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October 2015. Design by Eileen Goldfinger. Blogfinger.net photo. Ocean Grove. October 2015.  Design  by Eileen Goldfinger. Paul Goldfinger photo.  Fresh cranberries harvested  at Chatsworth, NJ.  Leaves from the Garden State Parkway.  Eileen’s homemade cranberry sauce is  in the center.  Click to enlarge.  © Blogfinger.net

 

Cranberry bog. nchip.uga.edu Harvest time.  Cranberry bog. nchip.uga.edu

 

 

By Eileen Goldfinger, food editor @Blogfinger and Paul Goldfinger, official taster and photographer  @Blogfinger.

In October we usually attend the Chatsworth Cranberry Festival. It’s fun. Read about it at http://www.cranfest.info.

It was cancelled for 2020.

The Festival  is a very crowded event in the Pine Barrens, about an hour from here.  The best bet is to go on Sunday morning early and park along the side of the road.  Mark your calendar for October 2021 and check the date on-line since that date has not yet been announced.

New Jersey is one of the most important cranberry growing regions in the world with over 3,500 acres devoted to the crop.  In the US, we are second in size to Wisconsin and Massachusetts.  Cranberries are grown in bogs where the soil and water requirements are quite complicated. The harvest is usually complete by the end of October.

In New Jersey, most of the growing occurs in Burlington County, around Chatsworth, where the annual Cranberry Festival is held.

 

Annual Cranberry Festival. Chatsworth, NJ. Oct. 19, 2013. Paul Goldfinger photo © Annual Cranberry Festival. Chatsworth, NJ. Oct. 19, 2013. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Click left

We go to the Festival  to enjoy this unique cultural event—-Appalachia in Jersey.  Hear bluegrass music and  buy fresh picked cranberries.  Eileen purchases her usual 7 pound box. Vendors make all sorts of products from this versatile fruit.

In 2015 we were away for the Festival, so we drove to Tabernacle, NJ  ( BF search “Tabernacle”) down the road from Chatsworth, one week later,  and visited Russo’s Farm Market where Eileen purchased her supply of cranberries. That’s where we went recently (2020)

She makes fresh cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and freezes the rest of the berries in small Ziploc portions to use throughout the year.  Fresh cranberries can be purchased at Wegmans and Delicious Orchards.  Or take a ride to Russo’s.  But remember the Pine Barrens scene in The Sopranos.

 

Fresh cranberries from New Jersey. Photo design by Eileen Goldfinger. Background is a 1950's dish cloth. PG photo © 2013  photo design by Eileen Goldfinger. Background is a 1950’s dish cloth. PG photo ©. Left click to enlarge.

Below is Eileen’s recipe for homemade cranberry sauce.   It’s a treat for your company on Thanksgiving, so don’t get bogged down with that gelatinous canned stuff.

 

 

EILEEN’S CRANBERRY SAUCE:

1 cup of water

1 cup sugar

2 cups fresh cranberries

1 orange, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon orange zest

1/8 cup Grand Marnier (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Mix sugar and water in a medium sauce pan.

Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar.

Add cranberries and bring to a boil; then reduce the heat and gently boil for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat.

Cool to room temperature.

Add diced orange and zest and Grand Marnier.

Refrigerate.

Makes approx. 2 cups of cranberry sauce. In general, if used as a condiment, it will serve about 4 people.

 

MICHAEL GIACCHINO, COMPOSER OF THE MOVIE SCORE OF RATATOUILLE. From the soundtrack of the Disney/Pixar film.  The selection is “Le Festin” by Camille.

 

 

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pot roast

Eileen’s holiday pot roast. Photograph and recipe by Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor@Blogfinger.net .  ©  It’s as good as it looks.

 

Eileen’s Holiday Pot Roast:

Prepare 1-2 days before serving
Preheat oven 350 degrees

5-6 pound brisket
freshly ground black pepper
paprika
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cooking onions, diced
4 carrots, peeled, cut in ¼” rings
4 stalks celery with leaves, ¼” slices
1 package (8-10 oz) fresh cremini or white mushrooms, thinly sliced
5 small cans of whole white potatoes (drained of the liquid)
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 8 oz jars beef gravy
1 cup red wine
1 box low sodium beef or chicken broth
½ cup marinara sauce

Rub paprika and black pepper on both sides of the brisket (approximately 2 tablespoons of paprika & 1 tablespoon black pepper.)
Heat a large oven proof pan (with cover) on the stove. When pan is hot place brisket in pan and sear until meat turns brown. Turn meat over and sear on the other side. Remove brisket from pan and set aside.

Add oil to the pan and heat medium low. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté on medium low heat for 15 minutes. Next add garlic, 1 jar beef gravy, red wine, box of broth, and marinara sauce. Stir the liquids with the vegetables and add the seared brisket to the pan. Place the cover on the pan and put it in the oven for 3 hours. Half way through the cooking time, turn the meat over and continue cooking with lid on pot.

After the 3 hours remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool. Place meat and gravy in a closed container and store in the refrigerator until the morning of the day you plan to serve the meat. Remove congealed fat and take brisket out of container (scrap gravy off the meat). Slice the brisket in ¼” slices on the diagonal, against the grain of the meat. It is very important that you slice against the grain or the meat will be tough and stringy.

Place the meat in the original pot. Add the gravy, all the potatoes, mushrooms, and 1 jar beef gravy. Place cover on the pot and place in the oven for 2 hours. I serve the brisket right from the pot it was cooked in. Serves 8

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A taste of Jewish history:  It’s now 5781 (the new year)  by the Hebrew calendar, and Rosh Hashanah is upon us. The Jewish New Year is a serious religious event, but, like so many of our holidays, food is a big deal, especially traditional recipes. There are a lot of moving parts, but if Eileen leaves out anything she hears about it.

We eat apples dipped in honey for a sweet new year. Pomegranates have a similar purpose. (Although the Chinese like this too.)  We have round  (goodness without end) egg breads (challah)–often with raisins.

Some of our foods are so good that they show up at multiple holidays.  For example there’s chicken soup with matzoh balls and/or noodles. Then there is sweet Kosher wine and, the piéce de résistance—pot roast.  (using a particular cut: brisket.)

Of course Jews were scattered all over the world for thousands of years, so there are variations in the foods.  If you are in the north east, brisket is usually used, but if you head to other parts of the country, the pot roast is made with different cuts of meat.

Many Jews that one might meet in New Jersey and New York are from families that escaped from eastern Europe during waves of immigration during  the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.*   So they brought pot roast with them.  On the other hand the Sephardic Jews in Deal might have couscous, leeks, pumpkin and fish with the head still attached.

My family, like most others, wanted to be Americanized as soon as possible. And that included customs, dress and language. But the foods were never forgotten. They spoke Yiddish at home because of the grand parents, but they always spoke English elsewhere.

*Another wave of Jewish emigration occurred in the 1930’s as Hitler took over Germany. Those who escaped landed anywhere they might avoid the “final solution.” So some wound up in places like China and India, but other safe places included America, Canada, Mexico, England and others.  When I was a kid my parents liked to go to Coney Island in Brooklyn, NY.  There, on the beach,  I noticed many folks with numbers tattooed on their arms.

Here is Mandy Patinkin who made an album of songs sung in Yiddish, and in this song he celebrates America–not the old world, but the new…..

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

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Stuffed Flounder With Shrimp

Eileen Goldfinger, Food and Garden Editor  @Blogfinger

Fish:

2 flounder fillets

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon Smart Balance  margarine

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 lemon

Stuffing:

6 medium shrimp, diced and peeled

1 scallion, diced

1 shallot, minced

1 small celery stalk, diced

1/2 teaspoon ground garlic

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

pinch of salt

4 tablespoons Eggbeaters

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Prepare the stuffing:

Put the margarine and the oil in a 10 inch non-stick pan and heat on medium.

Add shrimp, scallion, shallot, celery, garlic, black pepper and salt.

Sauté until scallions soften, and shrimp turn pink, approximately  5 minutes.

Remove from pan and place in a bowl to cool.  Turn off heat under pan.

When the stuffing is cool, add Eggbeaters and Panko bread crumbs to the mix.

Prepare the fish:

Re-heat the pan on medium and add a little more oil if  necessary.

Rub the chili powder on both sides of the fillets. Lay the fillets, skin side down on the counter (the skins are removed), place half of the stuffing in each fillet. Pull the two ends of the fillet together, over the stuffing, and secure with a wooden toothpick.

Cook the fillets in the pan until they turn brown and then turn them over and brown the other side. While they are cooking, squeeze the juice from the lemon over them.

serves 2

Cookin’ Music:   Clifford Curry with “Mamma’s Home Cookin'”

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Eileen's Sautéed Flounder. Photo by Paul Goldfinger ©

Eileen’s Sautéed Flounder. Photo by Paul Goldfinger ©. Re-post from 2013.


By Eileen Goldfinger, Food and Garden Editor @Blogfinger

1/2 pound flounder

1 tablespoon of Wegmans pan searing flour *

4 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground garlic

4 tablespoons Wegmans shallot-thyme finishing butter **

1 tablespoon margarine

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 scallions, diced

1/2 lemon, juiced

Preheat 10 inch non-stick fry pan on medium low heat.

Fish: 

Dry flounder fillets with a paper towel.  (If the fish is wet, it will steam and not brown).  Sprinkle both sides of fillets with searing flour, paprika and ground garlic.  Place one  tablespoon of canola oil on each side of the fillets and rub the spices into the  fish.

Sauce:

Add remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil, 1 tablespoon shallot-thyme butter and 1 tablespoon of margarine into the fry pan.  As the oils heat up, brush them over the bottom of the pan. When the oil starts to sizzle, place the fillets into the pan. The heat should still be at medium low. When the filets start to brown, approximately 7 minutes, turn them over. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and cook for 5 minutes.

Serves 2

* You can substitute all purpose flour that has been sifted.

**You can make the finishing butter or margarine yourself:  Let the butter come to room temperature and stir in 1 teaspoon of minced fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves and 1/2 minced shallot.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Wegmans  Ocean seafood department sold more fish than any other of the 81 Wegmans branches in the entire country on July 4.  Currently they are featuring whole red snapper. Here is a link to Eileen’s recipe for whole baked red snapper.     —PG

Eileen’s whole baked red snapper

LOUIS PRIMA:   “Che La Luna.”  (Italians like ribald lyrics, like the Jews from the Yiddish theater.)

There’s the moon in the middle of the sea
Mother, I must get married
My daughter, to whom will I give you
Mother, I’ll leave it up to you
If I’ll give you to the fisherman
He’ll come and go
He’ll always have a fish in his hands
If he’ll get any ideas
He’ll fish you oh my daughter
La la la, fried fish and baccala
We don’t want any calamari”

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August is the right time for the Jerseys. We got these at Matt’s in Belmar. $$3.00 per pound on Aug. 10, 2020. Blogfinger photo.  We also got some fine specimens at the Saturday  Sunset Avenue market in A. Park

 

By Eileen Goldfinger, food editor @Blogfinger.net and Paul Goldfinger (right hand man)

We had family over for a chicken dinner last night, but the stars of the show were the Jersey tomatoes done up by Eileen who prepared her Caprese (Capri style) salad  with slices of tomato alternating with sliced  fresh mozzarella;  See the actual recipe below.

The chicken thighs and wings were prepared with a dry rub and then finished with Wegmans’ Organic Sweet Chili sauce.

In addition we served fresh white Jersey corn and fresh green beans.

Almost all the tomatoes were gone because they were so delicious.   Go out now and buy some.   Remember to look for the fruits where the red reaches the stem and don’t buy if they are too mushy to the touch.

They should have a slight give when gently squeezed, as my friends. (PG) and I discovered in high school.

 

Here is Eileen’s Caprese salad recipe:

 

August 10, 2020. Eileen’s photo in her kitchen.

 

CAPRESE SALAD:


Ingredients:

NJ beefsteak tomatoes

Handmade mozzarella*

Fresh basil

Fig flavored balsamic vinegar

Tuscan extra virgin olive oil

Salt


Assembling the salad:

Cut four quarter inch slices of beefsteak tomato

Place the slices on a plate and sprinkle with salt

Place a slice of mozzarella on top of each tomato slice and place one or two large basil leaves on each slice of cheese.

Drizzle a small amount of balsamic vinegar over each stack and then drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil over each stack.

Repeat the above steps creating four stacks of 2-layers each.

Use smaller basil leaves as garnish on the plate.

Serves two.

*The wonderful homemade mozzarella came from Antonio’s Gourmet at 2201 Sunset Avenue, Wanamassa, in the same strip as the liquor store.

 

Fill the night with song…    Music, family and good food—-a fine recipe for a family gathering:

 

PINK MARTINI:  “Hang on Little Tomato.”

 

And here is FRANK SINATRA regarding a tomato he found in Italy:

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By Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor  @Blogfinger

Preheat cast iron skillet on medium heat.  It needs to be very hot.

8 large sea scallops

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt

freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Salsa:

1/2 mango peeled and diced

1/4 red bell pepper, minced

1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, minced

3 scallions, minced including part of the green section

1/4 teaspoon ground garlic

1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

pinch of salt and freshly grated black pepper

2 tablespoons Ponzu (or 1 tbs. orange juice and 1 tbs. soy sauce)

Mix all the salsa ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Scallops:

Sprinkle a small amount of salt, pepper and chili powder on both sides of the scallops.

Put the olive oil in the cast iron skillet and brush the oil to cover the pan surface.

Place the scallops in the pan and don’t move them until they form a brown crust on the bottoms. This should take about 3 minutes.  Turn them over and repeat the process on the other side, cook another 3 minutes.

Cut into one of the scallops, if the inside is still translucent, continue to cook scallops for another 1 or 2 minutes.

Remove scallops from  pan, plate them and dress them with the salsa.

Serves 2

Photo by Paul Goldfinger

MUSIC:  By Celia Cruz (The Queen of Salsa): “La Vida es un Carnival.” (Life is a Carnival).

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Recipe by Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor @ Blogfinger.net. Photo by Eileen ©

 

Eileen’s Baltimore Crab Cakes:

 

Ingredients

1 pound jumbo lump crab meat

20 Saltine crackers, crushed

1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

2 rounded tablespoons Hellman’s mayonnaise

1 large egg

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons canola oil (may need more for cooking)

1 tablespoon butter

1 ½ – 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seafood Seasoning

 

Prepare crab cakes

Place crab meat in a large bowl. Gently pick through the meat and remove any shells. Add the cracker crumbs ( I place the crackers in a zip lock bag and pound them with a wooden mallet or rolling pin to make the crumbs), Old Bay and chives.

Gently mix these ingredients together, use your hands, and break apart some of the larger pieces of crab.

In a separate bowl whisk the mayonnaise, egg, and mustard together. Stir this into the crab mixture using your hands. Be careful not to break the pieces of crabmeat.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. This will help form the crab cakes and prevent them from falling apart.

Scoop approximately ½ cup amount of crab mixture in your hands and carefully form cakes about 1” thick. This should make 6 crab cakes. Place them on a tray until all cakes are formed.

 

Cooking crab cakes

Heat a 12” non-stick fry pan or cast iron pan (my preference) over medium heat.

Add the oil and when it begins to simmer add the cakes to the pan. Cook cakes for 4 minutes or until they turn golden. Lower the heat to medium low, add the butter to the pan and turn the cakes over.

Cook them for 4 minutes or until they turn golden.

 

Serves 3

 

STUART MATTHEWMAN   from the movie Twin Falls Idaho.  “Amapola”

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Photo by Eileen Goldfinger. Ocean Grove, NJ. August, 2013

Photo by Eileen Goldfinger. Ocean Grove, NJ.

 

By Eileen Goldfinger, Food and Garden Editor  @Blogfinger   Re-post.

2 cups seeded watermelon, 1 inch cubed (I used half red and half yellow watermelon)

1 large beefsteak tomato, 1 inch cubes

1 small red onion cut in half and sliced thinly on an angle from the side

3 ounces of baby arugula

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground garlic (dry not fresh)

2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

4-5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Place watermelon, tomatoes, onion and arugula in a large bowl and stir.

Add salt, pepper and garlic to the salad.  Drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive

oil on salad and stir all ingredients together. Sprinkle feta cheese over the salad and serve.

Serves 2

Editors note: This salad was inspired in 2013 by Laurie Price at Laurie’s Farm Market **on Atkins Avenue in Neptune Township.

I purchased the yellow watermelon, tomatoes and arugula from her. All other ingredients were from Wegmans with the exception of the traditional barrel aged Italian balsamic vinegar which was purchased at Carter & Cavero in Sea Girt*.

* Carter and Cavero are at 2100 Rt. 35 in Sea Girt.   They also have a store in Red Bank.

** Lauri’s  Farm Market is no longer in business

 

GERRY MULLIGAN   “Home (When Shadows Fall’)    from his album Dream a Little Dream

 

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PG photo

 

Clam Chowder with Red Potatoes  by Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor @Blogfinger

8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

1 medium onion, diced

8 small red potatoes, quartered and parboiled

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ ancho pepper, seeded and minced

9 San Marzano canned whole plum tomatoes, diced

¼ cup marinara sauce

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced

2  6 ½ ounce cans chopped clams, drained

2 dozen littleneck clams in their shell

2½  cups chicken broth

¼ cup white wine

1 cup clam broth

½ cup water

freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Broth:

In a 5 quart stock pot, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and ¼ cup of chicken broth; sauté until the vegetables begin to soften, approximately 15 minutes.  Lower the heat to low-medium, add garlic and ancho pepper, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and marinara sauce; stir and cook for 10 minutes. Add 2 cups of chicken broth. Then add clam broth, water, wine, potatoes, black pepper, canned clams, and parsley to the broth. Stir contents of the pot. Place cover, slightly ajar on the pot.  Simmer liquid for 30 minutes, stir occasionally.

Littleneck clams:

After  the soup broth has simmered for 15 minutes, in a large fry pan, add the remaining olive oil, chicken broth and wine, and heat on medium.  When the liquid starts to simmer, add the little-neck clams to the pan and cook until all the clams have opened.  As the clams open, remove them from the pan and set them aside. Discard any clams that do not open after 15 minutes.

Set out two large soup bowls and place a dozen clams in each one. Ladle broth over the clams.

Serves 2

 

prevention-does-work

Editor’s Note:  This recipe is adapted from Eileen’s “Seafood Chowder with Red Potatoes” found in “Prevention Does Work: A Guide to a Healthy Heart.” by Paul Goldfinger MD and Eileen Goldfinger, BA.

Our book is still relevant for those who want to learn some heart-healthy recipes—originals by Eileen, with an emphasis on seafood.    It is still available as a paper back from Amazon.  Just type in Paul Goldfinger MD. It is $12.95 in paperback.

We also have posted Eileen’s other clam chowder recipe called Eileen’s Greatest NJ Clam Chowder.

 

Eileen’s Greatest New Jersey Clam Chowder 2018

 

PEETIE WHEATSTRAW:   “I Want Some Seafood, Mama.”

 

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Eileen's steamed clams in spicy red sauce. Blogfinger photo © 2014.

Eileen’s steamed clams in spicy red sauce. Blogfinger photo © 2014.

 

By Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor @Blogfinger.net

 

Sauce :

 

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 28 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes

1 24 ounce jar marinara sauce

1 cup dry red wine

1/2 cup salt-free chicken broth or clam broth

1 6 1/2 ounce can chopped clams, drained

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

 

In a 5 quart Dutch oven heat oil on medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until onion wilts. Add garlic and simmer for 1 minute. Add whole tomatoes and mash them in the pot. Add the remaining ingredients, except the parsley. Stir and simmer for 30 minutes. Leave on low heat until the pasta and clams are cooked and the dish is ready to be assembled.

Sprinkle parsley on sauce when ready to serve.

Cook pasta according to package instructions, 1/4 pound per person. (Cook the pasta and the clams at the same time because they both take approx. 10-12 minutes to cook)

 

Clams:

2 pounds little neck clams (We got ours at Wegmans; sold in two pound bags)

Clean clams: (This step can be done while the sauce is cooking.)

Fill a large bowl with cool water, 1/4 cup of ground corn meal. Stir. Place clams in the water (the water should cover the clams) and let them sit for 1 hour. This step causes the clams to disgorge any sand they may have ingested. Discard any clams that are cracked or don’t close. If a clam is open, tap it gently on the counter top—- if it doesn’t close, discard it.

Remove clams from bowl by lifting them up out of the water so that any sand in the bowl stays at the bottom.   Place clams in a colander and rinse them with cool water.

Check again to see if any are cracked or open.

 

Steam clams:

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 shallot or small onion, minced

1 cup salt-free chicken broth

1/2 cup white wine or clam broth

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

In a 5 quart pot with a cover, heat oil on medium. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Add clams and cover the pot. After 5 minutes shake the pot so the clams cook more evenly. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the clams open. Remove the pot from the heat.

 

Assembling the dish:

Place a 1/2 cup of sauce at the bottom of a wide individual pasta bowl.   Next put 1/4 pound pasta (linguine) on the sauce. Place 1 pound (or half) the cooked clams on the pasta. Then ladle more sauce on top of the clams. Serve with ciabatta bread.

Repeat for the 2nd serving.

Serves 2.

A Caprese salad would go very well this dish.  Below is a link for a caprese salad and a song by Frank Sinatra about the Isle of Capri.  For variety  you can add sliced avocado on top.

Caprese salad recipe

 

SERGIO FRANCHI

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