The Best Sandwich in the World: Bacon Lettuce and Tomato

August 2, 2011 at 8:28 am | Posted in Breakfast, Sandwiches | 59 Comments
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It’s a tradition around our house that as soon as the first ripe tomato is picked from the garden breakfast the next morning is a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. And with each bite I’m wishing that the sandwich would never end. Afterall it is the best sandwich in the world and what tastes better than the first home-grown vine-ripened tomato::::sigh. Served with an ice cold glass of orange juice and a slice of Rocky Ford cantaloupe it’s an award-winning meal.

This year I planted two Early Girls, one Beefsteak, some sort of who knows what kind of cherry tomato plant (the marker from the greenhouse mistakenly indicated it was an Early Girl), One Better Boy, one Patio and then I got daring and on impulse picked up a yellow Brandywine plant at Whole Foods, (which by the way has yet to produce a single bloom).

So what’s your story Early Girls? The first ripened tomato, picked on July 30, came from the big beautiful Beefsteak plant rather than quicker producing Early Girl plants. Sometimes I think these plants have a mind of their own.

So how do you build the best sandwich in the world?  Here’s how we do it.

  • Thick slice your delicious and prized first fresh garden tomato. Lightly salt and set aside
  • Fry 8 slices of good quality thick sliced bacon (4 slices bacon for each sandwich)
  • Toast 4 slices of OroWeat Oat Nut Bread
  • Best Foods Mayonnaise
  • iceberg or butter Lettuce

Slather each slice of warm toast with mayonnaise. Arrange 4 slices of bacon for each sandwich. Add that thick slice of garden tomato. Top with lettuce and the other mayo slathered piece of toast.  Slice on the diagonal.

Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches…It’s What’s for Breakfast.

No Recipe Required: Apple and Brie Sandwiches

May 3, 2011 at 8:10 am | Posted in No recipe required, Quick and Easy, Sandwiches | 40 Comments
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  • Lay two slices of rustic Italian bread on a sheet pan. 
  • Broil one side until toasted.
  • Remove from oven and spread untoasted side with Dijon mustard.
  • Top with arugula, thin sliced gala apples and two slices of thin sliced Brie cheese
  • Pop it back under the broiler until cheese is melted.

Adapted from Fine Cooking

Apple and Brie Sandwiches…It’s What’s for a Quick Dinner.

One Year Ago: Tarragon Burgers and Citrus Salad

Cooking For A Crowd; Sandwiches for Super Bowl Sunday

January 30, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Posted in Sandwiches | 36 Comments
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I had really big cooking plans for this weekend…and I mean really big. (You’ve got to fold your arms high across your chest and say that last “really big” in your best Ed Sullivan voice.)

My post for the Chef Paul Sliders had me in the mood for more Cajun. I bookmarked a Red Beans and Rice recipe which was to slow cook for hours with ham hocks and andouille sausage in an array of brightly seasoned Cajun spices. Spooned over some hot steaming white rice the whole thing was then to be slathered in some Brown Cajun Gravy. Oh but wait…there’s more. Sunday morning leftovers were to be used for Eggs Basin Street. Milk and flour were to be added to the leftover rice and molded into cakes and fried. The rice cakes were to be topped with a scoop of the leftover red beans and a poached egg and the whole thing drizzled with a Cajun béarnaise sauce. Now doesn’t that sound wonderful?

My plans were foiled Friday evening when I ended up with a stomach bug. Even the sound of Hubs clanging dishes around in the kitchen sent me grabbing for pillows to cover my ears. I even ordered all cooking magazines, gleaming with their beautiful glossy food photos, out of my sight. Saturday night a bowl of clear beef broth tasted wonderful and I could have cared less about Chef Paul and his “feast”.

So, with all that said, let’s take a look at a platter of sandwiches I made a couple of months back for a potluck event. Easy and so packed with flavor you might want to consider them for next weekend’s food event. Not really a recipe, let’s take a look:

Pita Roll-Ups:

  • 1 package of pocketless pitas
  • 1 package Boursin Cheese
  • 1 pound Mortadella
  • 1 pound Pastrami or any of your favorite deli meat
  • Tarragon
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Pepperoncini

Lay out your pita rounds and spread on a good layer of the Boursin cheese. Top with a few nice layers of the deli meats. Sprinkle on some basil, tarragon and chives. Add a layer of thin-sliced radishes and slivered sun-dried tomatoes. Roll them up. Slice them in half on the diagonal. Secure each half with a toothpick which has been speared with a small pepporncini. Tasty.

As you can see, it’s not really a recipe. It is flexible enough to be easy to match your own tastes. By using a different brand of flavored spreadable cheese, different sandwich meat and spices and you can make this your own.

Pita Roll-Ups…It’s What Could be for Super Bowl.

Feeding A Crowd; Cajun Meatloaf Sliders for the Super Bowl

January 21, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Posted in Sandwiches | 43 Comments
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Whether you’re traveling or hosting a party at home, here are some more food ideas for the upcoming event. Throw in your rowdy friends, lots of cold beer, a good football game, funny commercials and a halftime extravaganza show and you’ve got a good Super Bowl Party. 

Speaking of halftime extravaganzas, remember when Diana Ross entered the stadium dangling from the bottom rung of a helicopter ladder? I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. 

On a more positive note..remember when Paul McCartney performed the year following the Janet Jackson fiasco with the memorable “Hey Jude” sing along? Remember when Prince performed Purple Rain in the rain and the guitar shadow was noticably on the phallic side? The Rolling Stones performed for the first time in television delay mode because the network feared “you never know what they might pull“.  ??? 

What’s your favorite halftime extravaganza memorable moment?

Super Bowl is always a great excuse for a food event. Too bad the Saints aren’t in this year, but we can still serve up some Cajun just in case the Black Eyed Peas offer up a halftime moment.

Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Cajun Meatloaf recipe. I’ve been making it and savoring it for years. It’s a wonderful combination of bold spices that come together in a tasty treat for the palate. For a real thrill, you might even try Chef Paul’s Cajun sauce that he recommends you serve over the meatloaf. I’ve prepared the sauce once and I must say it was memorable…in a fire extinguisher sort of way.  But for now, let’s take a look at my cold meatloaf sandwich version.

Last fall, when asked to provide food for a Realtor open house, I put on my thinking cap and since that cap is always preloaded with a slider recipe, decided to make some changes and create a Paul Prudhomme meatloaf slider. 

Following the recipe, I simply baked the meatloaf mixture pressed flat in 9 x 11 casserole pan instead of the meatloaf shape. As you can see, the loaf was about two inches thick. After baking, I let cool to room temperature and went to work to build my little sliders. Cutting the meat into squares that would fit on my favorite Sara Lee Original Rolls, I simply slathered some mayo on the bottom half of the bun and some Cajun mustard on the top. 

The sandwich dressed with a slice of  sweet and spicy flavored Dave’s Famous Signature Spicy Pickle Chips  disappeared quicker than the shot of Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. Oh c’mon admit it, how many times did you have to rewind to actually see something?

Served with a big bowl of beautiful Louisiana Sunburst Salad

My standby Best Pasta Salad Ever

A big relish tray complete with pickled asparagus…

Finish with a tray of my mom’s Orange Slice Bars   

Recipes are below or linked.

A Cajun Theme, minus the Saints…It’s What’s For Superbowl.

Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Cajun Meat Loaf, Louisiana Kitchen Cookbook:

Seasoning Mix:

2 Whole bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground red pepper (preferably cayenne)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

4 tablespoons Unsalted butter
3/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup catsup
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup very fine dry bread crumbs

Very Hot Cajun Sauce for Beef (see below)

Combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter in a one quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, tabasco, Worcestershire and seasoning mix. Saute until mixture starts sticking excessively, about six minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the pan bottom well. Stir in the milk and catsup. Continue cooking for about two minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.

Place the ground beef and pork in an ungreased 13×9-inch baking pan. Add the eggs, the cooked vegetable mixture and the bread crumbs, remove the bay leaves. Mix by hand until thoroughly combined. In the center of the pan, shape the mixture into a loaf that is about 1-1/2 inches high, 6 inches wide and 12 inches long. Bake uncovered at 350°F for 25 minutes, then raise heat to 400°F and continue cooking until done, about 35 minutes longer.

Serve immediately as is or with Very Hot Cajun Sauce for Beef.

Very Hot Cajun Sauce For Beef

This sauce is excellent with Cajun Meat Loaf, roast beef, sandwiches hamburgers, post roast and Cajun Shepard’s Pie.

3/4 cup chopped onions

  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 1/4 chop chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (preferably cayenne)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves 1/4 cup minced jalapeno peppers
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 cups Basic Beef Stock

NOTE: Fresh Jalapenos are preferred; if you have to use pickled ones, rinse
as much vinegar from them as possible.

Combine the onions, bell peppers and celery in a small bowl and set aside while you start the roux. Unlike the roux in most other recipes in this book, the roux we use here is light brown. Therefore, instead of heating the oil to the smoking stage, we heat it to only 250°F; this prevents the roux from getting too brown.

In a heavy two-quart saucepan heat the oil over medium-low heat to about 250°F. With a metal whisk, whisk in the flour a little at a time until smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly until roux is light brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to let the roux scorch or splash on your skin. Remove from heat and with a spoon immediately stir in the vegetable mixture and the red, white and black peppers; return pan to high heat and cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the bay leave, jalapeno peppers and garlic, stirring well. Continue cooking about 2
minutes, stirring constantly. (We’re cooking the seasonings and vegetables in the light roux and the mixture should, therefore, be pasty). Remove from heat.

In a separate two-quart saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Add the roux mixture by spoonfuls to the boiling stock, stirring until dissolved between each addition. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce reduces to 3 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Skim any oil from the top and serve immediately.

A New Mexico Inspired Sandwich

November 13, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Posted in Chicken, Mexican/Southwest, Sandwiches | 42 Comments
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Ever been to Santa Fe? Even though it’s just a hop skip and jump away from Denver, it’s been years since we’ve been. It’s a wonderful town bustling with lots of art and unique New Mexican cuisine. 

But wait a minute, just what makes New Mexico style food different from Tex-Mex or Mexican?

This popular form of southwest cuisine  is very different. Its most defining characteristic is the dominance of the New Mexican chile, the state’s largest agricultural crop.

In New Mexico, the green chile is an ingredient in everything from enchiladas and burritos to cheeseburgers, french fries, bagels, and even pizza. The most famous of these New Mexico grown chiles is the Hatch chile from Hatch, New Mexico.

I read that before the arrival of Europeans, New Mexico’s current borders overlapped the areas of the Navajo, Mescalero, and Chiricahua tribes. The Spaniards brought their cuisine which mingled with the indigenous dishes and flavors. At the end of the Mexican-American War, New Mexico became part of the United States, and was strongly influenced by incoming U.S. tastes. This history combined with the local terrain and climate has resulted in its significant differences and is what makes New Mexican cuisine unique.

New Mexico has bragging rights for bringing us the blue corn tortilla, the stacked enchilada, green chile and sopapillas.  

For a gift last Christmas, I received this wonderful cookbook full of unique recipes from Cafe Pasqual’s, a popular restaurant in Santa Fe. Cafe Pasqual’s has been in business over 30 years, is located in downtown Santa and specializes in Old Mexico, New Mexico and Asian cuisine.

This is a great little cookbook, full of wonderful recipes, beautiful tinted photographs and Mexican art throughout.

Let’s take a look at a sandwich inspired from this cookbook.

This recipe focuses on the Chimayo chile pepper named for the town where it’s grown…Chimayo, New Mexico.  It’s slightly hotter than a cayenne pepper. 

First off, I baked a loaf of corn bread to use as the base. This isn’t your normal fall apart corn bread, but more the consistency of a dense style bread, calling for more flour than corn meal. Add some fresh corn, yeast, cream and the unique flavor of the Chimayo chile pepper and you’ve got a flavorful bread on which to build the sandwich.

Taking a slice of bread, I smeared it with some Hatch chile mayonnaise. Simply some mayonnaise blended with cilantro and chopped Hatch Chiles and of course a sprinkle of the Chimayo Chile Powder.  Every year I buy a few bags of freshly roasted Hatch chiles and they’re tucked away in the freezer to use in dishes all winter long.

The sandwich is then topped with shredded cooked chicken breast which has been marinating in olive oil and garlic for 24 hours.

Over the chicken breast spoon on some carmelized onions and jalapenos. For this I sliced one large sweet yellow onion, sautéed it in olive oil for about 20 minutes. I then added in three sliced jalapenos sprinkled all with about two tablespoons sugar and cooked for an additional seven minutes.

Topped with some shredded Manchego cheese and popped under the broiler for a few minutes and you’ve got a wonderful ooey-gooey tasty New Mexico inspired sandwich. The star of this sandwich was the flavor of the corn bread. The bread is sweet and with the earthy heat and flavor from the Chimayo chile you’ll be finding yourself wanting to dig through your jewelry box to find that turquoise bracelet to wear.

And you cannot ignore those carmelized onions and jalapenos. What  a wonderful flavor combination, especially with the melted Manchego cheese melting in between the rings of flavor.

Served with some sliced mangos sprinkled with Znax2Go. Znax2Go is a seasoning that you sprinkle over fruits or vegetables, a delicious combination of hot chile powder and sugar. I think it’s great on mangos.

New Mexico Sandwich…It’s What’s For Dinner.

Bacon and Egg Open-Faced Style Sandwich

September 5, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Posted in eggs, Sandwiches | 18 Comments
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After my last post and days of combining fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and basil piled on top toasted bread, hubs has put his foot down regarding the usage of the “B-word” around here which describes that dish. 

I’m not to use it anymore, say’s he’s heard it far too many times.  B this, B that, “look at this beautiful “B-style” sandwich, “we’re having a side of “B” tonight”, “Isn’t this “b” delicious”, “look how pretty and fresh the “b” looks”…I’ve even been banned from watching Giada because she says it all the time. Too funny. Now don’t get me wrong, he’ll eat it till the cows come home, he’s just annoyed with that word.

So with all that said I’d like to show you another (but not last) open-faced style sandwich which has been placed on a slab of toasted french bread.  🙂

Kathy over at Wives With Knives posted this sandwich a couple of weeks ago and I nearly dropped to my knees when I looked at her delicious photo. Plus, never would I have thought to finish this with a vinaigrette and parmesan. It was awesome. I like her idea of the frizzled style greens and will use those next time I make it, but I needed to use to my carton of mache for now. 

Even though the presentation wasn’t as dramatic and impressive with the mache, it was a delicious little meal. Not to mention that I really got my money’s worth out of that loaf of bread over the last few days.

Kathy has a wonderful blog.  The number of recipes I’ve bookmarked from her site is ridiculous. And with all of that fresh Oregon and Willamette Valley produce and products, I look forward to each and every one of her posts.

Head on over to Kathy’s blog to see a really great photo of this sandwich!  And don’t hesitate to give this “B-style” sandwich a try.

Now for a little fun. This photo showed up on my computer along side the bacon and egg  “B” when I downloaded off my camera. It took me days to figure out what it was. Take a guess. I’ll give you a hint, it’s a kitchen essential that I use every single day. I must have accidentally taken the photo when I was sitting the camera down.

Egg, Lettuce and Bacon “B”…

It’s What’s For Dinner.

Grilled Chicken and Cantaloupe Bruschetta

September 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Posted in Chicken, Sandwiches | 11 Comments
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Tis the Season For Bruschetta…fa..la..la..la..la.

We’re loving all the fresh tomatoes from the garden. I know it’s so last year to talk about Julie and Julia, but one of the best things I walked away with from that movie was the simple bruschetta recipe that Julie was preparing at the beginning of the film. A slice of toasted French bread, swiped with a clove of garlic and topped with fresh chopped tomatoes and basil. I’ve been serving it alongside everything for the past week.

So, wanting to be a good steward, I decided to embellish the bruschetta idea and use up some of those waning items loafing around in the fridge.

When my science project was complete and I announced that dinner was on the table, Hubs walked into the dining room and exclaimed “What the hell is it?!” Well here’s what the heck it was!  🙂

  • A thick slice French bread toasted and smeared with Boursin cheese
  • Topped with a flattened, seasoned and grilled chicken breast which was glazed with sweet chili sauce towards the end.
  • Slices of grilled Rocky Ford Cantaloupe (about an inch thick and grilled just until grill marks appeared on one side)
  • Assembled, then popped under the broiler to melt some fresh mozzarella cheese for a oozie topping.
  • An addition of  any type of greens.  This happens to be beautiful and slightly nutty flavored mache.

This little open-faced sandwich ended up to be really good. We love Boursin cheese, so I knew I couldn’t go wrong with that. The addition of our deliciously sweet Rocky Ford Cantaloupe was a coup. And by the way, last Sunday at our Farmer’s Market I asked the grower why this was an exceptionally good year for our melons. He replied that lots of early heavy rain made for an impressive growing season here in Colorado.

I really love sweet chili sauce from the Asian isle. If you’ve never tried it, you’re missing out. It added an additional sweet kick to the sandwich not to mention a pleasantly flavored heat to spice things up a bit.  And of course that curly elegant maiche turned a “leftovers” open-faced bruschetta style sandwich into an elegant “what the hell is it” presentation.  🙂

I had planned to add some chopped tomato, but just couldn’t find room.

Grilled Chicken and Cantaloupe Bruschetta,

It’s What’s For Dinner.

Open-faced Eggplant Sandwich

August 13, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Posted in Sandwiches | 23 Comments
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I’m having more fun with all the fresh produce at our Farmers’ Market. Next time you’re at one grab an eggplant, slice it up thick, slather it with olive oil, grill it alongside some onions. Throw it on top of a slice of toasted sourdough bread, add some fresh basil leaves, a slice of fresh tomato, some mozzarella cheese, pop it under the broiler for a couple of minutes and you’ve got a great little dinner.

Served alongside the last of the Bobby Flay coleslaw.

What’s that you say? You think I should have ditched the mozzarella and basil and put the coleslaw on top? Ok, let’s take a vote, coleslaw or basil/mozzarella?

Open-Faced Eggplant Sandwich…

It’s What’s For Dinner.

Egg And Curry Salad Sandwiches

April 7, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Posted in eggs, Sandwiches | 29 Comments
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This is how I used those left over hard-boiled pink and green Easter Eggs. 

Let me start off my telling you,  I’m a HUGE curry fan.  Love those gravy-style Thai and Indian inspired dishes. 

Curry is a general term to describe a variety of spice blends and more likely a gravy type dish.   We are most familiar with the blend of turmeric, coriander, cumin and fenugreek that we find in a jar on our American grocery store shelves. But there is a such a wide variety of curry styles, blends and flavors available to us from so many cultures.  It seems each culture has adopted spices to suit its own unique tastes. 

As we speak, in my pantry you’ll find Yellow, Massaman and Green curries.  I can’t wait to put on my white mad scientist coat, get out those lab tubes and bubble away new experimental brews,  but for now I just used the regular ground curry from Whole Foods to put a little twist on our mayonnaise based traditional egg salad.

 This made a great little dinner served with a tossed salad.

Lea Ann’s Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 dash ginger
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and coarsley chopped
3 whole green onions sliced and diced
8 slices of your favorite bread
2 T. celery, finely chopped
1/4 tsp dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl combine mayo, honey, curry and ginger and blend well.  Stir in eggs and green onions.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread egg salad onto bread slices and top with lettuce if you wish.   I top with a slice of tomato when I have fresh from the garden.

Makes 4 sandwiches

Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches

It’s What’s For Lunch or Dinner

I Call It “The Spaniard”

March 11, 2010 at 1:10 am | Posted in Sandwiches | 42 Comments
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I call it “The Spaniard” even though the only thing Spanish about the final version of this sandwich is the Manchego Cheese.

I call it “The Spaniard” because I swiped this recipe from a local liquor store and they had named it “The Spaniard”. You’re probably scratching your head and asking “HUH, food? liquor store, Spaniard???” Let me explain. 

A couple of years ago, a huge liquor super mart, about the size of a Costco Warehouse opened up on the West side of Denver. I kid you not.  HUGE store, almost laughably huge. The name of the store is Tipsy’s Liquor World and it sports a two-story neon martini glass on the back of the building,  which faces the highway, and I’m sure is also visible from the Hubble Space Telescope. In other words, ya can’t miss Tipsy’s Liquor World.

The south end of Tipsy’s Liquor World houses a specialty food store/deli counter. It’s actually kind of a cool idea. Tipsy’s is located on our main highway that leads up into our beautiful Rocky Mountains and I’m thinkin’ that they’re thinkin’ that on your way up to the hills you’ll stop for some wine and picnic lunch. 

Anyway, we were browsing  in Tipsy’s Liquor World around lunch time one Saturday and decided to grab a sandwich. We each ordered  “The Spaniard”. DEElicious. About halfway through the sandwich, coming up for my first breath and with glazed eyes, I said to Bob “I can make this at home”.   So you know I did.

Here’s what you’ll need for “The Spaniard”

  • 8 slices of Black Forest Ham
  • About 8 thick slices of onion, caramelized
  • One roasted yellow bell pepper
  • One roasted red bell pepper (both divided in half for each sandwich)
  • 2 thick slices Manchego Cheese

I think the original sandwich had Serrano Ham, which I’ve used. Black Forest Ham seems to be easier for me to work with.

4 slices of pumpernickel bread slathered in mayonnaise

Starting with the ham, layer ingredients on one slice of bread with the Manchego Cheese ending up on top. Place the two sandwich halves on a baking sheet and broil until cheese is bubbly and just starting to brown.  Remove from oven, top with remaining slice of bread, press down to a bit on the top to press everything together, plate and dig in. Makes 2 sandwiches.

I like to serve a lot of simple garden salads with my meals.  Makes me feel healthy.  This time served with a tangerine vinaigrette.

What is the name of your local liquor store?

Invite the “The Spaniard”.

It’s What’s For Dinner.

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