Chef Sara Boan’s Complete Vegan Holiday Dinner

What could be better than teaching and inspiring people to cook and eat compassionately? Not much, believe Chef Linda Soper-Kolton and Chef Sara Boan of Compassionate Cuisine, the culinary program of the Catskill Animal Sanctuary (CAS) in Saugerties, New York. The two chefs — both are graduates of Manhattan’s Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts — teach cooking classes featuring their own mouth-watering vegan recipes in CAS’s spacious and friendly commercial kitchen. Their mission is to get the message out that a vegan diet is both simple and delicious. Visit their blog at http://compassionatecuisine.org/ and, if you live in the region, consider signing up for one of their thoroughly enjoyable cooking classes at CAS.  We promise it will forever change your attitude about preparing and eating food, whether you are already vegan or not.

Many of us at the Spiral House have been supporting CAS and its mission since this special farm sanctuary opened its doors 15 years ago. We are thrilled to be sharing Chef Linda’s and Chef Sara’s recipes with you here and in the coming months. We start today with a full menu of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner recipes by Chef Sara, from a Pumpkin, Roasted Garlic, and Rosemary Hummus appetizer to her Perfect Pumpkin Pie for dessert with lots in between: Frisée and Radicchio Salad with Apples and Pomegranate, Seitan Roulade with Oyster Mushroom and Farro Stuffing, Herbed Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts, Green Beans Almondine, The Best-Ever Sourdough and “Sausage” Stuffing, Rich Vegan Gravy, and Maple-Cinnamon Delicata Squash.

And here’s Chef Sara’s advice for a joyful Thanksgiving, a time —especially this year — when family tensions can run high: “As you sit around the Thanksgiving table, silently remind yourself of all the wonderful things you love about each person. It’s easy to focus on the things that separate and divide us, but there also exist many wonderful qualities that unify us and make us stronger. Look for the good in your loved ones, speak kindly whenever possible, and remember to breathe.”

 

Pumpkin, Roasted Garlic, and Rosemary Hummus

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(Gluten-free, nut free, soy-free)

This seasonal spin on classic hummus incorporates sweet pumpkin, savory roasted garlic, and aromatic rosemary to make a dip you’ll turn to again and again in the cooler months. Serve with pita crisps and autumnal crudités, such as carrots, cauliflower, and endive spears. A Chef Sara Boan, Compassionate Cuisine recipe.

Makes approximately 2½ cups

 

Ingredients

1½ cups chickpeas (one 15.5-ounce can)

1 cup pumpkin purée

Juice of ½ a lemon (approximately 2 tablespoons)

1 head roasted garlic*

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup olive oil

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

 

Method

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the chickpeas, pumpkin purée, lemon juice, roasted garlic cloves, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Pulse to roughly chop. With the motor running, stream in the olive oil: if the mixture is too thick, add water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is smooth. Add the finely chopped rosemary, and pulse to combine. Scrape the hummus into a container, and serve immediately or refrigerate until needed. The hummus will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days.

*To roast garlic: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a chef’s knife to cut across the top of a head of garlic, exposing the cloves. Place the head of garlic on a sheet of foil, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap tightly. Place the foil-encased garlic in a small baking dish, then bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the garlic feels soft when squeezed (use a kitchen towel to protect your hands). Allow to cool, then open the packet, squeeze the softened garlic into a small bowl, and proceed with your recipe.

 

Frisée and Radicchio Salad with Apples and Pomegranate

frisee-and-radicchio-salad-with-apples-and-pomegranate_abs_web(Gluten-free, nut-free option, soy-free)

Bitter frisée and and radicchio are tempered by mild and tender baby greens, then contrasted beautifully with sweet, tart apples and pomegranate. Toasted walnuts add crunch, and a sprightly apple cider vinaigrette ties it all together. Add cooked chickpeas to make this gorgeous salad a meal. A Chef Sara Boan, Compassionate Cuisine recipe.

Makes 8-10 servings

 

Ingredients

For the vinaigrette:

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup apple cider

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 small shallot, minced (approximately 2 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard

1tablespoon maple syrup

1½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

For the salad:

1large head frisée, washed, dried, and cut or torn into bite-size pieces

1 head radicchio, washed, dried, and cut into bite-size pieces

8 ounces mixed baby greens, washed and dried if not pre-washed

4 large apples, such as Honeycrisp or Fuji, cut into chunks and tossed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice

⅔ cup pomegranate seeds* (from 1 medium pomegranate; see tip below)

½ cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

 

Method

  1. First, make the vinaigrette: place all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until emulsified. Alternatively, place all the ingredients in a mason jar, close tightly, and shake vigorously until well-combined. Refrigerate until needed. The vinaigrette can be made well in advance and will keep, refrigerated, for up to a week.
  2. In a large serving bowl, gently toss together the endive, radicchio, mixed baby greens, and apple pieces. Drizzle with approximately half the vinaigrette, toss again, and add additional vinaigrette as needed until the salad is lightly and evenly coated. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and walnuts, and serve immediately. (If making ahead, do not dress the salad until serving time to keep the greens from wilting.)

* To remove seeds from the pomegranate, use a knife to score the pomegranate horizontally, cutting just deep enough to get through the thick skin. Pull the pomegranate apart into two halves, then hold one half, seed side down, over a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to hit the pomegranate, which will dislodge the seeds into the bowl below. Continue until the seeds are mostly removed, then pick out the remaining seeds with your fingers. Repeat with the other pomegranate half.

 

Seitan Roulade with Oyster Mushroom and Farro Stuffing

making-seitan-8_abs_web(Nut-free option)

Looking for a show-stopping vegan holiday entree? This gorgeous Seitan Roulade with Oyster Mushroom and Farro Stuffing fits the bill! Seitan is another name for wheat gluten, the protein-rich component in ground wheat that, when separated from the starch, makes a dense and chewy vegan meat substitute. Though it may seem like a newfangled food, seitan originated in China in the 6th century, when Buddhist monks began preparing it as a cruelty-free alternative to meat. The method used by these monks involved making a dough of wheat flour, kneading it underwater, and repeatedly rinsing away the starch until only the gluten was left behind. Fortunately for us, we can now purchase vital wheat gluten at our local grocery stores in the baking aisle or online, which cuts out the rinsing step and makes preparing homemade seitan a snap! A Chef Sara Boan, Compassionate Cuisine recipe.

Makes 8-10 servings

 

Ingredients

 

For the oyster mushroom and farro stuffing:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 ounces oyster mushrooms, trimmed and coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ white wine or apple juice

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1 ½ cups cooked farro (from ½ cup dry)

¼ cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped

¼ cup chopped pecans

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried sage

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or ¾ teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

For the Seitan:

8 ounces firm tofu, drained (half a 1-pound block)

1 cup vegetable broth

¼ cup grapeseed, sunflower, or canola oil

¼ cup nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

1 tablespoon onion powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

1 ½ teaspoons salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 cups vital wheat gluten

 

Method

1. First, make the stuffing. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic, and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and the garlic is fragrant. Pour in the white wine or apple juice and allow it to bubble and reduce for a minute or so, scraping up any flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the salt, cooked farro, cranberries, pecans, fresh herbs, and a few grinds of black pepper, and mix well. Taste, adjust seasonings as necessary, and set aside until needed. (The stuffing can be made well in advance and refrigerated until needed.)

2. To make the seitan, preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit, and prepare your work surface by laying out two large (at least 20 inches long) pieces of foil, overlapping by a few inches. This is where you’ll roll up the seitan and stuffing. Next, place the tofu, vegetable broth, oil, nutritional yeast, tamari, onion powder, garlic powder, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor or a blender, then process until smooth. Pour into a medium-large bowl. Add the wheat gluten, and use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture together. Do not be alarmed when the mixture pulls together into a ball of dense dough with little effort: this is the wheat gluten pulling everything together. Use your hands to gently mix the dough right in the bowl until it looks uniform, then transfer the dough to the foil sheets. Use your hands to gently pat the dough into a rectangle roughly 16 by 10 inches. If a hole appears in the dough, no worries: just pinch it together with your fingers and continue.

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When the dough is as close as you can get it to a rectangle, spread the mushroom and farro stuffing over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Press the stuffing gently and evenly into the dough, then starting at the edge closest to you and using the foil to help you, begin to roll the dough away from you, sushi-style, until you’re left with a log of stuffed seitan. Roll up the log snugly in the foil, twist each end together like a Tootsie Roll, then place on a baking sheet and transfer to the preheated oven.

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3. Bake the seitan for 50-60 minutes, until it feels very firm when squeezed. (Use an oven mitt or kitchen towel to protect your hand when checking.) Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the foil. To serve, slice gently with a serrated knife, arrange slices on a serving platter, and serve hot with vegan gravy.

Make-ahead options: The roulade can be baked 2-3 days ahead, refrigerated, and reheated in the oven until hot. Alternatively, follow the recipe up until the baking step, refrigerate the foil-covered, unbaked roulade, and bake completely when needed, adding an additional 10-15 minutes to the baking time.

 

Herbed Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

roasted-brussels-sprouts-and-potatoes_abs_web(Gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free)

Fingerling potatoes are festive, adorable (so tiny!), and incredibly delicious, and make a great accompaniment for tasty but oft-maligned Brussels sprouts. In this dish, they roast together with fresh rosemary, garlic, and a touch of maple syrup for a stand-out side dish that will win over even the pickiest of eaters. A Chef Sara Boan, Compassionate Cuisine recipe.

Makes 8-10 servings

 

Ingredients

2½ pounds fingerling potatoes, scrubbed, patted dry, and cut lengthwise

1½ pounds Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed, and halved

6 cloves garlic minced

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1½ teaspoons salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking trays with parchment paper, and set aside until needed.
  2. Place the prepared potatoes and Brussels sprouts in a large bowl, then add the garlic, rosemary, olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper, and mix well with your hands until the vegetables are well-coated. Spread evenly onto the prepared baking sheets, then transfer to the oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring once halfway through baking, until the vegetables are tender and slightly caramelized. Serve immediately.

 

Green Beans Almondine

green-beans-almondine_abs_web(Gluten-free, soy-free)

This classic recipe is the definition of delicious simplicity: fresh green beans, quickly blanched until crisp-tender and sautéed with toasted almonds and olive oil. It makes a simple yet elegant side dish for any holiday meal.

A Chef Sara Boan, Compassionate Cuisine recipe.

Makes 8-10 servings

 

Ingredients

1½ pounds fresh green beans, stem ends removed

⅓ cup slivered almonds

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Juice of half a lemon (approximately 2 tablespoons)

 

Method

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When boiling, add one tablespoon of salt, then the green beans. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the beans are bright green and crisp-tender. Drain, then immediately plunge into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. (This can be done up to 2-3 days in advance, and the beans kept refrigerated until needed.)
  2. In a large, deep skillet, toast the slivered almonds over medium heat until golden brown. Add the olive oil, green beans, salt, and pepper, then cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the beans are hot but not overcooked. Sprinkle with lemon juice, taste and adjust seasonings as necessary, and serve immediately.

 

The Best-Ever Sourdough and “Sausage” Stuffing

making-sourdough-and-sausage-stuffing_abs_web(Nut-free)

Traditional bread stuffing gets a compassionate makeover by using delicious, protein-rich vegan sausage. The optional dried cranberries or cherries add a gentle sweetness and a festive appearance, contrasting beautifully with the fresh parsley and sage. A Chef Sara Boan, Compassionate Cuisine recipe.

Makes 10-12 servings

 

Ingredients

¼ cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) or olive oil

2 large onions, chopped

8 stalks celery, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, leaves only, or 2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage

3 large vegan sausage links, such as Field Roast Smoked Apple-Sage sausages, crumbled

1 large loaf day-old sourdough bread, cut into ½-inch cubes

½ cup fresh parsley, leaves only, chopped

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

⅔ cup dried cranberries or cherries, coarsely chopped (optional)

3-4 cups vegetable broth

 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish and set aside until needed.

2. Heat the vegan butter or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions and celery plus a pinch of salt, then cook until the vegetables are translucent and softened, approximately 10-12 minutes. Add the sage and crumbled vegan sausage, and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, until the sausage is just beginning to brown.

3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, then add the bread, parsley, and optional dried fruit. Season with salt and pepper, then pour in 3 cups vegetable broth, using a spatula or your hands to mix everything together until well-coated and moistened. If the mixture seems too dry, add some additional broth. Taste the stuffing, adjust seasonings as needed, then spread the mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish, pressing down with your hands to make it smooth and uniform. Cover with foil, place in the oven, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until heated through. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. Serve hot.

 

Rich Vegan Gravy

(Gluten-free option, nut-free)

This delicious gravy, loosely adapted from a version by Chloe Coscarelli, makes a wonderful topping for just about any dish that needs a rich, creamy, and savory finish. For a gluten-free option, substitute your favorite gluten-free flour blend for the wheat flour, and use slightly less, as it thickens more quickly. A Chef Sara Boan, Compassionate Cuisine Recipe.

Makes approximately 3 cups (6-8 servings), easily doubled

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons grapeseed, sunflower, or canola oil

1 large onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup nutritional yeast

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 cups vegetable broth, heated

2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, then sauté the onion until soft and translucent, approximately 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more, then add the nutritional yeast and flour and cook for an additional minute. Pour in the hot vegetable broth and tamari, whisking well, and heat until the mixture is bubbling and thickened, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
  2. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth, then stir in the chopped fresh thyme and black pepper. Taste, adjust seasonings as necessary, and serve hot. (To make ahead, store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, then reheat over medium heat on the stovetop, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.)

 

Maple-Cinnamon Delicata Squash

maple-cinnamon-delicata-squash_abs_web(Gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free)

Delicata squash is one of my all-time favorites: not only is the flesh sweet and tender, but the skin is so thin, it doesn’t require peeling. (A win-win!) In this easy and festive side dish, delicata slices are tossed with olive oil, maple syrup, and cinnamon, then roasted until candy-sweet. What’s not to love? A Chef Sara Boan, Compassionate Cuisine recipe.

Makes 8-10 servings

 

Ingredients

4 medium delicata squash, cut lengthwise, seeds scooped out, and cut into ½-inch slices

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1½ teaspoons salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment, then set aside until needed.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the sliced squash, olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper until well-coated. Spread in an even layer across the prepared baking sheets, then transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork and caramelized around the edges. Serve warm.

 

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

perfect-pumpkin-pie_abs_web(nut-free, soy-free option)

This pie, loosely based on a 1964 recipe by Avanelle Day, is smooth and creamy, sweet but not cloying, and rich with warming, comforting spices. Best of all, it’s completely egg- and dairy-free, and doesn’t require any hard-to-find specialty ingredients. For the best texture, make this pie in advance and allow it to set in the refrigerator for at least four hours. If making your own pumpkin puree, be sure to choose a pie or sugar pumpkin: the pumpkins used for carving are too watery and lack flavor. A Chef Sara Boan, Compassionate Cuisine recipe.

Makes one 9-inch pie, 8-12 servings

 

Ingredients

1vegan pie crust (recipe follows), fitted into a 9-inch pie plate

1¾ cups pumpkin purée (or one 14-ounce can pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)

¼ cup pure maple syrup

½ cup brown sugar

¾ cup canned full-fat coconut milk

¼ cup organic cornstarch

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

Non-dairy milk for brushing crust

Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on crust (optional)

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the prepared pie plate on a baking tray.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the pumpkin purée, maple syrup, brown sugar, coconut milk, cornstarch, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and process until smooth, scraping the side of the food processor bowl as necessary. Pour the mixture into the pie crust, then smooth the top. Brush the exposed crust with non-dairy milk, then sprinkle with the optional turbinado sugar for a sweet and sparkly finish.
  3. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the filling looks mostly set and is starting to crack around the edges. If the crust browns before the filling is fully baked, use strips of foil to loosely cover the crust, then return to the oven for the time remaining.
  4. Cool at room temperature on a wire rack, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least four hours. Keep any leftovers refrigerated for up to five days.

 

Chef Sara’s Favorite Vegan Pie Crust

(nut-free, soy-free option)

Making pastry from scratch can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Often vegans feel they have to miss out on this classic delight because traditional recipes include butter. This recipe for Perfect Pie Crust uses a traditional approach, but replaces dairy-based butter with vegan butter. The result is a delicious, rich, and flaky pie crust that works perfectly for just about any dessert pie. The tricks for achieving a tender, flaky crust includes keeping your ingredients cold, using a light hand when mixing, and allowing the dough to rest, all of which are outlined in the recipe. Making this Perfect Pie Crust recipe a day or so in advance allows the dough to rest and makes for easier assembly when you’re ready to use it. For a soy-free option, choose a soy-free vegan butter or vegetable shortening. A Chef Sara Boan, Compassionate Cuisine recipe.

Makes one 9-inch pie crust

 

Ingredients

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring work surface

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup (8 tablespoons) vegan butter,  such as Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, chilled

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

¼ + 2 tablespoons ice water, plus more as needed

 

Method

  1. In a medium-large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt, and whisk together to mix. Cut the cold vegan butter into ¼-inch cubes, add to the bowl of dry ingredients, and place the entire bowl in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes. (Alternatively, leave to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to several hours.)
  2. Using either a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the vegan butter into the flour mixture until the butter pieces are the size of small pebbles. (Alternatively, use a food processor, pulsing a few times until the shortening pieces are the desired size. Be very careful not to allow the dough to gather up into a ball: overworking the dough will result in tough pastry.) Mix together the apple cider vinegar and ice water in a small bowl, then pour over the crumbly dough, mixing together gently with a fork until the dough just holds together. Add in extra ice water as needed, one tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too dry.
  3. Flour a work surface, then gather the dough up into a ball and transfer it from the bowl to the floured surface. Pat the dough out into a rough circle approximately 5-6 inches across, then wrap the disc in plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator, and allow to chill for at least 1 hour, or up to a couple days. (The dough can also be frozen at this point, for later use.) Chilling the dough allows the gluten to relax, which will make the crust more tender.
  4. When you’re ready to roll the crust, flour a large piece of parchment paper, unwrap the chilled dough, and place the disc on the floured parchment. Sprinkle some more flour on top of the disc, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a circle that’s a several inches larger than your pie plate. Place the pie plate with the open surface flush against the rolled out crust, then, with one hand under the parchment and one securing the pie plate, flip everything over so the crust is sitting atop the pie plate. Gently peel off the parchment paper, press the crust down into the pie dish, and trim the edges. Decoratively crimp the edge however you like, or leave the edge plain if using a double or lattice crust later, then proceed with your recipe.

 

Coconut Whipped Cream

(Gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free)

When refrigerated for 24 hours and then whipped with powdered sugar and vanilla, coconut milk makes a rich and luscious dairy-free whipped cream that tastes amazing on a slice of pumpkin pie. For best results, choose coconut milk or cream without added guar gum.

Makes 1-1½ cups

 

Ingredients

One 13. 5 ounce can full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream (if using milk, yield will be slightly lower)

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Method

Refrigerate the coconut milk or cream for 24 hours or longer — this step is essential in achieving the perfect texture. Open the can from the bottom, pour off the coconut water (reserve for smoothies if you like), then scoop out the thick coconut cream into a medium bowl. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, then use a hand mixer to whip the mixture until lighter-textured and fluffy. (Alternatively, use a standing mixer with the whisk attachment.) Serve immediately, or refrigerate until needed. The coconut whipped cream will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

 

Thank you Chef Sara, Catskill Animal Sanctuary and Compassionate Cuisine and Happy Thanksliving!

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