Vegan MOFO: Melt-in-your-Mouth Zucchini Bread

Day four: who else likes veggies hiding in their desserts? I seem to always have extra zucchinis hanging around, so why not grate them up and put them in this ridiculously delicious but still wholesome bread?

Since I’ve been having dental work, I left the traditional walnuts out and it was super-soft as a result.  Deliciously soft.  Especially warmed up with a little earth balance…Mmm.

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Without further ado, the recipe (Taken straight from Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!)

Vegan Zucchini Bread

6 tbsp ground flax seeds and ½ c warm water
2 c turbinado sugar (or light brown sugar)
½ c oil
½ c applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
2 to 2½ c grated zucchini (~3 medium-sized ones)
2 c all-purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt

Directions!

From Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!: “Grease two loaf pans.
Mix together flax seeds and warm water.
Add sugar, oil, applesauce, and vanilla; beat well.
Add grated zucchini; stir til combined.
In a separate bowl, sift together remaining dry ingredients.
Add dry mixture to wet and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened and everything is incorporated evenly; some lumps are fine. If adding additional mix-ins, fold them in now. Divide batter between prepared pans.
Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes, or until knife inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Let cool a few minutes before slicing.”

So soft and delicious and somewhat good for you because it has a ton of zucchini in it!

Thought I’d commemorate the opening of the new Bay Bridge today with some photos I took last time I drove over the old one– Enjoy! See you tomorrow!

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Posted in breads, dessert, Hell Yeah It's Vegan!, vegan, zucchini | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Vegan MOFO: Best-Ever Tofu Scramble

Since I became vegan I’ve been making tofu scrambles, but I have not been making good tofu scrambles.

They were lacking flavor, they sometimes had weird flavors. They were edible, but not good. And vegans were always saying how AMAZING tofu scrambles were… I felt like I was missing out on something.

Well, I didn’t earn a master’s degree for nothing. If there is one thing I know how to do it’s research. In my research I discovered/realized a few key things:

      1. Use silken tofu! Why I always used firm, no idea.

 

      2. Marinate the tofu! I always marinate it in all other circumstances, why not here?

 

    3. Go simple with the spices, don’t kitchen sink it.

So without further ado…

Best-Ever Tofu Scramble

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1 block silken tofu
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons or so of soy sauce
Turmeric Powder, Cumin, Salt, Fresh Pepper
I onion
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
2 carrots, grated
Black Beans

And/Or: Curry powder, garlic powder, herbs fresh or dried
Sliced Black Olives
Cherry Tomatoes
Mushrooms of any kind
Etc. etc. etc.

Start sautéing onions in some olive oil in a wide, preferably non stick skillet.
Meanwhile put your tofu in a bowl and mash it until no chunks remain, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, turmeric and soy sauce. Add white wine and mix all together. Let sit and return to your skillet. Slice all your veggies into smallish pieces and grate your carrots. Always start with your most firm veggies, however all the ones I listed above are fairly soft.
Add black beans after veggies are soft, and then add tofu last.
Taste for seasoning and sauté a bit more, then enjoy!
This is really good with hash browns, in a crepe or a breakfast burrito.

Day two: check! See you tomorrow for Day three! You will love this next recipe.

Posted in black beans, breakfast, Gluten-Free, onion, scramble, tofu, tomato, vegan | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Vegan MOFO: Peanut Sauce on Everything

I am a saucy lady. And by that I mean I love sauce on things.

My parents will tell you that when we went to our favorite Chinese restaurant when I was a kid, I smothered my food in that red sweet and sour sauce that is probably so bad for you. Even now when I go to Thai restaurants, if they give me that peanut sauce it goes on everything! My mom’s the same way with that peanut stuff. So delicious.

Which brings me to today’s post. Who knew that peanut sauce deliciousness could be yours at home for about 5 minutes of work? Isa Chandra Moscowitz, that’s who. But then, Isa Chandra knows kind of everything.  To make this into a sauce, omit the water.  For a salad dressing (or on noodles, or on stir fry, or on your cat…) add more water.  I had it on a salad with grated zucchini, but also about a million other things.

Yummiest Peanut Sauce

peanutsauce

1/2 cup natural peanut butter (unsalted and fairly natural is very important here)

1/4 water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (I used the seasoned kind and it was yummy)

1 tablespoon ginger (I microplaned mine, and went lighter because I can’t handle too much)

1 tablespoon sriracha (or less for less spice)

1 tablespoon agave (to taste)

1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari

That’s it!  The PPK recommends blending, I didn’t find that necessary if you microplane: Just whisk it all together and then put it on everything.  Seriously, this may be my new favorite thing.

See you all tomorrow!

Posted in appetizer, Asian, entree, Low Calorie, peanuts, Post Punk Kitchen, salad, sauce, side, Uncategorized, vegan, zucchini | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vegan MOFO: White Bean and Sage Patties with Roasted Tomato Sauce

Welcome back! As this month is vegan Mofo I thought I would use this opportunity to revive this very dead blog! In the sprit of starting over, I have a confession to make.

I kind of love Martha Stewart’s Living.

I used to have a subscription, but since now I spend all my money on food, it has lapsed. They hardly ever have a vegan recipe, the magazine fosters unrealistic expectations for women, and Martha Stewart is a privileged elite crook. I know, I know. But their new book Meatless is pretty rad. Just sayin’.

There are a ton of vegan recipes in this vegetarian cookbook and they are clearly marked as such, as well as marking gluten free recipes, soy free recipes, calories, fat… Everything you might want to know!

We have a houseguest right now (well, actually two) so I made this enough for three for his first meal in Berkeley and it went over like gangbusters, even though I modified it a little. The cakes are fairly subtle, I think I under-salted a little, but they were really nice, and the sauce totally made them. I served them with grilled asparagus and baby broccoli, boiled and shock chilled first. Great, well-balanced dinner.

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White Bean and Sage Patties with Roasted Tomato Sauce

2 1/4 cups cooked white beans (or canned if you’re a procrastinator like me)
1/2 shallot, finely chopped (they’re essentially raw, so listen here!)
1 small carrot, finely grated (totally forgot and left this out, I would have liked it in though)
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal (crawly things are not good eats so I used a combo of flour and panko breadcrumbs as a replacement– which made mine not g-free)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage leaves (or more!)
Salt and ground pepper

Drain beans, and rinse if canned. Transfer beans to a bowl and mash, then stir in remaining ingredients, adding some water if too dry. (I used maybe 1/6 cup because mine was exceptionally dry due to the flour substitute.)

Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add a little olive oil (more if not using non-stick, less or none if using.) Form into patties no thicker than 2 1/2″ thick and sauté in batches, until lightly brown. (Try not to let them burn, they are good when light brown.) Serve with sauce. (See recipe below!)

Roasted Tomato Sauce

1 pint cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt and fresh pepper
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

The way this was written was roasting them in the oven…I am lazy and impatient, did I already mention that? I just popped them in a skillet on fairly high heat and let them do their thing. Worked great.

I should also mention that I doubled everything and did not carefully measure anything except the flour/breadcrumb mixture, and it turned out fine. This type of recipe is not super precise.

Hope you enjoy this super quick-and-easy recipe, only took me about 45 min total!

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The boys having some nerd fun.

See you tomorrow for more, mofo!

Posted in appetizer, entree, Gluten-Free, Meatless from Martha Stewart Living, patties, side, Soy-Free, tomato, vegan, Wheat-Free, white beans | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Turkey Day”

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Thanksgiving.  I mean, I know I’m not the only one…it is only 5 days away.  But I mean I’ve been thinking about the whole concept.  What is the point Imageof Thanksgiving?  Many people call it “Turkey Day” and I think that’s ironic because all we do for Thanksgiving is kill turkeys.  According to PETA, over 45 million turkeys are killed for this day…and this just breaks my heart.  I mean, who even cares about the turkey?  I know I never did growing up.  And, to be honest, as a kid I loved meat..but I never cared about turkey.  And turkeys are so funny.  When I visited Animal Place a few months ago, I was amazed at how weird and awesome they are.  They all make that weird gobbling noise at the same time, and it’s so loud and startling!

ImageThanksgiving has also made me think about family.  Most vegans can attest that Thanksgiving is a tough holiday because it basically centers around a dead bird.  Last year I avoided the issue entirely by just making my own vegan Thanksgiving, and my mom came and enjoyed my dinner, and the whole dead bird thing never came up.  This year the other side of my family wanted me to comeImage visit for Thanksgiving, so I am… but I’m saddened that there will be that corpse in the next room.  It makes it hard to enjoy the giving thanks, or the family camaraderie, when I know someone had to die to bring it about.  Sorry to be such a downer around the holidays, and I promise tomorrow I will post photos of the amazing vegan Thanksgiving food I’m making to bring to my family.  But today, this is where my thoughts were. 

With the turkeys.

 

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Go-To Vegan Recipes Part 1

Maybe you’re vegan-curious.  You experimented in college or that one time when you were drunk, but you still say “I could never live without cheese!” and still think you will feel sick if you don’t get enough protein!  Well, these recipes are for you.  To seasoned vegans they may seem basic, but to newbies they are gold, and I genuinely make them pretty often when I don’t feel like getting creative.

Tofu Scramble

-1 block ORGANIC tofu

-1/2 or 1 whole onion

-1-2 cloves garlic

-1/2 or 1 bell pepper, any color

-seasonings!

-vegetables!

People who live in other areas may find this hard to believe, but most breakfast-y restaurants in Berkeley offer this as a vegan option just so we don’t sit there and pout while our companions devour eggs and cheese.  The tofu scramble can range from boring to transcendent.  I had actually never had one of these before I moved to Berkeley, and now I make them probably almost every week.  The recipe changes, but here’s the basics:

First press your tofu to get all the water out.  There is various ways to do this: you can put the tofu block on a cutting board lined with paper towels or a dish towel, or you can put the block in a large bowl to catch the water.  Then you put a plate, bowl or small cutting board on top of the tofu and weigh it with heavy items, like canned tomato sauce or beans.  I have started just putting it in a bowl because I do this so often all my dish towels get dirty!  However, I think the towel method does work better.  You need to let it press for at least 10 minutes, but longer is definitely better, so do this before anything else.

Saute (in olive or grapeseed oil or water for lower fat) onions, garlic, and bell pepper (all minced finely) in a large frying pan.  You could also use green onion or shallot.  Add any veggies that will need longer to cook such a finely chopped carrots or broccoli (alternately you can steam or boil these harder vegetables until partially cooked).  Other good things to add after this are summer squash like zucchini, kale or other greens chopped,  mushrooms of any sort, eggplant, pretty much vegetable you like!

At this point I usually add most of my seasonings so the vegetables can soak up some of the flavor.  Obviously you would want to add salt and pepper, but I also have experimented with different seasoning combinations.  Sometimes I use whatever fresh and dried herbs I have on hand, like rosemary (fine chopped,) sage, basil, with dried oregano, herbes de provence, etc.  Or you can go a more exotic way and add curry powder, cumin, even garam masala.  I also sometimes add soy sauce or balsamic vinegar to add a little depth of flavor.

Next you crumble your tofu with your hands and add it to the pan, making sure to squish any larger chunks or areas with flat sides.  Then sprinkle all of this with tumeric and maybe a little curry powder (you can use it here even whether or not you used it earlier.)  This is basically to make the curry yellow like eggs, so you could obviously skip this step if you don’t care, but it does make it really pretty!  That’s pretty much it, just saute it all together a bit more to combine, and then serve!  Other good ideas I’ve seen for tofu scrambles are to make pesto (sans cheese!) and include that, add sun dried tomatoes or daiya… pretty much anything tasty!  Adam and my personal favorite way to have this is either stuffed inside crepes (recipe here, along with another tofu scramble version!) or on bagels!  I know anything with tofu in the title scares a lot of people, but I swear you will like this.

Okay, next up: Chana Masala.

If you hate Indian Food, I guess this one isn’t for you but if you hate Indian Food you should also give it another try because it’s really good!

Chana Masala:

-1 can chickpeas or the equivalent soaked dry chickpeas (garbanzo beans!)

-curry powder, cumin, garam masala, cayenne or chili powder if you like a kick

-lime or lemon juice (fresh is preferable!)

-1 can diced or whole tomatoes (if whole, squish them up) OR 2-3 fresh tomatoes, diced.

-1 onion

-1 clove garlic

All you do for this is saute up the onion and garlic, then add the seasoning, then the chickpeas, stir it all around, and then add the tomatoes.  Add more seasoning to taste and squeeze the juice in (this stands in for amchoor powder, unless you have that lying around.) Serve with rice!

Asian-style stir fry with glazed tofu (totally just came up with that name!)

This one is bit more involved, but not really if you just don’t get freaked out!  In this one, press your tofu again, preferably a little longer this time, like maybe 30 minutes if possible?  So you can start pressing it ahead of time if you want, or just take your time with the other steps.  Also, if you really don’t like tofu (try it again! I swear!) you can use whole small mushrooms or quartered mushrooms instead, or another soft veggie in small pieces (like eggplant or zucchini.)

For stir fry:

-tofu

-1/2 onion and/or green onion

-1-2 cloves garlic

-fresh ginger (a piece about 2 inches long maybe, outer skin removed)

-other veggies, good options include: mushrooms, especially asian style ones, bok choy or other leafy greens, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, baby corn, bamboo shoots or water chestnuts.

For marinade/sauce:

-soy sauce or tamari

-mirin or white wine

-citrus juice like orange, grapefruit, lime or lemon

-rice vinegar

-agave nectar or brown sugar

-sesame oil

-flour for dredging, and non-dairy milk if coating vegetables.

Basically you just saute up these veggies in the correct fashion.  What’s the correct fashion?  Onions, then garlic and ginger, then harder veggies unless pre-cooked a bit, then softer veggies or things that you want less cooked (I always add bok choy last, even after tofu so it can keep its bite.)

Next prepare the tofu or other veggies: for this you want bite-sized cubes, about 1/2″.  If you’re using veggies here, dip them in non-dairy milk first, then put in flour, tofu you can do the same or just skip the milk because it’s already damp.  When these are good and coated in flour, put them in the pan with the veggies and saute up a bit.  If you want to ensure they get extra crispy you can do them seperately in another pan to really fry them up, but that’s just an extra dish to me.  Lastly you pour the marinade over the whole mess and let it cook down a bit, until it gets caramelly and delicious.  This sauce reminds me of Pick up Stix house special sauce, which I grew up loving!

Also, entirely by the way doesn’t the left photo above look like I’m adding French-style sugar cubes to the pan?

Okay, hopefully these recipes get your mind going… I promise I’ll do a part 2 with something besides tofu!

But tofu really only has lovely things to say about you!

 

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People come from all over and demand the fried stuffed squash blossoms.

Sookie St. James may not be a household name in your house, but it sure is in mine.  She may be part of what shaped my idea of what I cook should be, and the fact that’s she is from Gilmore Girls should not mean she can’t still be a role model for me!  Okay, she hates vegetarians, so that part isn’t great, but anything she makes sounds fancy to me!  I’m coming to point, I promise.  Tonight I made Stuffed Fried Squash Blossoms.

SOOKIE: My stuffed fried squash blossoms are extremely popular with the customers.

JACKSON: Yes I know.

SOOKIE: People come from all over and demand the fried stuffed squash blossoms.

JACKSON: That’s exactly my point!

SOOKIE: What’ll you have sir? Anything that comes with the stuffed fried squash blossoms. That’s what I hear day in and day out.

JACKSON: Yes, great, I know, but all I’m asking you is to try stuffing something a little different this time huh? (holds up a zucchini tush)

SOOKIE: A zucchini tush?

JACKSON: Just a temporary name.

SOOKIE: You want me to serve my customers a genetically engineered vegetable that’s named after a butt?

JACKSON: Hey this is an all natural vegetable hybrid that’s perfectly safe, completely delicious, and yes it looks a little odd but you can put in on the map!

SOOKIE: I want the blossoms.

JACKSON: Fine. You wanna think small, think small. I’m done.

See?  They’re world famous, I had to make them once I saw them at the farmer’s market today.  By the way, have I mentioned Berkeley has the best farmer’s markets?  So I bought them on an impulse and then looked for a recipe.  I kind of made up the filling, and made my first fritto misto!  Adam seemed to think they were okay, he said they were “shepherd’s pie good” which is his favorite recipe I make.  I have a very full fridge, a plan for the week and some days off, so I’m hoping to update a lot.  Anyway, here are the photos & recipe!

Fritto Misto recipe from here.

Filling:

1/4 block firm tofu

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese

pinch of rosemary and parsley

salt and pepper to taste

I also made some arborio rice with onion, bell pepper and saffron.  It could have used some more pizzaz, so I won’t go into the recipe.  I also felt like this heavy, fried dish would have been good with a side salad to lighten it up.

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Camping, Vegan Pie and other amazing things

I have never been a huge camper.  Not that I ever disliked it, it just wasn’t big in my family.  My mom raised me to appreciate a soft bed in a nice hotel on vacation, which may have been the product of her and my dad camping their way across the US before I was born.  However, you may have heard something about Adam (that man I am head-over-heels about) liking that “outdoors” place where the bugs live. (Just because I’m vegan doesn’t mean I have to like bugs, okay? Steph Davis feels the same way.)

So clearly if I want to make him happy and get to know the things he loves, I have to go outside my comfort zone.  That being said, Lake Tahoe is awesome!  I loved preparing vegan skewers to cook over our fire, and toasting vegan marshmallows, and seeing cute chipmunks and being outdoors!  And I really liked knowing a bear thought my skewers smelled so delicious he tried to get into our bear box!  Oh yeah, and I kind of like this boy.

So if anyone tries to tell you camping food is all about meat and gross stuff, tell them to shove it.  Or tell them to eat pie.  Of course, that’s not exactly a punishment, now is it?

I have to tell you, guys, I am pretty proud of this thing.  I mean, my first pie ever, vegan AND it’s gorgeous.  My grandma would be proud (and really confused by the whole vegan thing.)  In other amazing news, look at these pretty guys:

Hope things are looking up for you, as they are for me.

Recipes:

Vegan Peach Pie. All the rest my own weird recipes: grilled veggies done in the same style as skewers: drizzled with olive oil, balsamic and freshly chopped herbs like rosemary, sage and/or thyme.  Salad garnished with Nasturtium from my own garden and falafel courtesy of TJ’s (we all need a little help now and then!)  Wraps are sauteed onions, quinoa, kale and curry, with Wildwood BBQ tofu mixed in and all the goodies shoved in that tasty wrap!  Seitan on the right is bastardized Seitan Bourguignon consisting of pan fried mushrooms, squash, carrots and seitan with balsamic, soy sauce and a little sugar topping barley rice mix also from TJ’s (what can I say, fiance works there and I get a discount!)

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What Being Vegan Has Given Me.

My lack of posting should not be construed as not cooking.  I have been cooking, more than ever in fact.  None of them have been all that life-changing, though.  Since Adam has started working nights, he comes home on his lunch and I endeavor to have dinner on the (coffee)table when he gets home.  Here’s a few of my perfectly passable dinners lately:

Okay, the Calzone and the Vietnamese salad were actually pretty good.  However, what I really want to talk about today is something that was inspired by a podcast by my favorite vegan, Colleen Patrick Goudreau (known around our house just as Colleen.)

I want to talk about what being a vegan has given me.

I know most people I encounter (I don’t come into daily contact with any vegans) think being vegan means giving up so many things.  It’s the first thing everyone says, the one I used to use: “I could never give up ___!”  Fill in the blank.  For me it was always cheese.  And do you want to know the honest truth?  I do not miss cheese.  I am actually kind of disgusted by it now.  The smell bothers me.

Everyone thinks being vegan means loss.  I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything.  But I have gained things.

I’ve gained new information: about my health, the health of the planet and of animals, and about foods I never would have tried and recipes I never would have found.  I have gained freedom from lies that are fed to us without a hint of regret.  I’ve become interesting in things I would never have otherwise.  Most of all, I have gained the ability to look into animals’ eyes and say, I would never eat you.  I will never cause you any harm.  When I was vegetarian I felt good, but part of me knew I was living a lie, and I now have gained freedom from that lie.  It is so liberating, and it feels so good.

Another thing I’ve been enjoying lately is the glorious weather in the Bay Area, the beautiful nature areas close by, and the ability to sit in the sun and feel truly part of nature, now that I’m limiting my exploitation of the natural world.

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Going Vegan

I have had some people asking me lately about resources for becoming vegan. I am far from an expert, I haven’t even been a vegan for a year yet, but I would like to share some tips and great resources I’ve found.
I’d also like to note than due to the economic climate I know many people are in the same (or worse!) financial situation as me. While it is tempting to go out and buy every book about veganism when you’re thinking about transitioning, I would urge people on a tight budget to but fewer books and more groceries! The only way to learn vegan cooking is to do it, and in my opinion the only way to be vegan is to cook (unless you’re fabulously rich or lucky and can have someone cook for you!). Furthermore, many people complain about the cost of vegan and/or organic foods. If your health isn’t worth spending money on, what is?
Okay, so here goes.
Tips:
1. Cook. Cook. COOK! Cook anything, cook everything. Make sure you use recipes from a trusted source (see mine below) and don’t alter it! at least the first time you make a recipe. If you don’t like a main ingredient in the recipe, maybe that’s not the best recipe to make.
2. Buy organic. Especially for the “dirty dozen”!
3. Start by cutting down on non-vegan things: tell yourself you’re not eating cheese (or chicken or beef) this meal, or today, or this week, or this month… And then just keep going! It feels less like you’re depriving yourself, and more like you’re not having it because you don’t want to, which by the way is the truth.
4. Find out more. The more I read about dairy cows, swine flu, pigs social hierarchy and lifestyle disease, the less I ever want to go back.
5. Find some truly excellent vegan food. In the Bay Area I highly recommend Herbivore, Cinnaholic, Nature’s Express and Lanesplitter (vegan pizza!) In southern California I love Native Foods and Real Food Daily. If you live in a city that isn’t veg-friendly, try ordering food online or go to asian restaurants, they tend to have more vegan options. And then cook some more!

My favorite resources:
Best Vegan Cookbook:
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Veganomicon, Isa Chandra Moscowitz and Terry Hope Romero. This book is such a resource, it’s the size of a dictionary and so far I have not had a bad meal made from one of these recipes.

Best book about where meat comes from:
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Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer.

Best All around vegan guidebook:

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The 30 Vegan Challenge
, Colleen Patrick Goudreau.

Isa also has an amazing blog, The Post Punk Kitchen and Colleen has an awesome podcast, Vegetarian Food for Thought (don’t be fooled by the name, it’s all vegan.)
A few other noteworthy blogs and cookbooks:

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