Shirred Eggs and Liquor recipes


EGGSEPTIONAL AND EGGSTRAVAGENT SUMMER BRUNCH

Brunch is an affair that always brings to mind extravagant egg dishes, Belgian waffles, out of the ordinary sandwiches and fun drinks, either alcohol or non alcohol. This is a relaxing time where it is either a moment for lovers or for large groups. Happiness is the theme, and anytime there is good food and close friends then joy is surely expressed. Some of my fondest brunch memories are of dim sum restaurants, Southern fare and of coveted long afternoons on the Mendocino Coast watching the whales and tourists flow along with the fog.
We will be making one egg dish and several liquors and drink bases. The brunch table is a place of flowers, fresh cut fruits, rich muffins and biscuits, it is where you want to shine your best, but to also give airs of relaxation. Setting the table with carafes of drink bases, sparkling water, chilled espresso and teas adds to the sense of celebration. Any day with your beloved friends is a day to celebrate, actually.
Georgia just gets too hot too soon now so our egg is a baked dish, also called shirred eggs. I have been making various baked/shirred eggs for over 20 years. There are as many variations are imaginable. Shirred eggs tend to be British Isles, French and Scandinavian inspired dishes. The one today is Scandinavian and uses the last of the root vegetables of the season along with sausage style ground turkey. It is parsnips, carrots, onions, turnip, sweet potato, turkey sausage and farm eggs baked in an iron skillet with chicken stock, truffles and rosemary.
Do not be daunted by the prospect of making your own liquors, ginger ale and chai. We are making Kahlua, Irish cream, Beautiful and Green tea liquors. The recipes are for a quart of each. They keep indefinitely and nothing is wasted.
BRUNCH COFFEE AND ICED LIQUORS
For many people brunch means Bloody Mary and mimosa style drinks. They are mainstays for very good reasons of being both delicious and recognizable the world over as drinks that define a weekend brunch. Everyone has their own best Bloody Mary recipe. How about if we build our own liquor recipes?
Ginger ale syrup is an excellent addition to the grand old Sazerac and various bourbon cocktails. Peach bitters should have a place next to classic Angostura bitters on your bar shelf.
GINGER ALE
1lb ginger, unpeeled, cut into dice
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 small fresh chilies, stems removed
1.5 cups sugar
1 quart water
Combine ginger, lemongrass, and chilies in processor and mince, stop and scrape down as necessary.
Place puree in saucepan with the sugar and one quart of water, bring to boil, reduce to medium and simmer about 15 minutes. turn off heat, cool, strain, chill. This can be kept for several weeks refrigerated.
To serve, place about 1/4 cup syrup in glass full of ice. Top with soda water. Makes about 8-10 glasses. This is good with the green tea or beautiful liquors as well as an amazing ingredient to Sazerac.
A Sazerac is basically rye whiskey, and bitters. Peach Bitters works best. Muddle a sugar cube and the bitters with crushed ice. Pour the whiskey over the bitters and ice. Pour a dash of anise flavored liquor and a dash of ginger ale base into an Old Fashioned glass and roll it around the glass so that the inside is coated. Pour out the excess liquor. Strain the muddled whiskey into the glass.
CHAI LATTE
The word ‘chai’ translates as black tea.
1 cup Milk
2 cups Black tea, strong
1 Cinnamon bark
¼ teaspoon Ginger
1/6 teaspoon Cardamom
1 tablespoon Sugar or brown sugar

Combine and keep warm. Strain. Pour the liquid into cups or reserve in a sealed container in your refrigerator. You can make as much as you will drink within a couple of days.
If you are drinking it right away then steep and strain. In a separate container froth 4 ounces of milk or cream. Milk frothers are cheap and well worth owning. Add coffee liquor or Irish liquor to chai, spoon froth on top and sprinkle with fresh grated cinnamon.
KAHLUA
Makes 1 quart
1 1/2 cups espresso, cold
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4th cup molasses
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 quart vodka
Combine espresso, sugars, molasses and vanilla in a large sauce pot and bring to a boil. When it hits a boil turn heat down to a simmer and let cook for about 20 minutes. Refrigerate 12 hours. Add vodka. Cover and let stand again overnight in refrigerator. That’s it, easy kahlua and half the price. You can vary the flavors with different coffees and with alternate extracts such as a touch of almond extract. And we all know what we get when we start mixing vanilla and almond…. Irish Cream!

IRISH CREAM
This is one of the most delicious and rich liquors around. You can make it as thick as you like with the condensed milk and chocolate.
1 cup heavy cream
1 pint sweetened condensed milk
1 quart Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey
1 1/2 cups espresso, cold
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon dark vanilla extract
Mix it all together and then mix again in bar blender at high speed for about a minute so that it is completely blended. This will keep forever and a day in the refrigerator.
And you know what happens when you have your own homemade Irish Cream in the house? Chocolate martinis. Blend with vodka and a touch of orange liquor and swirl chocolate sauce around the top of the drink. Irish cream liquor is extremely versatile so be adventurous and see what you do with it in cocktails, cooking and as a topping for ice cream and cake desserts.
BEAUTIFUL
This is called Beautiful for the reason that it seems to make people feel that way, beautiful. This a strong liquor so use sparingly until you are used to the intensity.
1/2 cup Cointreau
1 cup Grand Marnier or Napoleon Mandarin Liquor
1 pint Brandy
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup cran-raspberry juice
1 cup orange juice

Make a syrup by heating the orange and cranberry-raspberry juices and sugar together just below a boil for 20 minutes, simmer. Remove from heat and add alcohols. You can substitute pomegranate juice and it will still be delicious. This also a great place to use the berry-vinegar drink base we made here a few months ago. Cover and refrigerate for several days before serving. This is best in a cordial glass or over ice. For fun you can serve it warm and float a tablespoon of cognac on the top and light it, when the flame dies, drink. Beautiful has many variations.
GREEN TEA LIQUOR
24 ounces strong green tea, brewed
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 ½ cups water
1 pint sake, good grade
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup orange blossom honey
1/2 cup chopped peaches

Make the tea and set aside. Combine sugar and water. Make simple syrup by bringing it to a boil and then simmering for 15 minutes. Pour into the tea and honey. Chill. After it is cold add peaches and sake, blend in drink blender. Strain into glass or plastic container and cover. Set aside in a glass or plastic sealed container in a dark, cool place for at least a week.
Green tea liquor is good with sparkling water over ice, as a martini base, with sushi, as a summer sipping liquor or with fruit juice and soda water for a brunch cocktail.
SHIRRED EGGS
For a rich European or Northern California style brunch egg there is nothing better than shirred eggs. Oven baked eggs also reduce the amount heat distributed in your kitchen during our hot months here in the South. Be careful not to over cook them, and believe me, this is easy to do. Check your dish five minutes into cooking to see if the eggs are cooking at a good pace.
You can use individual small iron skillets person or cook it all in one big iron skillet for this particular dish. Many shirred egg dishes are cooked in ramekins and even as a brunch pizza with spinach, fresh mozzarella and garlic.
3 ounces parsnips, peeled and diced
3 ounces carrots, peeled and diced
3 ounces turnips, peeled and diced
2 ounces onion, diced
3 ounces sweet potato, peeled and diced
3/4 cup chicken stock
¼ teaspoon ground thyme
¼ teaspoon basil leaves
1 teaspoon rosemary, minced
1/3 teaspoon paprika
1/3 teaspoon Indian red pepper, ground
1 teaspoon ground sea salt (sea salt because it is not bleached)
6 ounces ground turkey
2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
1 ounce butter
1 shaving of truffle for each egg. If no truffles then use rehydrated dried Chinese mushrooms or cepes.
Sauté the turkey and spices in olive oil and butter on low heat. When it is cooked add the vegetables one group at a time, pour off excess oils and then put in 375 degree oven. Cook for 15 minutes. Add chicken stock. Gently crack 4 to 6 eggs, depending how hungry you are, at compass points in the skillet. Keep the yolk and white as close together as you can by forming a well in the vegetables when you add them.
Bake for 10 minutes. Put one truffle shaving on top of each egg. If you must have cheese just grate Swiss or mozzarella over the pan and let it melt from the heat of the vegetables. Serve your friends and beloved with happiness and open conversations. The best things begin around a lively table.

Everything flowering
Everything alive
Turn anywhere
In an afternoon drive
Here and there
Trees are blooming
Roses reach out
Towards every passer by
They seem to shout
“Look at me, won’t you please?”
And in the kitchens
The cooking smells cry
“It’s time to gather here”,
And so we do,
We gather and we love,
We see all things in Spring
Are in and of God,
So we turn and say Hello,
Shake hands and smile,
Knowing all the while
This life is as good
As we make it,
We do as we should
As we would wish
Were done for us,
Fresh flowers,
Fresh foods,
True friends,
What is common
Is uncommon
And never simply
Sentimental
When done with heart
With purity and peace.

Learning the Charm Of Crock Pots From Kitchen Sink To Cassoulet


LEARNING THE CHARM OF CROCK POTS
FROM KITCHEN SINK TO CASSOULET
Happy New Year and Hello 2011! The black eyed peas and collards have all been eaten and it is time to keep the crock pot out for more great food. We owe a lot to the crock pot or slow cooker. Slow cooker dishes are made for families of one to full sized classic family of five. One pot is good for a week or a big Sunday. They cook smoothly, evenly and by keeping the top on they recycle the liquids. Since no stock is lost to the room it all stays in with the vegetables and meat. By simmering for 6 to 10 hours the meats become very tender and full flavored. Crock pots are excellent for short ribs. There are people who live by the crock pot, and this is dedicated to all of you who love or will love the beauty of a long simmered pot of navy beans/black beans/pinto/, okra, chicken and pork, and the elegantly peasant staple of cassoulet.
When I was getting ready for this I called my friends Don Chambers, Jarad Blanton and then Bryan Redding. I asked what they thought of crock pots. Immediately each said they used them all the time and love ‘em; and of course added that it is in high favor by all Mothers. Enough said. I had to do it. But the problem was how do I make it unique? I do not. The recipes here are classic French cuisine with the cassoulet and classic Southern as in gumbo variations. While shopping I saw that crock pots are now being sold in dual units. Side by side in the same console for optimized slow cooking! This is the way to save money and labor while putting together either a big family meal or a weeks worth of base for one or two people.
Purists put your heavy hand aside as this cassoulet recipe has smoked duck instead of duck confit in the recipe, nor are there copious amounts of thick cut pork belly or fatback, just hickory bacon and olive oil. I have adjusted for a slow cooker style. The rest of the dish is fairly standard in relation to the history of the dish. It is family food, farm food, a celebration of harvest. For us here in the South, crock dishes and cassoulet are festive enough by the very nature of the happy unity of flavors that takes place in the cooker. Winter demands we have big pots of something cooking from venison chili to cassoulet.
STANDARD PANTRY CROCK POT
Here we have the standard “there’s nothing to eat” emptying of the pantry and refrigerator. I know this because I have done this, and what fun it is to find jewels where we thought there were none. Not enough praise can be lain upon a cooking tool like a crock pot. I use a Cuisinart one that is all ceramic. The dual ones that I saw in the store were stainless-aluminum alloy in a polycarbonate cabinet. Pretty impressive stuff and well worth owning if your family needs require that much on going cooking.
The ingredients are not unusual. Everything is seasonally appropriate and if not fresh then dried is always there on the grocers shelves. I use guajilla pepper because the hot background to the fruity aroma adds a good even spicy heat to the dish. The peanuts and dried cranberries came as an after thought. On my second helping I thought that something was missing. This thing is crunch and the citrus sweet of peanuts and cranberries. Call this a gumbo if you want to, add fried crawfish tails to garnish and there you have a salty, crackly, smooth and earthy plate of goodness.
Cook pearled barley ahead of time and add to pot with other ingredients. Cook time for this recipe is 1 hour on high to bring it to a stable 300 degrees, then turn to low, 140 degrees, and cook for 7 hours. Cook a total of 8 hours. You can cook it for up to 10 hours if you want to really intensify the flavors. There are recipes requiring 16 hours time in the slow cooker. Keep covered except when adding ingredients. When using ground meats like our sausage then brown it first, pour off the grease and then add to the crock pot. Thick cut vegetables go into the bottom of the pot. Add fresh herbs and seafood add during last 60-45 minutes. Vinegar based seasonings like Tabasco and Cholula will get bitter so stick to the dried and fresh peppers. Do not uncover, between seasoning, just let the crock pot do the job it was made to do.
There is no “reducing” of liquids in a crock pot because the liquid recycles back down into the pot. Do not fill more than two inches from the top. Every time you lift the cover add an additional 20 minutes to your cook time. Do not stir after it starts cooking. Slow cooking is that sensitive! It is not merely mix and walk away, there really are techniques. Do not think of the crock pot as a place to empty straight from freezer to pot. Do not do it. Adding frozen foods to an already cooking crock pot is one of the things that causes intestinal discomfort, i.e. food poisoning. Best solution is to use fresh vegetables only and if you are using frozen meats then thaw thoroughly and sauté before adding to the cauldron of deliciousness.
A CHICKEN AND A HOG WALK INTO A BAR
Ingredients are listed in the order you should put them into the slow cooker.

1 1/2 quarts Chicken stock
1 1/3 cups White corn kernels
10 ounces Chicken, skinless, thigh and breast, thick dice
4 ounces Bacon, chopped, cook with sausage
6 ounces Ground sage pork sausage, browned and degreased
1 cup Pearled barley, cooked
2 cups Okra, sliced
1 cup Chayote squash, thick dice
1/2 pound Red potatoes, thick dice
½ pound Butternut squash, peeled, seeded, thick dice
6 stalks Green onion, sliced
4 cloves Garlic, crushed
Add during last hour of cooking
1/3 cup Cilantro, fresh, stems and leaves, chopped
15 fronds Rosemary, crushed
3 Bay leaves
1 tablespoon Guajilla pepper, dried, seeded and sliced
1 tablespoon Coarse black pepper
1 ½ tablespoons Coarse salt
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
12 ounces Dark Beer
At Service
2 tablespoons Peanuts per plate
1 tablespoon Dried cranberries per plate
4 ounces cooked basmati rice per plate

Garnish with whole cilantro leaves.

Serve over a plate of basmati rice with basil and olive oil. Cornbread is required.

A HUNGRY SOUTHERNER WALKS INTO A SUPERBOWL PARTY
This is a five ingredient slow cooker dish but the beef and potatoes do not count. Perfect for a base for chili.
1 pound Beef sirloin, cut in thick cubes
1 ½ pounds Russet potatoes, cut in thick dice
2 cups Cooked red beans
1 teaspoon Tony Chacheres Original Creole Seasoning
1 tablespoon Coarse Black Pepper
12 ounces Beef stock
12 ounces Good pilsner like a Terrapin brew
Combine and cook for 10 hours. Garnish with chutney or chow chow. Think chili. Serve over thick pasta like fettuccine.

SONOMA TO CLARKE COUNTY, CASSOULET IS HERE TO STAY
My best day with cassoulet was at St. Jean Winery in the early 1980s. We sat outside at a long wooden table under a huge magnolia in front of the main house. They treated the staff of St. Orres where I was working to a day at the farm. It was magnificent. The owner and his wife, Jean, were regulars at St. Orres and loved our food. What is not to love about any foods all fresh from Mendocino and Sonoma Counties? I sat next to the wine master. I did not know it at first and as I raved about the cassoulet, rye bread and Chardonnay he began to laugh and introduced himself. I felt honored and humble. The Coast and the Valley was vibrant with the rush of New American Cuisine back then, when Chefs worked together and Alice Waters was discussed at every meal, when farm to table first began in 1979 and still today seems like something new. Farm to table should never be a memory, it should always be now.
The smoker here is the Big Green Egg, Weber, Lil Indian, Brinkman or whatever brand you have for smoking the turkey and duck. I smoked a whole duck seasoned with rum, sweet soy, sambal and ginger for 6 hours with hickory wood. I seasoned the turkey with a traditional thyme, sea salt, black pepper, oregano, rosemary, sage and white wine rub. Let it stand overnight and then smoked with cherry wood for 12 hours. Crispy skin and smoky smooth meat. Cassoulet is a farm, home, peasant dish that originally used duck confit (duck cooked and chilled in duck fat) and haricot beans as the base. If you do not want to cook outside then roast the duck and turkey in the oven. You can cut the turkey in half and thus reduce the cook time. Internal temperature for duck should be 150 degrees while the turkey should reach 180.
The basic definition is “mixed bean and meat stew” so a lot is left to the particular bias of the chef preparing the dish. As I learned cassoulet from German and French Chefs it was duck, lamb, turkey, pork fatback, cranberry beans, white beans, white wine, tomatoes, wild rice and chicken stock.
As time goes by our tastes change a bit and the weather demands a nice day in and out by the smoker. Cold weather is perfect for grilling out in the South. Our cold weather is thankfully mild. If you have a Big Green Egg or other kind of ceramic smoker/grill and it is still hot from smoking the turkey you can make the cassoulet inside of it. Use an iron pot with lid, put the ingredients in and use hickory wood and apple wood for the smoke. Set it so that the temperature is at 200 degrees and leave it inside to cook for seven hours.
When using a standard slow cooker/crock pot you will cook the cassoulet for 10 hours, 1 hour on high and 9 hours on low. Add the duck during the last two hours of cooking. Start with all the other ingredients. When using dried herbs use flake, not powder.
10 ounces Duck, boneless, skinless
2 Turkey wings, skinless, cut in fourths
10 ounces Turkey breast meat, thick chopped
10 ounces Summer sausage, cut in thick cubes
4 strips Hickory bacon, dice, sauté, add all to pot
2 cups Navy beans, cooked
1 pound Red potatoes, large dice
1 cup Carrots, peeled, large dice
1 cup Turnips, peeled, medium diced
1 cup Onions, diced
1 Green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons Tomato paste
1 cup Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 ½ quarts Chicken Stock
1 pint White Cooking wine
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 teaspoon Rubbed Sage
½ teaspoon Oregano
1/3 cup Parsley, chopped
2 tablespoon Sea Salt
1 tablespoon Coarse Black Pepper
Garnish:
2 cups Spinach leaves, chiffonade cut (thin strips)

While it is cooking you can make a favorite rice or even mashed potato dish to use as service for the cassoulet. I have even had it in hollowed out bread bowls. Just take a thick crust round bread and heat it to very warm, cut out the top and remove the bread leaving a half inch to the crust so that it does not leak. Then spoon the cassoulet inside of the bread. Place a duck leg and turkey wing section on top of each serving. Garnish with thin sliced spinach over the whole serving. This is a rich dish that is good for any cold weather afternoon or evening.
If you don’t want to use the slow cooker for this dish you can cook the beans on the stove and roast the meats, then combine the ingredients in a roasting pan and cook again so that the ingredients are more distinct. After you remove the ingredients from the roasting pan pour the juices into a sauce pan. Add a cup of chicken stock and cook on high heat, stirring infrequently, until it has all reduced to one cup. Arrange each portion on a plate and pour the sauce over the cassoulet. Decorate with the chiffonade spinach. To really take this to the next stage you can then place a grilled lamb chop or pork chop next to the duck leg and turkey wing on the plate. This is as hearty and hardy as food can be.
This marks a great time for me. My book is finally in print and available in bookstores, Amazon, the publisher (Lummox Press) and from me at book events. This has been a labor of love for so many reasons and most of all it is a love letter to World Cuisine. The world is such a beautiful banquet of hundreds of cuisines and each as important as the next. Southern Distinction is where these recipes are first expressed beyond home or restaurant, and I am thankful to Bryan for his photography and inspiration, to Cindy and Keith for publishing such a great magazine and most of all to the cooks and readers here. It is all for you:
“Ginger, Lily & Sweet Fire: A Romance With Food”
At The Gates
Reading the Song of Songs
The way I have for years and years,
This little book,
The greatest love poem,
It goes beyond one man one woman,
It goes into the scope of life,
Of how to love
To hunt to harvest and enjoy,
To live upon this earth,
To simplify the seasons
Into the grace
Of doves and deer,
The sweetness here
Of almonds and figs,
The kiss of the Sing-Shulamite,
Of all things beloved,
We learn what is a grace
When we awake to being loved.

proletaria

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Poems for Warriors

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain..." 1 Cor. 15:10

LUNA

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Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

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Poetry by Charles Joseph

susansflowers

garden ponderings

𝓡. 𝓐. 𝓓𝓸𝓾𝓰𝓵𝓪𝓼

𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚋𝚒𝚐! 𝙻𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛!

Flutter of Dreams

Dreaming in Music and Writing by Mel Gutiér

RhYmOpeDia

Immature poet imitate...but the mature one steal from the depth of the heart

hotfox63

IN MEMORY EVERYTHING SEEMS TO HAPPEN TO MUSIC -Tennessee Williams

My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Harry nu je hier bent. Welcome to the Discobar Bizar blog, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Harry whilst you are here!

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry

MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

proletaria

politics philosophy phenomena

Poems for Warriors

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain..." 1 Cor. 15:10

LUNA

Pen to paper

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

Sircharlesthepoet

Poetry by Charles Joseph

susansflowers

garden ponderings

𝓡. 𝓐. 𝓓𝓸𝓾𝓰𝓵𝓪𝓼

𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚋𝚒𝚐! 𝙻𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛!

Flutter of Dreams

Dreaming in Music and Writing by Mel Gutiér

RhYmOpeDia

Immature poet imitate...but the mature one steal from the depth of the heart

hotfox63

IN MEMORY EVERYTHING SEEMS TO HAPPEN TO MUSIC -Tennessee Williams

My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Harry nu je hier bent. Welcome to the Discobar Bizar blog, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Harry whilst you are here!

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry

MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

proletaria

politics philosophy phenomena

Poems for Warriors

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain..." 1 Cor. 15:10

LUNA

Pen to paper

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

Sircharlesthepoet

Poetry by Charles Joseph

susansflowers

garden ponderings

𝓡. 𝓐. 𝓓𝓸𝓾𝓰𝓵𝓪𝓼

𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚋𝚒𝚐! 𝙻𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛!

Flutter of Dreams

Dreaming in Music and Writing by Mel Gutiér

RhYmOpeDia

Immature poet imitate...but the mature one steal from the depth of the heart

hotfox63

IN MEMORY EVERYTHING SEEMS TO HAPPEN TO MUSIC -Tennessee Williams

My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Harry nu je hier bent. Welcome to the Discobar Bizar blog, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Harry whilst you are here!

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry

MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

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