25 November 2021

Malt Loaf - A British Teatime Classic

Malt Loaf - A British Teatime Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

Malt Loaf originated in 19th century Scotland and was featured in this season's first episode, Cake Week, of The Great British Bake Off (GBBO), called The Great British Baking Show in the US. 

I hadn't thought about malt loaf in years, but after seeing episode one, I began digging through my old recipes. It's not a light and airy cake; more of a dense and squidgy tea bread. Not too sweet, and served with soft butter.

All malt loaf recipes are very similar. Two of the ways mine differs from Prue's GBBO loaf, besides different amounts, are:  1. I skip the black treacle so as not to detract from the flavor of the malt extract.

And 2. I drain the soaked fruit and coat it with flour before adding the wet ingredients, a step that helps keep the fruit from clumping together and sinking to the bottom of the loaf.

If you like a sweeter loaf, use 1/2 packed cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) dark brown sugar rather than my 1/3 cup. But do try it my way!

So ... now that the season has ended, and long after all those who like to "bake along" with GBBO have baked it, here is my recipe for Malt Loaf. 

Do you make malt loaf? Or did you try it for the first time with "bake along" fans? If not, maybe you'll be inspired to try it now! Do let me know.  

Malt Loaf - A British Teatime Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Malt Loaf

(Makes one 2-pound/900 gram/9x4x4-inch loaf)

3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml) just-boiled water
1 teaspoon (or 1 tea bag) strong black tea
1 packed cup (5 ounces/142 grams) raisins
1/2 packed cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) soft pitted prunes, chopped to raisin size
1/2 cup (6 ounces/170 grams) malt extract*
1/3 firmly packed cup (2.33 ounces/66 grams) dark brown sugar
1 3/4 dip-and-sweep cups (8.75 ounces/248 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs (medium, in UK), lightly beaten


1 Pour boiling water over the tea. Let steep for 5 minutes. Pour over raisins and prunes in a bowl. Partially cover and microwave for about 2 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, then drain, reserving the liquid.

2 Grease (and sometimes I also line bottom and ends, but not the sides, with a piece of baking parchment) a 9x4x4-inch loaf pan or 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Preheat oven to 325F/165C/Gas3. 

Note: I love the square shape of the 9x4x4-inch loaf pan that I initially got for baking my gluten-free yeast breads but use (without its lid) for nearly everything that calls for a 9x5x3-inch pan. 

3 In a 1-quart saucepan over low heat, cook the malt extract and brown sugar together, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.

4 In 2- to 3-quart mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisking vigorously for a half minute or so is what passes for sifting around here on most days. Put the thoroughly drained fruit on top of the flour, and stir gently until the pieces are coated with the flour and not clumped together. This keeps the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the loaf.

5 Make a well in the center; pour in the malt mixture, eggs, and reserved liquid from the fruit (about 1/3 cup), breaking up the eggs and mixing them with the malt and liquid. Then bring in the flour from the sides, and stir gently until well combined, about 1 minute. Scrape into prepared loaf tin. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, until skewer inserted in center comes out with just a few soft crumbs (but not raw batter).

6 Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire rack. Continue cooling on wire rack until completely cool, an hour and a half or so. Wrap tightly in foil and let it mellow for a day or two. Cut the loaf into slices and serve with soft butter.

Note: Some people brush the top of the hot loaf with about a tablespoon of malt extract as it cools. Some brush the top and sides. I usually skip that step, but did the top this time.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

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11 November 2021

Snickerdoodles - Classic or Chai Latte

Snickerdoodles - Classic or Chai Latte / www.delightfulrepast.com


Snickerdoodles have been around for about half a century longer than the Snickers candy bar, which came out in 1930 and has nothing at all to do with the classic cookie snickerdoodles! 

You'll find a lot of recipes that call for baking powder rather than cream of tartar. Ignore them. Cream of tartar is not just a leavening agent, it is what gives snickerdoodles their characteristic tang.

There are also a lot of snickerdoodle recipes that call for half butter and half shortening. Ignore those, too. There is nothing to be gained by using the shortening, so why dilute the wondrous flavor of butter? Baked until just the edges start to brown, the cookies are crisp on the outside and soft, kind of cakey, inside.

Snickerdoodles - Classic or Chai Latte / www.delightfulrepast.com


Need I tell you, these cookies are fabulous with a nice cup of tea! The chai latte variation does not call for tea in the cookies, just the use of the spices found in chai lattes rather than the solo cinnamon.

Since the variation is only in the coating, why not try half with cinnamon and half with the chai latte spices?

Are you a snickerdoodles fan or one of the surprising number of people who've not yet tried them? Either way, I hope you'll give my recipe a try—the classic cinnamon or the chai latte variation—and let me know how you like it. 


Snickerdoodles - Classic or Chai Latte / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Snickerdoodles - Classic or Chai Latte


(Makes 32 3-inch cookies)

The Dough

2 3/4 dip-and-sweep cups (13.75 ounces/390 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces/227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature (2 1/2 hours)
1 1/3 cups (9.33 ounces/265 grams) sugar
2 large eggs (medium, in UK), room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


The Coating*

3 tablespoons (just under 1 ounce/28 grams) sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
 
* For Chai Latte Variation, use just 1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus 3/4 teaspoon cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon ginger,  and 1/8 teaspoon each cloves and allspice.

1 In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt.

Note: I've given the directions for using a stand mixer, but I've made these many time
s with a hand mixer or just a spoon.
 
2 In stand mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract. Stir in flour mixture and beat on low speed just until dough comes together. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until dough is easy to handle.

3 Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape #40 scoops (0.8 ounces or approximately 1.5 tablespoons) of dough into 1 1/4-inch balls; roll in sugar mixture. Place 3 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Using a flat-bottomed glass (or a stainless steel measuring cup), slightly flatten the dough balls. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.


Note: I use a gigantic baking sheet, called a 3/4 sheet pan, sometimes called a 2/3 sheet pan. It is the maximum size pan that will fit in my oven (in a 30-inch gas range). With it I can bake 24 cookies this size (4 rows of 6) or 35 smaller cookies (5 rows of 7) all in one batch. Since this recipe makes 32 cookies, I froze 8 cookies to be baked another day. (My all-time favorite timer: ThermoWorks TimeStack)

4 Cool on baking sheet for 1 minute, and then remove to wire racks to cool completely. May be stored in airtight container for a week.

 
Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

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28 October 2021

Swedish Meatball Meatloaf

Swedish Meatball Meatloaf - all the flavor of Swedish meatballs without all the fuss / www.delightfulrepast.com

When a craving for
Swedish Meatballs - Svenska Kottbullar struck during a time when it seemed too much of a faff, I worked that recipe into this Swedish Meatball Meatloaf. It gave me all the flavors I was craving, albeit without the "cuteness" of the meatballs.

It was such a doddle, I may never make the meatballs again! Of course I will, when I need that cuteness, but now I can get my Swedish meatball fix even when I need to cut a few corners. Add it to my "streamlined cooking" repertoire. You can even put it together in the morning, then pop it into the oven after work.


Swedish Meatball Meatloaf - all the flavor of Swedish meatballs without all the fuss / www.delightfulrepast.com

Of course, a meatloaf is open to all sorts of variations and substitutions. But please don't skip the allspice and dill. Without those two ingredients, it just couldn't be called Swedish Meatball Meatloaf. Even if you bake with allspice, you might feel a bit hesitant to use it in a meatloaf; but just do it. Trust me, you're going to love it.

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post and kindly tolerated that I was unable to respond or reciprocate at that time. I'm trying to get back in the saddle now and get back to some sort of normal (awful word, isn't it?).

For those who don't eat red meat, here's my Turkey-Mushroom Meatloaf.


Swedish Meatball Meatloaf - all the flavor of Swedish meatballs without all the fuss / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Swedish Meatball Meatloaf


(Serves 6)

The Meatballs

About 4 slices (4.75 ounces/135 grams) good sourdough or white bread for 1 1/2 packed cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely minced onion
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) milk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 pound 85% lean ground beef
1 pound ground pork

The Sauce

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups lower sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt (you'll likely add a bit more after tasting)
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup heavy cream or sour cream

The Garnish

Sour cream
Chopped dill, fresh or dried (NOT optional, dill MAKES Swedish Meatballs or Meatloaf!)


1 Use a food processor to make perfect fresh breadcrumbs. Cut four slices (you might need another slice or two, depending on your bread) of good sourdough or white bread into four to six pieces. You only need to remove the crust if it's coated with seeds. Process until it becomes breadcrumbs. Don't worry about overdoing it; it's pretty foolproof. You should have 1 1/2 cups,* fairly firmly packed. Add crumbs to a 4-quart mixing bowl.

* And the weight of my 1 1/2 packed cups of fresh sourdough breadcrumbs was 4.75 ounces/135 grams, so next time I will know to use that amount of the same bread so as to not have any leftover crumbs.

2 In small skillet or saucepan, heat oil and cook onion until softened, about 10 minutes. Add to crumbs in mixing bowl.

3 Add salt, pepper, allspice, milk, egg and Worcestershire sauce to bowl. Mix well. Add ground beef and ground pork, and mix well (but do not overmix). Just use your impeccably clean hand to mix, if you like.

4 Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. Line a 13x9x1-inch quarter sheet pan (or, if you don't have a quarter sheet, a 15x10x1-inch baking sheet pan) with foil or baking parchment paper (you will regret it if you don’t!). Form meatloaf mixture into a 9x5- or 10x4-inch loaf on the lined pan.

5 Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until it reaches a temperature of 165F/74C on an instant-read thermometer. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. While the meatloaf is baking, start the sauce.

6 In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour, cooking and stirring to make a smooth, browned roux. Don't rush it; get the roux browned. Add beef broth and cook, stirring, until smooth and thickened. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and allspice; simmer for 10 minutes, then set aside. Ten minutes before serving, stir in cream or sour cream. Heat on low for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

7 Garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream and a generous sprinkling of dill. Of course, fresh dill is prettier (I used dried, which as you can see is not as photogenic, because I have no dill in the garden just now), but the dried tastes wonderful as well.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

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14 October 2021

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls - Golumpkis

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls - Golumpkis / www.delightfulrepast.com

Golumpkis, or Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, is something I always make in huge quantities with a certain friend. But I recently decided I couldn't wait till the pandemic is over to do that, so I reduced the recipe to a "normal" amount.

It made enough for three dinners for two—one right away and two in the freezer. If you'd like to make my usual triple batch of Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, just hit that link. That post also tells my golumpkis "story."

Had this post standing by for when I needed a break, and this is the week; but I won't write about that. Just know that I appreciate your comments and I hope you will forgive me if I don't respond to them right away.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls - Golumpkis / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls - Golumpkis

(Makes 20 to 22)

The Cabbage 

1 large head cabbage

The Filling

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound lean (15% fat) ground beef
1 cup raw long-grain white rice
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

The Sauce 

1 28-ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 Fill a large, deep pot with water. Bring to a boil. Core cabbage and set in hot water, one at a time if pot is not big enough for both, until leaves are pliable. Peel the softened outer leaves off and place them in a colander to drain. Return the head(s) of cabbage to the hot water until the next layer of leaves are pliable. Repeat as needed.

2 Meanwhile, in small skillet, saute chopped onion in oil until softened. Set aside to cool. In large bowl combine cooked and cooled chopped onion, ground beef, rice, eggs, salt and pepper. Mixing lightly with one impeccably clean hand is the easiest way to do it.

3 In 1-quart glass measure, stir together sauce ingredients. Pour half the sauce into a 3-quart casserole dish with glass lid or a similar baking dish or pot of that size. The depth of the particular dish I used allows two layers of golumpkis. You could also do a single layer in a 13x9x2-inch Pyrex dish and cover it with foil while baking.

4 As you work with each cabbage leaf, cut away the tough core. Cut very large outer leaves in two. Using a #30 scoop or a 1/8-cup measuring cup, place a scoop of filling on the leaf near the stem-end, fold in the sides and roll (rather like a burrito); no need to tie. Place seam-side down in pan. Toward the end, preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas5.

Tip: Do all the scooping at once. Scoop mounds of filling onto a quarter sheet pan.

5 Pour the remaining sauce over the cabbage rolls. Cover tightly with heavy-duty foil if your baking dish has no lid and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F/180C/Gas4, and continue baking for 2 hours.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

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30 September 2021

Stuffed Shells - Conchiglie Ripiene al Forno

Stuffed Shells - Conchiglie Ripiene al Forno / www.delightfulrepast.com

It had been several years since I last made stuffed shells, so I wanted to do a little research as to quantities. As my regular readers know, I hate food waste. I wanted to make 20 stuffed jumbo shells, and so I wanted to make exactly the amount of sauce and filling for those 20 shells. My research proved disappointing.

Most recipes I saw, including ones from companies that make jumbo shells, made far more filling than needed for the number of shells indicated. I remember one that made an enormous quantity of filling and then said to fill each shell with a level tablespoon! Well, I knew what I wanted to put in the filling, so I did my own math and got it right the first time.

Stuffed Shells - Conchiglie Ripiene al Forno - perfect for make-ahead freezer meals / www.delightfulrepast.com

I scaled down my basic marinara sauce to make exactly 3 1/2 cups so that there would be no leftover sauce either. Funny thing, too, was that the math on the Barilla box was wrong, too! The nutrition label on the 12-ounce box said "about 7 servings per container, serving size 5 pieces." On my planet, that adds up to 35 shells; there are actually 45 shells in a box.

Anyway ... This is my usual cheese-stuffed jumbo shells, which I really love. But next time I'm going to experiment with a sausage filling. What sort of fillings have you tried?

Stuffed Shells - Conchiglie Ripiene al Forno / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Stuffed Shells


(Makes 20 stuffed jumbo shells)

The Shells

1/2 12-ounce box Barilla jumbo shells (about 44 in a box)

The Sauce

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup (1.5 ounces/43 grams) finely minced onion
1/3 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) finely minced green bell pepper
1/3 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) finely minced peeled carrot
1 14.5-ounce can organic fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) drinkable dry red wine
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

The Cheese Filling

1 15-ounce container ricotta
1 firmly packed cup (4 ounces/113 grams) finely shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup (2 ounces/ grams) grated parmesan
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces/44 ml) milk

The Top

1/2 firmly packed cup (2 ounces/57 grams) finely shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup (1 ounce/28 grams) grated parmesan


1 Put the salted water, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 2 quarts water, on to boil for cooking the shells according to package directions.

2 In 2-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil and cook the onion, bell pepper, and carrot until soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil; reduce heat to very low and simmer, loosely covered, for 45 minutes.

3 When shells are done, drain and place them on a quarter sheet pan to cool. When sauce is done, remove from heat and let cool.

4 In 1-quart glass measure, stir together the cheese filling ingredients; cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble. Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4.

5 To assemble: very lightly oil a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Using a #40 scoop (2 tablespoons, slightly rounded), fill shells, handling them carefully. Place in baking dish, open side up. Pour remaining sauce evenly over shells. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and top with a sprinkling of mozzarella and parmesan. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Note: I like to use these Pyrex 3-cup rectangular storage dishes (shown in second photo) for my make-ahead freezer meals for two.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

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16 September 2021

Oven-Dried Figs

Oven-Dried Figs - How to Dry Fruit in Your Conventional Oven / www.delightfulrepast.com

Fresh figs are a favorite of mine, but not all of my friends share that opinion. Yesterday a friend brought me a huge bowl of fresh figs and hinted broadly about what I might do with them, saying another friend of ours only likes figs in fig newtons (fig rolls in UK).

I have several projects going this week and have no time for extra baking, and I always make my Fig Rolls - Fig Newtons with dried figs. So I thought I'd just dry these figs for a future baking day.


Oven-Dried Figs - How to Dry Fruit in Your Conventional Oven (this photo, Fig Rolls - Fig Newtons) / www.delightfulrepast.com


I've never had a dehydrator, and have turned down one or two that have been offered to me, since I wouldn't use it often enough. It would just be taking up space 364 days a year. My toaster oven does convection, which would be great for this, and I could probably do two quarter sheet pans in it, but I don't have wire racks for that size pan.

So here's how I did it in the regular oven. At a "cool oven" temperature of 200F/95C/Gas1/8. No special equipment. Just a half sheet pan and a wire cooling rack.


Oven-Dried Figs - How to Dry Fruit in Your Conventional Oven / www.delightfulrepast.com


You can find all sorts of methods for doing this, everything from quickly at higher temperatures to 36 hours at extremely low temperatures. The former made no sense to me, and the latter seemed unnecessarily slow and would tie up my oven for far too long. Some recommend propping the oven door open a bit to let out moisture. No, I wasn't going to be doing that.

The reason I chose to store the dried figs in half-pint jars (tightly packed) is because that is the amount needed for a batch of Fig Rolls - Fig Newtons, which I'll be making in a couple weeks for a small autumn tea party in the gazebo. Might use the other jar for a batch of Homemade Granola


Oven-Dried Figs - How to Dry Fruit in Your Conventional Oven / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Oven-Dried Figs


(Makes 2 half-pint jars with a bit leftover)

Up to about 2 3/4 pounds fresh figs (however many will fit, halved, on the rack)

1 Preheat oven to 200F/95C/Gas1/8.

2 Line an 18x13x1-inch half sheet pan with baking parchment paper, then set a wire cooling rack on top of the paper.

3 Wash and dry the figs. Cut off the top stem and trim away any bad spots. Cut in half lengthwise.

4 Place the halves cut side up on the wire rack.

5 Bake in the center of the oven for about 6 hours. This will vary, depending on the size and juiciness of the figs and the peculiarities of your oven. Check at 5 hours, then maybe every 20 minutes after that until they are done. The figs are done when they are quite dry, but not hard, and still a bit sticky to the touch in the center.

6 Cool completely and put in canning jar(s). Refrigerate for short-term storage or freeze for up to several months. I chose half-pint jars because they held, tightly packed, the amount (5 ounces) needed for a batch of fig rolls.


Oven-Dried Figs - How to Dry Fruit in Your Conventional Oven (this image, my original watercolor of a fig) / www.delightfulrepast.com


Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean


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02 September 2021

Belgian Waffles - or Regular Waffles - Freezing and Reheating

Belgian Waffles - or Regular Waffles - with directions for freezing and reheating / www.delightfulrepast.com

Belgian waffles might be the perfect comfort food breakfast, but we make them for dinner! And I don't mean a savory version, I mean the breakfast version with just butter and maple syrup. 

Years ago we had a stovetop Belgian waffle maker that we wore completely out. We couldn't find another like it, so I researched all the electric ones and decided on the Cuisinart 4-Slice Belgian Waffle Maker.

Besides all the other good things about it, it takes 2 cups of batter. So the recipe I had developed for regular waffles, and which works just as well for Belgian waffles, will make two of these. Exactly. No leftover batter. That's important to me. I hate waste. And the leftovers are great! I mean it. Great.


Belgian Waffles - or Regular Waffles - with directions for freezing and reheating / www.delightfulrepast.com


Just put the leftover squares in the refrigerator and heat them in the toaster the next day (or up to 3 days), good as new! I've even stirred up a batch specifically for freezing. Just thaw the desired number of squares in the refrigerator overnight (or in the microwave in the morning), pop them in the toaster, and there you go! No need to ever eat a store-bought frozen waffle again. Ever.

If more than one or two people are having waffles, it makes more sense to heat the waffles in the oven. Preheat oven to 300F/150C/Gas2. Lay the waffle squares on a baking sheet, or directly on the oven rack, and heat for about 10 minutes, if thawed, or about 15 minutes, if frozen.

My recipe makes two Cuisinart WAF-150 square Belgian waffles, each making four 1-inch deep 4.5-inch squares. If you prefer regular waffles, it makes six 7-inch round regular waffles.


Belgian Waffles - or Regular Waffles - with directions for freezing and reheating / www.delightfulrepast.com


Yesterday I stirred up a batch for a solo lunch. Since I eat two squares, that means I can refrigerate or freeze six squares. So I cooled them to room temperature on a wire rack, then laid them out on a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan, covered them (you can use a lid or another jelly roll pan or a piece of foil), and popped them into the freezer for a couple hours. Then transferred them to one-gallon freezer bags, which holds four perfectly, so next time I make a batch I'll add two more squares to the one bag.

This is my basic recipe. Sometimes I use different whole grain flours or throw in some very finely chopped pecans, but I always use this formula. We like to think the three eggs transform it into a seriously nutritious, high-protein meal. Tell me: How do you like your waffles? And do you prefer Belgian or regular? People tend to feel very strongly about that!


Belgian Waffles - or Regular Waffles - with directions for freezing and reheating / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Belgian Waffles - or Regular Waffles


(Makes two Cuisinart WAF-150 Belgian waffles or six 7-inch round regular waffles)

1 2/3 cups (13.33 fluid ounces/394 ml) milk
1 1/2 tablespoons 0.75 fluid ounce/22 ml) apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces/43 grams) unsalted butter
1 2/3 dip-and-sweep cups (8.33 ounces/236 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar (optional but improves browning)
2 teaspoons non-GMO baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs (medium, in the UK), room temperature

1 In a 2-cup glass measure, stir together milk and vinegar; let stand for several minutes while proceeding with recipe. Melt the butter and allow it to cool.

2 In a 2-quart glass measure, whisk together dry ingredients. In a 1-quart glass measure, whisk together the eggs, soured milk, and melted and cooled butter. Pour into dry mixture and combine. Let batter rest 15 minutes before using.

3 Your waffle iron becomes "seasoned" after a few uses and requires no greasing. But if your waffle iron is new, spray both upper and lower grids with cooking spray, or apply a little canola oil with a paper towel or pastry brush. During last 5 or 6 minutes of the batter's rest, preheat waffle iron. I use the medium setting.

4 Pour 2 level cups of batter (this might differ for your model) onto center of waffle iron; quickly spread batter evenly over the grid (doesn't need to be perfect). Close the lid and bake until the green light comes on and the audible tone sounds, about 5 to 6 minutes. When the tone sounds (another signal is that the steam stops or slows way down), open lid and remove the waffle. Close lid and wait just a minute for iron to reheat. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with cold unsalted butter and warm real maple syrup or my Homemade Blueberry Syrup or Sauce.

Tip: Since my freezer is my best friend, I recently treated myself to two ThermoWorks digital refrigerator/freezer thermometers to replace the nearly impossible to read analog thermometer I switched back and forth between fridge and freezer for years.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

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19 August 2021

Microwave Cauliflower Cheese for One

Microwave Cauliflower Cheese for One - A Quick and Easy Homemade Solo Lunch / www.delightfulrepast.com

Microwave Cauliflower Cheese for One is one of my favorite lunches. If you work from home and usually have a quick lunch on your own as I do, it's great. And it gives my microwave something to do besides heat up our microwavable moist-heat hot pads we're always laying on one injury or another!

It took me a long time to come around to microwave ovens. I think I was the last person on the planet to get one, after being urged to by my elderly father! Still, I don't cook in it. All I ever use it for is to heat up those hot pads or a plate of leftovers, or to melt a bit of butter. Glad to find another use for it.

Microwave Cauliflower Cheese for One - A Quick and Easy Homemade Solo Lunch / www.delightfulrepast.com


This is so quick and easy and doesn't make a big cooking mess in the middle of the day. Just cut up the cauliflower, stir up the seasonings and water, pour it on, cover, and pop it into the microwave for 6 minutes. 

While it's cooking, shred the cheese, stir the cornstarch into the milk. When the microwave dings, take out the cauliflower, drain off the liquid, stir in the cheese and milk, zap it for another 2 minutes, and Bob's your uncle!

Of course, microwave ovens are all different, so your times might not be the same as those that I figured out for mine. What do you use a microwave for? What sort of things do you usually have for lunch?

Microwave Cauliflower Cheese for One - A Quick and Easy Homemade Solo Lunch / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Microwave Cauliflower Cheese for One


(Makes a bit over 1 cup)

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces/170 grams—about quarter of a 2-pound/1 kg cauliflower) cauliflower florets
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of coarsely ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of dry mustard
2 tablespoons (1 ounce/30 ml) water
1/2 tablespoon (0.25 ounce/7 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 packed cup (2 ounces/57 grams) shredded cheddar or other cheese
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) milk
1 teaspoon cornstarch or tapioca flour

Note: You can use all cheddar, if you like, or a combination of cheeses. I think using half Monterey jack makes it creamier. And, at the same time, you can toast a few fresh breadcrumbs on the stovetop for a pretty topping. 😉

1 Put the bite-size cauliflower florets in a 2-cup glass measure (I love my Pyrex glass measuring cups!). In a tiny bowl, stir together salt, pepper, cayenne, and dry mustard; stir in the water. Pour over the cauliflower and add the butter. Cover (I use a 6-inch silicone lid) and microwave on full power for 6 minutes (your oven might differ), until tender or nearly so (whatever you prefer). Drain off the liquid.

2 Add the cheese to the cooking cup. In a little bowl, stir the milk and cornstarch together. Stir it and the cheese into the cauliflower. With the lid ajar, microwave on full power for 2 minutes (your oven might differ), until the cheese has melted and a smooth sauce has formed. 

3 Stir and serve on a small plate and, if you're feeling fancy, garnish with toasted breadcrumbs. Or just eat it out of the measuring cup; I won't tell! 😁 

BTW, that's one of my pretty ThermoWorks hot pad/trivets (my favorite pot holders) in the photos.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

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05 August 2021

Summer Peach Cake

Summer Peach Cake / www.delightfulrepast.com

It's the height of summer, it's hot, but bake I must! After being out of commission following hand surgery, I simply had to bake at the first opportunity. And what better to bake than something with peaches (or nectarines), my favorite summer fruit.

But I needed to break-in the hand with something easy-breezy, no-muss-no-fuss, which means no machines, no peeling, no laborious whisking, just stir up the simple ingredients and throw it in the oven!

The only thing I really like about summer is the summer fruit! And, while I might occasionally enjoy the mild flavor of a white peach or nectarine on its own, the yellow varieties are much better in cakes and pies. And please don't peel them. The peel adds color and makes it even prettier.


Summer Peach Cake (this image, my original watercolor of a yellow peach) / www.delightfulrepast.com
Loved painting this perfectly ripe yellow peach; it smelled soooo good!


I developed this recipe for a 7-inch springform or push-bottom pan (also called a cheesecake pan). And I use an Ateco Stainless Steel 2x3-inches-high Round Form that turns any pan into a tube pan to prevent those center-of-the-cake baking challenges of deep pans and/or heavy batters, but I've also made the cake without it.

Thank you for all your good wishes on my hand surgery. I hope you're enjoying a beautiful summer and will make this, or something peachy, before they're gone. I love peach anything, but I am particularly fond of Peach Pie with Lattice Crust. How about you?


Summer Peach Cake / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Summer Peach Cake


(Makes one 7-inch cake)

1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (6.25 ounces/177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (4.67 ounces/132 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon non-GMO baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon mace or nutmeg
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 pound (16 ounces/454 grams/2 large) yellow peaches or nectarines, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 Grease well and flour a 7-inch springform or push-bottom pan. I use my Ateco Stainless Steel 2x3-inches-high Round Form to turn my 3-inch deep 7-inch pan into a tube pan to prevent those center-of-the-cake baking challenges of deep pans and/or heavy batters like this. Just grease and flour it and center it in the pan and hold it steady while you fill in the batter around it. Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Melt the butter and set aside to cool. 

Tip: A circle of baking parchment in the bottom of the pan is always good, though I forgot to do it today.

2 In 2- to 3-quart bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and mace or nutmeg. Whisk together well to "sift."

3 Scrub well—don't peel—and dice the ripe but firm peaches or nectarines into a small mixing bowl; set aside. You'll have about 3 cups. Take out 1 cup of the fruit to put on the top.

Note: I almost never peel organic peaches. I just wash them very well and rub off the fuzz. The colorful skin adds nutrition and a beautiful color to whatever you're making.

4 Add the eggs and cooled melted butter to the flour mixture. With a large spoon, beat well until thoroughly combined. Stir the fruit (except the 1 cup) into the batter.

5 Scrape the thick batter into prepared pan, press down and smooth the top, and press the reserved cup of diced fruit into the top of the batter. Sprinkle with the brown sugar. Bake for about 65 to 75 minutes, until it passes "the toothpick test" or is pulling away from the sides of the pan a bit. Do not underbake!

Note: I love this TimeStack quad timer sooooo much!

6 Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn cake out of pan right side up and continue cooling on wire rack for 2 hours. If you remembered to use a circle of parchment, it will be much easier to lift the cake off the springform pan bottom! Before serving, you might give it a dusting of powdered sugar. And a little whipped cream is never a bad idea.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

22 July 2021

Classic Vegetable Quiche

Classic Vegetable Quiche / www.delightfulrepast.com

Every time I make this classic vegetable quiche, I say, "I love this! Why has it been so long since I made it?!" It was a mainstay in my vegetarian days. In those days, I was seriously into nutrition as well so always made the crust with part whole wheat flour. Years later I had the opportunity to have a little chat with Julia Child about that!

My mother and I enjoyed reading cookbooks and watching PBS cooking shows together, especially Julia Child's, when I was just a child. I had all these "warm fuzzies" associated with Julia, since I spent so many hours in the kitchen with her (courtesy of PBS) and my mother. When I finally met Julia, it felt as if I were reuniting with a beloved aunt who had been a part of my childhood.

It was sometime around 2000 that I first met her. As a great admirer of hers since childhood, you’d think I’d have recorded the exact date of that first, and a few subsequent, meetings. These occasions were small gatherings of food people (I'm not keen on the word "foodies") enjoying a cooking demonstration followed by dinner. In each case, I marveled that the person cooking could do so with such an august personage in the audience.

I’ve always been pretty hard to impress — I waste no more than a glance (and not a single thought) on movie stars and other celebrities — but I was more than a little dazzled by Julia! She was quite easy to talk to as she seemed completely unaware of her special standing in these groups. My mother, who died years before I met Julia, would have been so impressed!

Anyway ... back to the subject of the little chat referred to in the first paragraph ... When I mentioned putting whole wheat flour in my quiche crust, she got that look and asked why I would ruin a perfectly good pie crust with whole wheat flour. Then she uttered those famous words she's said so many times, even to Jacques Pepin: We're not interested in nutrition, we're interested in taste!


Classic Vegetable Quiche (this image - my watercolor sketch of a hen) / www.delightfulrepast.com
My little watercolor sketch of a hen, in a card sent to a friend
who keeps chickens in her suburban backyard
and shares their delicious eggs


So here's the quiche recipe I made up "back in the day;" but in honor of Julia, let's leave out the whole wheat flour just this once! 

As always, I love your comments, though I might be a bit slower to respond to them this time as I'm having hand surgery on Friday and may find typing a bit difficult.

Classic Vegetable Quiche / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Classic Vegetable Quiche


(Makes one 9-inch quiche)

The Pastry (not whole wheat!)

1 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (6.25 ounces/177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, well chilled
4 tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon additional ice water, if needed

The Filling

2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce/30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced or julienned
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 large eggs (medium, in UK)
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml) milk
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) heavy cream
2 teaspoons minced cilantro or flat-leaf parsley (or dried parsley flakes)
1 packed cup (4 ounces/113 grams) grated Cheddar and/or Jack cheese
Sprinkle of paprika

1 In medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. With coarse grater, grate butter into flour bowl. With fingers, quickly work the butter into the flour, leaving some pieces the size of small peas.

2 In small bowl, combine water and vinegar. Sprinkle over flour mixture while stirring with large fork. Add a little more water, if needed.

3 Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten slightly into a 4-inch disk; double wrap; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to four days. May be frozen for up to a month; defrost, wrapped, in the refrigerator.

4 Preheat oven to 450F/230C/Gas8. If dough is thoroughly chilled, let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling. On lightly floured surface, roll out disk to a 13-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Place pastry in pie plate.* Bake, lined with buttered foil and weighted, for 10 minutes. Remove foil and ceramic pie weights, and continue baking for 10 minutes. Remove crust from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350F/180C/Gas4.

5 While crust is baking, prepare filling. In large skillet, heat the oil and sauté onions for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, zucchini, red bell pepper, half the salt and pepper, marjoram and crushed red pepper to skillet. Sauté vegetables over medium-high heat until all the liquid released by the mushrooms and zucchini evaporates and there is some caramelization. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

6 In medium bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure), combine eggs, milk, cream, cilantro or parsley, remaining salt and pepper, and cheese. Stir in cooled vegetables. Pour filling into prebaked pie shell. Sprinkle with paprika. Use a pie crust shield to prevent overbrowning of crust edges. Bake for about 45 to 55 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is set but with a bit of jiggle. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes or all the way to room temperature. Delicious at any temperature. I use the silicone hotpads pictured as both pot holders and trivets for hot dishes.

* I think a glass pie plate gives the best results, and I always use the Pyrex Clear Oven Ware 9" Glass Pie Plate. There are lots of quiche recipes in Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking (2 Volume Set).

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean

08 July 2021

Pull-Apart Potato Dinner Rolls

Pull-Apart Potato Dinner Rolls / www.delightfulrepast.com

My recipe for pull-apart potato rolls makes 30 rolls! Yes, I know that's a lot of rolls. But I'm thinking ahead to when we can start having big gatherings. Also, these freeze well and can be enjoyed on multiple occasions with all the work being done just one time! Part of my streamlined cooking style.

Another time when a double batch of rolls makes sense is when you're delivering meals to people, as I've had occasion to do during the pandemic and for special occasions. It's nice to make enough to keep some for yourself as well!

Homemade dinner rolls simply "make" a comfort food meal. Back in the day, when I was better at multi-tasking, I baked my dinner rolls at the last minute. But these days I bake them as much as a month ahead and freeze them until 2 1/2 hours before serving time. Of course, you can just go ahead and serve these the day you bake them; but I've included instructions for freezing, thawing and reheating.

Yes, I have a big heavy-duty stand mixer, but I make all my bread by hand. You can do this in your mixer if you want to, but this lovely soft dough is so easy to handle, you might just want to go "unplugged" on this one.

Pull-Apart Potato Dinner Rolls (this photo, rolls hot and packed for delivery with a meal) / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Pull-Apart Potato Rolls


(Makes 30 rolls)

1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) milk
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 packed cup (7 ounces/198 grams) cooked and well mashed russet potato (from a medium, 8- or 9-ounce, potato)
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) water
5 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (27.5 ounces/780 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 dip-and-sweep cup (5 ounces/142 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (2.33 ounces/66 grams) sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs

1 Grease a 5-quart bowl* with 1 tablespoon of softened butter (for first rise). Grease two 13x9x2-inch baking dishes with 1 tablespoon of softened butter.

* Or two 2- to 2.5-quart bowls if you would like to let each half of the dough rise in separate bowls as I do when I don't want to get the huge bowl out of the highest cupboard!

2 Put milk and butter in a 1-quart glass measure. Microwave on high power until butter is melted and milk is close to a simmer. Stir until all the butter is melted. Stir in the mashed potato, then the water.

Tip: If you're having mashed potatoes for dinner, you can take out a cup of mashed-up potato and freeze it in a glass storage container for the next time you're making potato rolls. Then move from freezer to refrigerator the morning before the day you're making the rolls.

3 In a 4-quart bowl, whisk together 5 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (27.5 ounces/780 grams) of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour, then add potato mixture and egg to the well. With dough whisk or large wooden spoon, slowly stir until soft, shaggy dough comes together.

4 Spread 1/2 cup of flour onto work surface, and reserve 1/2 cup to use as needed. Turn the dough out onto floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding more flour if needed, until the dough forms a smooth ball. Place smooth ball of dough in buttered bowl and turn to coat all sides of dough. Cover bowl with buttered lid or plastic wrap and let rise until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

5 Punch dough down (by pressing down in center and folding in edges), turn out on lightly floured surface. Using a bench scraper, divide the dough in half, working on one pan of rolls at a time. Divide one of the two halves into 15 equal pieces by first dividing it into 3 equal pieces then rolling each piece into a thick log and cutting each log into 5 equal pieces. Keep dough pieces covered with plastic wrap or overturned bowl as you shape each piece into a ball, pulling edges under and pinching them together on the bottom. I also give them a little roll on the unfloured counter, a motion sort of like moving a computer mouse around. Place in 3 rows of 5 in buttered baking dish. Spray the same piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray, cover dish lightly. Repeat with second half of dough. Let rise until rolls have doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Note: I can be pretty persnickety about getting my rolls all exactly the same size, so I actually weigh the dough in grams and divide that number by 30, which this time came out to 58 grams (or just slightly over 2 ounces) each.

6 About 10 or 15 minutes ahead, preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas5. Uncover rolls and bake for 25 minutes, or until well browned. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a center roll should read about 200 to 205F/93 to 96C. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Keeping rolls together, remove rolls from baking dish and cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Double-wrap with foil (probably one layer of heavy-duty would be sufficient); freeze for up to 1 month.

To serve after freezing: Remove from freezer 2 1/2 hours before serving time. Defrost, wrapped, at room temperature for 2 hours. During last 15 minutes, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place foil-wrapped rolls on a cookie sheet and bake about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.

Jean
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