Check the Cupboard: Coffee Cabinet – Rhode Island

A coffee cabinet is a delicious concoction, only it’s too bad no one outside of Providence or Warwick knows what the heck it is. Let us elucidate. In other parts of the country, a cabinet is simply a

Coffee Cabinet - Rhode Island

milkshake or a frappe. This ice cream drink is called a cabinet, supposedly because it is made in a blender which is stored in the cabinet. Who knew?

A key ingredient of a coffee cabinet is coffee syrup and in the Ocean State that syrup  is usually made by Autocrat, a company based in Lincoln. Autocrat is sometimes hard to find outside of New England but don’t despair, you can easily make coffee syrup at home in less time than it takes to watch an episode of Family Guy. Simply boil coffee with sugar and then simmer until the liquid reduces.

The cabinet recipe can easily be adapted if you’re vegan by subbing out the regular ice cream and milk for soy or almond milk products. And if you want to hold the ice cream and just mix the coffee syrup with milk, you’ll have what’s called a coffee milk, which is the official beverage of Rhode Island.

If you want to see how the other half lived during the mid to late 19th century, check out the Newport Mansions, many situated on beautiful Bellevue Avenue in Newport. Tour Marble House, The Breakers, The Elms, Chateau-sur-Mer, and get your Vanderbilt on.

Rhode Island Coffee Cabinet

  • Servings: 1 drink
  • Time: 15 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For the coffee syrup:

  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cabinet:

  • 2 tablespoons coffee syrup
  • 1 large scoop coffee ice cream
  • 3/4 cup milk

Instructions 

For the coffee syrup: Combine coffee in sugar in a small saucepan. Heat on medium until boiling. Turn down to low and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until liquid is reduced. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and let cool.

For the cabinet: Place coffee syrup, ice cream and milk in a blender. Puree until frothy. If too thick, add a bit of milk, or if too thin, add a bit of ice cream. Pour into a tall glass for serving.

Hey Hun: Berger Cookies – Maryland

If you grew up in or near Baltimore, you are well-familiar with the Berger cookie. A cousin to New York’s black and white cookie, this confection is a soft vanilla cookie heaped with chocolate frosting. And we do mean heaped. In fact, some would say the cookie is just a vehicle to deliver more frosting.

Berger Cookies - Maryland

Berger Cookies began in the mid-1800 when Henry Berger emigrated from Germany and shortly thereafter opened his eponymous bakery in East Baltimore. The recipe has only changed slightly since that time and today Berger Cookies employees hand dip 36,000 cookies per day.

These cookies are very easy to recreate at home. We slightly adapted the King Arthur Flour recipe. The StateEats kids killed a half gallon of milk gobbling these up.

If a visit to Charm City is in your future, check out Fort McHenry National Monument, widely regarded as the birthplace of the “Star Spangled Banner. ” You can visit all summer and listen to ranger talks on artillery and the flag, participate in children’s activities, hear fife and drum concerts and more.

Berger Cookies

  • Servings: 2 dozen cookies
  • Time: 50 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup milk

For the frosting:

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar sifted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions 

For the cookies: Cream butter and sugar together using a mixer set to medium speed. Add salt, vanilla, egg and baking powder. Beat one minute. Gently add in flour alternating with milk until thoroughly blended.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop spoonfuls of dough, about 1 ¼ inches in diameter, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Flatten cookies with palm of hand or bottom of a glass coated with cooking spray. Bake cookies at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or just until the edges begin to brown. Do not overcook. Let cool on pans.

For the frosting: Place the chocolate chips, corny syrup, vanilla and cream in a large bowl. Microwave in short bursts about 90 seconds, stirring in between, until chocolate begins to melt and the cream bubbles. Stir until chocolate mixture becomes smooth. Add in the confectioners sugar, mix until incorporated. Let cool to room temperature.

Spread frosting on top of the cookies. If frosting slides off the cookies, allow it to set a bit longer.

Summer Staple: Cobb Salad – California

The Cobb Salad was supposedly invented by the owner of the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, California. Legend has it that late one night in the 1930s, Bob Cobb threw some leftover ingredients

Cobb Salad - CA

together to feed theatre owner Sid Grauman. Alas, the Brown Derby, with its kitschy architectural appeal (shaped like a brown derby hat, natch) is no longer, but fans of this delicious summer salad can easily make it at home. The beauty of the Cobb is that it’s readily customizable. If you’re vegan, sub in tofu and chick peas instead of the chicken, eggs, cheese and bacon. The traditional Cobb is great, but even better is adding some extra veggies like cukes or radishes. We’ve even tried it before with grilled shrimp and added some freshly shucked corn. See? Versatile!

If you want to see some amazing works of art, check out the 23rd Annual Pasadena Chalk Festival, June 20-21, 2015.

Cobb Salad

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: 20 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 Ingredients

For the salad:

  • Romaine lettuce, half a head, rinsed and torn
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 2-3 hard boiled eggs, diced
  • 4-6 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/3 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 chicken breast halves, grilled or oven baked, cut in cubes (or sauted firm tofu)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup chick peas (optional)
  • Other vegetables (optional – carrots, celery cucumber, green onion, radishes, chopped)

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tablespoons red vine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

Make vinaigrette by placing all ingredients into a glass jar or cruet. Cover and shake well. Place romaine lettuce and watercress on serving plate. Add in rows egg, bacon, blue cheese, chicken, tomatoes and avocado. Sprinkle with chopped chives. Dress with vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

T-rav is All the Rage: Toasted Ravioli – Missouri

Toasted ravioli is one of those regional dishes that hasn’t made the jump to national prominence. And it should, because these fried pillowy pasta pockets are easy to like.

Toasted Ravioli - Missouri

The origins of toasted ravioli are unclear, with several restaurants making the claim that they were the first including Angelo’s (now Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill) and Oldani’s (located where Mama’s on the Hill now stands). The underlying theme with these stories is that T-rav, as it’s affectionately known, was an accident of a hapless cook who mistook boiling oil for boiling water. Funny that St. Louis’ other famous export, Gooey Butter Cake, also was the result of a blunder.

This dish is typically served as an appetizer. If you want to get all fancy and hand make your ravioli with all sorts interesting fillings like these restaurants, knock yourself out. But frozen work just fine, too.

The 9th Annual St. Louis Brewers Guild Heritage Festival brings together 35 local breweries and over 100 types of beer, along with music and food trucks, June 12-13, 2015.

Toasted Ravioli

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: 20 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 10 frozen ravioli (half of 16-oz. package)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1 cup marina sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2-3 teaspoons parsley, minced
  • Vegetable oil

 

Instructions

Whisk together the eggs and milk in a shallow dish. In another dish, place the flour. In a third dish, place the breadcrumbs. Take a frozen ravioli and place in the egg wash, covering it completely. Place in the flour. Coat thoroughly. Place in the egg wash again. Remove, then dip in the breadcrumbs, coating thoroughly. Place on a clean plate. Repeat with the remaining ravioli. Place ravioli in batches in oil heated to 400 degrees, making sure not to crowd them. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes until both sides are golden brown. Remove onto a plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan. Serve with warm marina sauce.

Spicy is Nicy: Kicked Up Peanut Brittle – Georgia

 America has had a love affair with the peanut for nearly 250 years but you can thank WWII and its accompanying meat shortage for making peanut butter a household staple.

Kicked Up Peanut Brittle

Georgia is the country’s top producer of peanuts. Along with peaches, which we talked about here, and pecans, peanuts make up the three Big Ps in the Peachtree State. At 1.7 million tons in 2012, Georgia produced half the peanuts in the country. George Washington Carver is considered the father of the peanut. This brilliant botanist discovered over 300 uses for the little legume. And don’t forget about Jimmy Carter, the country’s 39th president. He hailed from Plains, Ga. and took over his family’s peanut farm before embarking on a political career.

If you like peanut brittle as much as we do, you’ll love this super easy and quick microwave recipe. The addition of baking soda makes the candy more chewy than crunchy. We used cayenne and cinnamon to add some pizazz, just leave them out if you don’t like it spicy.

The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, May 28-31, 2015, features the best of the South’s food and drink and highlights the agricultural products of the region.

Kicked Up Peanut Brittle

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 20 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups dry roasted peanuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil or butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

Instructions

Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, toss the peanuts with the cayenne pepper and cinnamon until the peanuts are coated. Set aside.   In a microwave safe bowl, add sugar and corn syrup. Microwave on high for approx. 3 minutes. Add nut mixture and microwave 3-4 minutes longer or until the mixture turns a light copper color. Add coconut oil or butter and vanilla and stir. Add baking powder, taking care as the candy will foam up. Stir to incorporate. Spread out onto baking sheet and spread as thin as possible with a spatula sprayed with cooking spray. Let cool. Break into bite sized pieces.

Giddy Up: Cowboy Caviar – Oklahoma

The Sooner State is lucky enough to have designated an entire state meal which consists of fried okra, squash, cornbread, barbeque pork,

Cowboy Caviar - Oklahoma

biscuits, sausage & gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, chicken fried steak, black eyed peas, and pecan pie. Quite a list, isn’t it? All of this food reflects the history, culture and agriculture of the state.

We decided we needed to highlight one of these products. We chose black eyed peas, the main ingredient in this lovely little salad/appetizer dip known as Cowboy Caviar. Black eyed peas, also known as cowpeas or southern peas, are grown in Oklahoma and all over the south as it tends to do well in hot and dry climates. This legume is high in fiber and a good source of protein.

If you are hosting a gathering for Memorial Day or need to bring something to a potluck this weekend, this is a great dish especially because it can tolerate being at room temperature without refrigeration. Just double the amounts if you are feeding a large crowd. As an added bonus, this dish gets better with time. Make it the night before and let the lime Sriracha dressing permeate the veggies so the flavors meld.

If you need to get your cowboy on, check out the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The museum is the host for the 25th Annual Chuck Wagon Gathering & Children’s Cowboy Festival on May 23-24, 2015.

 

Cowboy Caviar

  • Servings: 4-6 as a salad, 8-10 as a dip
  • Time: 20 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 Ingredients

  • Juice from 2 limes, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave syrup or honey
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce, depending on your heat preference
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) black eyed peas, drained
  • 1/2 can (15.5 oz.) yellow hominy, drained
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red or yellow pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

In a large bowl, mix lime juice, honey, and Sriracha sauce. Add black eyed peas, hominy and all vegetables except the avocado. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and place in fridge at least 2 hours or preferably overnight. Add avocado right before serving. Serve as a side dish or with tortilla chips as an appetizer.

Clamoring for More:- New Haven White Clam Pizza – Connecticut

The Nutmeg State’s second largest city, New Haven, is identified with the white clam pizza.  If you’ve never tasted the savory sensation that is white clam pizza, well then friends, you’ve been missing out. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana on Wooster Street claims

New Haven White Clam Pizza

to be the originator of this dish which dates back to the 1960s when the restaurant served little neck clams as an appetizer.  Presumably, Frank didn’t think it much of a stretch to toss some clams and parmesan cheese on top of dough and call it “apizza” (ah-beets as the locals still say).

A couple of tips about white clam pizza: We don’t recommend using canned clams. They will be way too chewy. Frozen will work in a pinch but your best bet, as usual, is freshly steamed. We’ve told you before here and here how to steam clams. It really is easy so don’t be intimidated.  Also, please note that the recipe below makes enough dough for two pizzas but the amount of clams and cheese is for only one pizza. Just double the amounts if you want to make two pizzas.

If you dig all things nautical, check out Mystic Seaport, the nation’s leading maritime museum with four national historic landmark vessels including the 1841 whaleship, the Charles W. Morgan, the country’s oldest commercial ship still in existence.

New Haven White Clam Pizza

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 1 hour, 30 min.
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

 

Ingredients

For crust (will make enough for two crusts):

  • I package yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray

For pizza (double these amounts if you will be making two pizzas):

  • 25-30 little neck clams
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely minced
  • Olive oil

Instructions

To make crust: In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in ½ cup warm water. Let sit until mixture begins to foam. Add rest of water and olive oil.  Add 3 ½ cups flour, salt, and remaining sugar. Mix with a stand mixer fitted with dough hooks until well combined. If dough is too sticky add a quarter cup of flour at a time, until dough is smooth and elastic and pulls away from the bowl. Transfer dough to a large bowl that has been coated with cooking spray. Cover with a tea towel and let rise, about 40-55 minutes. Divide into two. Set aside one crust for a different kind of pizza or wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.

To steam clams: Pick through clams and discard any with cracked or damaged shells. Soak for 20 minutes in fresh water. Lift them out of the water bath (do not strain) and brush them vigorously to get rid of any excess sand. Heat 3 to 4 cups of water in a large pot. Turn down heat to medium. Add clams and cover. Steam about 4 to 6 minutes or until the shells just start to open. Do not overcook as clams will cook again on the pizza. Remove from heat and let cool. Discard any clams that do not open. Once shells are cool enough to handle, open shells, extract and chop meat coarsely.

To make pizza:  Preheat oven to 550 degrees with pizza stone inside if using. Place the ball of dough down on a well-floured work surface. Using the heel of your hand, press down to flatten. Lift the dough onto a round pan or pizza paddle sprinkled with corn meal. Continuing pressing and shaping the dough.  If dough is too springy, let rest about 10 minutes until the gluten relaxes, then proceed. Once dough is the appropriate size, press and shape a ½ inch crust on the edge. Brush dough with olive oil. Add Parmesan cheese, oregano, garlic and then clams. If using a pizza paddle, transfer pizza onto baking stone that has been preheating in oven. Bake at 550 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until the dough is browned and the cheese is golden. Finish with additional olive oil if desired.

Get Your Two Lips on Some Juleps: Mint Juleps – Kentucky

Hey racing fans, it’s Kentucky Derby season! The quintessential drink to quaff is the Mint Julep. The signature drink of Churchill Downs since 1938 when they first began serving it in souvenir cups

Mint Juleps - Kentucky

for 75 cents, this delicious concoction is easy to make at home with just a few ingredients. Churchill Downs now serves over 80,000 mint juleps during the two-day Derby.

The trick to this drink is making the mint simple syrup a day or two beforehand. The simple syrup gives the drink a minty oomph that simply muddling the mint leaves won’t do.

The key ingredient is of course, Kentucky Bourbon. If you get the chance to visit Louisville you must designate a driver and then hit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which offers tours of nine different bourbon distilleries. Buy the best Kentucky Bourbon you can afford for this drink, it’s worth every sip.

Bust out your fancy hats and make your way to Louisville on May 1 and 2 for the 2015 Kentucky Derby.

Mint Juleps

  • Servings: 2 drinks
  • Time: 15 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

For mint simple syrup:

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 bunch mint

For cocktails:

  • 4 tablespoons mint simple syrup
  • 4 ounces of Kentucky bourbon
  • 4-6 mint leaves, crushed
  • Crushed ice
  • Confectioners sugar (optional)

Instructions

For mint simple syrup: Place water and sugar in saucepan. Heat on medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add mint. When cool, place in a glass container overnight in fridge. Remove mint after 24 hours.

For cocktail: Add mint simple syrup and bourbon to cocktail shaker. Shake well. Add crushed iced into two glasses. Divide cocktail into glasses. Add mint leaves. Top with confectioners sugar if desired.

 

 

Why Knot? Soft Pretzels – Pennsylvania

As treats go, pretzels have a long history, going back hundreds of years to European bakers. German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania during the early 1800s were responsible for the pretzel proliferation. Julius Sturgis opened the country’s first

Soft Pretzels - Pennsylvania

 

commercial pretzel bakery in Lancaster County, Pa, in 1861. Rumor has it that the average Philadelphian consumes 12 times as many pretzels as the rest of the population. In 2003, Governor Ed Rendell declared April 26 as National Pretzel Day, to commemorate the commonwealth’s long history with the salty snack. And talk about creative, one Philly pretzel factory recently rolled out a Tim Tebow pretzel after the quarterback signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

In preparation for the upcoming twisted celebration, you can make soft pretzels at home. We’re not going to lie, the recipe takes some time and is a bit tricky, but the results are so worth it. Soft and warm, these babies are great with a little mustard or some nacho cheese.

A couple of pointers: Rolling out the ropes to 30 inches is not a typo. But you won’t be able to do it in one try. Roll out the ropes one at a time as long as you can get them, then let them rest a bit. The gluten will then relax. Roll them out some more, and you’ll be able to get to 30 inches.   Place the shaped pretzels in the freezer for a couple of hours to prepare them for the alkaline bath. This will allow the pretzels to hold their shape as they are dipped. About that alkaline bath, commercial pretzel bakers use food-grade lye to get that rich, brown color and distinct flavor. But lye is caustic. You can re-create that chestnut brown finish with a baking soda bath. (Baking soda is about 9.5 on the pH scale while lye is about 14, at the top of the scale). Make sure you dip both sides of the pretzel for about 30 seconds total. If you leave out this step, you will have baked bread in the shape of a pretzel.

If you’re near Lancaster, PA, prepare to take a tour of one of the six pretzel factories in the area.

Soft Pretzels - Pennsylvania

Soft Pretzels

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups warm water (heated to 110 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 to 4 ½ cups flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Cooking spray
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Kosher salt

Instructions

Heat 1 ½ cups water in saucepan or microwave. Water should be warm, not hot, to the inside of the wrist. In the large bowl of a stand mixer, add warm water, sugar, salt and yeast. Let sit a few minutes or until yeast starts to bubble. Add flour and butter. Use the dough hooks and mix on low speed until just combined, then switch to medium speed until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Cover bowl with a tea towel and let sit in a warm spot for 50 minutes to an hour or until the dough has doubled.

To prepare to roll out the pretzels, first spray the work surface with a generous amount of cooking spray. Punch dough down and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a long rope. Let sit a few minutes for the gluten to relax, then roll out each piece to 30 inches. Form dough into a pretzel shape by making a U, twisting about two inches from the ends and then pressing the ends into the bottom of the U. Place pretzels on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours.

When ready to bake pretzels, boil 10 cups of water with 2/3 of a cup baking soda. Remove pretzels from freezer. Dip each pretzel into the alkaline bath for 15 seconds on each side. Place each pretzel back on the baking sheet and brush with the egg yolk mixture, then salt. Bake for 12-14 minutes at 450 degrees or until pretzels turn chestnut brown.

Lovey Dovey Loosey Goosey: Loose Meat Sandwich – Iowa

A loose meat sandwich is a declaration in simplicity. Not gussied up with tons of toppings, not loaded with cheese, the loose meat sandwich is not a sloppy joe or a burger, but something in between.

Loose Meat Sandwich - Iowa

Sometimes called a tavern sandwich, the beef is lightly seasoned and usually adorned with ketchup, mustard, raw onion, and pickle rounds. Made famous by the Midwest chain Maid-Rite, this ode to beef has been sustaining Iowans, where most of the stores are located, since the 1920s.

If don’t live in the Midwest, you can easily make this sandwich at home. You’ll find tons of variations on this recipe, with lots of different ingredients — some even include cola as a sweetener — but we liked this one for its straightforwardness with ingredients you probably already have on hand.

If you’ve never checked out the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, you’ve been missing out. From its iconic gold dome, to the glass floor in the rotunda, the building is simply stunning and well worth a tour.

Loose Meat Sandwiches

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1 large onion, chopped finely (reserve approx. 2 tablespoons raw)
• 1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
• 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
• 1 tablespoon white vinegar
• 1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 14.5 oz. can of beef broth
• 2 teaspoons brown sugar
• 4 sesame seed hamburger buns
• Salt
• Pepper
• Dill pickles, sliced

Instructions
Heat the vegetable oil on medium heat in a large saute pan. Add onions, sauting until translucent. Add beef and cook until meat is no longer pink. Use a potato masher to break up the larger chunks of beef. Add the mustard, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, then add the beef broth and sugar. Continue cooking until broth is reduced. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on buns, topped with ketchup and/or mustard, raw onions and pickle slices.

Highlighting food from our 50 states

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