Cooking Made Easy – 10 Vegan Pantry Staples Every Beginner Should Have

Hey there! Are you a beginner in the world of cooking and looking to explore the wonders of vegan cuisine? Well, look no further because I've got you covered! In this TOP 10 ideas blog post, I'm going to share with you my tried-and-true list of essential vegan pantry staples that will make cooking a breeze. Whether you're a seasoned home chef or a total newbie, having these 10 key ingredients at your fingertips will not only simplify your meal preparation but also ensure delicious and nutritious vegan dishes every time. So let's dive in and discover the world of easy vegan cooking together!

Unsweetened plant-based milk

Unsweetened plant-based milk is a creative and attractive idea that caters to a growing demand for vegan pantry staples. With more people adopting a vegan lifestyle or looking for healthier alternatives in their cooking, this idea offers a range of benefits. Not only is unsweetened plant-based milk a versatile ingredient for various recipes, but it also serves as a healthy cooking choice. Here are some tips and tricks to make cooking with this idea even easier, keeping in mind the keyword “cooking made easy”:

1. Explore Different Plant-Based Milk Options: Experiment with plant-based milk options like almond, soy, oat, or cashew. Each milk provides a unique flavor and texture, allowing you to discover your preference for different recipes. Keep a variety of unsweetened plant-based milks in your pantry to suit various cooking needs.

2. Use Unsweetened Varieties: Opt for unsweetened plant-based milk to have more control over the sweetness level of your dishes. This allows you to adjust the sugar content according to your taste preference and dietary needs, making it an ideal choice for those looking to reduce their sugar intake.

3. Check for Fortification: Look for fortified plant-based milks that are enriched with calcium, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients. This ensures you are getting the necessary nutrients while cooking with plant-based milk. Fortified options can be particularly beneficial for those transitioning to a vegan lifestyle.

4. Substitute in Recipes: Replace dairy milk with unsweetened plant-based milk in your favorite recipes. It's a simple and easy swap that can be done in most recipes, including baked goods, sauces, soups, and breakfast dishes. Remember to adjust the quantities if needed, as plant-based milks may have a slightly different consistency.

5. Make Homemade Plant-Based Milk: If you enjoy a hands-on approach, consider making your own unsweetened plant-based milk at home. This way, you have complete control over the ingredients and can customize the taste and consistency. Homemade plant-based milk is often fresher and cheaper than store-bought options.

6. Discover New Recipes: There is an abundance of vegan recipes available online that incorporate unsweetened plant-based milk. Explore websites, cooking blogs, and even dedicated vegan cookbooks to find inspiration and discover new favorite recipes. From creamy pasta sauces to decadent desserts, there's a wealth of possibilities to explore.

7. Building Vegan Pantry Staples: Incorporate unsweetened plant-based milk into your list of vegan pantry essentials. Having this ingredient readily available allows you to whip up quick and easy vegan meals without compromising on flavor or nutrition. Stock up on other vegan kitchen staples such as grains, legumes, spices, and herbs for a well-rounded culinary experience.

By incorporating these tips and tricks, cooking with unsweetened plant-based milk becomes a breeze. Whether you're a beginner venturing into vegan cooking or someone looking to enhance their culinary skills, this idea provides a healthy and convenient alternative for your kitchen. Enjoy exploring the world of vegan recipes, experimenting with flavors, and embracing the ease of cooking made easy.

Nuts and seeds

With today's fast-moving society, there is a growing need for convenient and simple cooking solutions. That's why the idea of making nuts and seeds accessible is not only creative but also highly desirable. Introducing various tips and tricks to incorporate these nutritious ingredients effortlessly into our daily meals can transform the way we approach cooking. By emphasizing the keyword “cooking made easy,” let's delve into some practical ideas to make the most of nuts and seeds in our culinary endeavors:

1. Toasting Techniques: Toasting nuts and seeds enhances their natural flavors, adding depth and crunch to dishes. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), spread them on a baking sheet in a single layer, and roast for about 8-10 minutes. Remember to remove them promptly to prevent burning.

2. Flavorful Nut Butters: Nut butters are versatile ingredients that can elevate both sweet and savory dishes. Whip up your own homemade almond or cashew butter by blending roasted nuts with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of oil. These flavorful spreads can be used as a dip, sandwich filling, or as an ingredient in sauces and dressings.

3. Seed Crackers: Create nutritious and gluten-free snacks by making seed crackers. Combine a variety of seeds such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds with your choice of seasonings, and bake until crisp. Serve them with dips or enjoy them as a guilt-free crunchy snack.

4. Nut Encrusted Protein: Add an appetizing twist to your favorite proteins by encrusting them with nuts. Coat chicken breasts or fish fillets with a mixture of crushed nuts, herbs, and spices before pan-frying or baking. This simple technique adds a delightful crunch and flavor.

5. Nutty Salad Enhancements: Transform your salads into wholesome and satisfying meals by incorporating nuts and seeds. Sprinkle toasted almonds, pumpkin seeds, or sesame seeds on top to provide a textural contrast and boost the nutritional value of your greens.

6. Seed Sprinkles: Elevate your breakfast or dessert with a sprinkle of seeds. Adding chia seeds, flaxseeds, or hemp seeds to smoothie bowls, yogurt, or oatmeal enhances the experience with a delightful crunch while boosting the dietary fiber and omega-3 content.

7. Nutty Crusts and Crumbles: Instead of traditional pie crusts or crumbles, substitute some or all of the flour with ground nuts. For example, almond flour makes a fantastic, gluten-free crust for cheesecakes and tarts. The natural sweetness and richness of nuts add complexity to your desserts.

By exploring these tips and tricks focused on making nuts and seeds related to cooking easy, we can embrace these nutritious ingredients more readily in our daily culinary adventures. From savory dishes to sweet treats, incorporating these versatile elements can bring added flavor, texture, and health benefits to our meals. So, let's embrace the world of nuts and seeds, and make cooking a breeze!

Dried pasta

Idea: Dried Pasta Related to Cooking Made Easy: Tips and Tricks for Cooking Made Easy

Cooking made easy is not just a desire, but a necessity for many individuals, especially beginners in the kitchen or those looking to adopt a vegan lifestyle. With the increasing popularity of plant-based diets, it is essential to have a well-stocked pantry with vegan pantry essentials. One such staple that can make meal preparation a breeze is dried pasta. Bursting with possibilities, dried pasta offers a versatile base for countless easy and delicious recipes. In this article, we will explore tips and tricks on how to utilize dried pasta to make cooking easy and enjoyable.

1. Keep a variety of dried pasta shapes: Stock up on different shapes and sizes of dried pasta. From spaghetti to penne, fusilli to macaroni, each shape offers a unique texture and holds various sauces differently. Having a variety on hand allows you to experiment and add a touch of excitement to your dishes.

2. Pair pasta with simple, flavorful sauces: When looking to make cooking easy, stick to simple sauces that require few ingredients and minimal effort. A classic marinara sauce made with canned tomatoes, garlic, onions, and herbs is a quick and tasty option. Similarly, olive oil-based sauces with garlic, chili flakes, and herbs can elevate the flavor of your pasta effortlessly.

3. Utilize pantry staples as flavor boosters: Make use of pantry essentials like dried herbs, spices, and condiments to add depth and complexity to your pasta dishes. Ingredients like dried oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, or nutritional yeast can impart a burst of flavor without much effort. Experiment with different combinations to find your signature pasta dish.

4. Incorporate vegetables: Adding vegetables to your pasta can enhance both the taste and nutrition of your meal. Opt for easy-to-cook vegetables like cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, or zucchini. Simply sauté or roast them before tossing them into your pasta for a quick and easy upgrade.

5. Optimize cooking time: Dried pasta typically takes around 8-12 minutes to cook, depending on the shape and thickness. Use this time wisely by prepping and chopping other ingredients or preparing a side salad. Multitasking in the kitchen can save time and make your cooking experience more efficient.

6. Batch cooking and meal prep: Dried pasta is an excellent choice for batch cooking and meal prepping. Cook a larger quantity of pasta than needed for one meal and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers. These pre-cooked portions can be easily reheated and customized with different sauces and toppings throughout the week, saving you both time and energy.

7. Explore vegan protein alternatives: For those following a vegan lifestyle, dried pasta can be a platform to experiment with a variety of plant-based proteins. Try adding cooked chickpeas, lentils, or tofu cubes to your pasta dishes to boost the protein content of your meals. These additions provide a heartier and more nutritious option for satisfying vegan pasta recipes.

Incorporating dried pasta into your cooking routine is a creative and attractive way to make easy, delicious, and vegan meals. By following these tips and tricks, you can harness the versatility of dried pasta and transform it into an array of mouthwatering dishes that fit your dietary needs and preferences. With these pantry essentials and cooking hacks, you'll be able to whip up satisfying and flavorful pasta dishes effortlessly. So, grab your apron and enjoy the wonderful world of cooking made easy with dried pasta.

Rice and grains

1. Properly measure the rice and grains: Use the correct ratios while measuring rice and grains to ensure they cook perfectly. As a general rule, use one cup of rice or grains with two cups of water or broth. Adjust the water measurement as needed for certain types of rice or grains.

2. Rinse before cooking: Rinse the rice or grains thoroughly to remove excess starch, dirt, or impurities. This step helps prevent clumping and ensures a fluffier end result.

3. Toast them for better flavor: Consider toasting grains like quinoa, couscous, or even rice before cooking. Dry toast them in a pan for a few minutes until they become slightly golden and aromatic. This enhances their flavors and adds a delicious nutty undertone.

4. Utilize a rice cooker or instant pot: Invest in a rice cooker or an instant pot to make the cooking process easier. These appliances take the guesswork out of cooking rice and grains, allowing you to set it and forget it. They provide consistent results without the need for constant monitoring.

5. Use flavorful broth or stock: Instead of cooking rice or grains in plain water, try using flavorful broth or stock. This simple switch adds an extra layer of taste and complexity. Vegetable, chicken, or beef broth can add richness to the final dish.

6. Perfect the rice-water ratio: Achieving the ideal rice-water ratio is crucial for perfectly cooked rice. To make it easier, use the “finger method.” After rinsing the rice, place your finger on top of the rice submerged in water. The water level should reach your first knuckle. This method works well for most common types of rice.

7. Let it rest after cooking: Once the rice or grains are cooked, allow them to rest for a few minutes before fluffing them with a fork. This helps the flavors and moisture distribute evenly, resulting in a more enjoyable final dish.

8. Experiment with seasoning and additives: Add extra flavor to your rice and grains by experimenting with different seasonings and additives. For example, try adding a knob of butter, a dash of soy sauce, herbs, spices, or even dried fruits and nuts to enhance the taste and visual appeal.

9. Cook in batches and freeze leftovers: Save time by cooking a larger batch of rice or grains and freezing the leftovers in individual portions. This way, you'll always have cooked grains ready to serve, which can be easily reheated for quick and convenient meals.

10. Explore different types of rice and grains: Expand your culinary horizons by trying various types of rice and grains, such as brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, bulgur, or farro. Each grain brings unique flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits to your dishes, making cooking more exciting and diverse.

By incorporating these tips and tricks into your cooking routine, you'll find that cooking rice and grains made easy. Enjoy flavorful, perfectly cooked dishes every time, with the added satisfaction of experimenting with different grains and flavors.

Canned tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are a creative and attractive idea that can revolutionize your cooking experience, making it easier and more convenient. With a wide availability in grocery stores and a long shelf life, canned tomatoes provide a simple solution for adding a burst of flavor and richness to countless dishes. Whether you're a beginner in the kitchen or a seasoned cook, here are some tips and tricks to make the most out of canned tomatoes:

1. Versatility at its best: Canned tomatoes can be used in a variety of recipes, from soups and stews to pasta sauces and salsas. They are a pantry essential that can instantly elevate the taste of your dishes without spending hours chopping and simmering fresh tomatoes.

2. Crush, dice, or puree: Canned tomatoes come in different textures, including crushed, diced, and pureed options. Choose the texture that best fits your recipe needs and save time on chopping and processing fresh tomatoes.

3. Enhance the flavors: Since canned tomatoes are already cooked and packed with flavor, you can enhance their taste by incorporating aromatics and seasonings. Add onions, garlic, herbs like basil and oregano, or spices like cumin or paprika to create a depth of flavor in your dishes.

4. Opt for whole tomatoes: While crushed or diced tomatoes are convenient for many recipes, whole canned tomatoes offer the advantage of controlling the size and texture of the tomato pieces. You can crush or chop them to your desired consistency, making them ideal for chunky pasta sauces or chili.

5. Choose quality brands: Not all canned tomatoes are created equal, so opt for reputable and high-quality brands to ensure the best taste and texture. Look for tomatoes packed in their own juices without any added preservatives or artificial flavors.

6. Stock up during sales: Canned tomatoes often go on sale, making it a good opportunity to stock up on your favorite brands. They have a long shelf life, so you can always have them on hand whenever you need to whip up a quick and flavorful meal.

7. The base for homemade tomato sauce: Canned tomatoes can be the foundation for a delicious homemade tomato sauce. Simply sauté onions and garlic, add canned tomatoes, seasonings, and let it simmer to allow the flavors to meld together. You can customize your sauce with additional vegetables, meat, or spices to suit your taste.

8. An easy pizza sauce: Making pizza at home becomes a breeze with canned tomatoes. Just blend the canned tomatoes with some olive oil, garlic, and Italian herbs to create a flavorful sauce. Spread it over your pizza dough, top with your favorite ingredients, and enjoy a homemade, hassle-free pizza night.

By utilizing canned tomatoes, you can simplify your cooking process and still achieve mouthwatering results. Embrace the convenience, taste, and potential found in a can to make your meals easy and full of flavor.

Nutritional yeast

1. Introduction:
Nutritional yeast is a versatile ingredient that can enhance the flavor and nutrition of various dishes. With its cheesy, nutty taste and high nutritional content, it has gained popularity among vegans, vegetarians, and health-conscious individuals. Here are some tips and tricks to make cooking with nutritional yeast easy and enjoyable.

2. Use it as a cheese substitute:
Nutritional yeast is commonly used as a vegan cheese substitute due to its savory, cheesy flavor. Sprinkle it on top of pasta dishes, pizzas, or salads to add a sprinkle of cheesy goodness without the need for dairy. It melts beautifully and adds a creamy texture to sauces, mac and cheese, and even popcorn.

3. Boost your favorite recipes:
Incorporate nutritional yeast as a flavor enhancer in your favorite recipes. Add it to soups, stews, or casseroles to give them a savory depth and a hint of umami. It works particularly well in dishes with potatoes, mushrooms, or creamy sauces.

4. Nutritional powerhouse:
Apart from its taste, nutritional yeast is highly nutritious. It is an excellent source of B-vitamins, protein, and fiber. Incorporate it into your daily meals to increase the nutritional value of your diet easily. It is also often fortified with other essential nutrients such as vitamin B12, making it a convenient addition, especially for vegans.

5. Make vegan “cheese” sauce:
To make a quick and easy vegan cheese sauce, blend nutritional yeast with plant-based milk (such as almond, soy, or cashew), a little flour or cornstarch for thickness, and a pinch of garlic powder and salt. Heat it up on the stovetop until thickened, and voila! You have a creamy, cheesy sauce to dress up your favorite dishes.

6. Sprinkle it on popcorn:
For a healthy and delicious alternative to buttered popcorn, sprinkle nutritional yeast on top. It adds a cheesy taste without the added calories and fat. Simply toss freshly popped popcorn with a little melted coconut oil or olive oil, salt, and a generous amount of nutritional yeast for a guilt-free snack.

7. Experiment with flavors:
Feel free to experiment with different herbs and spices while using nutritional yeast. Combine it with garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, or dried herbs like oregano or basil to create your custom blend. This allows you to tailor the flavor to suit your preferences and complement various dishes.

8. Use it in dressings and dips:
Transform your simple dressings and dips into flavorful creations by adding nutritional yeast. Blend it with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil for a tangy, nutty salad dressing. It also provides a unique flavor to vegan mayonnaise or sour cream alternatives.

9. Add a nutritional boost to smoothies:
Boost the nutritional content of your morning smoothies by adding a tablespoon of nutritional yeast. Its nutty taste blends well with fruits, greens, and nut milk, offering an extra dose of vitamins and minerals to start your day off right.

10. Store it properly:
To maintain the freshness and quality of your nutritional yeast, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. It has a long shelf life, but using it within a year of purchase is recommended for optimal flavor and nutrition.

You can add nutritional yeast to your meals not only to make them taste great, but also to make them healthier. Incorporate these tips and tricks into your cooking routine to enjoy the benefits of this versatile ingredient while making your meals even more delicious.

Spices and herbs

Spices and herbs are incredibly versatile ingredients that can enhance the flavors of any dish, making cooking easier and more enjoyable. Here are some tips and tricks on how to effectively use spices and herbs to create mouthwatering meals:

1. Start with high-quality spices and herbs: Using fresh and high-quality spices and herbs will ensure maximum flavor in your dishes. Consider purchasing whole spices and grinding them yourself for a more intense taste.

2. Understand flavor profiles: Familiarize yourself with various spices and herbs, and learn about their individual flavors and how they pair with different ingredients. This knowledge will help you create balanced and delicious dishes.

3. Experiment with spice combinations: Don't be afraid to experiment with different spice combinations. Use similar spices from different cuisines to create unique flavor profiles. For example, blending cumin, coriander, and paprika can give a dish an Indian-inspired twist.

4. Use spices and herbs in marinades: Marinating proteins like chicken, fish, or tofu in a mixture of spices and herbs can infuse great flavor into your dish. Add some garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil to create a simple yet delicious marinade.

5. Toast your spices: Dry toasting whole spices in a hot pan for a few minutes before grinding them can intensify their flavors. This technique works particularly well with spices like cumin, coriander, and mustard seeds.

6. Add herbs at the right time: Delicate herbs such as basil, cilantro, and parsley should be added towards the end of the cooking process to retain their fresh flavors. Robust herbs like rosemary and thyme can withstand longer cooking times.

7. Store spices properly: Keep your spices and herbs in airtight containers away from sunlight and heat. This will help maintain their freshness and potency for a longer period.

8. Gradually add spices: When using spices and herbs in a recipe, start with small amounts and gradually increase to achieve the desired flavor. This way, you can avoid overpowering your dish with too much spice.

9. Balance flavors with herbs: If a dish is too spicy or acidic, use herbs like parsley or cilantro to mellow and balance the flavors. Their fresh and bright characteristics can help harmonize the taste.

10. Don't forget about dried herbs: While fresh herbs are fantastic, don't underestimate the power of dried herbs. They have a concentrated flavor and are perfect for dishes that require longer cooking times, such as soups and stews.

By following these tips and tricks, you can easily elevate your cooking skills and create delicious meals bursting with flavor. Spices and herbs are your secret weapons to making every dish a culinary masterpiece. So go ahead, experiment, and enjoy the wonderful world of cooking made easy with spices and herbs!

Plant-based proteins

1. Experiment with a Variety of Plant Proteins: Explore different plant-based protein sources such as tofu, tempeh, seitan, legumes (like lentils and chickpeas), quinoa, and edamame. This variety will provide a diverse range of nutrients and flavors to your meals.

2. Incorporate Flavorful Marinades: Infuse your plant proteins with delicious flavors using marinades. Combine ingredients like soy sauce, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, and various herbs and spices. Let your protein marinate for at least 30 minutes to enhance the taste.

3. Optimize Texture with Cooking Techniques: To mimic meat-like texture, try techniques like grilling, pan-searing, or baking. These methods can add a satisfying crispness or char to your plant proteins.

4. Enhance Taste with Spices and Seasonings: Experiment with different spices and seasonings to elevate the flavor of your plant-based proteins. Smoked paprika, cumin, turmeric, nutritional yeast, and liquid smoke are great options to add depth and complexity to your dishes.

5. Blend with Other Ingredients: Combine your plant proteins with other ingredients to create amazing dishes. For instance, blend cooked lentils with breadcrumbs, herbs, and spices to make veggie burgers or mix tofu with vegetables for a stir-fry. The possibilities are endless!

6. Gravitate Towards Umami Flavors: Umami is a savory taste often associated with meat. Recognize that plant-based proteins can also provide umami flavors. Incorporate ingredients like soy sauce, miso paste, mushrooms, nutritional yeast, or tomato paste to enhance the savory taste.

7. Experiment with Meat Substitutes: Explore the options of meat substitutes available in the market. These may include veggie sausages, plant-based ground meat, or vegan chicken strips. They can be a convenient way to transition to a plant-based diet and create familiar-tasting recipes.

8. Utilize Online Resources and Recipes: Take advantage of the abundance of online resources, recipe blogs, and cooking videos dedicated to plant-based proteins. They can inspire you with new ideas, techniques, and flavor combinations.

9. Incorporate Colorful Fruits and Vegetables: Pair your plant-based proteins with vibrant and nutritious fruits and vegetables. This adds visual appeal and ensures a well-rounded and balanced meal.

10. Plan Meals and Prep Ahead: To simplify your cooking process, plan your meals in advance and do some meal prep. This can include preparing batches of cooked beans, marinating tofu or seitan, chopping vegetables, or pre-cooking grains. Having ingredients ready to use will make cooking plant-based proteins more convenient.

Remember, cooking with plant-based proteins can be delicious, healthy, and environmentally friendly. By incorporating these tips and tricks, you can make your cooking journey easier and more enjoyable while exploring the world of plant-based cuisine.

Oils and vinegars

1. Understanding flavor profiles: Oils and vinegars come in a wide variety of flavors. Experiment with different types such as extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, balsamic vinegar, or apple cider vinegar. This will help you enhance the taste of your dishes and add depth to your cooking.

2. Marinades and dressings: Oils and vinegars are essential components of marinades and dressings. Create flavorful marinades by combining oils, vinegars, herbs, and spices. For dressings, a simple combination of oil, vinegar, mustard, and honey can go a long way in enhancing your salads or roasted vegetables.

3. Enhancing the natural flavors: A drizzle of high-quality olive oil or a splash of balsamic vinegar can instantly elevate the natural flavors of grilled meats, vegetables, and even fruits. Use these oils and vinegars as finishing touches to add a burst of flavor to your dishes.

4. Proper storage: To ensure the longevity and quality of your oils and vinegars, store them in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. It's also important to seal the bottles tightly to prevent oxidation and maintain their freshness. This helps in preserving their flavors and extends their shelf life.

5. Experiment with infused oils and flavored vinegars: Infused oils and flavored vinegars can add an extra layer of complexity to your dishes. Consider making your own by infusing oils with herbs, garlic, or chili peppers. Similarly, experiment with fruit or herb-infused vinegars for a unique twist in your recipes.

6. Health-conscious cooking: When cooking with oils, it's important to choose healthier options. Opt for oils with high monounsaturated fats like olive oil, avocado oil, or canola oil. These oils promote heart health and are ideal for sautéing, roasting, or drizzling over dishes. Use vinegar-based dressings instead of creamy ones for a healthier option.

7. Seasoning with flavored oils: Flavored oils like chili oil or garlic-infused oil can be fantastic seasoning options for adding a kick to your dishes. A few drops of these oils can transform a plain pasta dish or a simple stir-fry into a flavor-packed delight.

8. Emulsifying with vinegars: Vinegars can act as emulsifiers in salad dressings and sauces. When combined with oils, vinegar helps the ingredients blend smoothly, creating a well-balanced and homogenous mixture. This is especially useful when aiming for a seamless texture in your culinary creations.

Incorporating oils and vinegars into your cooking not only adds complexity and depth to your dishes but also offers a multitude of health benefits. With these tips and tricks, you can master the art of using oils and vinegars for effortless cooking made easy.

Final Words

To conclude, beginners can make cooking easier with just a few pantry staples. Unsweetened plant-based milk, nuts, seeds, dried pasta, rice and grains, and canned tomatoes are just a few examples of vegan options that can make any dish more appealing. By having these essentials on hand, you can create delicious and nutritious meals in no time. The significance of these staples lies in their versatility and ability to enhance flavors, making them relevant to anyone looking to improve their cooking skills and overall quality of life. Whether you're a beginner or seasoned cook, incorporating these pantry staples into your culinary arsenal will undoubtedly make a positive impact on your cooking journey. So go ahead, stock up your pantry and embark on a delicious adventure in the world of vegan cooking!

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