr. This kitchen gadget looks like a merger of a spatula and a paint scraper.

    The non-scratching blade scrapes residue off of smooth surfaces. The material is a patented composite resin that works on all smooth surfaces: aluminum, ceramic, glass, granite, hardwood, marble and stainless steel.

    Most messes can be SKrAPed up with water as the only lubricant—no chemical cleaners required.

    If SKrAPr looks like a device that can scrape off paint splatters or de-ice car windshields—well yes, it is.

     

    The Skrapr website isn’t up yet, but there is a Facebook page. You can buy it on Amazon.com ($14.51) and at retailers like Bed, Bath & Beyond.

    There’s a limited lifetime warranty.

    The company makes other tools as well, including:

  • Grill Cleaner
  • Curv Spreading Tool (spatula)
  • Spreader Set
  • Ice cream Skoopr
  •  
      

    Comments

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