Friday, July 16, 2010


How many of you go out and buy croutons and pay $3-$4 for a package that lasts two salads?  If you said yes then I have a money saver for you.  I never go and buy my croutons but make them myself and it is so easy.  I usually put my bread in the refrigerator and save it there before I make my croutons.  I never go out and buy bread for croutons but save old end pieces from breads for a few weeks and after I have about 6 cups of bread I make it into croutons and store them in plastic containers in my pantry. You can even put them in a mixer to make your own bread crumbs if you like.

You can make your croutons any flavor you want, you can add garlic salt, paprika, Italian seasoning, dried parsley or any other spice. Much easier than you think.


Preheat oven to 400F

I make this recipe when I have about 6 cups of bread that I have cut into 1 inch cubes. If you have less or more just use more or less of the spices.

Put all the bread in a bowl.
Add about ½ cup of olive oil
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Garlic or Garlic Salt
2 tsp Italian Seasoning or any seasoning that you like

Mix it all together and taste for flavor.

Then put it on your cookies sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.  After 10 minutes mix the croutons around so they get evenly brown.

Enjoy the croutons on your salad, in your soup, or even as a snack!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sweet Potato and Vegetable Stew with Fresh Greens

This soup is my favorite vegetable soup.  I had it for the first time at my sister-in-law’s in Providence, RI. I loved it so much that I asked for the recipe and have made it ever since.  I am a soup lover and make tons of soups but I always go back to this one when I have a soup craving.  It solves the problem.  I think just the combination of sweet potato, corn and spinach it just makes it so good.  This soup works all year around summer and winter, it just refreshing.

I always use chicken stock in this soup but it is up to you if you have chicken stock around or any stock.  I will soon write my amazing chicken stock recipe to share with you guys.  I am in a middle of a move so I just haven’t had the time yet to write it down.

Not only is this soup delicious, but it is a vegetarian dish for those vegetarians out there, and on top of that it is has some amazing nutrients it in.


Sweet Potato and Vegetable Stew with Fresh Greens


¼ cup oil
3 onions, finely dices
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
8 cups vegetable stock or water
1 ½ cups finely chopped canned tomato with their juice
2 or 3 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
3 or 1 carrot, thinly sliced
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 tsp minced cilantro
1 ½ tsp salt
Dash of cayenne
Generous seasoning of freshly ground pepper
5 cups (5 ounces) lightly packed fresh spinach, kale or swiss chard, torn into small pieces
Package of fresh corn

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic and celery and sauté, stirring often for 10 minutes.  Stir in all of the remaining ingredients except the greens.

Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook stirring occasionally for 45 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.  Remove 2 cups of the soup and puree it, then return it to the pot.  Stir in the spinach, kale, or swiss chard and cook the soup about 5 more minutes, or until the greens are tender.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Café Juanita Restaurant Review

Pictures from Cafe Juanita Website

I have been wanting to write about my favorite Seattle restaurant for awhile, just never sat down to do it, but I was here last week again and thought it was about time.  This place I am talking about, this place that ever time I go to I say, “wow that was a fabulous meal” is called Café Juanita, in Kirkland, WA.  This place is my favorite restaurant in Seattle, well it is in Kirkland, WA 20 minute drive from Seattle, WA but worth the 20 minutes drive.

Where do I start?  I have been here many times, and when there is a big birthday, anniversary, or a special event this is where I go to eat. I know that every time I will have an excellent time and a fabulous dinner and never disappointed.  It is not cheap but it is the same price as many nice restaurants in Seattle but this place is worth ever penny.

The chef is Holly Smith who has received many awards and recognition for her cooking; she was even on the Iron Chef. Not that it really matters but just to show you that this place is worth going to.

First make a reservation, this place is always full, but they never seat you next to another table that is starting to eat at the same time as you. So it never feels crowded. They have this down, I don’t understand why other places don’t do this, it is great. 

When you walk in don’t let the small dining room fool you, I was a little surprised the first time but now I like it better than large fancy rooms, it feels more intimate. Now to the service, WOW, their service in impeccable.  The way the staff describes the evenings specials to their wine expertise is just amazing.  And I can’t forget to mention, their wine menu is amazing.  If you don’t know what to order as their Sommelierwho is amazing.

There are always a few specials on the menu, the specials are always amazing, this last evening I had the for the second time their cold tomato soup or Papa el Pomodoro, tomato soup with bread. If you are ever at Café Juanita and they have their cold tomato soup special, get it.  It is hands down the best tomato soup I have ever had.  It is so good that ever time have it I always think of ordering it for dessert.

If they do not have the tomato soup as the special my second favorite is their Seared Foie Gras with Rhubarb, Candied Ginger and Cocoa nibs.  I usually do not order Foie Gras because most place do not know how to prepare it.  But this is the best Foie Gras in Seattle, it melts in your mouth.  If you don’t like this Foie Gras you don’t like Foie Gras.

Some of the other appetizers I have had here that are also excellent are Prosciutto di Parma with Chiacchiere, and Veal Sweetbreads with Fried Capers and Parsley, Ligurian Olive Oil are both excellent too.

Now for the salads and pasta.  Since I am a beet lover I always order their beet salad, this time they had their Baby Beets with Marcona Almond Butter and La Tur Bombolino.  Delishhh! And for the pasta their Gnocchi is my favorite this time they had the Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Morels and English Peas.  Very good!  But I have had their risotto before and it Is also very good.

For the entree their specialty is the rabbit.  My husband has never had any other entrée here because the rabbit dish is that good, Local Rabbit Braised in Arneis with Ligurian Chickpea Crepe, Pancetta and Porcini.  I have explored and had several entree dishes here, some of my favorites are their lamb dish, Saddle of Oregon Lamb with Baby Artichokes, Fava Beans, Lemon Emulsion and Taggia Olive, also some of the other things that they have special on are Black Cod, and the other night I had the Scallops with Celery Puree, it was delicious.

What I am really trying to say is that everything on the menu that I have had here is excellent and you really can’t go wrong.

Now for the dessert, usually I am too full to have any dessert so I have only had a few times.  I like simple desserts.  Their homemade ice cream is great, you can’t go wrong. Their Creme Brulee is amazing.  This past night I had their Bing Cherry Parfait, it was ok, I was too full to finish it.  I would probably not order it again.

But I did have some amazing dessert wine, Moscato d’asti,  I think it is my new favorite.

So for those that have not been yet – you are missing out!

Cafe Juanita
9702 Northeast 120th Place
Kirkland, WA 98034-4206
(425) 823-1505
Cafe Juanita on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Guest Post from Mochatini: Creating a Fabulous Tabletop Decor

Allow me to introduce today’s guest blogger Manvi from Mochatini. Manvi is a blog designer, photographer and amazing interior stylist from Washington DC. Manvi loves decorating and styling chic tabletops, and there has been talks of a coffee table book on her tabletop designs.  I am honored to have her here today to give us some simple tips of creating a fabulous tabletop décor.

Hello Delishhh readers,

I am Manvi from over at, and very happy to have met Ewa and even more honored to be invited here.

I have to start by saying Ewa is an amazingly patient woman. I had promised this post a while back but starting a new job, breaking my collarbone and travel kept delaying me. She has been so nice about it all. So thanks Ewa for having me here.

As you all know Ewa is a lady with great taste and her recipes look sooo delectable. And meals that good need the right table decor. Be it a sit down dinner party of two or ten, potatoes or lobster, give your guests an experience they wont forget.

So here are a few simple tips to a creating a fabulous tabletop decor.

Start with a theme, if you can’t pick one, take inspiration from your menu or the pattern on your plates.

If you haven’t bought your first dinner set, go for a set of white round plates. Food looks its best on white and they are easy to incorporate into any setting. Shop at thrift stores for glassware and ceramics to decorate with. I frequently come back with vintage tea cups, large vases, candles for under $5. Recycle assorted food jars and use them as vases.

A very important element in creating the right ambiance for your dinner party is mood lighting. Turn off the main lights and light non-scented candles. Tea-lights are amazing. Avoid too many as you might end up making your table look like a wedding altar.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match dishes, styles, linen etc. Who likes matchy-matchy anyway? Just make sure to edit and avoid having too many elements.

Flowers. They can be expensive and you have probably heard this several times but look flowers in season. Look out for special deals at local grocers like Trader Joe’s, whole foods or giant (being friends with a florist always helps too). You can make a small bouquet go a long way by breaking up the arrangement into several vases. If your budget has no room for fresh flowers think about looking in your refrigerator. Berries, limes, lemons and herbs places in clear vases make lovely centerpieces. Another idea is to grow potted succulents.

Fabric napkins. Invest in a few sets of fabric napkins. Cotton ones are the easiest to care for. If you are crafty, sew them yourself. Avoid using paper napkins as much as you can.

Reuse old wrapping paper and make attractive menu cards. Glue the wrong side of an old wrapping paper to cardboard. Handwrite the menu on the cardboard side using a felt tip pen. Take it a step further and make them double duty as place cards. Personalize for each guest by adding their name.

Always have enough still and sparkling water. I never serve water in plastic bottles, so bring out those pitchers, or for a French bistro feel, reuse a clear wine bottle.

Never stress about any of this. Focus on the meal and think about your table decor while you cook. Be spontaneous.

Thanks Ewa for the opportunity to meet your wonderful friends.

Thanks Manvi for such a lovely post. If you haven’t already, hop over to visit Manvi at Mochatini!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bars

I don’t know why but peanut butter and chocolate do not mix for me.  I like them separate but not together.  However, I was determined to make some peanut butter and chocolate bars a few weeks back.  I found this recipe on Bake of Break blog that was for Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars but I didn’t have any jelly around so I thought I would substitute with chocolate chips. If you are a peanut butter lower these bars are heaven, they are very rich.  They are also very easy to make!  So if you are looking of something easy and quick, this is a great recipe.  It is excellent with a glass of milk!

Do you have some other good peanut butter recipes to share?

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bars

1 cup butter, softened, plus more for preparing pan
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for preparing pan
1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 & 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 & 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
16 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9?x 13?baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper. Butter the parchment and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.

Beat butter and sugar together on medium speed of an electric mixer. Mix for about 2 minutes, until fluffy. Add eggs and peanut butter, and beat about 2 minutes or until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add to butter mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add vanilla and mix.

Transfer two-thirds of dough to pan and spread evenly. Spread all the chocolate chips on top of dough. Crumble remaining dough on top of the chocolate chips. Sprinkle with peanuts.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until golden. Rotate pan half-way through baking. Tent loosely with foil if bars are getting too dark.

Cool on a wire rack. Run a knife around the edges to loosen. Refrigerate 1-2 hours. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes about 3 dozen bars.  Serve with a glass of milk!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Marjorie Restaurant Review

Picture from Marjorie website


The menu is a little intimidating, reminds me a little of Anchovies and Olives Restaurant menu but don’t let it stop you from going to this place. There is a cold menu and a hot menu and we decided to try a few different things from both. We started off trying Miss Marjorie’s Plantain Chips for the table. They were very good and came with a great avocado pineapple salsa. Then had the Hamachi for appetizer that was served with sea salt, fennel, and tomatoes it was excellent. After that we tried the terrine which was a pork terrineserved with some delicious mustard and pickled vegetables. It was also excellent. Then we had the duck breast and also the pizza with Prosciutto and ricotta. The duck breast was also very good and the pizza tasty. For dessert we had the ice cream which was fabulous.  I love ice cream and I do consider myself an ice cream connoisseur or at least I think so. And this ice cream was just perfect consistency and very creamy. The way ice cream should be. The flavors were coffee, Goat milk, and strawberry. Delishhh!  

The service at Marjorie is fabulous and the decor is very modern and eclectic. I think Marjorie is a fabulous little neighborhood restaurant. When it is nice out hey have outside seating and have two garage doors that open up. They take a few reservations but also do walk-ins. It is a small place with only a few tables and one communal table so make reservations or come early. I really recommend trying this place out. I know we will be back again.  

1412 E Union
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 441-9842
Marjorie on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quiche with Potato Crust

I love Quiche and here is my original Quiche recipe with my secret ingredient.  But then one day i was surfing other food blogs and saw this cool quiche recipe from Eat Drink Pretty that had a potato crust and i had to try this out.  So the other weekend i wanted to make a quiche and didn’t feel like making the pie crust and instead used a potato crust. It was really simple and easy.

Quiche is a great brunch food, not only that; Quiche makes an excellent left over the day after.  You can put almost anything you want in a Quiche, but the below recipe are my favorite ingredients. 

They key to any Quiche is to Dijon mustard, that is what I think makes the delicious flavor of the whole thing.

Let me know what you like to put in your Quiche.

Print Recipe

Quiche with Potato Crust

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes


2-3 potatoes, thinly sliced

¼ cup mushrooms

¼ lb meat bacon or ham

1 cup grated Swiss cheese

½ cup cottage cheese

½ cup other cheese




3 eggs

1 cup cream

1 tsp Dijon mustard


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pie pan with butter or cooking spray. Layer the potatoes on the bottom of the pan, overlapping is fine. Drizzle olive oil on the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Bake the potatoes in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes

Prepare mushroom, meat with nutmeg, basil, butter and salt and pepper in frying pan. Then add the Dijon mustard and stir.

Sprinkle half of the cheese on the bottom of potato crust, then meat, mushroom combo, and then rest of cheese.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and light cream, nutmeg and pepper until well mixed but not frothy.

Pour into potato shell.

Sprinkle top with nutmeg.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden and center is firm when gently shaken. Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

If the top of the quiche gets brown before the middle is done. Lower the temperature and let it cool slowly.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chicken Wings for 4th of July BBQ

4th of July weekend is coming up in the US.  For those of you that are not from the United States, 4th of July is the US Independence Day, it is a holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States.

The question is always what to server for the barbecues?  Folks always have hamburgers and hotdogs, but why not try something different?  Here are a few ideas from the past that I recommend:

Guacamole (instead of salsa)

Main Course:
Turkey Burger with Yogurt Sauce (instead of hamburgers)
Meatballs  using the meatball Grill Basket from Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Kugel (instead of macaroni and cheese)
Pizza Salad (instead of coleslaw)

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Strawberry Cake

One of my favorites is Chicken Wings.  It is easy, good, and great finger food.

You can marinate chicken breast in here, but my favorite with this BBQ sauce is chicken wings.


Read more…

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chocolate Pavlovas “Chocolate Meringue” with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

It is that time of the month again, here is the next Daring Bakers challenge. 

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard. 

I had never heard of Pavlovas before but after looking it up in Wikipedia it stated, “Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pávlova. It is a cake similar to meringue with a crispy crust and soft, light inner. The dessert is believed to have been created to honour the dancer during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. Where it was created and the nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but research indicates New Zealand as the source. The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and is frequently served during celebratory or holiday meals such as Christmas lunch.” 

Also in Sweden we have something similar to this it is called Marängtårta  and sometimes Pinocchiotårta.  Which translates to meringue tort Pinocchi torte.  But in Sweden we basically have a meringue cake base and either have ice cream or whipped cream in between and then different kinds of fruit. 

The Pavlovas dessert is delicious and I had a fun time creating it, there are so many variations you can do with this.  You can make it to a cake, you can make small bite sized meringue or you can even make it to little parfait glasses.  Either way it was fun making this and it is a dessert you can make the night before for your guest and not have to worry about it since it keeps nicely in the refrigerator. 

I did destroy the Crème Anglaise first time I made it, I overcooked it and it turned into scrambled eggs.  So watch your pot, stir frequently, and do not over cook. 


Chocolate Pavlovas “Chocolate Meringue” with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse 

Preparation time:
The recipe can be made in one day although there are several steps involved. 
1. While the pavlovas are baking, the crème anglaise should be made which will take about 15 minutes. 
2. While it is cooling, the chocolate mascarpone mousse can be made which will take about 15 minutes. 
3. There will be a bit of a wait time for the mascarpone cream because of the cooling time for the Crème Anglaise. 
4. If you make the Crème Anglaise the day before, the dessert should take about 2 hours including cooking time for the pavlovas.

Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova):  

3 large egg whites 
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar 
1/3 cup cocoa powder 

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
2. Put the egg whites in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should be firm but moist.)
3. Sift the cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold the dry ingredients into the white. (This looks like it will not happen. Fold gently and it will eventually come together.) 
4. Fill a pastry bag with the meringue. Pipe the meringue into whatever shapes you desire. Alternatively, you could just free form your shapes and level them a bit with the back of a spoon. 
5. Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (for the top of the Pavlova base):  

1 ½ cups heavy cream
Grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups mascarpone
pinch of nutmeg 
2 Tbsp Grand Marnier (or orange juice) 

1. Put ½ cup of the heavy cream and the lemon zest in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once warm, add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let sit at room temperature until cool.
2. Place the mascarpone, the remaining cup of cream and nutmeg in a bowl. Whip on low for a minute until the mascarpone is loose. Add the Grand Marnier and whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks. (Do not over beat as the mascarpone will break). 
3. Mix about ¼ of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated. Fill a pastry bag with the mousse. Again, you could just free form mousse on top of the pavlova. 

Crème Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream below):  

1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
6 Tbsp sugar 

1. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow. 
2. Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat. . 
3. Pour about ½ cup of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep from making scrambled eggs. Pour the yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining cream mixture and put the heat back on medium. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon. Do not overcook. 
4. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours or overnight. 

Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling):  

1 recipe crème anglaise 
½ cup mascarpone 
2 tbsp Sambucca 
½ cup heavy cream 

1. Prepare the crème anglaise. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and the Sambucca and let the mixture cool. Put the cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until very soft peaks are formed. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture. 

This is your time to be artistic but the proper way is to pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas and drizzle with the mascarpone cream over the top. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and fresh fruit if desired.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Spinasse Restaurant Review


Picture from Spinasse Website


It’s been nearly a year since I came back to Spinasse and they have a few new changes.  The most important the communal tables were transformed into individual tables. I am not a fan of communal tables so this was great for me. But what didn’t change was the food, which is great, because the food at Spinasse is excellent. I call this true traditional Italian food. 

Spinasse is located in capital hill and adorable, small, homey and the décor is simple and nice. Service is good and the folks know what they are talking about. 

We had several things from the menu, we stated off with the Insalata di barbabietole e uovo, which is marinated beets with crushed egg, meyer lemon and pecorino. I am a beet lover so this is very good to me. Then we had some Pork Tartlettes also very good, but not my favorite.  Then we had the Tajarin al ragù o burro e salvia which is fine hand cut egg pasta with ragù or butter and sage. This is my favorite dish on the menu. I have had this several times now and each time I just love it.  It is Delishhh! If you are going here, this is a must order. 

After that we also had the Ravioli di zucca which is squash ravioli with sage butter, crushed amaretti, and mandarinquat mostarda di Cremona. This is my 2nd favorite dish.  Then we had the Tagatelli with butter and cream with anchovy’s flavor. And then we tried the Quial and also the Rabbit, with a side of asparagus.  We were 6 people and did family style.  Both Quail and Rabbit were delicious; I think I preferred the Quial over Rabbit if I had to choose again.  The Tagatelli was my least favorite but still good, the reason it was my least favorite was that the anchovies were a little over powering for me.  Everything on this menu was just fabulous, I really don’t; think you can go wrong. 

Before I continue to the dessert section you have to remember that Spinsse they make their own pasta and you can tell the difference, it is just fabulous.  Now my favorite is the ragu but some prefer the ravioli. You will just have to tell me which one you like better. 

For dessert we had the Semifreddo di gianduja which was a hazelnut like icre cream.  Oh this was excellent. Then we also had the Parmigiano-Reggiano con miele, which is aged, organic cow’s milk cheese served with cardoon flower honey. I didn’t know how good this was with honey.  Both desserts excellent. 

After I went to the Spinsse’s website I found out that they have a Chef’s Table. It says, ‘For those who seek the ultimate Spinasse dining experience, we’ve created an opportunity for chefs Jason Stratton and Carrie Mashaney to cook just for you. With a bird’s eye view into the kitchen, you can now reserve the Chef’s Table on Friday or Saturday night. Savor a fabulous showing of 10 courses from the kitchen’s seasonal whimsy of Piedmontese cuisine utilizing the array of local and artisan products from the Pacific Northwest.” What a fabulous experience for $100 per person.  This is something I would try out. 

If you haven’t been to Spinasse yet, what are you waiting for, go and have some true Italian food. 

1531 14th Avenue E.
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 251.7673
Cascina Spinasse on Urbanspoon


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