dinner

SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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There  are three pasta dishes I absolutely love for their simplicity and, if prepared with love and care, for their impeccable pure taste of just a few simple ingredients:
“PASTA CACIO E PEPE””SPAGHETTI AGLIO E OLIO“, and today’s feature, “PASTA AL CAVIALE”.
As always, use the best ingredients you can afford to achieve the best result. Also, although many Italian recipes call for olive oil to toss the pasta with, as a caviar lover, I believe butter is the more appropriate ingredient to use for this dish.
And there you have it, all you need for this culinary wonder is good quality spaghetti, good quality butter, kosher salt, cayenne pepper and caviar of your choice.

Bon Appétit !   Life is Good

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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Black Pepper & Soy Chicken Wings

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If you think one more post about chicken wings is redundant, I do understand you 🙂
Just move on, don’t get upset, bored or annoyed. I will see you at my next post…….
However, realize this: You’ll miss a chance to look at one of the prettiest, tastiest, no-fuss to prepare chicken wings you will ever come across 🙂
So, if you decided to read on and look on – enjoy, take the time to replicate these babes and be the master of your own future-favorite chicken wings 🙂  Cheers !
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
If you can not obtain anatto powder (Annatto/Achiote/Roucou ), you can substitute red food coloring (In my humble opinion, this is more of a “pride-issue”, rather than a quality-issue) 🙂
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P.P.S.
I did no include measurements in this recipe because I believe they are not necessary.
If you want to add any more or any less of any seasoning, just do so according to your own taste.
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Black Pepper & Soy Chicken Wings

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Black Pepper & Soy Chicken Wings

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Black Pepper & Soy Chicken Wings

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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P.S.
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This dish is part of my upcoming meal plan # 2 –
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH TWO 
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Click here for 
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH ONE

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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While grilled shrimp is a dish that is well known to most of us, pasta cooked in red wine is probably less known/experienced by most folks, even those who are fans of pasta in all shapes and tastes 🙂
I for one have cooked pasta in red wine a few times, many years ago, but had forgotten about it since, until I came across it while browsing through some of my (very) old menus, notes, and pictures.
I have cooked this now twice in the past couple of weeks, and it has become one of my absolute favorite side –  and even main-dish. The secret to preparing this pasta successfully lies in the red wine. Please, don’t even consider to use an inferior bottle of wine. Of course, you also don’t want to break the house, but, as with all very simple dishes, your success lies squarely on the quality of the ingredients. Also, it is my opinion that this pasta works best with butter instead of olive oil, since a really good EVO would, in my humble opinion, overpower the flavor of the wine. Again, this pertains to my very own taste preference and might work differently for yours 🙂
Also, panko in the pangrattato is a better choice  for me  than regular breadcrumbs 🙂

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
Before somebody gets’ their knickers in a twist about the pangrattato – there is no ONE way of preparing it. Pangrattato simply means “grated bread”.
It can be toasted, cooked in a dry pan until golden, sautéed in butter or olive oil. It can be highly seasoned or just a little, it can contain herbs and/or whatever dry ingredient suit your palette and the dish you prepare. 🙂
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Red Wine-Bucatini

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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I prepared this soup on February 16th, the day of the Chinese new year and the beginning of the year of the dog.
I had planned to prepare and publish this post well before the 16th, in order to give my readers a chance to bring this wonderful, traditional dish to the table as part of the new year’s dinner celebration. Alas, some unforeseen events kept me from doing so. Now then, here it is, “Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup, two weeks late for the New Year celebration, but NOT TOO late, since these wonderful dumplings can, of course, be enjoyed anytime during the year. 🙂
Chinese egg dumplings, also known as dan jiao, are also often served in hot pots, in other soups or just as is, with a tasty dipping sauce.
These dumplings may look a lot more complicated and difficult to prepare as they actually are, so there is no reason not to enjoy them often. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
These dumplings cook in a very short time when simmered in soup, so you should add them towards the very end of the cooking time !
They can also be prepared ahead and frozen, then easily reheated in simmering soup.
However, if you serve the dumplings without soup, bake them or steam them for a short time, since the original short cooking time in the omelet is not enough to cook the meat through !
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P.P.S.
This soup is believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year because of its long noodles (longevity),
and the color of the dumplings, which resembles the color of gold coins ( prosperity)
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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Congee With Mushroom, Carrot & Egg

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Congee With Mushroom, Carrot & Egg

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“Congee With Mushrooms, Carrots & Egg (Chinese Rice porridge)
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Excerpt from a previous post of  Congee  on ChefsOpinion :
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” Rice Porridge –
The first thing that comes to mind is probably baby food or hospital gruff.
Most folks would never think of ordering it from a menu in a restaurant, much less wake up and crave it for breakfast, if they hadn’t tasted or at least seen it before.

Now, let’s try again :
Congee. Lúgaw. Chok. Xifan. Juk. Okayu.
OK now, that’s better  🙂

Sounds more interesting and exotic? These are just a few names given to rice porridge around the world. If there is a country or region which traditionally eats rice, then there is some form of rice porridge eaten.
Congee can be enjoyed as breakfast, snack, lunch or dinner. Congee most often contains rice, but other grains can be used.
Ideally, it is made with strong, tasty stock that infuses great taste and debt into the dish. But from there on, let your fantasy run wild. Congee can be made with seafood, meat, vegetables or a combination thereof.
Then there are the toppings – Pickled vegetables, fried shallots, sliced scallions, any mushroom, crisp fried garlic, dried shrimps, 100-year eggs, cilantro, etc, etc.
If you like it, put it on.
Below is a version I made on Sunday for breakfast. The texture is more like a Filipino Lugaw, with the rice VERY soft but still keeping its shape. .
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Congee With Mushrooms, Carrot & Egg

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Congee With Mushrooms, Carrot & Egg

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Congee With Mushrooms, Carrot & Egg

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Congee With Mushrooms, Carrot & Egg

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Smithy’s Beef Rib Soup With Spinach And Pasta (Rinder Suppe Von Der Rippe, Mit Spinat Und Pasta)

Smithy’s Beef Rib Soup With Spinach And Pasta (Rinder Suppe Von Der Rippe Mit Spinat Und Pasta)

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When all else fails, this soup will make you feel better………(Just ask Smithy)  🙂
If you prefer, replace the linguini with any type of pasta, potatoes, or rice.
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P.S.
If you don’t like to use chopsticks, break the linguini (or any other type of long pasta) into small pieces before cooking.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Smithy’s Beef Rib Soup With Spinach And Pasta (Rinder Suppe Von Der Rippe Mit Spinat Und Pasta)

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to plate, add 1/2 of ea pasta, spinach and beef to a large soup plate, add beef broth

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Smithy’s Beef Rib Soup With Spinach And Pasta (Rinder Suppe Von Der Rippe Mit Spinat Und Pasta)

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Smithy’s Beef Rib Soup With Spinach And Pasta (Rinder Suppe Von Der Rippe Mit Spinat Und Pasta)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Escargots A La Bourguignonne (Snails In Garlic-Herb Butter In The Style Of The Bourguignon)

Escargots A La Bourguignonne (Snails In Garlic-Herb Butter In The Style Of The Bourguignon)

Remembering  the “Good Old Times”, when I went to Germany I was looking forward to enjoy escargot as often as possible, since in the not so distant past, escargot was one of the dishes which one could find on the dinner menu of most restaurants, usually prepared “A La Bourguignonne” and served in their own shells, but also frequently as soup or in puff pastry.
I was disappointed to find that escargots have mostly gone the way of so many other delicacies ( Tortue “Lady Curzon,  Foie Gras, Duck a la PresseTurtle Steaks, Turtle Stews, Abalone Meunière,  Sole Véronique,  Crab Louie,  Trout Almondine,  Canard à l’Orange, just to mention a few…….
I did manage to find snails on two occasions on the menu, but sadly, both were but a shameful rendition of the once glorious dish (One was escargots a la Bourguignonne, which were burned on top and completely tasteless, the other was escargots in puff pastry, which was served in a soggy puff pastry shell, bound with a tasteless white sauce, deprived of even the slightest bit of the de rigueur Pernod, which is supposed to grace the sauce of escargots in cream.
So, as usual, in order to satisfy my craving, I had to prepare it myself at home. In the past, I have tried to find escargots in the grocery stores around here and sometimes scored, but in the past few years I was not able to find them anywhere anymore 😦 . Thank you Lord for the internet 🙂 . I ordered one dozen cans, which arrived a few days later and made me a happy man indeed.
Here now is the first version of Escargot I prepared…….
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Escargots A La Bourguignonne (Snails In Garlic-Herb Butter In The Style Of The Bourguignon)

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Escargots A La Bourguignonne (Snails In Garlic-Herb Butter In The Style Of The Bourguignon)

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Escargots A La Bourguignonne (Snails In Garlic-Herb Butter In The Style Of The Bourguignon)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Lunch Quickie – Smoked Salmon, Spicy Potato Salad And Sunny Side Up Eggs

When contemplating what to prepare for a combined breakfast/lunch today, I found that I had some leftover cooked potatoes, leftover “cebollas en escabeche” (escabeche de cebollas) and a packet of smoked salmon.
Within less than 10 minutes, this gorgeous dish was ready on the table.
Bella and I were happy and content, and cleanup was a snap. Easy peasy 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Lunch Quickie – Smoked Salmon, Spicy Potato Salad And Sunny Side Up Eggs

Lunch Quickie – Smoked Salmon, Spicy Potato Salad And Sunny Side Up Eggs

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Grilled Seafood Salad – Baby Octopus, Squid And Shrimp On Romaine In Honey/Lime Yogurt Dressing

Grilled Seafood Salad – Baby Octopus, Squid And Shrimp On Romaine In Honey/Lime Yogurt Dressing

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After a recent bout of gluttony during my month in Europe, I have to lose at least the 15 lbs I gained, and if I continue on my present path of eating and drinking sensibly, maybe even shedding at least 20 lbs in the first month, and another 15 during the second month.
So far I have lost 13 lbs since my arrival 15 day’s ago. 🙂
I am not on a diet, just eating less in general, smaller portions and instead of 2 or 3 large meals a day, only one, with lot’s of fruit and tiny snacks in between. Other than that, I basically eat what I feel like. Pasta (tiny portions), rice (tiny portions), potatoes (tiny portions). Meat and seafood (large portions), fruit (large portions) and huge amounts of salad of any kind, form, and shape, mostly greens with some kind of protein, such as the seafood salad featured here. I have the occasional glass of wine, lots of iced tea and water and a large pot of coffee daily. Breakfast usually consists of a large bowl of starch-free vegetable soup and peppermint tea, alternating on other days with apples and power bars.
So far since I started this, I have not felt hungry and have a lot more energy than when I started this 2 weeks ago.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
If you’d like to lose weight while eating and drinking well, you might want to check this out:
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD ON CHEFSOPINION”

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Grilled Seafood Salad – Baby Octopus, Squid And Shrimp On Romaine In Honey/Lime Yogurt Dressing

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Grilled Seafood Salad – Baby Octopus, Squid And Shrimp On Romaine In Honey/Lime Yogurt Dressing

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Grilled Seafood Salad – Baby Octopus, Squid And Shrimp On Romaine In Honey/Lime Yogurt Dressing

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato


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I have to confess – I cheated when I prepared these Vareniki 😦
Instead of preparing the vareniki/pierogi dough fresh and rolling it into thin sheets before cutting, filling, folding and sealing it, I used 1 lb store-bought fresh pasta sheets and my trusted ravioli/pierogi-mold. Not necessarily because I am lazy (well, sometimes I am), but mainly because my counter space is tiny and making fresh pasta dough and stuffed dumpling always results in a huge mess, with flour everywhere, requiring a lot of time to get the kitchen spick and span again.
(However, I do know how to make the dough fresh. 🙂
I have made it a hundred times and I am therefore not embarrassed to admit to the store-bought sheets and the mold) 🙂
The rest of the dish is as easy and quick as 1-2-3. Cook the pasta, saute everything in butter and done !
Here is the recipe for the filling and the final dish :
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Ingredients and method for filling:

Saute onions in butter until translucent.
Stir in the 2 cup mashed potatoes, grated cheese and yogurt, season with salt and cayenne pepper, mix well. Check/adjust seasoning.
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Ingredients and method for the rest of the dish:

Cut the dough sheets into rounds corresponding to the size of your ravioli/pierogi-cutter.
Top each round of dough with 1 tblsp cheese/potato filling, add ea round to the ravioli/pierogi-mold.
Moisten the dough’s edges with water, fold over, and press together to seal.
Repeat procedure with the remaining dough and filling.
Cook in boiling salted water until the dough is done, about 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickest part of the dough.
Remove with a slotted spoon, drain.
Saute 2 oz chopped bacon, 1 tsp garlic paste, julienne of 1/2 onion, 6 oz fresh spinach in 2 oz butter, add 8 oz fresh spinach and 1/3 cup heavy cream, simmer 1 minute, remove from heat, add julienne of one medium size onion, 1 ea seeded and julienned tomato and the freshly cooked vareniki, check/adjust seasoning. to serve, sprinkle with grated pepper-jack.
Serves 4 appetizers or 2 main courses.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

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Cheese And Potato Vareniki, With Spinach, Bacon and Tomato

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