Szechuan Green Beans


Major umami — caramelized beans, low fat ground turkey, in  a super flavorful, gingery, garlic-y, spicy (up to you) sauce.


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4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I prefer Aleppo pepper flakes — not as searingly hot)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound green beans, ends cut off
  • 1/4 pound ground pork or ground turkey (but seriously — I added 1/3 pound).
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

This goes together so quickly, so be sure to have everything prepped in advance!

  1. In small bowl, stir together soy sauce, sherry, sugar, cornstarch, white pepper, pepper flakes, mustard, and water until sugar dissolves; set aside.
  2. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add beans and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender and skins and light charred in spots, 5 to 8 minutes (reduce heat to medium-high if beans darken too quickly). Transfer beans to large plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high and add pork to now-empty skillet. Cook, breaking pork or turkey into small pieces, until no pink remains, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds. Stir sauce to recombine and return beans to pan with sauce. Toss and cook until sauce is thickened, 5 to 10 seconds. Remove pan from heat and stir in scallions, sesame seeds and sesame oil. Serve immediately.

Lemongrass Shrimp and Pork Dumpling Soup

I changed the name.  I did.

Color me envious.  She’s beautiful (and pretty funny), and she and I like to eat the SAME STUFF! whu-hut???

If you know me at all, you know I am not a fan of the cult of celebrity in this country.  But, I’ve been stalking Chrissy Teigen’s food blog Delushious for a while and am finally ready to admit it.  And yes.  I did buy her new cookbook and plan to make most of those recipes too.  So this is  basically my friend Chrissy’s recipe,  with a few  of MY adjustments.


I hope you’re not one of those people who look at a list ingredients and decide NOT to cook a recipe based on that.  This goes together super quickly–I think we were slurping dumplings inside of 45 minutes.

It truly is DELUSHIOUS. Easy to make and packed with big flavors.

Serves 6


  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes,
  • 1/2 pound cleaned shrimp (no tails!)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and finely minced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro, plus more leaves for garnish
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, minced — tough leaves removed
  • 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large square (6 inch) egg roll wrappers
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • This is how I think you should make the dumplings:  Put the shrimp in a food processor and pulse a few times until it is well chopped — toss in the rest of the ingredients up through the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pulse until well mixed — you don’t want it to be a paste — you should see small chunks of shrimp.
  • Now, here are my friend Chrissy’s directions.  It took longer.  Finely chop the shrimp and gently combine them in a bowl with the pork, shiitakes, cilantro, garlic, the other tablespoon of fish sauce, the ginger, ½ tablespoon of the sesame oil, Sriracha, and salt until just incorporated (don’t manhandle the mixture!).
  • OK — Chrissy and I are back in sync now.  Working one or two at a time, place the egg roll wrappers on a clean surface (keep the rest of the wrappers covered with a kitchen towel). Using 1/4 cup filling, mold the filling into balls and put 1 ball in the middle of the wrapper.Brush the edges of the wrapper with water and gather up the opposite corners of the wrapper on top of the ball, sealing them in tightly — try to push out the air so they don’t become balloons and pop.  Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.


  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, smashed and minced (toss the super tough leaves first (or you could put a  couple smashed coins of ginger if you can’t find lemongrass)
  • 2 Kafir lime leaves or regular lime leaves, or not
  • a good squeeze of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoons fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil

Mix the broth ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer.

Using a spider thingie (my friend Chrissy’s words), lower the dumplings into the simmering broth, but really,  I just picked up the dumplings by their pointy little tops, and carefully put the dumplings into the simmering soup.

Cover the pot and simmer until the dumplings are cooked and the noodles look sort of see-through, 8-9 minutes. Gently lift each dumpling out of the pot into a soup bowl and cover it with broth–this time use the spider thingie. Garnish with scallions and cilantro.

Seriously.  It’s delushious!

Grilled Lemongrass Pork and Rice Noodle Salad

I am in love with Asian Box, a small chain takeout restaurant in downtown Mountain View.  You HAVE to check this out:

Everything on that menu (except maybe the caramel egg) is so delicious, but it took just a couple visits to find my favorite:  Lemongrass pork with chilled rice noodles, bean sprouts,crispy shallots, peanuts, herbs, veggies, lime squeeze and peanut sauce . . .  OH — and Asian Street Dust!


But I live too far away to make this an easy stop— and parking on Castro Street in Mountain View is just this side of impossible.  So, I’ve been making my own Asian box salad (super easy), and I’ve got it nailed except for the Asian Street Dust, but I’m working on that.  It is seriously so good, I ate it three meals in a row last week.


Pork and Marinade

4 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced
3 large stalks of fresh lemongrass, tender inner white bulb only, sliced crosswise
2 large shallots, thickly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1.5 pounds boneless pork loin or any pork chop you like, sliced 1/4 inch thick

In a food processor, finely chop the garlic, lemongrass and shallots. Add the sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, vegetable oil and soy sauce and process to a paste. In a large shallow dish, coat the pork with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 and up to 4 hours.

When ready to compose the salad, grill pork slices on a hot grill about 2 minutes on each side.

NUOC CHAM (dressing)  I can DRINK THIS!

  • 1⁄4 carrot, cut in long strips with a potato peeler(2-inch piece)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons  sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup  warm water
  • 1⁄4 cup Asian fish sauce (I’m a Red Boat fan)
  • 1⁄4 cup  fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 red Thai chile, thinly sliced, I used a serrano (2-3 more if you like it hot)
  • 1 green onion, chopped

Okay. The dressing is tough to make.  Get a bowl.  Mix the ingredients in it. Done.


1/2 pound rice vermicelli

English or Persian cucumbers, julienned

a 3″ piece of a daikon radish, peeled and julienned

1/4 cup peanuts chopped

1/4 cup each of chopped cilantro and fresh mint

lime wedges

Place rice vermicelli in a pot of boiling water and cook for 60 to 90 seconds.  Pour into a colander and run cold water through the noodles until they are cool.

Put a handful of vermicelli in a bowl and top with slices of lemongrass pork, julienned daikon, carrot,  and Persian or English cucumber, chopped cilantro and mint, chopped peanuts and lime wedges.  Drizzle salad with nuoc cham and eat it up.  You’re gonna LOVE THIS!!

Copy Cat P.E. Ciao Mein

A Ciao Mein Confession

I don’t eat at fast food restaurants very often at all — an occasional hamburger at In n Out, and in the summer, I’ll swing by Wendy’s once in a great while for a chocolate frosty.  BUT (here’s the confession part) I do find myself at Panda Express once every couple of months for some ciao mein.  I splurge on orange chicken  maybe twice a year, but mostly I pick up two containers of the ciao mein — one for dinner — and one for a couple of lunches, and I’m in junk food heaven.




But tonight, I’m so happy!  I made that ciao mein myself, and even made it a tiny bit better by adding some ground pork (sorry, Mary) to it, and it’s delicious and umami-y and doesn’t have as much  oil as the Panda Express version.  You want quick and easy and super delicious vegie ciao men?  DONE, SON!!!!!

Here’s how.

ce ingre

1 package ciao mein noodles (not the refrigerated kind). Cook these in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then drain and rinse in cool water.

1/2 lb. ground pork (optional), sautéed until cooked through.

3 T. oil (I used peanut oil)
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thinly
8 oz. cabbage, sliced
2 oz. celery, sliced thinly
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce

Slice the onion, cabbage and celery.  Add the oil to a hot pan–I used a cast iron skillet on medium high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the veggies and let cook for a couple of minutes until they start to caramelize.

Add the cooked noodles and toss together, then add the soy sauce and oyster sauce and mix noodles and sauces well — I added a couple of tablespoons of water because it seemed a little thick. Toss with the ground pork if you’re using it. Break out the takeout box. Total time — 12 minutes.

That’s it. Welcome to the home version of Panda Express Ciao Mein, but seriously, use better chopsticks than their cruddy ones.

Sweet Sriracha Pulled Pork


What. The. Heck?DSC00345Gahhhhhh!  I just took this out of the oven!  The afternoon was kind of like Thanksgiving day where you smell the turkey roasting all day long and you’re drowning in saliva. I know you know.   The roasted pork and its sauce was smelled so wonderful that I had to leave the house until it was done.  I  couldn’t concentrate on anything but running to the oven every 5 minutes! and then I took a bite — I get to do that before anyone else because I’m the cook, and I have to make the world safe for everyone else.  And I saw stars . . .and little pigs dancing in heaven . . . and I heard harps.

More photos to come.   Working on the nachos now.  Hurry — run out and buy that pork butt!


  • about 3.5 pound  pork butt or pork shoulder
  • cooking oil to coat pork
  • fresh cracked black pepper to coat pork

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup  Sriracha hot sauce (seriously, 1/4 cup is not hot at all — gives it a nice warm flavor) or to taste.  You’re the boss of your own heat.
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or whatever you like)
  • 1/2 cup hoisin
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat a sauce pan over medium-high heat, add oil, onion and garlic. Cook onions and garlic until they are translucent and fragrant.
  3. Add tomato sauce, fish sauce, Sriracha, vinegar, hoisin, brown sugar and black pepper. Stir the sauce and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. After the sauce has cooled, taste and adjust heat and seasoning.  It’s pretty darn yummy.
  4. Heat large cast iron pan (I swear by mine) or deep oven proof skillet on medium-high heat. Lightly coat the pork shoulder with oil and season all sides with salt and pepper.
  5. Sear each side of the pork shoulder on the hot pan until the pork is a rich brown — about 3 or  minutes per side.
  6. Remove the pan or skillet from the heat and lay the pork in the pan. I cooked my pork roast in my cast iron skillet, but you can use any baking dish that it will fit in.
  7. Pour the sriracha-tomato sauce over the pork into the oven proof pan. Cover with aluminum foil.
  8. Now — some unfamiliar patience is called for.  Bake the pork for about 3-4 hours at 350 degrees or until the pork is tender and easily shreds with a fork.  For the 3 1/2 lb roast I cooked, it took just about four hours for it to be fall off the bone tender.  The sauce is unbelievably delicious — lots of umami flavor.
  9. Allow the pork to rest for about 15 minutes before shredding the whole shoulder. Cover the shredded pork with foil to keep it warm before serving.

And what am I going to do with this pork?

Saturday Dinner #1

Pulled pork with coconut rice and cucumber salad

Super Bowl Dinner #2

Asian Style Pork Nachos

Dinner #3

Asian Pork Tacos with red cabbage slaw, avocado and cilantro

All right everyone.  Start your forks!

Diane’s Vietnamese Fried Chicken

Love at first bite!  Super duper fingerpicking GREAT!  EASY to make — light and crunchy outside and flavorful and moist on the inside. Sweet, sour, salty and spicy–all the flavors of Vietnam.

One of my favorite blogs of the past two or three years is White on Rice ( by Diane Cu and Todd Porter, professional photographers and food stylists.  Diane’s Vietnamese roots are evident in a number of their recipes including an umami turkey burger that I completely love.

I have been on a lonnnng journey to find the perfect chicken wing recipe, and (my heart is beating fast as I type this) THIS MIGHT BE IT!!!!


Serves 4

Do not be fearful of fish sauce as it adds a critical flavor that makes this recipe so special.  If you’ve eaten Vietnamese or Thai food in the pass, fish sauce has been in the ingredients.  Be brave–the chicken is spectacular!

From White on Rice, Diane Cu


  • about 2-3 pounds chicken drumsticks or thighs or my favorite, chicken wings with wingtips removed, skin-on and bone-in

Marinade (make ahead — chicken should marinade from 1 to 3 hours):

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (I’m a Red Boat fan)
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 4-5 large cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Just before frying:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • about 2 cups cold water
  • Oil for frying


  1. Marinade:   In a gallon-sized freezer ziplock bag or a medium-sized bowl, combine the vegetable oil, fish sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, garlic and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. Add the chicken to the marinade and  toss the chicken in to get it coated evenly. Marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour (2-3 hours preferred) in the fridge. Turn the bag or toss the chicken a couple of times  to be sure all parts are marinating.
  3. Flour coating: In a large bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add the cold water and mix well with a fork. Start with about 1.5 cups and add more water if needed. Break up any clumps of flour so that the mixture is smooth. The batter should look like thin pancake batter.
  4. Heat a large frying pan or Dutch oven and then add about 1″ of vegetable oil. Heat the oil to 350-375 degrees F.
  5. Remove the chicken from the marinade and let the excess drip off. Dip the chicken in to the wet flour mixture. Allow excess to drip off and place the chicken in the hot oil.
  6. Cooking in small batches, fry the chicken on both sides till crispy and cooked through, about 10-15 minutes — about 8 minutes for the wings. Turn the chicken two or three times as it fries.  Don’t crowd the chicken.
  7. Garnish with minced cilantro (optional). Serve warm with sriracha and/or rice.

Holy Mother of Soy Garlic Chicken Wings

Bon Chon is a Korean restaurant in Sunnyvale, CA,  and my former Mecca for the most delicious Korean fried chicken wings I have ever had.  Two or three times a year, I’d make a pilgrimage there for a box of six soy garlic wings with white rice.  I hardly ever left the parking lot without breaking into that box for at least one bite.

And now . . . AND NOW YOU CAN MAKE THEM in the privacy of your own kitchen so no one needs to know how many you eat!  Incredibly easy to make — easier than I ever imagined!  I truly thought that Bon Chon had some technologically complicated cooking appliance to produce these lacquered bites of paradise.

Thanks to a website called Taste with Tristan, my favorite chicken wings in the entire world are now within my reach.

So you HAVE to make these even though you think you won’t want to because you don’t know what they taste like, but I’m telling you that you will LOVE THEM!!!




chicken wings (I only made 6, but the recipe is good for up to 15). Cut chicken wings into three parts, discarding the wing tips.

1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Whisk batter ingredients in a large bowl until you have a very smooth, THIN, pancake type batter. I had to add a little more water. It should coat the back of the spoon LIGHTLY.

4 cloves of garlic, smashed
About the same amount of fresh ginger, smashed
2 tablespoons Gochujang Korean chili paste that is actually easy to find in Asian food sections of supermarkets
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons water

Place the sauce ingredients in a small pot, and heat until the sauce is slightly reduced.

Enough canola oil to cover the chicken wings (I cooked mine in two batches)

Place one chicken wing part in the batter and allow excess to drip off. Once it’s stopped dripping place it in a pot of 350 degree canola oil. I cooked six pieces at a time — it depends on the size of the pot. Keep the heat up between 325 to 350 degrees throughout the cooking. Cook for 8 minutes, and then remove from the oil and place on a sheet pan with a cookie rack. Cook the next batch the same way.

While that batch is cooking, transfer the cook wings to a wire colander and briskly shake them to remove the craggy parts of the cooked batter. This is an important step in order to get the smooth finish required for a true Bon Chon wing.

Return the now smooth first batch back into the oil for another 8 minutes — (total time for each batch is 16 minutes — I know, right? but it works, and the long cooking removes most of the chicken fat). Remove the wings from their second fry, and place on the cookie rack. Immediately brush the sauce over the entire wing.

Prepare to enter nirvana. Eat them up!!!!

(Thanks Tristan’s dad!)

Shaking Beef from The Slanted Door

OK — I know you’re thinking Vietnamese food from a James Beard Award winning restaurant is impossible to make.  You’re impossibly WRONG!  Super quick to make and so delicious that I swear you will think you’re sitting with the Phan family looking over the SF Bay.


Step 1:  Marinate beef

1 pound filet mignon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil

In a bowl, toss the meat the ingredients above plus 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Step 2:  Make sauce

In a small bowl whisk the following ingredient and set aside:
3 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

1 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry

Step 3:  Slice vegetables
6 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Watercress and lime, for serving

  1. Heat a large skillet until very hot. Add the 1/3 cup of oil and heat until smoking (I used just half the oil). Add the meat  (in two batches so that it will brown well) and cook over high heat undisturbed for 1 minute, until browned. Turn the meat and cook for 1 minute longer. Tilt the skillet and spoon off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil. Scatter the scallions, onion and garlic over the meat and cook for 30 seconds. Stir the soy mixture and add it to the pan, shaking to coat the meat; bring to a boil. Add the butter and shake the pan until melted.
  2. Line a platter with watercress and pour the shaking beef and vegetables on top. Serve with lime wedges.

Vietnamese Caramelized Pork and Noodle Salad

It’s almost worth making this recipe JUST to cook the pork which is so fabulous.  But, the rest of the recipe is so easy that you may as well make the whole thing.  I could eat this EVERY DAY!

For the noodles:

8 oz. dried rice vermicelli

For the pork:

1/4 cup sugar

2 large shallots, sliced, or 5 scallions (white parts only), chopped

2 tsp. fish sauce

2 tsp. soy sauce

Pinch salt

2 Tbs. vegetable oil

1-1/2 lb. pork loin or sirloin, sliced into large pieces about 1/4-inch thick

For the garnishes:

2 cups washed and shredded romaine, red, or green leaf lettuce

2 cups fresh, crisp bean sprouts

1-1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and julienned cucumber

1/3 to 1/2 cup roughly chopped or small whole mint leaves

1/3 to 1/2 cup roughly chopped or small basil or Thai basil leaves

2 Tbs. chopped roasted peanuts

12 sprigs fresh cilantro

Cook the noodles:

Bring a medium potful of water to a rolling boil. Add the rice vermicelli and, stirring often, cook them until the strands are soft and white, but still resilient, 3 to 5 minutes. Don’t be tempted to undercook them, as they must be fully cooked to absorb the flavors of the dish. Rinse them in a colander under cold water just until they’re cool and the water runs clear. Let the noodles drain in the colander for 30 minutes, and then set them aside for up to 2 hours, unrefrigerated.

Marinate and cook the pork:

Combine the sugar with 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir a few times and allow to simmer until the sauce turns deep brown, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, have some extra hot water ready on a back burner. Once the sauce reaches the desired color, carefully add 4 to 5 Tbs. hot water to slow the cooking and thin the sauce. (Be sure to hold the pan away from you so that none of the hot caramel splatters on you when you add the water.) If necessary, add more hot water. The sauce should only be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool.

Pound the shallots in a mortar and pestle or mince by hand. Transfer the shallots to a mixing bowl and combine with the fish sauce, soy sauce, salt, vegetable oil, and cooled caramel marinade. Stir well to blend. Add the pork slices and let marinate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a broiler or light a charcoal or gas grill. When the broiler or fire is very hot, cook the pork until just done, about 2 minutes on each side. Let the pork rest for 10 to 15 minutes, and cut into thin strips.

Assemble the salads:

Divide the lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber, mint, and basil among four large soup or pasta bowls. Fluff the noodles with your fingers and divide them among the prepared salad bowls. Put the grilled pork on the noodles and garnish each bowl with the peanuts and cilantro. Pass the nuoc cham at the table; each diner should drizzle about 3 Tbs. over the salad and then toss the salad in the bowl a few times with two forks or chopsticks before eating.

Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce)

1 clove garlic

2 to 3 Thai bird chiles (or 1 small jalapeño or serrano chile), cored, seeded, and minced; more or less to taste

1/2 tsp. ground chile paste; more or less to taste

2/3 cup hot water

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup fish sauce

2 Tbs. fresh lime juice

2 Tbs. shredded carrots (optional)

Korean Fried Chicken Wings with Ginger Soy Glaze

  • 2-3 lbs chicken wings (tips discarded, and wings cut at the joints-washed and patted dry)
  • 1 cup of Wondra flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Soy Ginger Glaze 

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup thinly sliced ginger
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey or corn syrup
  • 1-2 tbsp garlic chile sauce
  • optional: 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

First prep the chicken wings, wash, and pat dry with paper towel. In a mixing bowl, combine about 1 cup of Wondra flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge the chicken wings in the flour mixture to get a fine light coat.

Heat some cooking oil in a deep fryer or a deep frying pan to about 350 degrees. Fry chicken wings, in batches if necessary, about 5 min. Remove, place on a rack and allow to cool.

Now in a small saucepan, add the water, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, chile, sugar and bring to boil. Then add the honey/corn syrup and reduce by half and it will be a thick maple syrup like consistency and set aside.

Re-fry the wings until crispy golden brown, about another 5-8 minutes. Drain on frying rack or paper towels. Dredge or brush on the soy ginger glaze. We also like to finish with some toasted sesame seeds on top.

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