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Radish Pineapple Mint Quinoa Salad

Candela-di-focuo-Radishes_harvest-2016_Yes,-more-please!

Back in February, I started a little garden plot at the Mueller Community Gardens in my neighborhood. First months were rough. I started from seeds that my good friend Elizabeth gave me. Imagine all the possibilities when you are handed a box full of incredible heirloom seeds varieties from purple long green beans, carrots, greens, turnips, roman zucchinis, watermelon cucumbers, radishes, lipstick chili, melons you name it. Little did I know the challenging scenarios of starting a vegetable garden from seeds. But, nothing like five buckets of patience, a couple good days of rain, plenty of steamy sunshine and a little everyday care to make it grow. Also helpful was the good pinch of serious advice from friends and the experts, like farmer extraordinaire from Boogy Creek Farm, Carol Anne. She is always willing to help and giving the greatest advice. From her, I learned that planting a row of green beans besides the tomato plants will give tomatoes company and will help them grow together. She also emphasizes the importance to give enough space in between tomato plants for best flavor and juicy tomatoes, and pointed that leggy tomato plants need to be transplanted deeper among many other details that have been very valuable to apply on my little, garden. Also every other good samaritan that was visiting the community gardens, like David, who gave me advice from seedling spacing to how to keep the water hose untangled! I’m very grateful for all. Thank you!

Using the best of advice, applying it, and with all my expectations tossed through the window, the garden worked its own magic in a serendipitous way.

Mueller Community Gardens

Ian-McEnroe_Yes,-more-please!

One day Ian and I arrived at our plot to water the plants and take some pictures of the vegetable progress, and all of the sudden we were harvesting our first…Radishes!
I start digging the first radishes out with the same impetus that a kid shows on Christmas morning.
First radishes came out easily and they were beautiful long-legged radishes that looked like ballerinas, and yogis to me. Ian went crazy on full camera mode!, then I kept digging and digging for about 15 minutes in order to pull out in one piece, what seemed to be a huge radish. When it finally came out, to our own surprise the biggest radish creature with the craziest shape I ever seen. There it was pure Wabi-Sabi Beauty!~ A gigantic Candela di Fuoco heirloom radish with an octopus syndrome, intense pinkish red top, and creamy white tips. Absolutely astonishing. I think the smile this radish put on my face lasted for 3 days. Who knew that a radish could bring you such a ridiculous amount of happiness.

Harvesting-a-radish

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Candela-di-focuo-Radish_harvest-2016_Yes,-more-please!

After the radish harvest, we went home and eat a couple of them, they tasted incredibly crisp, fresh, spicy, with a clean sweet juicy ending. We took some beauty shots, and then I started to imagine on a radish recipe. Fresh, crispy, crunchy, juicy, spicy all the elements I had in that first radish bite. That’s what this salad its all about. No fuss just fresh ingredients.

I know It is a little too late for radish season, but as you can guess I’m in the learning process of timing it right. These radishes were our first and last winter mini crop of 6 radishes! from little ones to the big craziest octopus-shaped radish, and we are very proud of it. Last weekend I transformed the plot into Summer vegetables. Tomato season is coming and I am thrilled. Plants are on the go and growing at a good speed.

I hope this little garden adventure brings you some garden inspiration.
I would love for you to feel encouraged to either grow your own vegetables or if that is not the way you groove, get out there on the hunt to buy the freshest Farmers Market vegetables you can, because it will always, always make the biggest difference on flavor when you are cooking.

Enjoy the rest of the radishes while you can!Shaving-Radishes_Yes,-more-please!

Radish-Pineapple-Mint-Quinoa-Salad_fresh-radishes_Yes,-more-please!

Radish Pineapple Mint Quinoa Salad

1 cup toasted, and cooked Red Quinoa
3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes any kind of spicy radish will work, cherry bells, watermelon, crimson, I used what I harvested Candela di Fuoco.
2 cups pineapple cut into small chunky wedges
1/2 small red onion thinly sliced in half moons
1-2 habaneros finely chopped
5-6 sprigs of mint, use just the leaves and torn with your fingers
3-4 good drizzles of a grassy and peppery Extra Virgin Olive Oil
the juice of one large lime
the juice of half an orange
Sea Salt and black pepper to taste

A few crushed cashews, pine nuts or peanuts to garnish.*optional

Preparation Method:

1. Toast the quinoa lightly before cooking. 1/2 cup dry quinoa to 3/4-cup water. bring water to boil, add the toasted quinoa, bring to a simmer, lower down the heat, cover the pot with a lid and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, leave the pot covered for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, your quinoa will be al-dente and a bit crunchy, which is the perfect texture for this salad. Fluff quinoa with a fork and extend it on a plate to cool it down. If you have leftover quinoa from the night before, bring it on it works great!
2. Chop, chop, chop the rest of ingredients.
3. Mix everything in a bowl drizzle with a grassy Extra Virgin Olive Oil, squeeze those citruses, season with Sea Salt, chill for a few minutes before is ready to serve.

Chopping-Vegetables_Yes,-more-please!Radish-Pineapple-Mint-Quinoa-Salad_Best-salad-for-grilled-fish

Radish-Pineapple-Mint-Quinoa-Salad_Yes,-more-please!

This Salad is best served with grilled fish, shrimp, soy marinated thick slices of extra firm tofu, pork chops, grilled chicken…
Enjoy!

Music Pairing: Bia – Mariana

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Radish Pineapple Mint Quinoa Salad

Refreshing Radish and pineapple salad! 

www.yes-moreplease.com

Course Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine FUSION
Servings 4
Author Mariana McEnroe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Red Quinoa, cooked
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes any kind of spicy radish will work cherry bells, watermelon, crimson, I used what I harvested Candela di Fuoco.
  • 2 cups pineapple cut into small chunky wedges
  • 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced in half moons
  • 1-2 habaneros finely chopped
  • 5-6 sprigs of mint use just the leaves and torn with your fingers
  • 3-4 generous drizzles of a grassy and peppery Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • the juice of one large lime
  • the juice of half an orange
  • Sea Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

Preparation Method:

  1. Toast the quinoa lightly before cooking. 1/2 cup dry quinoa to 3/4-cup water. bring water to boil, add the toasted quinoa, bring to a simmer, lower down the heat, cover the pot with a lid and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, leave the pot covered for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, your quinoa will be al-dente and a bit crunchy, which is the perfect texture for this salad. Fluff quinoa with a fork and extend it on a plate to cool it down. If you have leftover quinoa from the night before, bring it on it works great!
  2. Chop, chop, chop the rest of ingredients.
  3. Mix everything in a bowl drizzle with a grassy Extra Virgin Olive Oil, squeeze those citruses, season with Sea Salt, chill for a few minutes so the radishes are crispy before is ready to serve. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

 

 
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Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_ingredients_Yes, more please!

Sweet peppers are what you can find at the markets in Austin, Texas right now. Beautiful varieties, colorful, different shapes and sizes. Perhaps one or two sassy ones among the bunch, but mostly they are fleshy, sweet and flavorful.

For me, grilling these kind of sweet peppers bring the best flavors in them. The sweet mild flesh with the charred pieces of skin are what inspired me to make this salad. We love to grill at this time of the year when it does not feel like you are grilling your self over, September its a better Grilling Time for us.

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Grilling-Sweet-peppers

So what to do with all these chard sweet peppers? I combined them with the most handsome Italian grain of them all: Farro, my favorite grain, because of his nutty flavor,  great bite and texture. This gigolo of a grain has to become part of your pantry. I cook farro the same way I cook pasta, in lots of water and a couple of pinches of salt,  for about 20-25 minutes. Once its cooked, I strain the water, air dry it, and while still warm I add a sensible vinaigrette, of green grassy extra virgin olive oil along with a generous splash of red wine vinegar for a bright flavor. Coriander seeds, garlic, salt and pepper where my flavors of choice for this grilled salad.

Last but not least, I added grilled Sweet Peppers, grilled red onions, some fresh celery for crunch and sprinkled some bulgarian feta to add some salty and creamy texture. It is a great hearthy salad.

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Charred-red-onions

This Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad will flirt with lunch or dinner, the perfect match for roasted or grilled, chicken, pork or lamb. If you are feeling not so carnivorous, put an egg on it. This Farro salad best companion was a glass of red wine, we had a good Tempranillo and some Lamb Loin chops on the side. It was a great end of the Summer welcome Fall dinner.

Enjoy!

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Yes,-more-please

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad

Serves 4-6 Italian portions

1-1/2 cup dry Farro
18-20 Sweet peppers any kind, any color, mix and match.
1 large red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh celery, include the leaves

For the vinaigrette:

1/2 to 1  teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and coarsley chrushed
1 small garlic clove finely chopped or smashed through a garlic press.
1 teaspoon honey
1 lemon, grilled and juiced.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste.

In a mason jar place all the vinaigrette ingredients, close jar with the lid on tight and shake-shake shake…then ready to use.

Bulgarian Feta crumbs to top.
Chopped Mint or Texas Marigold (optional)

Preparation Method:

1. On a large pot filled with water, and 2 good pinches of salt, add Farro, bring to a boil and cook for 20-25 minutes. Taste for doneness. Drain water and air dry on a colander.

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Cooked-Farro

2. Grill red onion and sweet peppers. Once the peppers have cool enough to handle them, peel them, remove seeds and cut into stripes.

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Grilled-Sweet-peppers-and-OnionsSweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Chop,-chop,-chop

3. On a large plater or a bowl, combine the cooked farro along with all the vinaigrette, the sweet pepper stripes, grilled onions, celery, mint, salt and pepper. Use your hands, toss well. When ready to serve sprinkle the feta crumbs.

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Grilled-lemon_Yes,-more-pleaseSweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Toss-the-Salad

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Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_a great simple salad_Yes,-more-please

There is nothing like great ingredients, treated with respect, paired and cooked right and you will have a heck of good dinner!
Enjoy.

Music Pairing: I’m Just a Gigolo- Louis Prima

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Ceviche de Pulpo-Octopus Ceviche

Octopus-Ceviche-de-Pulpo_Tostada_Yes,more-please!

Octopus, the smartest, flexible and unique looking creature of the bottom of the sea. Eight arms, purple skin, side eyes, camouflage expert and a bag of attitude that will ink any snoozy neighbour. Why is this mollusk so intimidating? texture?, tentacles? I think Octopus are phenomenal, lots of personality and intelligent creatures.
Please, Do not judge by appearances this invertebrate is so delicious!. The meat is extra white, when is cooked properly, the texture is tender and mildly fishy, almost sweet. If you are lucky enough to get a fresh octopus you will taste the freshness of the sea water. You will have to tenderize the hell out of it before cooking,  like people from the Mediterranean smash their octopus against beautiful sea rocks right after being caught, or massage them until their arms are floppy and relaxed. But if you buy it previously frozen, from a good Sea food source half of the work is done for you and it saves you from doing the villain job.

Octopus-Ceviche-de-Pulpo_withcherry-tomatoes,-shallots-lime-and-avocado_Yes,more-please!

If you follow my simple recipe instructions your Octupus will be tender, and flavorful, ready for ceviche, or just a simple drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive oil sea salt, lemon, smokey paprika and you have “Pulpo a la Gallega”. But, today, for me on a Summer day, Ceviche is my dish of choice. Trust me on this one.

I chose slightly different vegetables than the commun ceviche, like Cherry and Sun Gold tomatoes, which balance the acidity of the traditional ceviche adding a sweet balance. Also instead of red onions which for me are too strong and can overwhelm the delicate Octupus flavor, I chose shallots, they have a milder, onion and garlic profile that complements the Octupus. A good punch of heat with sharp and bright Serranos thinly sliced, that tickle your tong with out setting it on fire. Fresh cilantro, Mint and seedless cucumbers which add a lot of crunch and freshness to the dish.

If you want to eat like a Mermaid along with your Sailor this Summer, this Ceviche de Pulpo-Octopus Ceviche recipe is for you.

Jazz it up!

Octopus-Ceviche-de-Pulpo

Ceviche de Pulpo-Octopus Ceviche

Serves 2 hungry sailors or 4 mermaids…

2 Medium Octopus, I used previously frozen from …*
3/4 cup Cherry tomatoes cut in halves
3/4 cup Sun Gold tomatoes cut in halves
1/2 English Cucumber, small diced
2 Shallots thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1-2 Sprigs of Mint just the leaves torned.
1 Serrano thinly sliced
1 Habbanero thinly siced optional
3 Juicy limes = 1/3 cup fresh lime juice approx.
1 lemon, the juice and the zest
1 glug Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste, optional

1-2 Avocado Hass
Corn Tostadas, or crackers…
Extra lime for wedges
Cholula, Valentina, Hiuichol or Tabasco hot Sauce

* Thanks to Steven, Fish Monger at Whole Foods Market- Domain, Austin for saving me some octopus!

Preparation Method:

1.Fill a large pot with at least 1.5 Gallons of water. Add 1 tablespoon sea salt and 1 large bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Once Water is boiling place the two octopus into the pot and lower the heat to low simmer. Cover pot with a lid and cook for 25-35 minutes.
Cooking times:
Usually this medium-small octopus cook very fast and they are tender. If you decide to use a bigger Octopus, increase the cooking time at least for 1 hr. and 30minutes, depending on the size.
How to tell when is cooked?,Use a fork and prick the wides part of the leg. or in between the leg and head if it feels tender and inserts with no trouble, octopus is done! Remove from hot water into a iced water bowl to prevent overcooking.Octopus-Ceviche-de-Pulpo_how-to-cook-octopus_Yes,-more-please!

2. Meantime your octopus is cooling off, Chop all your vegetables, do your prep.

Octopus-Ceviche-de-Pulpo_prepping-the-ceviche
3. Once your octopus has cooled down slice each arm into 1/4 inch to 1/4 inch slices, discard the center and slice the head like if you where slicing a calamari, or into dice, what ever you prefer. Place into a plater and squeeze the lime juice, add salt and olive oil.

Octopus-Ceviche-de-Pulpo_How-to-cut-an-octupus_Yes,-more-please!

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4. Add All the chopper Vegetables, Toss well and live it rest for 15-20 minutes. Smash 1-2 Avocados season with a bit of salt an lime juice. This will be the glue when you built your tostada.

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Octopus-Ceviche-de-Pulpo_with-avocado,-cherry-tomatoes-and-shallots_Yes,more-please!

Call all the Sailors, Mermaids and Drummers!

Serve with tostadas and a cold beer…Enjoy!

Music Pairing: Caravan Written by Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington

Version from the movie Whiplash

Octopus-Ceviche-de-Pulpo_Summer-recipes_Yes,more-please!

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Peach Sweet Corn and Halloumi Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Peach-Sweet-Corn-and-Halloumi-Salad-with-Lemon-Basil-Vinaigrette_best-salad-for-summer_Yes,-more-please!

This salad sums up summer in one plate. It is the kind of salad you eat and feel so happy and satisfied, sunshine on a plate. Fresh sweet corn and juicy peach season is here in Austin and I can have this salad almost every day until the last peach. If you are like me and bought two little baskets of peaches at the market, because one did not seem enough for your peachy desires, well we are in the same boat. The good thing is that extra peaches are not a problem once you get the hang of this salad.And if you still have some peaches left over, bake a pie, make this fantastic mini peaches and cream empanadas you have a good alibi for as long those peach baskets last you….

Peach-Sweet-Corn-and-Halloumi-Salad-with-Lemon-Basil-Vinaigrette_Texas-Peaches_Yes,-more-please!

Let me describe you this salad. Imagine the flavor of fresh sweet corn crispy yellow kernels, in combination with juicy bright sweet tangy floral peach slices, a few pieces of pan seared golden Halloumi cheese salty, crusty outside, and creamy gooey inside, over fresh arugula and greens. All come together with a delicious sweet and tangy Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette. It is ridiculously good. It is. Because yes. All the sweet, juicy tangy, salty briny, herb flavors together, one bite of these salad you are hooked!

Peach-Sweet-Corn-and-Halloumi-Salad-with-Lemon-Basil-Vinaigrette_Texas-sweet-corn_Yes,-more-please!

If you never had Halloumi, it is a firm brined cheese that when pan-fried or grilled holds it’s shape and gets crusty golden. It is a bit salty, and texture-wise along its warm its gooey on the inside, then becomes a bit chewie, a pleasent chewie. I bought it in this fantastic shop called Phoenicia Bakery and Deli here in Austin, Tx. It is a fabulous store. They carry foods from around the world but their emphasis is Mediterranean and Middle Eastern specialties. Cheeses, olives, pantry items, spices, preserves, teas, coffee, dry fruit, to mention a few. They also make the best freshly baked pitas in town. Not to mention they have a small menu for lunch, with great falafel, Gyros, Kafta and Shawarma. Dessert?… no problem from Pistachio Baklava to delicate pastries filled with pine nuts and rose water. And for me their fresh Feta cheese is the best in town, they have 3 different kinds, Bulgarian, French and sheep’s milk simply delicious. You have to go, it is a must…

Peach-Sweet-Corn-and-Halloumi-Salad-with-Lemon-Basil-Vinaigrette_Halloumi-Cheese_Yes,-more-please!

If you are not in Austin you must try to find a specialty food shop were you can buy this delicious cheese… Explore and try something new! Get your inner peach and make this glorious Peach Sweet Corn and Halloumi Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette fresh salad. Lunch, dinner or both, it travels great for a picnic on the park or to daydream about summery days at the office. All you have to do is to close your eyes and almost feel your feet on the green grass, the sun warming up your eye lids and a warm breeze asking you is it summer time yet?….Run and get peachy now! Enjoy.

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Spinach Ambrosia Salad with Dijon-honey-grapefruit vinaigrette

 

Spinach-Ambrosia-Salad-with-Honey-Dijon-Grapefruit-Vinaigrette_ingredients_Yes,-more-please!

Semantically Ambrosia is a powerful word, the food or drink of the immortals, Greek goodess, sweet luscious juicy fruits, sweet honey smells, something that will bring  youth, pleasure, and health. In my crazy fantasy food world I imagine Homer, Penelope, Aphrodite, and Sappho and their ambrosia offerings of sweet and incredible nectars.  But the enchanted elixir got shattered when I Googled “ambrosia salad” and the record sounded broken. To my surprise his ambrosia salad it is an abominable concoction from the 50’s. Where all the Greek Gods must of been under the marshmallow influence, along with cans of syrupy fruits like cherries red no.5, pineapple chunks of yellow no.5 undistinguished cubes of fruit matter, bright green grapes and that fluffy component all tied up into a sweet coma. That’s what I call fulminating love…(Pepé Le Pew style hehhee)

Being lost in translation and trying to rescue the origins of the word,  this salad came to my mind. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of “no wimpy salads” and a lot of encouragement to try and thrive while you feed not only your body, but the enticing act of eating consciously present and awake.

Althoug, I can not promise all of this matters in just one salad, I will assure you that this is not a wimpy one. In fact it does have the Ambrosia elements, fruits, smells textures, sweet, salty, acidic, juicy, creamy, crunchy all the components that make a salad a memorable meal, and the kind of salad you will crave the next day and perhaps the next weekend too. Spinach, strawberries, avocado, grapefruit segments, cucumbers, salty, creamy feta cheese, and crunchy nutty and meaty walnuts, all carefully combined and drizzled with a simple three ingredient Dijon-honey -grapefruit juice vinaigrette.  Needless to say the salad is healthy, energetic, nutritious, beautiful  and delicious.

This Spinach Ambrosia Salad with Dijon-honey-grapefruit vinaigrette  is what you need to welcome Spring and feel like a greek goddess, Enjoy!

Spinach-Ambrosia-Salad-with-Honey-Dijon-Grapefruit-Vinaigrette_Yes,-more-please!_greek-goddess-salad

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Watermelon Wedge Salad

Watermelon-wedge-salad_fresh-and-crisp!_ready-to-serve

Its hot in here! Austin is reaching 100F temperatures. All I can think of is something refreshing. I’m craving lots of juicy ingredients. So what to make?… Watermelon and iceberg lettuce together its the ultimate ode to crisp and fresh.
Inspired by the classic wedge salad, I played with summer flavors and made a Watermelon Wedge Salad. It consists of one head of iceberg lettuce cut into quarters plus a good sweet crisp watermelon dressed with a light and clean, olive oil + salt + black pepper dressing. 
One bite has it all; crisp crunch of the iceberg lettuce, tangy lemony light dressing, sweet juicy watermelon, creamy and salty pancetta, fragrant basil adds a great herb note.

What is not to like ?

This recipe is a pairing of summery ingredients that work divine together. Much like a summer gathering of good old friends having a good time.
Easy, fast and fun to make, in a blink of an eye this salad is ready to cool you down.

Music pairing: Our favorite music band : SPOON just released its new album: “They want my soul “
that is what is playing on the background.

Keep it fresh. Enjoy!

Watermelon-wedge-salad_ingredients

Watermelon Wedge Salad

Serves 4 warm souls

1 head of iceberg lettuce
4 cups seedless watermelon chilled.
½ cup goat cheese crumbs.
2 half inch thick slices of pancetta.
Small bunch 6-8 large leaves fresh basil.
2-3 tablespoons fresh finishing extra virgin olive oil
2 juicy lemons
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Preparation:

1. Cut the pancetta in small cubes, sauté until crisp and render the fat. Place them over a paper towel to absorb the excess fat.

Watermelon-wedge-salad_render-pancetta
2. Remove the hard steam of the lettuce. Cut the head lettuce in four wedges.
3. With a melon baller scoop 4-5 cups of watermelon balls.

Watermelon-wedge-salad_pin--poing-and-wedges

Watermelon-wedge-salad_ready-set-go!
4. Place the lettuce wedges on a plater, and drizzle olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, generous amounts of kosher salt and black pepper.

Watermelon-wedge-salad_crisp-and-fresh-lettuce
5. Add the watermelon balls, crumbled goat cheese, crispy pancetta.

Watermelon-wedge-salad_close-up-ingredients

6. Tier the basil leaves and sprinkle on top, add the rest of the lemon juice a little extra drizzle of olive oil, serve.

Note: Make sure your watermelon is cold, place it into the refrigerator hours before to ensure maximum chill! This salad taste better when the crisp clean iceberg lettuce and the juicy watermelon are cold.

Watermelon-wedge-salad_squezee-lemonand-EVOO

Watermelon-wedge-salad_Yes,-more-please!

Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the freshest of them all?

Music Pairing: Spoon – They want My Soul

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