salad

Completely Board Post #20: Baked Eggplant Burgers

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

With just a little over 3-1/2 hours left in Vegan MoFo 2014 here in the eastern US, I’m sitting down to write my final post.  I can’t believe I actually made it to 20.  It was looking a doubtful for a while. With very few exceptions, I’ve been really pleased with the recipes I’ve tried from my Pinterest boards, both the ones I could use as written and the ones I had to convert in some way.  I’m so glad this last one did not disappoint.

What you see here is my original pin with my comment: “I think I need to buy eggplant on my next grocery trip.”

Eggplant Burger Pin

That was over a year ago. I’ve been to the grocery store many times since then.  I’ve even purchased eggplant many times since then, but I had yet to attempt this burger from The Tolerant Vegan. 

I mostly followed the instructions as written.  The only two substitutes I made were cashews in place of pine nuts and gluten free (Food for Life Brown Rice Bread) bread crumbs instead of panko. And I used parchment paper instead of foil.  I think I went a little overboard on the amount of eggplant and I ended up with 5 large burgers instead of 4.  It took a little while longer to make than I want my weeknight meals to take, but I have 4 burgers leftover so it will balance out for other meals later in the week.

This is the burger queen of Mediterranean flavors.  It has it all…eggplant, onion, bell pepper, hummus, beans, garlic and cumin.  Really…how could I not have loved it?

The texture is different from most burgers I’ve had, but it works here.  It was crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.  Yes, I said creamy.  It was like there was a mix of baba ghanoush and hummus (well, duh there is hummus) in the middle.   I mostly eat burger platters instead of burgers on buns, so I’m not sure how it would hold up in a bun, but the original one seems to have worked just great.

I really enjoyed this burger topped with a lemon tahini sauce and surrounded by a tomato-cucumber-parsley salad (with a tiny bit of that tahini sauce mixed in).

Baked Eggplant Burger Platter

Thanks so much for hanging out with me this month.  I hope you enjoyed being “Completely Board” as much as I did.  Happy end of Vegan MoFo!

Completely Board Post #10: Corn & Chickpea Fiesta Salad

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

 

I really love a good bean salad.  I have a separate Pinterest board for them.  But, for some reason, I never think to make them.  Since the purpose of the Completely Board theme is to use forgotten Pins, a bean salad it is.  And nothing sounded like more fun than the Corn and Chickpea Fiesta Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette from A Teaspoon of Happiness.

Corn & Chickpea Fiesta Salad

This is going to be short and sweet.  I followed the recipe.  The only tweak I made was to use roasted corn (the frozen stuff from Trader Joe’s).  It was simple to do and delicious to eat, especially the next day when the flavors had more time to meld together.  No single flavor was dominant, they all just blended wonderfully.

For some reason, I can only assume because the word “Fiesta” was in the title, my sister B and I both thought this was going to be a spicy salad.  It isn’t.  But, we agreed it would be good with a little taco seasoning mixed in the dressing on those days we want a little extra kick.

Another winning pin.  Another good pot luck dish.

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For the original recipe, click the image of my pin below (vegan post, non-vegan site)

Corn & Chickpea Fiesta Salad

Completely Board Post #1: Nacho Seasoned Roasted Chickpeas

In case you missed the introduction yesterday, Veg-am will be “Completely Board” this month as I attempt to cook through some of my ignored Pinterest boards.  Some Pins are already vegan/gluten-free/soy-free, some are going to get a conversion by yours truly.

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

I’ll be starting off with a few simple recipes for two reasons.  One – I wasn’t home this weekend to begin preparing.  And, two – the simple ones are more likely to end up in my regular menu rotation and I want this month to be helpful to me too :).  But don’t worry, there will be some desserts, some recipes that need converting, and probably even a couple that will make me ask “what I was I thinking?” because really, it wouldn’t be a real MoFo for me if I didn’t ask that at least 2 or 3 times.

And with that, it’s time to get “Completely Board”…

Earlier this year, I did some menu planning testing for Cara over at Fork and Beans.  While doing that, I made my first attempt at  roasted chickpeas.  It was love at first bite.  Not long after that, I saw this recipe on Vega’s website for nacho seasoned roasted chickpeas.  I immediately put it on my Pinterest board with the caption “Yes, Please.”

Nacho Seasoned Roasted Chickpeas
I didn’t have to change a thing in the ingredients and these were super simple to throw together.  They weren’t exactly nacho flavored, but they were a nice lightly spiced, salty replacement.  I see a lot of these in my future.

Notes:
1. I cooked these for 50 minutes.  Even at that, they weren’t all crunchy, but some of them were.  Any longer and some would have been burned.   I still wonder just how they get the store bought roasted chickpeas crunchy like a chip.

2. Bear in mind that chili powder (which is called for here), is not the same as chile powder.  Chile powder is just ground peppers.  Chili powder is a mixture of chile powder along with some other spices that cut the heat (often cumin & garlic).

3. While I like roasted chickpeas as a snack, I like them even more as a salad topping.  I can’t wait to sprinkle these on one tomorrow.

For the original recipe, just click on the image of my original Pin below.

nachoseasonedchickpeapin

Salad Rolls with Vegan Ranch Dressing

Salad Rolls with Vegan Ranch |Veg-am

Salad rolls are a staple at my house.  They’re a nice change from eating just plate full of salad, but still provide a nice variety of salad vegetables and some dressing.  Bonus: in the summer, you don’t have to heat up the kitchen.  Not one thing here requires heat.

Even when they have avocado in them, they will hold in the refrigerator until the next day.  You just have to be careful to store the rolls without letting them touch each other or they will stick and tear.

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Salad Rolls

All you need is 8″ rice paper wrappers, your favorite salad ingredients, and ranch dressing for dipping.

You can use your favorite salad ingredients, but these are my standard choices:

Romaine Lettuce, chiffonaded -or- Green Cabbage, shredded
Carrots, grated
Cucumbers, cut into matchsticks
Avocado, sliced
Red, Orange or Yellow Bell Pepper, sliced (not rings)

Directions:  

Fill a large pie plate or bowl with very warm water. Place two rice paper wrappers in the water at a time, completely submerged and let sit for about a minute, until they have softened.

Handle each wrapper gently as you place it on your work surface. Starting with the salad “base” (lettuce, cabbage, whatever you choose), place a layer in the lower third of the wrapper, leaving about 1-1/2 inches of margin from the far edges on either side (you’ll be folding those in.)  Layer your other ingredients on top of the base.  To roll, snugly fold the left and right sides of the wrapper over the filling. Lift the bottom of the wrapper over the filling and tuck it underneath the filling, then roll firmly but gently.  Place the rolls seam side down on a plate or clean cookie sheet.  Let them sit out about 15 minutes so the wrappers can dry some.  They will still be a little sticky, but they shouldn’t be damp.

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Although when I eat plates of salad I rarely use ranch, it is my go to dressing for salad rolls.  This is a slightly modified version of a recipe someone gave me.  Despite trying to find out the origin, I haven’t been able to in order to give credit.  It’s super good and even if I could do bottled ranch, I don’t think I ever would again.

It makes a little over 1/2 cup.  For me it works for 14-15 rolls, but it just depends on how much dipping you do.

Vegan Ranch

1/2 cup soy free Vegenaise
2 Tbsp unsweetened Almond Milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dry parsley
3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp dried dill

Using a whisk, mix all together in a small mixing bowl until evenly blended.

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I often cut other rice paper rolls for serving, but this particular one stays together better (and is therefore easier to eat) if it’s all in one piece.  But, I did cut this one for you to see all the vegetable-y goodness inside.

Salad Rolls with Vegan Ranch | Veg-am

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Notes:

1. My work surface is typically a piece of wax paper taped to the counter or a glass cutting board.

2. You’ll get a setup that works for you after you do it a time or two. My water bowl sits on the counter to the side and I have everything else on the kitchen island where I’m assembling the rolls.

3. Don’t feel the need to be too uptight about what goes in the roll. Some will have more of one ingredient than another.  By all means don’t stress yourself out by measuring.

4. If you’re scared of rice paper rolls, don’t be. They are a lot easier than you think!

5. Other ingredients that I think would work really well: sprouts, onions, scallions, shredded red cabbage, grated daikon, radishes (probably little matchsticks or half moons), chiffonaded spinach, fresh herbs. I do stay away from tomatoes in the rolls because I think their moisture content would be a problem for the wrapper.  So, if I’m in the mood for tomato, I just serve it on the side.

6.  There are tapioca papers as well.  They work ok in a pinch, but when I tried them, they split open too easily with the salad ingredients in them.


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Classics are Classics for a Reason: Potato Salad

Still visiting the classics…

At the age of 11, I had a favorite restaurant that was chosen almost entirely on its ability to produce the best potato salad ever (sorry, Mom…but admit it, you liked theirs too).  Although I have been cooking for almost as long as I can remember, I think I was in my late 20s before I realized that making potato salad isn’t magic. ( Well, theirs might have been because I’ve never quite been able to recreate it.  Or maybe I just can’t recreate it the way the 11 year old inside me remembers it.)  It’s not even hard. In fact, when you’re accustomed to cooking most of your food at home, it’s one of the easiest things around.

Fast forward several years, when I went vegan and there was no such thing as soy-free vegan mayo, I mostly gave up on potato salad again.  (Though it does even work with beannaise if you don’t have access to a store-bought mayo you can use.) But now, we live in a world where a classic, soy-free vegan potato salad is no longer a mythical potluck dish.

D’s Favorite Potato Salad
(a variation on the Better Homes & Gardens Classic Potato Salad)
makes about 12 side dish servings

Ingredients:

2-1/2 pounds potatoes (about 6 yukon golds – my potato of choice, red potatoes would be good too)
1-1/4 cups soy-free vegenaise

1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp prepared yellow mustard
black pepper to taste

1/4 cup celery, finely diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish or sweet pickle cubes



Directions:
Peel and cube potatoes. In a medium saucepan place potatoes and enough water to cover. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until just tender. Drain. Cool slightly

While potatoes are cooling,  in a large bowl combine mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper and pickle relish or cubes.

Stir in the celery and onions.

When potatoes are cool enough (slightly warm is ok, you just don’t want them hot), add them to the dressing mix and toss lightly to coat.

Cover and chill at least 6 hours.

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If you’d like a variation on the classic, Dreena Burton’s Potato Spinach Salad with Pine Nut Vinaigrette is a good option.   I like it chilled and I leave out the black olives because I don’t like them.  Usually I leave out the artichokes too because I don’t notice much difference without them.  

Classics are Classics for a Reason: Potato Salad

Still visiting the classics…

At the age of 11, I had a favorite restaurant that was chosen almost entirely on its ability to produce the best potato salad ever (sorry, Mom…but admit it, you liked theirs too).  Although I have been cooking for almost as long as I can remember, I think I was in my late 20s before I realized that making potato salad isn’t magic. ( Well, theirs might have been because I’ve never quite been able to recreate it.  Or maybe I just can’t recreate it the way the 11 year old inside me remembers it.)  It’s not even hard. In fact, when you’re accustomed to cooking most of your food at home, it’s one of the easiest things around.

Fast forward several years, when I went vegan and there was no such thing as soy-free vegan mayo, I mostly gave up on potato salad again.  (Though it does even work with beannaise if you don’t have access to a store-bought mayo you can use.) But now, we live in a world where a classic, soy-free vegan potato salad is no longer a mythical potluck dish.

D’s Favorite Potato Salad
(a variation on the Better Homes & Gardens Classic Potato Salad)
makes about 12 side dish servings

Ingredients:

2-1/2 pounds potatoes (about 6 yukon golds – my potato of choice, red potatoes would be good too)
1-1/4 cups soy-free vegenaise

1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp prepared yellow mustard
black pepper to taste

1/4 cup celery, finely diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish or sweet pickle cubes



Directions:Peel po
Peel and cube potatoes. In a medium saucepan place potatoes and enough water to cover. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until just tender. Drain. Cool slightly

While potatoes are cooling,  in a large bowl combine mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper and pickle relish or cubes.

Stir in the celery and onions.

When potatoes are cool enough (slightly warm is ok, you just don’t want them hot), add them to the dressing mix and toss lightly to coat.

Cover and chill at least 6 hours.

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If you’d like a variation on the classic, Dreena Burton’s Potato Spinach Salad with Pine Nut Vinaigrette is a good option.   I like it chilled and I leave out the black olives because I don’t like them.  Usually I leave out the artichokes too because I don’t notice much difference without them.  

1 food 5 ways, Sweet Potato, Way #5: Chipotle Sweet Potato Salad

Something I’ve been wanting to mention during mofo, but didn’t fit in my theme until now: My local Whole Foods Market also was finally able to get in Follow Your Heart’s Soy-Free Vegenaise! If your market doesn’t have it yet, ask. It’s totally worth it. So how could I use that AND finish up my last sweet potato post? Chipotle Mayo was the clear answer!

Two of my favorite flavors with sweet potato are chipotle and green onion. I’ve combined them here to make this nice little sweet potato salad. This is just one serving so multiply however you want.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Salad
Serves 1

Ingredients:
3/4 cup cubed sweet potato, steamed
1 green onion/scallion, sliced
2 tsp soy-free vegenaise
3/4 tsp chipotle tabasco sauce

Directions:
In a small bowl mix together the vegenaise and tabasco with a fork until well incorporated and smooth. In a small mixing bowl, put the chipotle mayo over the sweet potato and scallion and mix with a fork until coated. If your sweet potato isn’t already cold, you might want to let it chill at this point. But I’d prepared my sweet potato yesterday and let it chill overnight so it was good to go.

Here it is on a brown rice tortilla with some fresh, chopped spinach. Wrap it up and it’s ready!

Note: I didn’t, but next time I would add a little more chipotle mayo to the tortilla before wrapping it because the tortilla overpowered the salad in some bites. But without the wrap, I think the small amount of chipotle mayo was just right.

And now (just 8 hours late), I can really say that 1 food 5 ways is a wrap! (couldn’t resist)

1 food 5 ways, Mushrooms, Way #2, Blackened Portabella Salad

I mentioned I would be doing some experimenting during mofo and that some things wouldn’t turn out quite the way I’d hoped while others would be exactly what I wanted. This post is a mixed bag. But as promised, I’m reporting to you the good and the not so good.

Blackened Portabella Salad



The success: I used the blackening seasoning from Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen (part of his Blackened Tofu Slabs with Succotash Salsa recipe) to blacken a portabella cap. I cannot describe to you just how good this is. I absolutely love this spice mixture. It’s pretty hot from cayenne, but not the kind of hot where you can’t taste anything else. The flavors are amazing (not unlike how amazing Bryant’s recipe for black-eyed pea fritters and hot pepper sauce is). A big thank you to Bryant for letting me post the spice mix here for you!

To blacken the mushroom…Preheat a skillet lightly coated with oil over medium heat. After removing the stem, brush oil on both sides of the cap and sprinkle with the blackening spice mix (recipe follows). It’s really up to you how much to use. I pretty much coat the mushroom with it. And I’m not gonna lie, I keep adding it as the mushroom cooks. Cook the mushroom in the pan until it is releasing it’s own water and spices are dark. In order to encourage the mushroom to start releasing it’s own water, I put about a tablespoon of water in the pan around the mushroom and cover with a lid. Flip the mushroom a few times throughout cooking to get even blackening on top and bottom. How long you cook it is really up to the doneness you desire. For a salad like this, I like it to still be juicy rather than chewy – that took me about 10 minutes total cooking time. If you want it chewier, you can just keep cooking it.
Cut mushroom cap in half and then cut each half into 1/2″ slices. Lay the mushroom slices in two rows across a bed of mixed greens. Dress as desired (see “The so-so” and the “Proposed fix for the so-so” below for what I did vs. what I think I would do in the future)
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Vegan Soul Kitchen Blackening Spices (From Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry)
Printed with permission
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp coriander
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
In a small bowl, mix all ingredients to combine.
A double batch fills up an average size spice bottle that you can buy where bulk spices are sold. This is definitely a mix I want to have on hand.
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The so-so:
I’m not a huge fan of sweet, fruity dressings. I like savory, tangy dressings. I know this. And yet because of the spicy mushroom I decided I wanted to try a sweet dressing. I certainly didn’t think it was bad: it’s just not my preference. But it might be yours, so I’m going to post it anyway. Use it if you like, don’t if you don’t.
Creamy Mango Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews (soaked for an hour and then drained)
  • 3/4 cup mango, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp agave
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until completely smooth (about 5-6 minutes), scraping down the sides as necessary.
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The proposed fix to the so-so: In the future, I think I’d just put some diced mango and almond slivers directly on the salad and then mix a little red wine vinegar and agave (1:1) to drizzle on top. I’d still get a little sweet, add a little crunch, and get a more tangy dressing. The one thing I wouldn’t change is that mushroom! And the mushrooms are what these posts are really about.
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I have a couple more experiments up my sleeve: 1. Herbed Polenta Cups with Mushroom-Onion Filling and 2. Mushroom-Lentil Cheeseburger Pie. Don’t they seriously sound good? Now if my cooking skills can keep up with my imagination, I would be one happy blogger!

1 food 5 ways, Kale, Way #4: Kale Salad with Lemon-Pepper Dressing

Besides the caesar salad I posted earlier this month, this is probably my favorite salad. The remarkable thing about that is that it’s probably the easiest salad to make! And best of all, it’s autumn-y and sunny all at the same time so I can eat it year round without a seasonal disconnect.
The first time I had a salad like this was a couple years ago at a Whole Foods Market salad bar. I started thinking that even though it was ultra convenient (which is nice sometimes) $7.99 a pound was quite a lot for something I could make for a lot less at home. So I made my own.
That was before pine nuts were $31.99 in bulk. (hint: buy the bags at Trader Joe’s if you can $7.99 for 1/2 lb bag).


Kale Salad with Lemon-Pepper Dressing

Salad:
8 cups loosely packed curly kale, stems removed and leaves torn into bite size pieces (about 5.5 ozs)
1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
6 Tbsp Pine Nuts (raw, unsalted)
Dressing:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Directions:
In a large bowl, toss all the salad ingredients together.
In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice and oil with a fork. Grind in the pepper and mix again with the fork.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until everything is well coated.
General notes:
1. This can be served immediately, but personally I like to let it sit together for a little while first. The kale gets softer and and dried cranberries soak in the lemon juice. I have kept it in the fridge for 3 days with no problem.
2. Please note the measurements here are just a general guideline. This is really very forgiving. Change up the quantities to your liking.
3. The dressing is on the oily side, so if you don’t like that cut down the oil. I’m not a usually a huge fan of that, but somehow against the crispy kale it works for me.
4. If you’re not a fan of pine nuts or they’re too expensive or you just happen to be out, then slivered almonds should work just fine.
5. I’ve made this with orange juice instead of lemon. I don’t prefer it, but if you have a lemon hater among you, it works just fine. Not quite as bright a taste, but still good.
6. I really like to taste the pepper against the lemony kale and the sweet cranberries. If you like pepper at all, go for it.
7. The nuts, cranberries and tomatoes tend to slip to the bottom of the bowl. So, if you’re serving it at your holiday functions, tell people to dig deep to get all the goodies. Or, don’t tell them and save those parts for yourself 😉

1 food 5 ways, Cashews, Bonus Way #6 Caesar Chavez Dressing

Giveaway winner is mmmorgans! (chosen by random number generator) Congratulations! I will attempt to contact you through email, but if you don’t hear from me today, email me at dawn (at) drsimpsongallery (dot) com. Let me know if you’d rather have the paperback or the kindle edition and where to send it!

And now, a bonus post on cashews. This is where the majority of the cashews from my pantry go. And since Isa Chandra Moskowitz was kind enough to grant permission to share this with you, I certainly wasn’t going to miss the chance.

I’ve always been a big caesar salad fan. And a lot of vegan recipes for caesar are soy-based or not smooth enough. Enter Appetite for Reduction. This is one of my favorite cookbooks of all time. It is quite possibly THE favorite of all time. And this dressing is reason #1.

Caesar Chavez Dressing

2 Tbsp chopped shallots
2 tablespoons cashew pieces
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon miso (for us soy-free folks there is chickpea miso)
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon capers with brine
1/8 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
Place everything in a food processor and blend for at least 5 minutes using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides often, until completely smooth. It’s really important that you blend for the full time, otherwise your dressing may be grainy. Taste for salt. Keep refrigerated in a tightly sealed container until ready to use.
Here it is on the salad with eggplant “bacon” (also from Appetite from Reduction)
A Few Tips from Me:
1. A good blender works just fine if you don’t have a processor
2. I soak the cashews for about an hour. Until I went to retype this I thought the directions said to. So it must be in the book somewhere that it’s a good idea. Anyway, do it. It makes the dressing really creamy.
3. Even if you don’t think you like capers, don’t skip them. I did this once because I was out. The resulting dressing was decent, but it lost it’s WOW factor.
4. Make a double batch. You’ll go through the first one too fast.
If you have this book, and you haven’t made this yet…what are you waiting for?
If you haven’t gotten this book yet…what are you waiting for?
If you are waiting for a give-away…you are in luck! 1 lucky winner will get their very own copy of Appetite for Reduction (paperback or Kindle edition, your choice)

Just leave a comment on this post about what you love about this book (if you’re trying to win it to gift to someone else), what you think you might love about this book (if you’ve looked into it and just don’t have it yet), or just how amazing this salad looks (let me assure you that it tastes even better). Frankly, anything related to this post, this blog or delicious vegan, gluten free/soy free food will suffice (as long it’s not spam – that will be deleted). Please make your entry by 11:59pm EDT, Sunday October 9. I will randomly draw a number on Monday and announce the winner.
BTW, if you’re not convinced yet how much you need this book, I have a few more words for you: chipotle.lentil.burger. And don’t forget the cool slaw.
The second food in the series will start tomorrow. Get ready to see 1 food 5 ways, the KALE edition.

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