janet @ the taste space

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Slow Cooker Creamy Coconut Lentils

In Mains (Vegetarian) on April 1, 2017 at 11:47 AM

Slow Cooker Creamy Coconut Lentils

I have scaled down the number of blogs I read. My RSS feeder is still full yet I rarely open it. My friends shared Lindsay and Bjork’s post from Pinch of Yum where they shared openly about the death of their son born at 23 weeks gestation. Twenty five weeks is usually the point where a baby might survive. This hit me dear to my heart as I went into labour at 26 weeks. Thankfully, I was able to keep my guy cooking for another 7 weeks, but they experienced my worst fears. Read the rest of this entry »

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Winter One Pot Lentils & Rice + Ultimate Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook review

In Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian) on January 21, 2017 at 8:55 AM

Winter One Pot Lentils & Rice + Ultimate Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook giveaway

I am starting to  look at food in a different way now that we’re starting to feed our baby. I’ve been using my Instant Pot to cook lots of vegetables before I blitz them into purees. At first, we started with simple, single ingredients. Then we moved to combinations and eventually I started making our own meals without salt and then throwing them into the blender for a new puree. Lentils, rice and rutabaga with some spices sounds like an awesome baby puree!

Turns out he loved it! Win! Read the rest of this entry »

Orange-Balsamic Lentils and Mixed Grains

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on April 3, 2016 at 9:08 AM

Orange-Balsamic Lentils and Rice

Another cute radish rose!

This was a quick and easy main course salad that paired well with the spring kale salad which contained all the vegetables. Read the rest of this entry »

Ethiopian Lentils in Berbere Sauce (Yemiser W’et) (& Vegan Eats World review)

In Book Review, Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on October 30, 2012 at 6:47 AM

Last year, I teased you. I told you about all these delicious meals I was making but not sharing the recipes.

Russian Sauerkraut Soup (Shchi) – This was a favourite recipe and Isa has already shared the recipe here (I loved the book’s smokey version with liquid smoke, coriander seitan, sliced cabbage along with I also added some white beans)

Sesame Wow Greens, a spin on oshitashi – so simple, yet a delicious way to eat spinach. I should try it with chard and kale, too.

Luscious White Bean and Celery Root Puree – this was how I got hooked onto celeriac!

Rice Paper Rolls with Kale and Asian Pear with a Peanut Coconut Sauce – delicious in a zucchini wrap

Fastlane Cabbage Kimchi – I preferred the ginger version instead of the spicy version (did you know that kimchi normally has fish sauce or shrimp in it?)

White Bean Farro Soup with Chickpea Parmigiano – the topping is what made this dish special

All of the recipes were from Terry Hope Romero’s new book, Vegan Eats World which is available today! And those were only a few of the recipes, since I tested over 30.  This is a vegan cookbook geared at international cuisine, from Colombian Coconut Lentil Rice to Moroccan Vegetable Filo Pie (Bisteeya) and (Belgian) Beer Bathed Seitan Stew with Oven Frites (the latter were two of my recipe requests!). Terry tackled fun recipes from around the globe. She uses authentic ingredients while still putting her own spin to the dish.

One of the drawbacks of this cookbook is that she uses authentic ingredients. My cupboard explosion is partially due to Terry’s influence when I bought frozen pandan, Korean pepper flakes, canned jackfruit, freekeh and annatto seeds, among others. I can credit her with discovering many new favourite ingredients, too, including star anise, celeriac and freekeh.

As a recipe tester, I received my cookbook last week. It was captivating to read through the cookbook and discover even more recipes I want to try. There were so many recipes I couldn’t test them all.

Recipes in her book range from fancy to easy weeknight meals. Some are more involved (she has recipes for Afghan Pumpkin Ravioli with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Garlic Yogurt Sauce) or incredibly easy (like Coconut [Black Eyed] Bean Curry (Lobia). The marker of a good cookbook, though, is having repeater recipes. I even photographed this one before when we made it with red lentils instead of green. Lover of all things curry, Rob has adopted this into his Repeater Recipes as a quick and simple meal both of us enjoy. We may have moved across town, from one Little Ethiopia to another, so we have easy access to injera. Terry also has a recipe for (Almost) Instant Injera, along with other dishes to make your own Ethiopian feast.

While I encourage you to pick up your own copy of Vegan Eats World, thankfully, Terry agreed to me sharing her recipe for Ethiopian Lentils in Berbere Sauce (Yemiser W’et) and Berbere Spice Blend. Enjoy!

Here are some other Ethiopian dishes you might enjoy:

Ethiopian Split Pea Puree (Kik Alicha)

Ethiopian Warm Cabbage and Green Beans

Fasoulia (Ethiopian Carrots and Green Beans Simmered in a Tomato Sauce)

Ethiopian Split Pea and Kabocha Squash Stew with Collards

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Haalo, and to this week’s Healthy Vegan Friday.

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Roasted Celeriac and Lentils with Hazelnuts and Mint

In Mains (Vegetarian) on February 8, 2012 at 6:22 AM

I loved hearing how you decide to share your blog with your friends and co-workers after my last post. As Joanne said, sometimes there are clues that a blog may be lurking in the background, or at least a true love of cooking. Rarely repeated lunches, guilty as charged. Beyond that, I try not to share my profound love of beans with just anyone.  I don’t want to be perceived as preachy once I start talking about my food choices (no meat, dairy, fish, refined flours, refined sugars, white rice and potatoes, etc). You know you are my friend when I discuss the virtues of lentils over chickpeas. Although walking into my kitchen, with its rows of dried beans are a quick giveaway. If you make it up into my study, then my collection of cookbooks is a dead giveaway that I love to cook.

I have a lot of cookbooks. A lot. Recently, I won a subscription to Eat Your Books, a website that indexes cookbook recipes for easier searching. Sadly, my most loved cookbooks (namely my vegan faves) have not yet been indexed (the scourge of Tess’ cookbooks being not-so-mainstream). However, this allows me to check out some of my other cookbooks, that I would not have pulled off the shelf simply because they are not vegan. The best recipes are those that are accidentally vegan. They aren’t trying to be something meaty.

I recently made a delicious celeriac and white bean puree from Terry’s new cookbook. I know her cookbook will get lambasted for using the most isoteric ingredients, but I love it because my kitchen is stocked with all things isoteric and I have bought even more pantry items! I also push myself to try new vegetables. Despite hating celery, I scoped out celeriac, also known as celery root. Sunny’s for the win, after the St Lawrence Market was out that week. And yes, it is now my newest favourite root vegetable. An underdog if you ever looked at it; it is a white/grey/dirty thing all gnarled up in roots. But as a non-starchy vegetable root (not part of the cruciferous gang, sadly), it tastes like a cross between a potato and has the nice parts of celery: a sweet, yet subtle earthy celery taste. It tastes a bit nutty with hints of lemon, too.

So, when I was left with half a celeriac, I turned to Eat Your Books. I found an intriguing celeriac schnitzel in my German cookbook (here‘s Bittman’s version), lots of mashes, a lot of soups, some slaws and salads. I will have to get more celeriac to try all the recipes! However, this time I was drawn to a vegan-friendly lentil salad with celeriac from Ottlenghi’s Plenty (similar recipe here).

Of course, I adapted the recipe. Instead of boiling the celeriac, I opted to roast it. I also decreased the dressing, making it less oily and I tried to play up the hazelnut flavour by pairing the hazelnut oil with a mild rice vinegar (it would be interesting to try this with a balsamic, me thinks). However, the majority of the hazelnut taste came from the roasted hazelnuts, instead. I liked the juxtaposition of warming hazelnut with the roasted celeriac, earthy lentils and bright mint. It is a nice, unassuming salad and a great way to introduce someone to celeriac.

This is being submitted to this month’s Monthly Mingle featuring Heart Healthy Meals.

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Indian Lentils with Spinach (Dal Palak)

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on August 31, 2011 at 6:15 AM


Onto curry #3…

While I have made some great Indian food, Rob’s kitchen territory reigns in India. He loves spicy and anything curry, whereas I prefer dishes that are more mild and don’t have that curry flavour that we still have yet to pin down to a specific spice (?asafoetida ?peppercorns ?amchoor). Now that we will be sharing more meals together, we are trying to compromise with our meals. Hence, my plethora of curries!

I decided to make dal palak, a classic Indian lentil dish jam-packed with spinach. No curry powder in the recipe? Perfect! I was still a bit hesitant to try the dish, despite its rave reviews, because I have had a similar paneer-based dish at a friend’s house. They knew I had a sensitive palate, but had to throw in chilis for flavour, they told me. For me, it was too earthy and too spicy. A true Indian family, they told me it was the blandest food they had ever made! I ate what I could, which wasn’t much.

So with this hesitation, I was cursing as I had nearly every burner going on the stove plus the food processor and spice grinder. This multi-step meal requires a steamed spinach paste that is combined with soft red lentils and spiced with a fragrant mixture of garlic, shallots, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric and lime juice. Just a hint of spice from the Aleppo chili flakes.

While I was initially cursing, this all dissipated when I finally sampled the dish. This was glorious. The fresh spinach and freshly ground coriander seeds were sweet and it was balanced by the earthy, but not heavy cumin. The fresh lime juice brought this to the next level.

I never knew Indian food could taste so good with such limited ingredients. It wasn’t laden in oil, it was bursting in a creamy spinach soupy mixture. I ate it as is, similar to a stew, but it would be great combined with brown basmati rice, or served with some paratha or roti.

Rob was sad that I rarely make recipes a second time, and thus worried we could possibly forget about this gem. However, this is probably the first thing I will think about when spinach goes on sale for 47c/bunch again. 🙂

Indian Lentils with Spinach (Dal Palak)
This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook.

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Middle Eastern Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions (Mujaddara, Mengedarrah)

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on August 27, 2011 at 7:36 AM

This week, my belly needed a rest. After a few Ottolenghi and Cotter recipes, literally bursting with flavour, as well as a potluck dinner that left me in pain, I knew I needed some tummy down-time. I didn’t even want to cook, it was that bad.

Thankfully, Rob was eager to make me a nice, simple Nepalese lentil and rice dish (recipe to come!).

When I finally had the motivation to turn to the kitchen myself, I still didn’t want an elaborate meal. I wanted something homely and comforting. I didn’t want too many flavours. I wanted something simple. Enter another spin on lentils and rice, Middle Eastern-style.

In Olive Trees and Honey, Gil Marks outlines the progression of lentil and rice dishes from different cuisines. Apparently, the traditional version of lentils and rice with caramelized onions from Turkey is called Mengedarrah, whereas Mujaddara (which is what I thought I was making) is from the Levant and spiced with allspice. Then you have the Indian khichri/kitchree with cumin and garam masala. Or the Egyptian version, koshari, with noodles such as macaroni or spaghetti with tomato sauce. The book actually has a map that chronicles the name changes as well: kichree in Iraq, ados pol in Iran, mejedra in Greece, enjadara in Yemen and jurot in Uzbekistan. I wonder how my bastardized red lentil and quinoa kitchari fits into this?

There are a few ways to tackle this dish, and I think I’ve discovered my favourite way. You could cook your lentils and rice separately, although in my case the rice cooker was already in use and we all know I have trouble cooking rice on the stovetop. More traditionally, though, some recipes, including the one in Olive Trees and Honey, recommend partially cooking the lentils, then removing all of the cooking water, then returning the proper amount of water to cook the rice with the lentils. This is necessary when using white rice since the rice would be finished before the lentils. However, brown basmati rice and green lentils take nearly the same amount of time to cook, which lends to a perfect match and less fuss.

So, I simmered my brown basmati rice and green lentils with a cinnamon stick. In a separate skillet, I caramelized my onions. You could start the lentils and rice after the caramelized onions are finished so they can get added to the cooking liquid, but I didn’t want to wait. I wanted to cook my onions, low and slow, to get the perfect caramelized onions. Since I had to wait 40 minutes for my lentils and rice, this timed out perfectly. I threw in some onions into the lentil-rice mixture before it finished and kept half for the garnish. Using Rob’s large non-stick wok helped me get perfect caramelized onions, much better than when I added them to my socca with oven-roasted cherry tomatoes.

Now, I know this is a deceptive bland looking dish: lentils, rice, onions, cinnamon, smidgen of oil and salt. But it is so much more than that. It is a comforting bowl of lentils and rice with sweetness from the onions. The cinnamon is optional but it adds a little depth of flavour. Next time, I may try the Syrian version with allspice, as I have a feeling this may become another potluck favourite – made from pantry items, simple to prepare, tasty, healthy and great as leftovers and served at room temperature. While this seems like a daunting meal with the long caramelization process, it is a simple meal to prepare. This is a great emergency meal to have under your wings, both when you have nothing in the fridge and when you are not feeling well.


This is my submission to E.A.T. World for Turkey and to Ricki’s Summer Wellness Weekends.

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Sweet and Sour Lentils with Carrot and Bell Pepper over Arugula

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on April 15, 2011 at 6:33 AM

Sweet and Sour Lentils with Carrot and Bell Pepper over Arugula
If last year was the year of Aleppo chili flakes, pomegranate molasses and bulgur, I already know what 2011 will be: year of the beans (and pea shoots!). Yes, I will be full (of beans) this year.

Chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans, lentils (of many colourful varieties), cranberry/Borlotti beans, lima beans, adzuki beans and edamame. If my recent trip to Kalustyan’s is any indication, I will also begin cooking with Anasazi beans, Appaloosa beans, Calypso beans, Christmas Lima beans, Jackson Wonder beans, Jumbo Lupini, Macedonian Tetovac, Rattlesnake beans, Scarlet Runner beans, Spanish Tolosana (Prince beans), Tepari beans, and my favourite (purely by name at this point) Tongues of Fire beans!

Just as Aleppo chili flakes revolutionized my cooking, cooking dry beans from scratch has also been eye-opening. They taste better. They have a better texture. You can flavour them as they cook, or leave them as a blank canvas. They are healthier. They are cheaper. And I bet you, Tongues of Fire beans cannot be found canned. (Aside, any clue where to buy dried heirloom beans in Toronto/Canada? I am envious of Americans and their Rancho Gordo heirloom bean supply)

Canned beans are definitely more convenient, and I do not poo-poo the canned variety in the slightest; canned beans are better than no beans at all. I even have canned beans stashed away for my emergency bean needs. 😉

For the less bean-savvy, lentils are great because they cook up quickly. They don’t require any pre-soaking, so everything can come together once the beans are finished cooking in 20-30 minutes.

I went with an orange theme for these sweet-and-sour lentils. Adapted from Mama’s Minutia, who in turn, adapted it from the More-with-Less Cookbook, these lentils have a sweet tang with a sour acidity.  For my veggies, I pulled out the orange in my fridge: carrots and an orange bell pepper. It tasted good with a pinch of cloves, but then I added a heavy dusting of Vietnamese cinnamon, and this was sublime. Paired with arugula for a touch of greenery and its peppery bite, this was a great meal. Full of beans, yet again. 🙂


This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Anh from A Food Lover’s Journey.

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Thyme Lentils over Polenta

In Mains (Vegetarian) on January 7, 2011 at 6:59 AM

I was apprehensive about making this recipe on a weeknight. However, when I told Rob about my top three options for dinner, he encouraged me to try the Rosemary Lentils over Polenta from Supermarket Vegan.

You see, I have made polenta before – a creamy, smooth, polenta with a roasted red pepper coulis – and it was delicious. However, it took me (well, technically, my brother who was over that day) 45 minutes to get the polenta to the right consistency. I didn’t really feel like stirring polenta over the stovetop after I came home from work. But I decided to forge ahead anyhow…

Low and behold, instead of grabbing the coarse cornmeal, I took out the fine cornmeal.  And if there ever was instant polenta, this would be it! Within minutes, it had firmed up and was ready to set. Granted, this polenta was not nearly as creamy as last time (that recipe had used milk and a smidgen of cheese, but I am sure the coarse cornmeal had something to do with it). But in this case, I didn’t really mind. The firm, garlicky polenta contrasted nicely with the soupy herb-infused lentils. Just like the texture contrast in the Spanish Lentil and Mushroom Stew, the play of textures worked very well together. It wasn’t mush on mush, it was soup on firm. 😉

However, there was one casualty when I cooked mid-week. I thought I was making Rosemary Lentils. A few days later, I realized I had made Thyme Lentils, instead, as I grabbed the wrong herb and my brain didn’t say ‘stop! this isn’t rosemary!’. This also might explain why the flavour was a lot more subtle than I had anticipated. However, it was exactly what I wanted. This was not a flavour explosion; sometimes I need the quiet, too.

This meal is great post-holiday indulgences. The lentils are light and fresh and the polenta is hearty and offers a nice balance.  The leftovers were great with a little zap in the microwave, although the lentil stew was less soupy.


This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything and Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck.

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Tamarind Lentils

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on January 5, 2011 at 6:22 AM

I went home for the holidays, which among many other things, means I was able to cook a lot! I can try a lot of new recipes when I am feeding 4 people, instead of just me. But before I get to my tasty holiday dishes, allow me to introduce you one from the quasi-archives.

This recipe hails back to last May. I spotted the recipe for Tamarind Lentils in Veganomicon, when I borrowed it from the library. I returned the cookbook, but kept the recipe in anticipation of making it soon.

While I can bake homemade strudel and Turkish baklava, and cook spaetzle, I still struggle with rice.  Rob was very encouraging, and lent me his rice cooker for the project.

However, this recipe was filled with ingredients that I find in my pantry, so I never had a burning desire to make it. Summer came, with its bountiful produce, and it was pushed to the side.

I eventually made another recipe from Veganomicon, Chickpeas Romesco, filled with roasted red peppers, tomatoes and almonds. As I was googling to see if anyone had typed up the recipe before me, I spotted it on Google Books. Low and behold, the Tamarind Lentils and Chickpeas Romesco were on the same page! I giggled to myself, as I still had the rice cooker, months later. And while I made rice for the Chickpeas Romesco, I hadn’t yet made the Tamarind Lentils. I shared the irony with Rob, the rice cooker-lender.

Rob loves tamarind, declared the recipe to be fit for his own kitchen, and stole the rice cooker back! Thankfully, he invited me over to share in the loot – and it was delicious. Tangy tamarind with warm and savoury spices coated lentils in a soupy sauce. It was so good, he offered to make it for a potluck I was hosting at my place the following weekend. Because he wanted to serve freshly cooked rice, he brought the rice cooker back to my place. And there it remained for another few months.

November rolled around and I still have the rice cooker, without having made Tamarind Lentils myself. But lots of rice, mind you.

Trust me, Rob knew he could have his rice cooker back at any time.  After I lent him 660 Curries, he decided enough was enough. Curries demand rice. And lots of rice demands a rice cooker. He wanted his rice cooker back!

And of course, when I returned from Morocco in December, with a kitchen nearly completely devoid of produce (although lovingly stocked with some leftover soup courtesy of Rob), the first dish I made was tamarind lentils. Without a rice cooker. And while the tamarind lentils were as delicious as I remembered, the rice was not! A bit too soupy/sticky, but palatable nonetheless.

Thankfully, Rob has agreed to come over to cook my rice next time.

Although, I am still (not so secretly) pining a 3-in-1 rice cooker/pressure cooker/slow cooker.


This is my submission Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring coconut oil, and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Simona. Rob also gets props for taking a better photo (top photo) of the tamarind lentils.

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(Not So Spicy) Red Lentils and Spinach

In Mains (Vegetarian) on January 13, 2010 at 11:27 PM

Now that I have moved into a small apartment, I try to declutter as much as possible. An easy way not to accumulate junk is not to start hoarding in the first place. This is easier said than done, as I am a self-professed hoarder, but one thing I have relinquished are my magazine subscriptions. I find them not very high-yield if I want to find something and they store terribly.. hence, I try to stop them from coming through the door to begin with.

However, one magazine that I love, and borrow from my mom regularly is the Nutrition Action Health Letter. It is basically the consumer reports of food, healthy food. It is published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an independent non-profit consumer health group promoting healthy eating.  I like that there is science behind their articles and they explain it in a down-to-earth manner. Articles range from cover stories that explain why whole grains are important, investigating claims of specific foods (ie. comparing yogurts with probiotics, omegas, fibre, etc), exposing how many calories can be found in restaurant meals (ie. The Keg), comparing foods  side-by-side consumer report style ala healthy (ie. the best salad dressings, oatmeals, etc), and providing healthy recipes. And as a Canadian, I appreciate that their Canadian version truly is geared for Canadians and the products on our shelves (they also have a US version).

This recipe was adapted from the January/February 2008 newsletter and I really enjoy its simplicity. I find the orange complements the red lentils well. Personally, I do not like too much spice, so I leave out the chili flakes, but I find it nice with the garlic alone. Certainly you could add more flavour with other ingredients should you choose.

This is my submission to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, created by The Well-Seasoned Cook and to Torview’s Food Palette Series featuring orange dishes.

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Vegan Jamaican Patties

In Mains (Vegetarian) on March 25, 2017 at 9:31 AM

Vegan Jamaican Patties

 

Homemade food was one of my favourite gifts after the baby was born. We had little energy to do much other than take care of the baby, and having a freezer filled with meals we could easily extract was reassuring and comforting. Read the rest of this entry »

Root Cellar Medley Soup + Complete Root Cellar Book GIVEAWAY

In Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on January 28, 2017 at 8:01 AM

Root Cellar Medley Soup + Complete Root Cellar Book GIVEAWAY

You know it is a great soup when I make it two weeks in a row. It is not often that I repeat recipes in such rapid succession, but I only ate 2 servings and had planned to share it with our baby. I thought it was ok for him until I realized I used broth powder with salt in it.

Round two was solidified. Without any vegetable broth. The necessary salt was added after we removed baby P’s portion. Read the rest of this entry »

Autumn Chickpea and Lentil Soup

In Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on November 5, 2016 at 9:54 AM

Autumn Chickpea and Lentil Soup

Last weekend, we tore up our garden. I think we did pretty well for keeping the garden going until the end of October. The tomato and tomatillo plants were ripped out, asparagus ferns chopped off, new garlic planted and we made a new lasagna compost garden to be ready for us next spring.

We continue to harvest a bit, too. I may even be able to store some of the Ayocote Morado runner beans, which only started to produce bean pods in September despite a summer of glorious red blossoms. I harvested them, too, but they are bright green and lush. I will try to dry them indoors. The kale keeps growing, though, and I hope to keep it going to capture some seeds next year. Read the rest of this entry »

Sundried Tomato & Coconut Quinoa Burgers + Superfoods 24/7 cookbook GIVEAWAY

In Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian) on August 6, 2016 at 8:05 AM

Sundried Tomato & Coconut Quinoa Burgers + Superfoods 24/7 cookbook GIVEAWAY

There is something about pregnancy and being a new mama that makes you want to kick your lifestyle up a notch. When I could finally stomach something other than this easy lasagna, I was excited to incorporate more vegetables, more protein and more nutritious foods into my diet. This is why I was so happy it timed perfectly with the release of Jess Nadel’s second cookbook, Superfoods 24/7.

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