Category Archives: 16. Salads

Margot’s Beet & Beet Salad and Greens

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beet in basket #1 beet salad

Margot’s Beet and all about beets

Roasted Beet Salad with Orange Vinaigrette and Nuts—serves 4

Lots of us don’t like beets because of the poor maligned red beet. Well, frankly I sort of agree. I am not crazy about the red beet unless it is very fresh and mild tasting. I do however like the other colored beets which are now so prevalent in our grocery stores. So, here is a recipe for a salad that you can vary to your heart’s content and totally ignore if you just want to eat the roasted beets by themselves. Additionally, DO NOT THROW AWAY THOSE BEET GREENS—because they too are delicious. No waste here!!!! As a little aside about the benefits that beets offer free of charge to our bodies think about this: they are a powerful antioxidant, reduce inflammation, are packed with vitamins and promote a healthy circulation and cardiovascular system. Some say that they are nature’s Viagra. So, now, will you eat beets?

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch medium sized beets-preferably sized about the same-stem cut off but leave about 1 inch worth on each beet; scrub beet thoroughly.
  • Fresh lettuce, kale, spinach whatever kind of greens your heart desires
  • Scallions—one bunch will do (optional)
  • Baby tomatoes (optional)
  • White mushrooms (have you noted how healthy mushrooms have all of a sudden become) (optional)
  • 1 medium sized orange and/or 4 tangerines or 1 lemon (you will zest and juice these except for the tangerines which you might want to juice and zest but also you will use some for segments in the salad.)
  • 1/2 Cup olive oil
  • Fresh thyme (optional)
  • S&P to taste
  • Honey (optional)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts (but they can be pecans as well)
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles (optional)

Directions:

To roast the beets do the following:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400F.
  • Place each beet in 2 pieces of foil, sprinkle some olive oil and S&P on them wrap well in the foil. Put foil opening at the top and place on a baking sheet.
  • Bake from 45 minutes to 1 ½ hour—depending on how fresh the beets are. Around here, mine get done in 45 minutes. To test if the beet is done, carefully open the foil (watch out for the steam) and stick a sharp knife into it. If it goes in easily, it’s done.
  • So now, you can if you wish take the skin off (try a paper towel or a sharp knife), slice it and place more butter or olive oil on top and devour.
  • But if you are going to save the beets for your salad, put the beets in the tin foil in your frig to cool. They’ll stay good for several days.
  • I slice mine horizontally however it’s up to you how you wish your beets to look in your salad. You might like to cut them in cubes.

While the beets are cooking, make your vinaigrette:

  • In the olive oil, add the zest of one orange, or lemon or even two tangerines.
  • Also, add the juice of one orange,one lemon or 2 tangerines.
  • You might want to add some honey—but I didn’t.
  • You might want to add some thyme
  • You might want to add some S&P
  • You can whisk this, put it in the blender and just shake it well.

I also added some homemade croutons that I had made from my beer bread recipe. So good!!!!! Later for that. But of course you could add cooked couscous, lentils, whatever. Anyway, I am sure that I don’t need to tell you how to assemble your salad—so just go for it and use your imagination. I love pretty colors and often take pictures of my food presentations. I would love to see some of your pictures so don’t forget to send me some.

This salad could be a whole meal or just a light side to a lovely dinner you’ve invented.

beet greensbeet greens

OK—now for your well washed beet greens:

  • Cook uncovered for about 2 minutes in a pot of lightly salted boiling water.
  • Drain in colander under very cold water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, chop coarsely.
  • In a large skillet, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Stir in some garlic and red pepper flakes (I use these lot) and stir them well in the heated olive oil (about 1 minute and till fragrant).
  • Stir in the greens, season with salt to taste and cook just until greens are hot and taste good.
  • I serve them with a side of lemon wedges.

Once again: NO WASTE HERE!!!!! and so healthy.

Bon Appétit-From Margot’s Table to Yours

For more excellent recipes visit http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com and email margot@eyeonsunvalley.com for small group catering needs or even for help inventing in the kitchen.

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Avocados Stuffed with Lemon-Tarragon (etc.) Chicken Salad Sided with Pickled Radishes

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avocados,chick salad, pickled radishes 1

Bandit and IBBA display 003

Avocados Stuffed with Lemon-Tarragon (etc.) Chicken Salad Sided with Pickled Radishes and Halved Tomatoes   3-6 servings

September is my birthday month so I plan to have lots of friends over for lunches and such to celebrate my longevity on this earth as we know it. Cooking and smoozing are some of my favorite activities therefore to celebrate another year gone by, I plan to do a lot of that this month.

 

To start the month off, I had today a little mid-day lunch for one old friend and one newfound friend.   That’s a nice combination, don’t you think? Avocados were on special at our markets, so this is the recipe that I served. I sided it with a platter containing a bit of goat cheese and antipasto meats, a basket of crusty, fresh French baguette slices, and on the individual serving plates I surrounded the stuffed avocados with fresh halved cherry tomatoes and quickly homemade pickled radishes.   I also shared a bit of wine for those of us who are winos and for my non-alcohol drinking friend, my wonderful homemade lemon/lavender drink.  For desert, I made a bit of coconut/lemon non-churn ice cream and topped it with fresh raspberries—a really wonderful combination. Of course a nice good strong cup of coffee and lots more great conversation followed. Before we knew it, my 1pm lunch turned into a 5:45pm good-bye. Nothing like a long lingering luncheon with good food and great people to help make your birthday month very special indeed!!!!

 

Oh yes, I almost forgot, for the background music, Bandit, my green singing finch, serenaded us with his songs, symphonies and sonatas.   Perfect indeed!!!!!

 

Ingredients for the Chicken Salad Mix:

  1. 1 Tblsp. or a bit more fresh tarragon
  2. 1/3 C. onion
  3. 1 ½ C. diced cooked chicken
  4. 2 celery stalks
  5. 1/4 C. chopped apple
  6. S&P
  7. 2 Tblsp.( or 1 more Tblsp. if you wish a creamier version) mayonnaise
  8. 1 ½ Tblsp. lemon juice plus some to sprinkle over the freshly cut avocados to keep them green
  9. 3 small/medium avocados and one extra to make sure you have enough good ones for your luncheon because I have found that some avocados are decidedly better than others.
  10. Lettuce leaves for serving.

 

Directions for the Chicken Salad Mix:

  1. In a processer, process for just a couple of pulses, so as to make a rough diced mix, ingredients # 1 through # 6.
  2. In the processer bowl (or if you wish, another bowl in which you have added the mix), add the mayonnaise & lemon juice.
  3. Put in the refrigerator for at least an hour or two or better yet, overnight.

 

To Serve:

  1. Halve and pit the avocados. Gently rub some lemon juice over the exposed flesh to prevent them from browning. Scoop 1/4 (more or less) of the chicken salad mix into each of the avocado halves.
  2. I served my stuffed avocado halves on a glass plate which sat on top of a larger white plate that I had lined with fresh large lettuce leaves. Each glass plate had 2 small stuffed avocado halves surrounded by halved cherry tomatoes and quartered pickled radishes.
  3. Below, please see the recipe for the pickled radishes (easy and not time consuming).

 

Pickled Radishes:

Ingredients for the Pickled Radishes:

  1. 1 bunch radishes
  2. 3/4 C. white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or champagne vinegar
  3. 3/4 C. water
  4. 3 Tblsp. honey, maple syrup or agave nectar
  5. 2 Tsp. salt
  6. 1 Tsp. red pepper flakes or less if you prefer less spice
  7. 1/2 Tsp. mustard seeds (optional)
  8. Optional add-ins: garlic cloves, peppercorns, fennel seeds, coriander seeds—use your imagination

 

Instructions for the Pickled Radishes:

  1. Prepare the radishes by slicing off the tops and bottoms; slice or cut into small quarters or eighths.
  2. For the brine, in a small sauce pan, combine ingredients # 2 through #8 and bring mixture to boil, stirring occasionally.
  3. Take pan off heat and place radishes in pan; let mixture cool to room temp; or if you have just an hour to make this, cover the pan and place in frig. till cool.

 

Ten Wonderful Recipe Ideas for ALLLLL of that Zucchini in Your Yard

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10 ideas for eating all that zucchini in your garden

1 Pasta: Grab yourself one of those veggie spiral cutting gizmos, which let you render produce into pasta-like ribbons. Zucchini does particularly well. Toss the zucchini spirals in a hot skillet with a splash of oil for a minute or two, then dress with sauce and cheese as you would pasta. Or boil up real pasta, then add the zucchini for the last minute. Drain and dress.

2 Dip: Slice a zucchini in half and toss it on a medium hot grill. Cook until lightly browned and tender, then pop it into a food processor. Add tahini, garlic, salt, pepper and a splash of lemon juice, then process until very smooth. Use as a dip for vegetables and chips, or as a sandwich spread.

3 Salsa: Dice and toss together 1 medium zucchini, 1 large tomatillo and 1/2 red or orange bell pepper. Add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, a pinch of red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapenos and a splash of hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

4 Fries: Cut the zucchini into 1/2-inch-thick sticks, then toss them first in a beaten egg, then in seasoned bread crumbs. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, then bake until crisp outside and just tender inside. As soon as they come out of the oven, sprinkle them with grated Parmesan cheese.

5 Boats: Slice a zucchini in half, then use a melon baller to scoop out the insides of each half. Mix together loose sausage meat, grated cheese and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Pack the mixture into the hollowed out zucchini halves, then bake or grill (over low heat) until cooked through.

6 Frittata: Use a mandoline or food processor to slice the zucchini as thinly as possible. Whisk 6 or so eggs, then pour them into an oiled pan and cook over medium-high until the bottom is just set. Scatter the zucchini slices evenly over the top of the egg, then crumble feta over it. Broil until lightly browned and the center is set.

7 Grain salad: Toss finely diced raw zucchini with cooked and cooled farro or barley, halved cherry tomatoes, diced red onion and crumbled soft goat cheese. Dress with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

8 Tart: Use a mandoline or food processor to slice the zucchini as thinly as possible. Unfold a sheet of puff pastry (thawed according to package directions). Run a paring knife along the outside of the pastry about 1 inch from the edge and cutting only halfway down. Arrange the zucchini slices in the center, then sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Bake at 400 F until puffed and lightly browned.

9 Chips: Use a mandoline or food processor to slice the zucchini as thinly as possible. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet, mist with cooking spray, then season with herbs, spices, salt and pepper, whatever you like. Bake at 375 F until the chips are nicely browned.

10 Casserole: Cut a whole mess of zucchini into 1/2-inch rounds. Arrange several layers of them in an oiled casserole dish. Top them with a bit of marinara and some ricotta cheese. Repeat this layering until you fill the casserole dish about three-quarters of the way. Bake at 350 F until tender, lightly browned and bubbling at the edges.

Caesar Salad The Tijuana Way–The Real Deal

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The “Caesar” originated in Tijuana at Caesar Cardini’s restaurant. According to Rosa (Caesar’s daughter), her dad invented the dish on a 4th of July in 1924 when he had a rush of hungry customers who depleted his restaurant’s culinary food supplies. So, still having more customers, he was forced to use just what little he had remaining and that’s when he came up with the Caesar Salad. And because he was such an interesting and theatrical kind of guy, he made a big show of serving it. Voila, the very first Caesar with a proper flair.

According to Julia Child (9 years old), she and her parents in the 1920’s actually had the privilege of witnessing his making the salad at their table. She and his daughter reported that originally he did not use the outer leaves of the romaine; he just used the inner heart leaves, washed but NOT torn. He then arranged them on a plate to be picked by hand to eat. However, supposedly customers complained about oily dressing inundating their hands so Caesar changed the recipe to the torn leaf of the whole romaine head version. However, sometimes I think that it is fun to do it Caesar’s very first way and serve it to guests with lots of napkins. I wonder what Caesar would have thought of our now very often served Caesar salad spears for appetizers.

Since when Caesar first invented his salad it has become, as we all know, a favorite of many not only in the USA but world wide and has evolved into all types of variations. However, this original way of making I think is the best. It is far better than just throwing the romaine with a homemade or store made Caesar salad dressing. So give it a try, which is if you are not scared of using pasteurized or even non-pasteurized raw or coddled eggs. I am not. By the way, as I remember, in all of the finer restaurants in San Francisco, the waiters made this right in front of your eyes at your table and it was a sight to behold. You too can do this and have a little culinary fun and flair in your life right in front of your family or guests. In fact, maybe even the kids might want to give it a try.

Instructions for the preparation and serving of the Caesar per Caesar and recounted by Julia and Caesar’s daughter

In tossing his salad, Caesar put the dressed romaine leaves in the bowl and drizzled the 2 Tblsp. of olive oil over them—lifting the leaves from the bottom and turning them towards you so they tumble over like a wave. Then he sprinkled them with some salt and pepper ground before your eyes, tossed once or twice more; then he added the lemon juice and several drops of the Worcestershire; then he tossed again and tasted. If it tasted OK, he cracked the egg and dropped it right on the romaine leaves, then tossed to break it up and coat the leaves. Then he sprinkled on the cheese and tossed once more briefly before finally adding the croutons to toss for the last time. He then arranged 6 or more leaves in a single layer on individual plates, scattered the croutons all around and voila—sticky fingers but delicious eating.

 

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Ingredients:

  1. 1 large peeled garlic clove well rubbed on the bottom of your wood salad bowl. You can split the garlic if you wish (sometimes I use 2 because I LOVE garlic) and I also sometimes sprinkle some salt on the bottom so that the garlic grates better. I don’t believe that Caesar originally did this however he made his own garlic croutons and supposedly sometimes after having sautéed his croutons he used the butter/garlic pan remains to add to the salad. However, I feel that the garlic rub is an important element of the Caesar and I do recommend doing it unless you really hate garlic.
  2. 2 Heads of fresh and chilled Romaine leaves gently torn with your hands in bite size pieces placed in your salad spinner—spray washed and spun dry (make sure the leaves are DRY) or do the original and just use the heart leaves UNTORN, washed and spun very dry. You should have 18-24 heart leaves.
  3. 2 Tblsp. Olive Oil
  4. 1/2 Tsp. salt and 1/4 Tsp. freshly ground pepper (amounts are approximate and should be “to taste”)
  5. 1/4 Tsp. ground mustard (not original but once again I like it)
  6. 1 whole lemon seeded and squeezed before your eyes or pre-juiced if you must
  7. A dash of Worcestershire sauce (and sometimes I add a dash or more of Tabasco)
  8. 2 Tblsp. shredded fresh Parmegianno/Reggianno
  9. 1 large raw pasteurized egg or 1 Tsp. mayonnaise (the latter not original) or do it as Caesar did which was to coddle the egg for 1 minute. See note below.*
  10. 2 C. croutons (either home made or good store bought ones—I use or make garlic ones)
  11. 4-5 anchovy fillets (cut in small pieces or mashed with a bit of olive oil and tossed in before the cheese however, according sources they were not used by Caesar but once again, I love anchovies so I do use them. However, if you are serving your salad to guests, make sure they like anchovies because lots of people don’t. To be on the very safe side, you can have some bits of anchovies on a pass around plate or even a little pitcher with smashed anchovies in some olive oil to pour on individual salads)

This would be Margot’s version to making your Caesar (have all of your ingredients, wood salad bowl and implements at hand before making your Caesar) The ingredients needed are listed above:

caesar solo plated

  1. In a wood salad bowl, rub the bottom well with the 1 peeled and cut garlic clove and some salt.
  2. Add the 2 heads of well rinsed and dried torn leaves or 18-24 heart leaves of romaine to the bowl. (I say dried because you don’t want water diluting this wonderful salad.)
  3. Drizzle the 2 Tblsp. olive oil over the leaves and toss.
  4. Sprinkle the salt, the ground fresh pepper and the 1/4 tsp. ground mustard on the leaves and toss
  5. Squeeze the one lemon(or pour the juice),a dash of Worcestershire and the optional Tabasco dash on the leaves and toss
  6. Break the one egg (raw or coddled) over the leaves and toss (or add the 1 tsp. mayo instead of the egg)
  7. Add the optional 4-5 anchovies and toss (up to you how you want to serve the anchovies in this salad. They could be minced and tossed, or minced with oil and tossed or laid carefully as a finishing touch and on the top of each plated serving.)
  8. Sprinkle the 2 Tblsp. cheese over all and toss
  9. Add the croutons and toss
  10. Remember not to toss too much because you don’t want to bruise the leaves. However, you do want your leaves to have a glistening look. Also, remember to think when tossing: waves of the ocean coming towards you and toss high and towards you. Concentrate, be dramatic and smile while you are doing this.
  11. Also remember that you can increase or decrease the ingredients according to your taste.

 

But if you don’t want to be splashy and or do it the original way, the following from Jacques Pepin is also delicious:

“Julia’s authentic Caesar salad is excellent, but I love Gloria’s almost-Caesar
salad, the one my wife makes at home. She mixes all the dressing ingredients
together first – oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire, seasonings, chopped garlic,
egg, and anchovy fillets in little pieces – and then tosses it with the broken-up
Romaine leaves. And she tosses in some crumbled blue cheese, either Roquefort
or Stilton, as well as Parmesan. She made this for me when we first met, and I
have never wanted to change it.”

 

 

Warm Sausage and Potato Salad

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warm saussage & potato salad #2

Warm Sausage and Potato Salad

Serves 4

The following may sound complicated and seem time staking, but honestly, it’s not.  It’s a breeze to make and delicious.  It’s great for anytime of the year.  So give it a try and enjoy.

 

Ingredients and directions in Four Parts:

 

For the potatoes:

  1. 1 Lb. tiny boiling potatoes unpeeled and cut in 1/4 inch slices or the slightly larger white Yukons or something similar, peeled, cut in half and then cut cross wise in 1/4 inch slices.
  2. 3 Tblsp. chicken broth
  3. 1/4 Tsp. salt
  4. Directions: Boil until potatoes are JUST tender (maybe 10-15 minutes). Drain, put in stainless or glass bowl and add the broth and salt.  Let set while you do the rest.

 

For the dressing:

  1. 2 Tsp. Dijon mustard
  2. 1 ½ Tsp. red or white wine vinegar (I used sauvignon blanc vinegar)
  3. 1/4 Tsp. ground pepper
  4. 1/3 C. olive Oil
  5. 1/4 Tsp. salt
  6. (I doubled this delicious recipe so as to have left over dressing for other use)
  7. 7.       Directions: Place ingredients in a blender or processor and process till smooth or if you wish, you can just whisk it all.

 

For the Sausages:

  1. 1/2 Lb. smoked sausage such as Kielbasa, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise in 1/2 –inch slices.  French garlic sausages are the best if you can find them.
  2. Directions: In a large non-stick skillet, place sausage slices and over medium heat cook, stirring occasionally, until the slices are brown and warmed through—about 3 minutes. Remove the slices and drain on a paper toweled plate.  Place aside.

 

For the Salad:

  1. 1 head of Romaine (torn into small pieces and well rinsed)
  2. 1/2 C. chick peas—if not freshly cooked, canned drained and well rinsed.
  3. 2 Tblsp. green Spanish sliced with pimento olives
  4. 2 Tblsp. chopped parsley

 

To Serve:

  1. Toss the potatoes with 2 Tblsp. of the dressing and the parsley.
  2. Toss the romaine with the remaining dressing.
  3. Put the lettuce on plates, top with the chick peas, potatoes, and olives and finally the sausage slices.
  4. Serve with fruity Beaujolais.

For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com  Call Margot for personal cooking help or hosting

 @ 721-3551.Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.

Fennel Salad a la Siciliana

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 Fennel Salad a la Siciliana

Serves 4

 

Ingredients:

  1.  3 or 4 Honey Tangerines or 3 blood or navel oranges
  2. 1/4 C. olive oil
  3. 1 Tblsp. red wine vinegar
  4. 1 Tblsp. or more of minced fennel tops
  5. Salt and Pepper
  6. 2 bunches trimmed arugula (I used the baby arugula)
  7. 2 medium fennel bulbs, cored, and halved and trimmed
  8. 1/4 C. oil cured black olives

Directions:

  1. I sectioned the tangerines and used them.  If you are using oranges, discard peel and all of the white pith; then slice crosswise into thin rounds and set aside.
  2. Mix together the olive oil, red wine vinegar and minced fennel tops.  You can either put this in the salad bowl along with the S&P before you put in the rest of the ingredients or you can mix it in a jar or pour it on after the salad is in the bowl.
  3. If you are using regular arugula, tear it into large pieces and arrange in the bowl. If you are using the baby arugula, just throw it into the bowl. Slice the fennel bulbs into long strips and place on top of the arugula.
  4. Toss the salad just before serving, adjust the seasoning, and then arrange the orange slices or tangerine sections on the top along with the black olives.

 

The Magic of Beets

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golden beets

The Magic of Beets

Beets weren’t one of my most favorite veggies, however, when I started encountering the golden and other colored milder tasting beets, I became very fond of them.  So, when I saw these three gold beets at the market, I couldn’t resist.  Beets are truly multi faceted because not only can you use the root but the greens as well.  So for dinner last night, I devoured both and it was truly divine.

The history of beets is very interesting.  It has had a long history of cultivation stretching back to the second millennium BC.  Aristotle and Theophrastus mention them.   This little root has been used for food, sugar, fodder, food color, medicine and health, as an aphrodisiac, juice, and wine.  It can be consumed deliciously cold or hot.  Various countries of our world have made this root into a specialty dish and it’s even used as an integral part of a Jewish prayer for Rosh Hashanah.  And that is just the root—because the tops are delectable as well.  So here are two of my favorite recipes for this miraculous vegetable.

Beets Baked in Foil (oh so easy and delicious—try to buy beets which are uniform in size so that they’ll cook evenly.  Additionally, you can store just the uncooked roots in a plastic bag in the frig and they’ll last for weeks.)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Wash/scrub the beets well and leave an inch or so of the green top on to minimize bleeding.
  3. Wrap them individually in foil and place them on a baking sheet.
  4. Cook, undisturbed, for 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours—until a think-bladed knife pierces the beet with little resistance.  (They may cook at different rates—so watch for that.)
  5. You can peel them right away and serve them sliced or whole with butter or olive oil, any vinaigrette, or freshly squeezed lemon juice.  I like them with just butter or olive oil.
  6. You can also remove, cool and refrigerate them in their foil until ready to peel and use.  They’ll last for several days.  Then you could serve them cold with a good dressing; or sliced mixed with olive oil, balsamic, ground pepper and salt served over some Greek yogurt. A bit of fresh chervil to top this last suggestion will make this a perfect dish.

Beet Greens: They actually were “the in- green” eons ago—that is until spinach came along.

  1. Wash the beet leaves, cut and then chop the stems.  Separately chop the leaves.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil; salt it.  Cook the stems until they are almost tender (about 5 minutes) and then add the leaves.  Cook a couple minutes more or until it’s tender.  Add butter or olive oil at the very end as well as S&P to your taste.  Additionally you can also add the ingredients in the optional #4 paragraph below.
  3. Optional: add sunflower seeds (or other seeds of your desire) and raisins at the very end.  If you wish you can pre- soak the raisins in warm water for 10 minutes.  Also, you can pre- roast the seeds in a pan.