Scratch n Sniff

August 26, 2010

Lots of food fun to come!

Ever had an Asian pear? I LOVE them!! Like an apple-pear cross with a hint of vanilla.

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Ever had wheatberries!? An old favorite returns!

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I used to make a pot of wheatberries weekly to throw into my oats every morning. Guess I got busy. They are back!

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A long time ago I got tired of overnight soaking and long simmers, so now I just do an abbreviated method. It seems to work just fine!

I cover them in water like you would pasta

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And then bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 26 minutes. They’re pretty darn chewy, so you could give them another +10 minutes if you want them more tender, but who wants to wait that long :-)

Drain them 90% (because they will dry out if you don’t leave a litttle water) and chomp down.

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Dinner tonight was created on the spot and was a HUGE winner!

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A block of extra firm tofu, cut into very large cubes (Matt’s idea that I loved!)

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Patty pans from the market

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Oooo I’m gonna make you sweat

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Beer, of course. He loves it.

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This was a Lambic beer – which has to do with bacteria and produces a very sour taste. I didn’t think I’d like it, but it reminded me of a cross between hard cider and chardonnay, so I liked it!

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My taste

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He also loves to cook!

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We sauteed the pattypan in the usual (garlic gold, salt, pepper) and the tofu the same way in a different batch – just let them sit until they brown!

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I was in charge of the wheatberries and the dressing.

Lemon Herb Dressing

Juice of half a lemon

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This much mustard

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This much Garlic Gold (or EVOO)

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This much dried dill (or fresh if you’re lucky!)

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Sea salt + black pepper

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Handful of basil

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Layers of wheatberries, squash, tofu, then dressing, then a wee bit of goat cheese + parmesan and…

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Some Halvah by Rejuvenative Foods [of the same line of the Pecan Pie Butter I debuted a while back that was a bit pricey]. The Halvah is much less expensive – $13. It’s quite interesting.

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It’s like a thick paste made from sesame seeds and honey. It was sweet and dry – I’m not sure it would melt very well on oats, but I crumbled a few pieces onto my dinner for a little burst of flavor and enjoyed it a lot [It’s also come with me to 3 different houses during my move! Don’t know why it’s taken me a while to try out!]

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This dinner TOTALLY ROCKED!! The burst of lemony herbs with the chewy wheatberries, the soft crispy tofu, crunchy tender squash, tangy cheese, sweet Halvah…

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We began our evening outside..

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But we were swarmed by mosquitoes

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So we moved indoors.

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Wrapped up all of my online work for the day and now we’re going to watch High Fidelity, which neither of us have ever seen!

See you turkeys tomorrow!

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{ 97 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks August 26, 2010 at 7:18 pm

It’s cubed tofu day! I just had some in my rice salad, pressed with a TofuXpress so it was nice and firm. So good!


2 Estela @ Weekly Bite August 26, 2010 at 7:19 pm

What a creative dinner! I love all those flavor combos!

Enjoy the movie :)


3 Jessica @ How Sweet It Is August 26, 2010 at 7:21 pm

I love asian pears too. Get so excited when I find them at the store!


4 Liza @ Health Nutting August 26, 2010 at 7:21 pm

That dinner looks sooo good! I have been wanting to try wheatberries– thank you for the tutorial, I think I’ll try it! :) And I love halvah! I never thought of using it it like that because I always see it in bar form like a candy? That looks so delish though!


5 Rachael August 26, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Yum! I LOVE the chew of wheatberries! I’m totally all about texture :)


6 Camille August 26, 2010 at 7:22 pm

I’ve never had an asian pear, but they are gorgeous!
I definitely need to hunt one down!


7 Simply Life August 26, 2010 at 7:23 pm

ooh, I’ve never had an asian pair – looks fun!


8 Christina August 26, 2010 at 7:23 pm

You’ve piqued my interest with the wheatberries, I’m going to give them a try! And I’ve never seen Halvah in a jar before, interesting, it’s usually sold in bar form.


9 Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) August 26, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Thank you for featuring wheatberries!!! I always get them from Earth Fare and LOVE them!… but didn’t know how to make ’em. YAY, so excited to try ’em :)


10 rebecca lustig August 26, 2010 at 7:25 pm

ok so many things id like to say:

1. love the color of your walls
2. man that cooks= keeper
3. at first i was like ‘ehh woudl i like that beer’? then you gave the description. now i want some! hehe
4. ive never had an asian pear!! yum
5. enjoy your night :)


11 Stacey@ August 26, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Thanks for the tips on the wheat berries. I tried to make them before and they were WAY too firm. I’m going to try them again this way. I love them on salads.


12 Erin August 26, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Looks like a great (almost) fall dinner. 😉 I used to eat Asian pears daily in Korea, where they are sold on every streetcorner, but haven’t tried one since being back in the US.


13 j August 26, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Ohhh mosquitos! Here in NJ they are a constant spring/summer/fall problem! After the first frost?………gone. Love your new place and photos of cooking hubby:)


14 Callie August 26, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Asian pears are my favorite. :)
Sweet and crispy.


15 erica August 26, 2010 at 7:35 pm

i LOVE asian pears! so yummy :)
i’ve got to try this garlic gold!


16 Heather (Heather's Dish) August 26, 2010 at 7:35 pm

i’ve always seen asian pears but never tried one…now i think i better hit up the store for ’em!


17 Heather August 26, 2010 at 7:37 pm

yuck I hate misquitos! they can really kill an outdoor meal!


18 Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) August 26, 2010 at 7:43 pm

There is a little cafe here that makes the best wheat berry salad – it has diced apples in it, it’s sweet and tangy – so good!


19 Mimi August 26, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Thanks so much for the wheatberries tutorial. I love the nutty, chewy texture, but I never actually knew how to make them!


20 Katheryn August 26, 2010 at 7:48 pm

I love asian pears! Super yum. I used to eat wheatberries all the time, but got out of the habit. Thanks for the reminder!


21 Michelle (The Runner's Plate) August 26, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Yum, I just bought some wheatberries, I should give this recipe a try!!


22 Krystina August 26, 2010 at 7:52 pm

LOVE wheatberries!


23 Heather August 26, 2010 at 7:59 pm

I have never had an asian pear but I love your description! Need to be on the lookout for them!


24 Chelsea August 26, 2010 at 8:06 pm

I love wheatberries! I also have forgotten about them..I have some in my pantry but I keep forgetting to simmer them. Most likely just out of laziness. Your dinners are always so creative! Looks great – fresh herbs really make all the difference.


25 Priyanka August 26, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Love your dinner. What a strange thing, halvah is also the name of an Indian dessert (halwa) made out of semolina and milk. Or carrot halwa, where the carrot is cooked with milk. Something like a dry pudding!

I am curious how this halvah tasted ?!


26 Kath August 26, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Literally like sesame and honey mashed up!


27 Marisa @ Loser for Life August 26, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Wheatberries are so good! I love them in salads.


28 Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) August 26, 2010 at 8:14 pm

that is totally my favorite movie! Enjoy!


29 Mary @ Bites and Bliss August 26, 2010 at 8:15 pm

That looks SO good! I’ve never had wheat berries before but I saw them the other day at EarthFare. Thanks for the tutorial! :)


30 Marcia August 26, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Wow, that salad dressing looks totally rockin’. I just got a lemon from the CSA, so I’d have tried it, except I already made up a balsamic.


31 Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter August 26, 2010 at 8:24 pm

I love how you just put that together. I’ve never tried Wheatberries, but I have always wanted to.


32 Dynamics August 26, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Plant Rosemary by your porch and it will help with the mosquito’s. There are other plants also that work. Here are two ways to keep mosquito’s away that my cousin swears by and he lives in Minnesota the land of 10,000 lakes and lots of mosquito’s Put Listerine mouthwash in a spray bottle and spray the area you are sitting in. The second way to keep them away is to put a dryer sheet in your back pocket. The rosemary plant works for me and I have not had the need to try the other two ways. Hope this info helps.


33 Kate August 26, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Looks good! I love High Fidelity by the way. It’s in my Top Five 😉 Hope you enjoy it!


34 Kath August 26, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Haha – got the joke!


35 kate August 26, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Ive had some wheatberries hanging in my cupboard for a while now. I need to get down to business and make them already!


36 Chelsey August 26, 2010 at 8:38 pm

26 minutes huh? you are oh so precise!! :)


37 Wei-Wei August 26, 2010 at 8:39 pm

That sounds like such an amazing meal! I love Asian pears by the way, I’m not used to eating non-Asian pears! :)


38 holly @ couchpotatoathlete August 26, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I love eating dinner outside, but the mosquitos drive me nuts too.

What a beautiful meal! Enjoy the movie, I’ve never seen it either.


39 SB August 26, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Re: Halva. I have never seen it come in a jar. My parents are Israeli and Halva is a staple there and among many Middle Easterners. There are different flavors but they generally come in blocks or in flatter pans. The base is always sesame seeds and sugar but there is also chocolate, marbled chocolate, pistachio, vanilla,and chocolate covered of all of the above. My father always ate it spread on bread- usually with butter- YUM!!!. I’ve had it in desserts for passover which had it melted together with dark chocolate spread on softened layers of matzo (softened in sweet wine) to make a cake and-ohmygosh=so incredibly delicious. So give it a try and you may go to an Middle Eastern grocery for a more authentic version. We Americans are totally missing out on a really yummy treat.


40 emily August 26, 2010 at 8:50 pm

I 2nd this! I can’t exactly picture what jarred halvah would be like but I think you would LOVE it in block form Kath.


41 Joanne August 26, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Wonderful pics. Everything looks great.
I found a new tofu I just LOVE. It’s from Sunergia but I can’t find any place to
buy it. Such a bummer! I’m trying to get the co. to sell me a case because I’m pretty sure you can freeze tofu without a problem.
Anyway – if you ever come across Sunergia tofu. You just have to try it and let me know what you think.


42 Hannah August 26, 2010 at 8:50 pm

That halvah seems a bit odd to me – I’ve never seen it in a jar, only as solid blocks! Love it, though. High in calcium, so it’s healthy, right? 😀


43 Amy August 26, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Yum, that looks so good!
Hope you don’t mind but I mentioned you in a post of mine…

Thanks for the inspiration!



44 Nancy @ The Wife of a Dairyman August 26, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Sounds like a great evening:)


45 Sara August 26, 2010 at 9:09 pm

hey kath,
please, please, please buy yourself some decent havah that someone from the MIddle East would actually eat if you really want to try it —
try your local middle eastern or israeli/kosher market…


46 Sabina August 26, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Do you have a rice cooker? If yes, try cooking wheatberries in it the next time you make them. It’s super easy, energy efficient, and doesn’t require babysitting. If you don’t have a rice cooker, think of getting one. Mine is indispensable – cooks any grain, has a steamer on top for dual grain cooking and veg steaming. I haven’t tried OATS in it yet, but imagine, it would work just fine. :)


47 Kath August 26, 2010 at 9:25 pm

I don’t have one! I would like one, but I just can’t justify it if I can make something on the stove!?


48 Sabina August 27, 2010 at 6:21 am

We try and minimize our stove use; it’s not really an energy efficient model (we’re renters). I’m pretty abysmal at cooking rice on the stove. With the rice cooker, it (and other grains) turn out perfectly every time. I’ve seen small ones (4 cups?) for less than $30, so it’s not a huge investment (say, like a Vitamix… something I want but can’t justify, as my Kitchen Aid blender and food processor work just fine. 😉 ).


49 Lele August 26, 2010 at 9:19 pm

That is the terrible thing about Virginia summers- you’ve got the nice weather, the beautiful trees, the chirping crickets, and you go out and it seems like it’ll be so lovely… and then the mosquitos invade.


50 Kath August 26, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Maybe it’s just traditional havlah inspired in the jar??


51 Mandy A August 26, 2010 at 9:31 pm

I have been such a wimp about trying wheatberries! Thank you for the help :) I have no excuse now!

Dinner looked gorgeous!!!

Mosquitoes have been horrible in Nashville this year, too! Can’t go outside for ten minutes without being eaten alive!


52 Meg August 26, 2010 at 9:33 pm

I la la looove Asian pears! Dinner looks amaazzinng, as usual!


53 Paige @Running Around Normal August 26, 2010 at 9:35 pm

SO many foods I’ve never heard of before! Never had an Asian pear – but it sounds delicious! And I’d swear you made up the word pattypan if I didn’t know better 😉
Looks like a fantastic dinner.


54 Melissa August 26, 2010 at 9:40 pm

How did you make the tofu? I keep screwing up tofu and ruining it, but I am determined to learn how to make this squishy food into something delicious. Please, please, please help :)


55 Kath August 26, 2010 at 9:41 pm

The Front Burner has an excellent tofu tutorial!


56 Eliz August 26, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Yum! I love pattypan squash! So cute and delicious!


57 Liz @ Tip Top Shape August 26, 2010 at 9:46 pm

That dinner really does look pretty good for being thrown together!


58 Cara August 26, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Asian Pears are just coming into season here in South Korea…Now is a great season for produce….we are still getting nectarines and white peaches and pears are starting to pop up. Yeah! Great smoothie days ahead!


59 Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) August 26, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Your dinner looks so good! I like the big chunks of tofu, they look fun to eat. 😀



60 Amy August 26, 2010 at 10:14 pm

I liked that movie! Your dinner has peaked my interest, though I have to admit I’m not sure of how you thought up that combo!


61 Zeus' Mom August 26, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Yikes, that’s some overpriced Halvah. You can find it MUCH cheaper in cans at Middle Eastern stores or in the ethnic aisle of the grocery store. That stuff is so friggin yummy!


62 Jessica@tastyandtrim August 26, 2010 at 10:33 pm

A cross between an apple and a pear sounds like something I would adore! I must find some asian pears :)


63 Annie@stronghealthyfit August 26, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Mm looks so yummy! I need to try wheatberries soon.
Hope you liked HIgh Fidelity! I love that movie.


64 La. August 26, 2010 at 10:52 pm

Oh, thank you for the tutorial on wheat berries! I just bought some and I was unsure of the soaking method. I didn’t even have to do a search! Thank you Kath!


65 Rebekah @ Rebeltarian August 26, 2010 at 10:54 pm

I have been getting asian pears in my CSA share for weeks. I LOVE them! I freaked out when I saw how exspensive they were the other day at whole foods.


66 Paula August 26, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Ah yes! That diner looks perfect. I have some forgotten wheat berries that need to be used. Thanks for the quick cooking tip!


67 lynn (The Actors Diet) August 26, 2010 at 11:55 pm

when i was a kid i hated asian pears but now i love ’em. ever had them with salt? that’s the way the asians eat ’em!

haven’t seen high fidelity since it was in theaters. the bald guy who works in the record store with jack black is my neighbor.


68 Amy Pea August 27, 2010 at 8:25 am

The same actor from Jerry Maguire who plays the nanny? I like him, he’s good!


69 Kath August 27, 2010 at 8:33 am

No way!!


70 Madeline - Greens and Jeans August 26, 2010 at 11:57 pm

High Fidelity is maybe my favorite movie. It’s also the only movie that I loved as much as the book!


71 Marina August 27, 2010 at 1:15 am

Interesting dinner. I never found a way too make a patypan squash yummy, but this maybe a good recipe to try it again :)


72 Freya @ Brit Chick Runs August 27, 2010 at 1:40 am

I desperatly want some wheatberries, cos that whole meal looks SO delicious!!!


73 Anna August 27, 2010 at 3:19 am

That meal may be tasty, but it just seems off to me. Why not try real Halvah and give it a shot the way it s supposed to be eaten? And please, please tell me you don’t mean that you add pasta to cold water? It should be added to boiling water and left to boil without a lid until al dente. I am sure you know that, but with Americans I am always shocked at how you can mistreat good food…


74 Kori August 27, 2010 at 5:04 am

I’m pretty sure that Kath is quite skilled at cooking, especially pasta. She was only meaning that you add plenty of water to a pot for wheatberries as is done for cooking pasta. I really do not appreciate your comment that “but with Americans I am always shocked at how you can mistreat good food”. Don’t you think that’s a pretty bold statement? I don’t feel that I “mistreat” food AT ALL! You definitely sound just a bit biased and rude.


75 Kath August 27, 2010 at 8:35 am

My intention was not to try an authentic halvah – it was to use up a product in my kitchen. And wheatberries are NOT pasta and you don’t cook them the same. I agree, your comment was on the rude side..


76 Marcia August 27, 2010 at 10:36 am

Yep, that’s a problem with us Americans. We like everything.

I mean, really. I’ve got friends from everywhere. India, China, Korea, Malaysia, Denmark, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, etc. etc. etc. And on occasion, before eating, one will say “I don’t know if you Americans will like this”. And I always do. Love the “authentic” foods.

But I like the Americanized versions too, and I think that’s what often frustrates some foreigners. You gotta work with what you’ve got. “How can I get that flavor without shopping at 5 different specialty stores?” or “how can I make a good curry, when I have these three vegetables, but not those three?” Answer: don’t be picky.


77 Lauren August 27, 2010 at 5:28 am

Beautiful dinner! I love it when simply tossing ingredients together results in a delicious and satisfying meal. The crispy tofu looks fantastic.

I may need to follow your lead and bring wheatberries back into my life as well. As soon as pumpkin is back on store’s shelves, I’m going to drown myself in pumpkin & wheatberry oats!

By the way, I’ve become a daily reader of Laura’s blog and really like it – I live in Boston and it’s great to have another Beantown-based food blog!


78 Kath August 27, 2010 at 8:34 am

Oh fun!! It took me a while to realize who “Laura” was – I always call her Larbs!! :)


79 Laura (Starloz) August 27, 2010 at 5:38 am

Oh mmm geee, I love extra firm tofu in huge chunks.

Your dressing sounds delicious


80 Lauren at KeepItSweet August 27, 2010 at 6:16 am

i have never seen halvah that way!! i am going to have to make wheatberries one of these days…


81 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) August 27, 2010 at 6:28 am

I love cooking with my husband! Asian pears are so good. I love crisp sweet fruit so that totally hits the spot. I hope your hand is doing better! Dinner looks delicious!


82 Ok Chick August 27, 2010 at 7:39 am

I feel in love with Asian pears when I was in Japan. I’ve found that the ones in OKC aren’t as great as the ones in Japan, but you know that’s to be expected. :)


83 Erin August 27, 2010 at 7:47 am

Where do you get your wheatberries? I tasted some in a friend’s salad yesterday and was pleasantly surprised by the nice texture, and would like to try them.

I also have resisted a rice cooker, as we live in a teensy apt. and I don’t have much room for another appliance, but it sounds tempting especially if it’s more fool proof. Rice is a testy thing – easy to overcook/ruin.


84 Kath August 27, 2010 at 8:35 am

Whole Foods bulk bin


85 Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) August 27, 2010 at 7:56 am

Mmm…I’m always looking for new ways to use up tofu. I usually grill mine, but this recipe sounds fabulous. Definitely giving it a try. 😀


86 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 27, 2010 at 8:00 am

This dinner looks great! Dill and lemon always pair so well together!

I hope you enjoyed High Fidelity. I LOVE that movie and book!


87 Chelsea (Chelsea's Chew and Run Fun) August 27, 2010 at 8:01 am

High Fidelity is easily one of my favorite movies and soundtracks. Enjoy!

That dinner looks rad, such a creative recipe improvisation!


88 Ian August 27, 2010 at 8:17 am

<3 wheat berries; I use the same quicker method you do. The chewiness is awesome!


89 Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef August 27, 2010 at 8:26 am

i love asian pears! yum!


90 Jess @ Jessica is Getting Fit August 27, 2010 at 8:29 am

I’ve never had an asian pear – I’ll have to look for them at the grocery store as they sound yummy.

How did you like High Fidelity? It’s one of my favorite movies and even more loved novels! Nick Hornsby is a great British writer!


91 Kath August 27, 2010 at 8:35 am

I liked it!!


92 Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf August 27, 2010 at 8:45 am

I’ve never had an asian pear, but your description makes me want one!

I’ve never had whole wheatberries either. I did grow up around several families who milled their own wheatberries and made their own bread out of it. My local grass-fed/organic meat rancher also sells wheatberries, but I haven’t purchased any from them (yet).


93 Kathryn August 27, 2010 at 8:54 am

Mmmm, that salad looks so yummy!


94 Beth @ DiningAndDishing August 27, 2010 at 9:45 am

I really like lambic! I was never much of a beer fan until I tried lambic and that’s what got me started on trying some good beers and learning that I did in fact like some of them :). I think you’re right – it’s a bit like wine, which was the initial appeal!


95 Monica August 27, 2010 at 10:36 am

Great movie! With a great soundtrack! Hope you both liked it. :)


96 Ally August 27, 2010 at 11:20 am

I loved the book, so much so that I couldn’t get through more than 15 minutes of the movie. I was so annoyed at how they changed the location and character. I think I should have watched the movie first. Have you read the book?


97 neen@ Broad Bean to Runner Bean August 27, 2010 at 3:51 pm

what a lovely creative dinner!


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