Southern Sweet Tea – House Wine of the South

 

iced tea       Sweet tea, in the South, is drunk all through the year.  Glasses will hold as much ice in them, in the winter as they do in the summer.   My papa made the best sweet tea in the world.  Dark brown, like stout; fragrant, sweet as a baby’s smile, and satisfying as a long nap under a big shady tree on a summer Sunday afternoon.

If the tea is too sweet for you, back it off.  I have given a low – high amount of sugar.  Also, when possible, use Luzianne Tea – “brewed for iced tea”.  I’m not advertising it or giving any special endorsements.  We, like most folks around us, used Luzianne tea for our iced tea.  If it isn’t where you live, use a good black and orange pekoe mix with plenty of tannins.

Tea Tip:  Hot water causes the tannins to blend into the water.  Sometimes, when tea gets cold, those tannins separate and cause the dreaded cloudiness.  My papa always added a pinch of baking soda to his tea – it helped smooth out the flavor and reduced the risk of cloudiness.  He also would never, never, ever put a container of warm tea in the refrigerator.  He would wait until it cooled down.  And…..you don’t want to bruise the tea – let it steep and not throw in the pot with the water to boil.

Recipe is below.  Be sure you get a nice tall glass and fill with lots of ice.  Don’t piddle around with one or two measly cubes.  Also, you can certainly add mint and/or lemon to the tea as well.  You can use artificial sweetners if you have to, but unless you have to, don’t.  For myself, I like extra squeezes of lemon and then I chunk the slices down into the tea.  At the end of several glasses of this, you get one of my favorite treats – tea marinated lemon slices.  Dig the lemons out, bend the peel backwards and pull the lemon off with your teeth and eat.  Y’all make think this is weird, but only if you are not from the South.

Papa’s Sweet Iced Tea

5 – 8  Family size Tea Bags. (or 12 regular Tea Bags) 
1 Quart  (4 Cups) – Boiling Water
3 Quarts (12 cups) – Cool Water
1 1/2 – 2 (one & a half) – Cups Sugar. 
1/4 teaspoon – Baking Soda

Sprinkle baking soda into a pitcher (I use a large pyrex batter bowl or measuring cup).  Add tea bags to the pitcher/baking soda.  Pour boiling water over tea bags.  Cover and allow to steep for 15 minutes.  Remove and toss out tea bags.   Add sugar and stir until completely dissolved.  Add cool water.   Serve over ice.  Take a nice long swig.  Ahhhhhhhh.  Repeat.
     
Yowzer y’all…..Now this is what I’m talkin’ about. – Nectar of the gods.

 

Luzianne

 

 

Super Sweet Blogger Award – Part Two – Sugar Pie – Southern Recipe

brown sugar pie

We Southerners love our sweets!  Give us something with sugar and we become rather docile – sweet tea, lemon meringue pie, nanner puddin’, Sugar Pie…  Southern Sugar Pie is not to be confused with Canadian Sugar Pie.  Both are for folks who have a seriously demented sweet tooth, both have similar methods and outcomes, but the ingredients are different.  Southern Sugar Pie is basically pecan pie without the pecans.  The filling is soft, custardy, and exploding with rich brown sugar goodness.   

My great-grandmother, Mammy, called this by her own special name:  Sugar Puddin’.  She made sure we knew that the pie was not always predictable in its outcome.  As she baked hers in a woodstove, that would be an understatement.  However, in these degenerate modern times, electric and gas ovens bake the pie as unpredictably.  It may be runny, it may set up perfectly, it may have little pockmarks on the surface from the boiling sugar, or it may be perfectly smooth. 

No matter how it looks, the pie is obscenely good.  If you want to just totally wreak havoc on your senses, serve with a dollop of rich homemade whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Brown Sugar Pie

3 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour (all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine/butter, melted and slightly cooled
3 eggs, beaten well
2 tsp. real vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 regular 9-inch pie crusts or 1 deep-dish pie crust

Prepare the pie crusts per package instructions, or make up your own favorite dough.  I use the “boughten” ones from the store and they work just fine.  In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, and salt. Use a fork to break up any clumps of brown sugar.  In a smaller bowl, mix together the melted margarine/butter, beaten eggs, vanilla, and milk; beat well. Add this wet mixture to the brown sugar mixture and blend very well with a hand mixer. Pour into the pie crust(s) and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes for a regular crust, 60-70 minutes for a deep-dish crust, or until set (a tad bit wobbly) in the middle. Cool completely before slicing and serving. 

**SPECIAL NOTE**

Sugar Pie is also a frequent pet name for someone.  I was “Sugar Pie” in my family.  Southerners will also pick up babies or small children and tell them to “gimme some sugar” meaning, give me a kiss or a smooch or a cuddle.  Old ladies, with the privilege of age, (and I personally think just for pure meanness), will embarrass a grown son or nephew, or a teenaged grandboy by making that same request.  The favorite time to do this is when they are meeting the girlfriend of the male for the first time.  I will also refer you to a wonderful “old school” song from 1965 by the Four Tops – “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch).   Enjoy the pie and the song! 

http://youtu.be/qXavZYeXEc0 

 

 

Real Southern Cooking – Some Recipes

retro

Down South, we have a tremendous love for congealed salads.   Now for one thing, y’all need to know that in most cases, salad and dessert can be one and the same.  If you go to a typical southern church dinner or family potluck, you will find a great variety of congealed salads.  Some will be set in the salad area and some will be set in the dessert area – and usually you’ll have two or three of the same thing – one in the salad area, one in the dessert area.

In the 1960’s, congealed salads were wildly popular.  Actually, farther back than that.  I have a recipe from N’awlins, circa 1835 for beouf en gelee.  Also for jellied duck – Charleston, 1875.  We southerners apparently have always had a love for these things.  They run the gamut from Cherry Coke Congealed Salad to Congealed Coleslaw to Lemon/Strawberry/Lime Fluff to Golden Glow to Perfection.  Actually, Perfection Salad is a yankee invention but we ignore that.  We put our fingers in our ears and lalalalala when someone suggests such a thing.

My grandmother Ninny – a true soft voiced southern lady with a spine of pure titanium – made several congealed salads a week, especially in the summer when it was so hot and humid, it was like walking outside into a bowl of oatmeal.  Congealed salad was cool, comforting, and easy to take.  My cousin Billy from New Jersey was visiting one summer and he asks Ninny, “Aunt Josie Lee, how come you don’t just call them Jello salads?”  Ninny replied, “Because William, they are congealed salads.”  End of story. In other words, as we say, “Who’s fryin’ this chicken, you or me?”

Perfection Salad was invented in 1904 by Mrs. John Cook of Newcastle, Pennsylvania (lalalalala) who entered a Knox gelatin recipe contest.  She won third prize – $100 and a sewing machine.  Mrs. Cook said she sliced this salad (sliced salad????) and passed it with a dish of mayonnaise for folks to dab on it.  She liked to serve it with fried oysters.  Perfection Salad is perfect with any kind of seafood, roast meat, fried or barbecued chicken, or fried chicken.  It will liven a dull meal.  Lime Fluff Salad is like Christmas in July – the green and red thing going on with it.  Buttermilk Salad is just good to eat out of the bowl – especially if you can’t sleep and are watching some late night movie from the 30’s or 40’s.  My movie of choice for this one is Bringing Up Baby with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, but y’all make your own choice.  A good friend of mine likes his while watching Seven Samurai.

So I hope y’all enjoy these.  Bless your hearts, eat and be blessed.

  

Buttermilk Salad

1 can crushed pineapple (20 ounces)

2 Cups buttermilk  (regular or fat free)

8 ounces whipped topping, thawed

2 small boxes gelatin (your flavor choice, can also use sugar free)

I am using strawberry jello for this.  Orange is also very good.  Heat pineapple in juice, bring to a boil. Add jello and mix well. Remove from heat and add buttermilk, stir. Allow to cool for twenty to thirty minutes. Stir in whipped topping. Refrigerate until set.

Lime Fluff  Salad

2 (3 oz.) boxes Lime Jello

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese

1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained

1/2 Cup pecan pieces (more is wonderful)

1 ½ c. cold water

¼ – ½ c. sliced maraschino cherries

Dissolve Jello in 1 Cup hot water. Break up the cream cheese in hot Jello and blend using blender (or hand mixer) until smooth. (I usually cube it first!) Add and blend until smooth, then add the undrained pineapple, the pecan pieces and the cherries. Pour into an 8″ X 8″ dish. Chill and serve!

 Perfection Salad

2 envelopes (2 tbs.) unflavored gelatin.

½ c. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 ½ c. boiling water

1 ½ c. cold water

½ c. vinegar (cider or white)

2 tbs. lemon juice

2 c. finely shredded cabbage (shreds better when refrigerator cold)

1 c. chopped celery

¼ c. chopped red/green bell pepper

¼ c. diced pimiento (small jar, drained)

1/3 c. stuffed green olive slices

Thoroughly mix gelatin, sugar, salt. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water and stir to dissolve gelatin. Then add 1 1/2 cups cold water, vinegar, and lemon juice. Chill till partially set (like egg white consistency).

Now cabbage, chopped celery, green pepper, pimiento, and green-olive slices.

Pour into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan (spray with cooking spray. May also use any comparable sized mold). Chill the salad mold until firm. Just before mealtime, unmold and garnish your salad. Cut salad in 8 to 10 slices.

“You think I don’t have culture just because I’m from down South. Believe me, we’ve got culture there. We’ve always had sushi. We just called it bait.”  Ben “Cooter” Jones

Perfection Salad

照り焼き Teriyaki

Teriyaki is a way of Japanese cooking. Teriyaki is a combination of two Japanese words: “teri” and “yaki”; teri means luster, and yaki means grill or broil. This recipe is for oven baked teriyaki wings. You can of course use chicken thighs, legs, chunks, pork, beef, tofu…..cook on an inside grill or yakitori grill, or outside on a gas or charcoal grill. That is up to you. Be careful as the sugar and mirin content can easily cause food to burn.

To make a teriyaki dish, ingredients are broiled, roasted, or grilled after being marinated in or basted by teriyaki sauce. It’s sauce that brings the shiny look (teri) to the ingredients. You can buy teriyaki sauce in a bottle at the grocery store, but authentic teriyaki sauce is very easy to make. To make teriyaki sauce, basically soy sauce, mirin, and sugar are used. Other ingredients can be added. It is possible to substitute mirin with sake and sugar BUT the key ingredient in teriyaki sauce is mirin. Mirin adds luster to ingredients. Teriyaki sauce can be used for glazing and marinating meats and vegetables.

The recipes for the wings and the sauce were given to me by my “authentic Japanese” partner of years back. We enjoyed entertaining and feeding our friends. These wings, chunks of nice fatty beef, deep fried tofu (see post), umeboshi and other quick pickles along with some of my Southern American specialties made us extremely popular. This is good party appetizer/sports watching/entrée food.

Between good food, good conversation and good music, it truly was the best of South meets East!!! どうぞめしあがれ (douzo meshiagare – eat well) or, as my granddaddy used to say, Eat ‘til your little belly drags, Y’all!

desired amount of wings (I usually allow 6 full wings per person)
teriyaki sauce
sesame seeds
scallion, thinly sliced

Wash the chicken and cut at joints into two pieces. Frugal Hint: I save the tips in the freezer to make broth. Wash again and pat dry with a paper towel. Put into a non-reactive bowl and marinate the wings in the refrigerator with a generous amount of the teriyaki sauce for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours. Mix well making sure wings are covered. Cover with plastic wrap.

This is oven method: Preheat oven to 375. Either use a broiling pan with racks or, lay cooling racks over baking pan. Spread the wings in a single layer and evenly spoon sauce over the wings. Cover with aluminum foil and bake about 30 minutes.

Take the pan out of the oven, remove the foil and place back into oven for about 10 – 20 minutes until skin becomes crispy. Move the wings to a serving dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds and very thinly sliced scallion.

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

2/3 c. mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
1 c. good soy sauce (I use low sodium soy sauce)
4 ½ tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/3 c. white granulated sugar
4 – 7 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tbs. grated fresh ginger
Dash of black pepper

Mix ingredients well and slowly heat until bubbly, stirring. Allow to cook for a couple of minutes until thickened and flavors are blended. This will keep in covered container in refrigerator for several weeks. Makes about 1 1/2 c. sauce.

teriyaki chicken wings

Simple Saturday Cooking and Recipes

Saturdays are always busy so it is KISS – Keep it simple Saturday. Yesterday I did snow day cooking (see post). Saturdays are for cleaning, running errands and watching Duke play basketball – unil the end of the season. Supper tonight will be leftover soup from yesterday’s cooking. Lunch everybody just grabs.

So for KISS, breakfast is simple: Egg in the Nest or, Toad in the Hole – the two names I have heard this dish called for years. there may be others but I only know these two. Simple breakfast, simple recipe. This is a satisfying breakfast or quick lunch or easy supper.

In between times, I will make Pimiento Cheese: A southern staple that is without seasons. It is a staple on picnics, wedding receptions, for kids to grab and go (in my day someone would grab two pieces of plain old white bread and slather with the mixture and hand to me as I was on my way out the door to play until suppertime), stuffed into pieces of celery for addition on a fancy appetizer tray or a cool summer nosh.  Pimiento cheese sandwiches are excellent grilled.  Those quick bread and butter pickles I made yesterday are a great aside for pimiento cheese.

Word of warning:
  I use Hellman’s mayo. This has been a source of dismay for my in-laws, relatives, and some friends. Daughters of the south, they use Duke’s mayo. Uhuh. To me, too oily tasting and sweet. Women in other states may use a local brand or Miracle Whip. Some of you may be tempted to use a “lite” mayo. I beg you, please don’t. I mean, you are already eating several mouthfuls of cheese. It’s like eating a Big Mac, large fries and a diet coke. So please use a good quality, full tilt, heavy duty mayo such as Hellman’s.
The sun is shining and a cold front has moved. The snow from yesterday is still much in evidence. I ended up not making sausage balls for my husband yesterday but will today. This recipe has been around since Hector was a pup. Some I bake for immediate eating – the rest I wrap up on rolls of eight and place in a freezer bag for bringing out at various times.
Y’all enjoy your Saturday. Whatever you do, be safe, be careful, have fun.

TOAD-IN-THE-HOLE or, EGG-IN-A-NEST
Per serving:
1 Egg, 1 slice of bread (your choice), butter or margarine, salt and pepper
Cut a hole, about the size of an egg yolk from the center of the bread. Smear one side of the bread with softened butter or margarine. Spray skillet with cooking spray. Break open the egg into the pan keeping the yolk intact and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let white start to cook (about a minute). Drop bread slice, butter side up, on egg with the yolk in the hole of the bread. Cook, depending on how you like your egg. I like over medium. The hole you cut out of the bread should be smeared with butter and allow to pan toast along side of the egg. When ready, flip egg over and allow buttered side of bread to pan toast. Remove to plate and put the “hole” on top of the yolk.

PIMIENTO CHEESE
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
2 cup grated sharp or extra sharp or mixture cheddar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 6 oz. jar or 2 4 oz. jars pimentos, drained and smashed
salt and pepper to taste
dash of hot sauce (Franks or Crystal)
Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add all of the remaining ingredients and beat until well blended. It can be used as a dip for raw veggies or crackers, sandwich filling, filling for celery, topping for beef or turkey burgers. it is also a primo midnight snack: Just open the container and spoon a spoonful or two into your mouth.

SAUSAGE AND CHEESE BALLS
1 pound good quality breakfast sausage (I use homemade) regular, hot, maple, etc.
1 c. all purpose baking mix (such as regular Bisquick or store brand)
2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tbs. grated onion (optional)
Preheat oven to 375. Mix all ingredients just until blended. Doing this by hand is good. Shape into about 40 1 inch balls and place onto two lightly greased baking pans. I cover my pans with foil and lightly grease. Bake about 12 – 14 minutes until done. These are also good for breakfast.

thCAKIW57G                    thCAQLM4LM

Snow Day Cooking – Recipes

It snowed last night – great gouts of clustered snow flakes rapidly covering the ground and everything else it       would stick to.  A wet snow, in some areas it will be gone by late afternoon and in some protected areas, sometime tomorrow.  The snow covers our lawn in a smooth sheet until it gets to the woods and then it decorates the leaves, bare tree branches, and sides of downed trees.  The line of azaleas in front of our house and the ones that separate the woods from our lawn, blossom with huge clusters of pure white snow.

Still…today is one of those days I am going to pretend the roads are impassable and we are snowed in.  That means – a whole day of cooking!  This morning started off with my husband begging for sausage, eggs, and silver dollar pancakes.  Usually our breakfast is what we grab in passing – yogurt or oatmeal for me and Danish for him.  The pancakes are from a standard recipe of flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, eggs, and milk – standard, fluffy and satisfying.  I’ve been making these since I was five and had to stand on a chair by the stove to reach the pan.  The sausage is homemade – lean bits of pork left over from the killing and butchering and then ground with a bit of suet and spiced with salt, black pepper, some sugar, red pepper flakes, and lots of sage – in the south, in farm co-op stores, you can buy bags of sausage seasoning for batches from 2 – 100 pounds.  Beats bought sausage all to pieces and you know what is in it.

My husband’s uncle has a massive farm – every year they kill hogs and butcher and sell the meat or give away.  His sausage is made from trimmed pieces of tenderloin and hams and seasoned with co-op seasoning – hot or mild.   This same sausage will be used later in the day when I make sausage and cheese balls – some for munching on now and the rest to be pulled out of the freezer and cooked for the rest of the football season and on to March Madness basketball (Go Duke!).

Snow day cooking can be done on a cold rainy day or just a day you want to hide from everything and everyone and be in your own kitchen world.  On the counter great northern beans are soaking.  I am going to make a big pot of white bean (navy or great northern) and ham (leftover from Christmas and portioned out and put in the freezer) with cornbread.  This will be for dinner tonight.  I am also going to make quickles – quick pickles with a bread and butter taste to go with the beans to add a bit of sparkles.  I am in the process of writing a most learned and riveting two part article about quickles…snow day came up though and took precedence.    Sliced cucumbers and onions are on the kitchen table in a colander over a dish with a smaller saucer on top with a large heavy can of tomatoes on top to help press out excess liquid.  Bread and butter style quickles are also on the menu for tonight.

Sticks of unsalted butter are on also  the counter softening.  On the  for dessert are Mexican wedding cookies.  The pecans in them came from Georgia.  Every Thanksgiving, I go to Charlotte Courthouse where Mr. Claxton comes up from his home in Thomasville, GA and brings a huge truck loaded with this season shelled or unshelled pecans.  I buy both – enough to take me through to next Thanksgiving.  For about two miles on either direction of him along 360, you’ll see hand-lettered signs:  Pecans Ahead!  The Pecan Man  – 1 mi. Awa!!!  Your Close!!!  (big arrow) Right there – PECANS!!!!   I’ve done this for a long time but I always eagerly look for the first sign. The excitement builds.   Only in the South, folks.

Recipes are below.   As usual, I do not take pictures of ingredients and step-by-steps as most folks seem to do on their cooking blogs.  I’ve said it before:  you all are grownups and know how to cook.  A chopped carrot is a chopped carrot, a pound of great northern beans are great northern beans, confectioners sugar is……you all get my drift.  Enjoy my day with me!  I’ll glady share recipes but you can’t have my happy shoes.  Y’all stay for or come by for supper.  The cornbread is in the oven and the golden crust is liberally smeared with butter.  Sweet tea, the table wine of the South, will be your beverage to complement our meal.  Plenty of napkins are on hand to catch the powdered sugar from the cookies.

 

 WHITE BEAN AND HAM SOUP 

  • 1 lb of white beans -navy or Great Northern, picked over and washed
  • 2 quarts of water HOT water – soak beans in this for about three hours and drain
  • Ham chunks, ham bone, ham hocks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup of diced onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2/3 cup chopped carrots
  • Salt and pepper

Fill a pot or bowl large enough to hold the beans with water, soak and drain. some folks soak the beans in cold water for 8 hours.  others bring the beans in water to a boil and soak the beans for about 2 hours. Your choice.

Meanwhile, put the ham hocks, ham chunks, or ham bone and cover with 2 quarts of water.  For frugality, I am using leftover frozen Christmas ham and the hambone.  I am not using a huge amount of ham, maybe about a 3/4 pound.  I will simmer the ham bone and add the bay and sautéed veggies, bring to a simmer and simmer for about an hour.  When I add the beans, I will add the ham chunks, bits, shreds…whatever. Cook for another couple of hours or so, until the beans are tender.  Cook longer to thicken.  Check and stir mixture in pot to ensure no sticking.   Add more water if necessary.

Serve with hot cornbread and butter or other bread of your choice.  When serving, put  a good sprinkle of chopped onion, parsley, Crystal or Franks hot sauce on top – any or all is good.  Let the individual season their beans or not.  Remove bay leaves before serving.

FOR VEGETARIAN/VEGAN VERSION:  omit ham (duh).  Saute veggies along with several cloves of garlic.  You may want to add more veggies to the sauté mixture to flavor and hearten up the taste and texture.  I use regular vegetable oil to sauté veggies but you can use fancy olive oils if you choose.

ANTI-FART (haha) TIP:  When cooking dried beans, take a nice stringy large rib of celery and cut in half.  Add to the cooking beans at the beginning.  At the end of cooking, remove the two pieces of celery.  The cellulose in the celery absorb the sulfur dioxide from the cooking liquid and help cut down/prevent stomach gas.  Be careful to remove the fart-absorbing celery ribs from the soup.

MEXICAN WEDDING COOKIES (or SNOWBALL COOKIES)

1 cup  (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cup  powdered sugar, divided
2 tsp.  vanilla
2 cups  flour – all purpose
1 cup  finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Beat butter, 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Gradually add flour and pecans, beating on low speed after each addition until well blended.  Shape into 1 inch balls (I use a 1 inch cookie scoop).   Place, 1-1/2 inches apart, on ungreased baking sheets.  I use cooking parchment.

Bake 14 to 16 min. or until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned.  Roll warm cookies in about 1 cup of powdered sugar until evenly coated; place on wire racks to cool.  The sugar will coat the cookies and give a happy white coating guaranteed to “snow” on your black sweater and stick to your fingers.   Cool completely.  Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.  They really don’t last long because they are such a good, short cookie – not too sweet but rich and yummy with cold milk, hot tea or coffee. makes about 28 balls of yumminess.

QUICK BREAD AND BUTTER STYLE PICKLES

1    pound pickling cucumbers , sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch  rounds OR equivalent in standard or English cucumber. Peel, cut cukes in            half  and scoop out seeds if necessary

1     medium onion, halved and sliced thin

1   tablespoon kosher or non-iodized salt

1    cup cider vinegar

1/2  cup sugar

1/2   teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

1/4    teaspoon celery seeds

1/4    teaspoon corriander seeds

1/8    teaspoon ground tumeric

Toss cucumbers, onion, and salt in colander set over bowl.  Let stand 1 hour.  hour.  Discard any liquid collected in the bowl. Rinse and press out excess water and put in large non-reactive bowl.  Bring vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, corriander seeds and turmeric to boil in large saucepan.  Pour over cucumbers and onion onion, and press to submerge in liquid.  Let cool.  Put into smaller glass container or quart jar and allow to chill at least two hours before serving.   Pickles can be refrigerated in a clean jar or covered container for 2 weeks.

snowball cookies            quick bread and butter pickles         white bean and ham soup with cornbread

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