Mushroom Miso Ramen

Last night, I realized something. If I’m going to be making ramen stock from scartch, I need to get some sweet ramen bowls. These simply will not do.

Bowls of fresh wheat noodles in mushroom miso broth, seared cremini mushrooms, sliced Korean chili pepper, seared fresh tofu with soy sauce, and a member of the choy family of greens in the back.

I went on a grocery field trip with some friends to H Mart in Tigard yesterday, and for the sake of bowls, spoons, and even more ingredients, a follow up to dear Fubonn, for convenience’s sake, is already in order. It was my first time visiting H Mart, a Korean supermarket that spells it out with a banner for the clueless stating “ASIAN SUPERMARKET” underneath its logo, and I stocked up on the following:

Most importantly: chili powder, mangosteen juice, tapioca starch, fresh tofu and DECENT fresh galangal and lemongrass. A rare find in my life.

Once the fresh* (and vegan, for once!) noodles were in my hand, I decided on ramen for dinner. My girlfriend and I have been digging the ramen in vegan miso broth at Wafu, and I felt like I could tackle something similar at home, using this recipe as a base.The final result was appropriately cloudy with a hint of spice, plenty of flavour and there’s a generous portion of broth remaining for mid-week noodles. Bring it on.

Mushroom Miso Ramen…

For the mushroom miso broth, I sautéed one chopped stalk of lemongrass, 5 cloves of roughly minced garlic, half of a diced Korean chili pepper and sliced, fresh galangal (thank you, month in Thailand) in a mixture of peanut and black sesame oils about 3-5 minutes. Next up, I added freshly ground black pepper, a handful of wild dried mushrooms – a mix of 7 or 8 local varieties I picked up from the Peoples Coop farmers market – quickly sautéed until aromatic, added a splash of dry sherry, whisked in 3 tablespoons of Korean soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of miso (half yellow, half white), 1 tablespoon of vegetarian fish sauce, a bit of vegetable bullion paste, 6 cups of water, and brought to a boil. I then lowered the heat, covered, let simmer for 30 minutes, and finally, after straining, it was ready for noodlin’.

Along with the briefly cooked fresh wheat noodles, we had fresh (and I mean glorifyingly fresh) cubes of firm tofu, seared on two sides with a splash of soy sauce, just-as-seared cremini mushrooms, even-more-seared choy, and the other half of the long Korean chili pepper for extra heat. I did not anticipate the heat this green pepper would deliver, and I’m glad I licked my finger before adding it to the stock!

It's really no surprise that I couldn't remember which choy-but-non-bok-choy I picked up.

*granted, they were fresh in a package, so, fresh-ish.

P.S.

H Mart has one of these.

spicy yellow curry noodle soup & inspiration from chau in vancouver, b.c.

Spicy Yellow Curry Noodle Soup with fried tofu, baked Masala tofu from AFR, snow peas, kale raab, baby bok choi, jalapeño, basil, garlic, ginger, v. chicken broth, etc.

Between us, sometimes I think like a blogger and frame posts in my head. They often never come to fruition for various reasons – my camera died, crap lighting, reserve/manners, annoyance, reality, etc. One thing I’ve enjoyed doing over the years is recreating memorable dishes from restaurants (and carts), but I rarely seem to talk about it on the internets. Weird shocker. Maybe too boring.

If you like to cook, you likely find yourself pondering the following: How can I put my own spin on this? How do I learn how to make this? I just don’t want to say goodbye – when do I get to eat this again? Could I make this for cheaper? Could I make this healthier? When do I get to wow guests with this? I could make this even better! etc.

Some time ago, it almost happened with a roasted butternut squash sauce and tart apple topped pizza at Hot Lips. I slowly gathered the ingredients, roasted the squash, picked up a couple of Pink Lady apples, stopped by a solid pizzeria for the dough (it’s legit!), stocked up on garlic, but forgot the fresh sage and rosemary, lost the dream, had curried squash puree for dinner and apples with my lunch the remainder of the week. You know how it goes.

A couple of weeks ago on my grand vacation in British Columbia, I enjoyed a warming bowl of veganized Vietnamese Beef Curry Pho [minus the beef and vegetarian ham, plus tofu] at the lovely Chau Kitchen & Bar in Vancouver. Once I threw in the Sriracha, there was no turning back. I practically wanted it to start raining outside (which it totally did the next day) so I could slurp noodles with my friends all afternoon.

This past weekend, before another quick trip out-of-town – this time, to table with my Vegan Iron Chef folks at Seattle’s sensational Vegan Chili Cook-Off, I spent my Saturday running errands, starting by getting my farmar on. After that, I stopped by my local tofu shop and after an internet search for ‘curry pho’ proved annoying, joined my current obsessions of Spectrum Coconut Oil spray and Southeast Asian cuisine in the Thai-style soup pictured above. My take was based on this recipe, with the additions of both fried and Masala baked tofu, green jalapeño pepper, light coconut milk, heaps of fresh, local basil and vegan subs, of course, such as dark soy sauce and nuoc man chay from Fubonn, aka vegetarian fish sauce. I wanted to keep it somewhat brothy to give the noodles something to live for, and left out the sweet potato.

Yellow Curry Pho from Chau

lately

I’m just going to come out and say it. Hi. My name is Jess. I have a camera and a blog and here’s the flow of what I’ve been up to lately:

Smoked Potato Cheese: Take 2, Creamy Edition. I'll post the recipe after one more test run before Heartichoke.

Have I mentioned that I'm digging my stovetop smoker? Well, I am. Smoked Cherry Tomato & Kale Raab Pesto Bruschetta

Kale Raab Bistro Chowder; Bruschetta. Bistro Chowder Recipe from Appetite for Reduction. Farewell, Soup Season.

Tofu Cube Toss with Smoked Tomatoes, Roasted Red Pepper, Maitake Mushrooms, Kalamata Olives, Collard Raab; Mac & Cheddar Teese Sauce with Miso & Collard Raab. This ain't no wimpy scramble.

Baked Saffron Rice with Roasted Peppers. The recipe will be in the Spring issue of T.O.F.U. Magazine. Zomg.

From a small dinner party: Baked Saffron Rice with Roasted Peppers, Serrano Seitan Ham over Kale, Roasted Potato Bread and Blood Orange & Grapefruit Marinated Olives, etc.

Galician Empanada Pie with Smoked Soy Curls & Serrrano Ham, Take 1. Will be working on the conrmeal crust and spice factor.

TGI Return of the FarMar & Multi-Color Carrots. There are white carrots in the empanada pie, yo.

From the PPK Test Kitchen: Cappuccino Mousse Pie with Rad Whip. I'll get the fluffin' up next time.

From the PPK Test Kitchen: Manhattan Mud Pie. Photo by Lucas DeShazer. Truly, one of the few times you'll ever see me in the backround of a photo here.

Portland Hidden Gems are up next. Really.

Corn Chowder & The Epic Vegan MoFo Survey, with photos

First up, I would say that 75% of what I’ve eaten in the past two days has been this Corn Chowder from Vegan with a Vengeance. It’s sweet, it’s spicy, it’s a pleasant color, offers the surprise bite of rosemary (and bonus roasted garlic from my fridge), and was made with local ingredients. Sorta funny story, while at the market last weekend, I learned that I must look like a tough sell for corn, or it’s simply become passé – because the farmer selling it told me, assuredly, “This is really good corn. You’ll like it.” That may have been a bit odd, and I almost wanted to consider it a threat because that’s more exciting of a story and I had no doubt about my purchase – but he was right. It was really good corn.

And now, The Epic Vegan MoFo Survey from The Post Punk Kitchen forums:

The original is here.

What’s your favorite spice or spice blend? Saigon Cinnamon. When I first visited Penzey’s a few years ago and learned that there were different varieties, my mind was blown.

You have $20 to spend on fresh groceries and produce for the whole week (with a fairly well stocked pantry of dry goods, legumes, grains, and spices). What do you buy? I hit the farmers market with $10, Foxfire or Limbo with $6 for loose leaf tea, bake some seitan, a block of bulk tofu from the coop or Ota, and make a huge pot of soup with beans.

What’s your favorite way to make tofu? As for cooking, tofu ricotta and straight up baked with BBQ sauce have been high on my list for years.

Vegan guilty pleasure? Tator tots with Vegenaise and Sriracha.

If you could make anyone vegan, who would it be? I would say Ronald McDonald, but I really don’t want to see the insane effect of that – so I’ll go with the Obama Family and hope they’re not criticized too much for this decision.

If you could only read one other vegan blog, what would it be? http://www.theppk.com/blog/ PPK cult, represent.

Were you always interested in cooking, or did veganism change the way you saw and interacted with food? I had a light interest growing up and remember entering kids’ bake offs at the local library with sloppy layer cakes. I never won, but I liked combing my mom’s baking books and making whipped cream and chocolate chip cookies . Years later, I worked at a bakery/café in high school where I didn’t do much more in the kitchen than fill cannolis and butter rolls, but I picked up names and flavor combinations. Fortunately, though it was a rocky road, I started living on my own at the same time I was going vegan, so I had to learn how to cook.

Excluding analogues, what new things have you tried that you probably wouldn’t have as an omni? A wide assortment of vegetables – especially since moving to Portland with the year round markets. I was very much a grilled cheese-and-little-else eating vegetarian for years.

What is the one vegan staple that everyone seems to love, but you can’t get behind? I appreciate it, scientifically, and have warmed to its impressive goo – but, Daiya. I’m not on the love train.

My biggest Daiya success: Mac & Cheese

What was your first “wow, I’m such a stereotypical vegan” moment? I don’t know what the very first was – maybe living on 123s & Chreese for a year during college?, but [insert creaking voice] back in my day, we’d smuggle Follow Your Heart in insulated bags from Lifethyme in NYC via  Fung Wah bus rides back to Boston.

First recipe you veganized? Lasagna or stuffed mushrooms.

What would you like to veganize, but haven’t yet? What wouldn’t I? I’ve yet to pull together a traditional, kickass white pizza. It’ll happen.

Favorite kitchen utensil/appliance? I really like my Vita-Mix and Magic Bullet blenders.

Most disastrous kitchen failure? Sometimes I really suck at crepes and pancakes. I’m about to place an order for a new pancake pan, so hopefully, that will help. I’m great one day, and then it’s awful, and I take a year off and forget these things exist.

First vegan cookbook? My best friend from high school gave me How it All Vegan as a gift when I first went vegan. I still have it.

What question about being vegan do you HATE answering? Anything that makes me roll my eyes. For example. I went vegetarian at a young age and grew up with family members teasing me about not eating turkey. It came as a shock when an omnivore asked me what I eat for Thanksgiving a few months ago. Like, what year is this? What bizarre world do you live in? Tofu turkey jokes are so last decade (in my life). However, I answered nicely, fully knowing that I live in the Portland bubble and hang out on the vegan internet. A lot.

If you could tell the world one thing about vegans, what would it be? That maybe we’re weird to you, but we’re really just making smart, ethical, healthy, compassionate decisions (and still weird)! To quote the Food Fight! button, “Being Vegan Means I’m trying to Suck Less”.

Funniest vegetable? When eggplants grow dongs.

What is a family recipe you have veganized? My mom’s Sweet Potato Pie Casserole (warning: old blog link) and my grandma’s Italian Struffoli. Unfortunately, the veganization of the second is MIA. I don’t recall what the egg replacer was, but I recall using light agave with orange zest in place of honey.

Vegan Struffoli for a Grandma's Recipe piece in Herbivore Magazine online, 2007

Weirdest food combination? I don’t think I pair anything too crazy, but I do have a soft spot for toasted tempeh bacon, peanut butter & tart apple sandwiches.

Is there something you wish you could veganize, but can’t/couldn’t? I have a strong Italian background, and I’ve never had vegan cheesecake or sweet ricotta-filled cannoli with quite the consistency I would have enjoyed in my earlier years. I’ve had excellent vegan versions of both, but nothing that’s quite what I want, and I feel like something the creators try too hard and shouldn’t go in that direction. Those, and the simple, meringe-coated wonder that is Baked Alaska. I do feel confident that I will try an amazing vegan version of that one day. There’s been a lot of progress in the field of vegan meringue.

Favorite ways to prepare tofu, seitan, tempeh, any other vegan proteins? I like breading seitan cutlets in even more savoury bread(crumbs) and baking. My go-to way for tempeh is either tempeh bacon, or marinated, baked, and served in a bowl with grains/sauce/greens or over pasta.

This was awesome: Jalapeno and Herb Roasted Tempeh

Are your pets vegan? if so, what do you feed them? My two cats are not vegan, but one does have an obsession with leafy greens and microbrews.

case in point: I lock up all my greens now

Favorite non-dairy milk? It was almond until an allergy arose recently – therefore, I’ll go with coconut. Besides packaged and fresh coconut milk, So Delicious Coconut Beverages & Creamers are so fantastic!!

What’s one “vegan myth” you’d like to squash? That vegan food is boring. Creative vegan dishes can be so impressive and artistic! And I don’t just mean plating style – I love that exploration that can happen in a kitchen – with new flavors, fresh ingredients, etc. It’s a big reason why I’m involved with with putting on Vegan Iron Chef events and wanting to show off Portland’s local chefs!

A Day in the Life of Leftovers: Yellow Curry and Favorites

Yesterday’s ginger-riffic take out from Just Thai for lunch really hit the spot. The mellow yellow, (had to be said) brothy curry, chewy cubes of fried tofu and cutely ridged vegetables over steamed rice was super decently priced, quickly prepared, and with a drizzle of Srichacha, was just what my still-dulled-from-sickness taste-buds wanted. As you can see, even before I sat down for a single lunch, the leftovers were incredibly generous. I had the second round today, and there’s 2 more to go.

I’ve never been a big fan of leftovers. Growing up, my family rarely ate casseroles. Green bean what? The closest things in my memories were homemade Italian pasta dishes, and being picky, I didn’t eat most of them.  Nowadays, in my trying-to-be-a-grown-up years, busy life, and an always-cheap-at-heart mindset, I’m better behaved. I just like making something new so much! I’m well versed in what restaurants, and more likely, food carts, offer meals that will yield leftovers for at least a day, and I do take my leftovers from home to work. I mean, I have a rule where I HAVE TO LEAVE the building I work in for AT LEAST A WALK on my lunch hour, because I’m sane –  and I’m usually wary of the microwave and the smell of defrosted frozen meals of death – but I return and eat my lunch more often than not.  It’s actually refreshing when a couple of weeks go by and I realize I haven’t spent additional money on lunch.

I’ll admit that I’m just as likely to make dishes for the week with different components that can be assembled, such as noodle or grain bowls. I live alone, and again, don’t love leftovers, but I’m here to talk about casseroles*, not what homemade vermicelli bowl sauces have spilled in my purse.

Here are some of my favorite meals that yield more than a day’s worth of worthwhile leftovers.

Homemade Leftovers to Look Forward To:

  • New Farm-style, Gluten Free Mac and Cheese with Broccoli – will be posting an updated recipe for this tomorrow. Traditional Mac & Cheese was something else I never ate until college, strangely enough.
  • Sweet Potato Pie Casserole - I don’t make this every holiday season anymore, but it’s the essential dish attached to Thanks, Mom.
  • Lasagna. It’s been forever since I’ve made one. Therefore, the next time I’m invited to a social outing, I’m bringing one.
  • Tomato, Rice, Roasted Garlic and Navy Bean Soup from Veganomicon - one of the soups I’ve made the most in the past few years, since the ‘ole testing days.
  • Persian Eggplant Stew – a new one to my repertoire this past year that is just as soul-warming the next day, just like a stew should be.
  • Curry Roasted Vegetables – cube your protein, roast, add chopped vegetables, roast some more, add broth/curry paste/peanut butter/spices, etc., roast a bit more, serve over grains. Tah dah.
  • Tempeh Bacon: not so much of a dish, but the easiest of the baked proteins to just throw into everything: sandwiches, salads, wraps, smokey greens, etc. In most recipes it’s pan-fried, but I tend to bake it now.
  • Stuffed Mushrooms. I make these the most often for potlucks, stuffed with nuts and wine and herbs and goodness and whenever I do, I think, “Why the hell don’t I have these around more often?”
  • Chili: and it’s nearly always a variation of Tempeh Chili Con Frijoles or Seitan Chili Sin Carne Al Mole in my kitchen – even when I start out with another recipe.
  • Basil Fried Rice. Leftover rice? Acquire basil. Add garlic, veggie, sesame oil and pepper. Rice pudding is even easier, but this is my go-to path.
  • Refried Beans. Because with beans, which you really should be cooking on a regular basis anyway, you have the options of tacos, burritos, nachos, dips, beans bowls with sauce, etc.  Again, eat your beanz!

*Speaking of casseroles, the Vegan Iron Chef group in Portland is in the beginning stages of putting together the warmest, more comforting competition ever this winter – The Great Vegan Casserole Off! (a better name is perhaps, in the works)

Esme Sauce, Soup & Pretzel Cookies

Esme sauce: know it, love it (just like esme)! Cabernet after a highly stressful day & my cluttered table: same goes for you. This sauce just hits the spot – even more so with last night’s addition of chopped sorrel and baby spinach.

from the past couple weeks…

A recent lunch & dinner for days: Tomato, Roasted Garlic & Rice soup from Veganomicon. I’ve been making this in the chillier months regularly since the testing stage, and this time, I added hot paprika and subbed corona beans for the navy beans. It’s served with toasted lavash below.

Hi beans! I was first introduced to corona beans at a Red & Black Cafe benefit dinner a few years ago, and I sought them out recently at City Market on NW 21st. They’re pricey, but a fun, sporadic purchase that packs a whole lot of substance.

Ah, fall. Ah, squash. I roasted this acorn squash in some vegetable broth and added it to both soup and incorporated it into a creamy sauce. The soup was a trial spicy french morrocan with corona beans and kale for the eventual french-inspired Heartichoke vegan supper club my friend is starting this winter in Portland. Stay tuned.

What a surprise, pickles don’t photograph well at night. These were refrigerator style, marinated dill “pickles”. If I remembered what recipe they were from, I’d advise cutting down on the sugar next time…


And lastly, pretzel cookies. I made these to bring to a friend’s post Portland Marathon-potluck-celebration, as a small tribute to his Pretzel Necklace wearing ways. They’re based on the recipe for Peanut Apple Pretzel Drops from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. My first time making them – or rather, an adaptation of them minus the peanut, plus pecans, minus apples, plus coconut and butterscotch chips. Bam.

quick thoughts on travel snacks, boring eats & a thank you to Koyo Organic Ramen

I’m currently in between short business trips somewhere calming, but less than bountiful, vegan-option wise.  It’s been quite some time since I’ve had to truly rely on my emergency rations (bars, instant soup, hummus, fruit, peanut butter, go!). I’ve become so spoiled by Portland and trips to cities that offer vegan culinary adventures as a sweet bonus. I’m fully capable and experienced in special requests, but it’s not like that always works out for the best. And quite frankly, I am just depressed by mundane options and iceberg lettuce and people offering me bacon wrapped scallops and not sure which part isn’t vegan.

Long rant shortened because I’ve been vegan and positive for far too long to truly complain, and I am pretty impressed with the expansion of Luna and Clif bar flavors in the past few years. I thought my new favorite would be the Carrot Cake Clif bar, but it was pushed over by the White Chocolate Macadamia – which yup, is vegan and made with cocoa butter!

The simple hero of my vegan convenience foods that didn’t require refrigeration-or-microwaving was Koyo Mushroom Miso Ramen.  Everything tastes better out of a mug, especially when you’re sitting in a hotel room watching Iron Chef. I used to keep this as a back up option at work, and I think I still have an expired package somewhere, but it was since replaced by downtown food carts.

The only actual meal I was able to semi-successfully order? This pizza. Here comes another mini rant.

blondie's pizza

There was a cheese-less foccacia on this pizzeria’s menu, but when I attempted to order it without cheese, it became just that, an attempt.  I was assured that the pizza didn’t hold together without the cheese. Okay. I was able to talk the staff into a cheese-less personal pizza with tomato sauce. I like to think that every time vegans state their requests, courteously, it helps the vegan (menu ordering) cause.  The next vegan or picky person won’t seem so strange and the term enters the establishment. When I passed on the parmesan as it was delivered, I received another curious/judgemental ‘no cheese’ comment. Vegans are just that shocking.

As for the pizza? I did eat some, because I was a) ravenous for a real meal b) paid for it and c) was gracious, but I won’t be returning here later in the week. Flimsy, dried mushrooms, over-cooked, muted black olives, super thin tomato paste-consistency sauce, and just blah crust. Blah!

I’ll pack more fruit and ramen.

back to portlandia, once again

Flowers Restaurant, Seattle

to michelle, love jess

once again, I’m back after a bit out of town.  this time, it was for a few days in Seattle.  while I was there, I decided my next realistic dream job involves frequent travel and keeping Portland as my home base.  I certainly can’t afford to travel recreationally as much as I’d like, and I’m fortunate that my current job lets me travel a bit. I’m getting the teeniest bit restless living here for 5+ years, but it’s Portland! It’s amazing! Quality of Life! etc. etc. etc.

that being said, I have three travels’ worth of photos and thoughts to unload soon via flickr, this site and stumptown vegans!  I’m hoping to get back to normal life and do this sooner than later.  rationally speaking, naming my flickr photos should not overwhelm me!

heading into overwhelmingly awesome plans, Portland’s Inaugural Vegan Iron Chef is officially happening on Sunday, June 6th, 2010 in the early evening.

It’s being presented by Try Vegan PDX, and I am beyond ecstatic about it.  The official contestant invites went out yesterday! So many wonderful local vegans are already involved!

Stay tuned for more by becoming a fan on facebook and watching the ‘lil twitter.

a few recent photos to get back into the swing of things…

Smokey Split Pea Soup, from Isa’s Test Kitchen

Isa Test Kitchen: Smokey Split Pea

Soy Latte from K&F Coffeehouse in Portland

K&F

Dr. Cow Nut Cheese with Hemp Seeds from Lifethyme in NYC - my first time trying this, call me a fan! It’s sitting on top of a raw apple cranberry treat from Lifethyme, too.

Dr. Cow Nut Cheese

My sister, Jen, agreeing to visit Vegetarian Dim Sum House in NYC, yet again.  She’s a hip little flexitarian, and enjoys the Roasted Pork Buns and main dishes here.

Veg Dim Sum

Of course, something like this, which Millie and I really enjoyed, horrifies her.

dim sum

Oasis Falafel, Brooklyn, NY. This was GREAT at midnight after a long night, but made me incredibly sick.  fun times!

Oasis Falafel

so much more to come.

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dude, everyone has a curried butternut soup recipe.

who doesn't have a curried squash soup recipe?

Fact or Fiction: Last spring, I sent in my registration materials for the NWFBP (NorthWest Food Bloggers Picnic) and was rejected!  Their response letter gave one sole reason: I had never featured a photo of butternut squash soup.

Eventually, I decided to right this wrong, and mildly adapted a recipe from The Food Network via some Nova Scotian firefighters, so you know there was potential. There’s only so many ways you can go with butternut soup, but with the assistance of my precious Vita-Mix, that half a jar of peanut butter sitting around, and locally based, Thai and True curry paste, it was totally to my liking.

Yellow Curry, Peanut Buttery, Butternut Squashy Soup

(adapted from The Food Network CA)

serves 4-ish

Ingredients:

  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • ½ yellow or sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 1.5-2 cups of slightly mashed, roasted butternut squash (from 1 small squash, or half a large one, or canned)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (use more if you like more heat!)
  • 1 teaspoon of yellow curry paste (I use Thai and True)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper, more to taste.
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • ½ cup peanut butter, chunky or creamy
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions:

  1. In a large sauce pan or stockpot, sauté the chopped onion and celery in the peanut oil for 5-7 minutes on medium heart, until they begin to soften.
  2. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic, sauté an additional 2 minutes, stirring often.  Lower the heat if needed.
  3. Add the curry paste, salt and pepper; stir well.
  4. Stir in the peanut butter, broth, roasted squash and light coconut milk.
  5. Turn the heat up, bring to a boil, turn the heat low and simmer covered for 30 minutes.
  6. Use an immersion blender to puree to your liking, or slowly, carefully transport to a blender and puree till smooth.
  7. Return to pot, stir in agave and lemon juice.
  8. Serve with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Enjoy.