Cooking Techniques: Croquettes

“But you play that, not eat it!”

I confused my son last week because I made croquettes (kro-kets), and he thought I said, “Croquet (kro-kay).” He thought it was funny that we were going to eat the game! And of course, croquettes actually look like little balls, so throughout the entire meal, he kept pretending that he was hitting them through croquet hoops.

If you aren’t familiar with croquettes, the name comes from the French, but they’re simply chopped up meat or chicken or cheese or vegetables or fish or potato or rice or quinoa or beans or combinations of all these, rolled in breadcrumbs or seeds or nuts and then cooked. For me, croquettes are a lovely way to use up leftovers. They’re versatile, not only in what you can put into them, but the way you can make, cook, and serve them. Plus if you serve them for company, the French name makes them think you’ve done something special. *grin*

Croquettes are quite easy to make, especially if you’re beginning with leftovers. The most common recipes you’ll find online are for ones made with mashed potatoes, either alone or in combination with meat, chicken, cheese, or vegetables. You’ll usually find, too, that they’re fried in some way, whether deep-fried or pan-fried, but they can be just as good baked. Below I’ll give you some tips for how to go about making your own.

The Main Ingredients: What’s important to know about croquettes is that no matter what you use, smaller is better. You don’t want large chunks in your croquettes. Because you’ll be rolling the mixture into balls, the smaller the pieces of meat or vegetables, the easier it will be for them to adhere to one another. I use my food processor to zoop at least one of the ingredients into almost a paste – potatoes, butternut squash, chicken, fish, rice, quinoa, beans, etc… all work well. Then I process the rest of the ingredients into tiny pieces which will mix well into the more paste-like ingredient. The reason I made croquettes last week was because I had some leftover chicken breasts which weren’t enough to serve as another meal for the whole family, so I processed them into a paste and added finely chopped cooked zucchini, mushrooms, and broccoli (also leftovers).

The Seasonings: You can season croquettes however you like. Salt and pepper, of course, but herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, chervil, sage, mint, dill, tarragon, marjoram, etc…) and spices (allspice, cayenne, cardamom, coriander, tumeric, cumin, paprika, nutmeg, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, cloves, mustard, onion, saffron, etc…) of your choosing are great, too. If you are going to eat the croquettes by themselves, you should season more heavily. If you are going to serve them with a sauce, then the croquettes can be more plain because the sauce will give them flavor.

The Binder: It’s important that your ingredients hold together to keep their shape. If you do as I do and puree one of the ingredients into a paste, then the rest of your ingredients will stick to that. It’s one of the reasons why so many croquette recipes are made with potatoes. Potatoes are naturally glutinous. If you want all your ingredients to be small, solid pieces, though, then you’ll need something to hold them together. Most anything works. Some recipes use eggs. Others call for mayonnaise or sour cream or yogurt. Many just moisten the ingredients with a little bit of liquid like chicken or vegetable broth or milk and add some flour or bread crumbs to give the vegetables or meat something to adhere to. Whatever you choose to do is fine. What’s important is that your ingredients can be shaped into balls, so if they can’t and won’t stick together, try something different.

The Shaping: Whatever ingredients you use and however you choose to bind the croquettes, I recommend that you chill the mixture before you shape the croquettes. Unless your ingredients are super sticky, chilling the mixture will help them to adhere to another better. I use a quarter cup measuring cup to form my croquettes but you can certainly make them smaller or larger. Whatever size you make, though, having them be uniform will allow them to cook evenly if you bake them or help you to time them consistently if you’re frying them.

The Coating: After you’ve shaped your main croquette ingredients into balls, you need to coat them with something. Usually they are coated in bread crumbs. I like to make my own with gluten free bread, but you can use store bought bread crumbs. What’s important is that your crumbs be very fine. Texture is very important to the taste of the croquettes. If you opt to use something other than bread crumbs, there are many options: cracker crumbs, finely ground nuts or seeds, flour, etc… Once you decide on your coating, you can decide how you want to adhere the bread crumbs (or other choice) to the croquette balls. You can roll the balls in beaten eggs, in milk, in broth, in mayonnaise, in just about anything which will help the bread crumbs stick to the croquettes. I find that eggs make for a crispier croquette, mayonnaise (or something similar like sour cream or yogurt) for a moister croquette, and milk and broth for softer croquettes, so you can choose.

The Cooking: If you want to deep fry them, it’s best to make sure you have enough oil to completely cover the croquettes. You also want to heat your oil as hot as you can. I have a deep fryer which heats to 374 degrees but if you heat oil in a pan stove-top, you can usually get the oil to about 350 degrees. The hotter your oil, the more quickly the croquettes will cook and the less oil they will absorb. Since your ingredients in the croquettes are already cooked, all you’re doing is making the croquette warm and crispy, so usually just two to three minutes is all they need to cook.

If you want to pan fry the croquettes, you simply need enough oil to brown all the sides of the croquettes. Having your skillet on medium high is good. Simply place the croquettes in the skillet and allow them to brown on one side before turning them over to brown on the other. When making the croquettes in a skillet, they usually take about four to five minutes per side.

My preferred method for making croquettes is to actually bake them because they’re healthier that way. I line a pan with aluminum foil which I’ve crinkled and very lightly grease the foil with olive oil. I place the croquettes on the foil and then lightly brush them with olive oil. I preheat my oven to 450 degrees and bake the croquettes for about 20 minutes, turning them halfway through.

The Sauces: Croquette sauces are as varied as the ways you can make the croquettes. You can dip them into a barbecue sauce, a cheese sauce, a tomato sauce, a lemon sauce, a mustard sauce, a garlic sauce, an avocado sauce, a dill sauce – if you can imagine it, you can make it. What’s important is to think about the ingredients you used in the croquettes and to match a flavor which would complement the croquettes. So, for example, if you used ham and potatoes, maybe a mustard sauce. If you made fish croquettes, maybe a lemon-dill sauce. What’s fun is if you make croquettes and serve them with a couple of different sauces for the family to try.



The Coating:

The Cooking:


Menu Suggestion: Tetrazzini

What about a dinner suggestion?

I opened up my email the other day and found a note, thanking me because this young mother had found my blog and used the advice I had given my friend to make quiche for brunch for her in-laws,  and it was apparently a success for her as well. Now, however, she wanted to know if I had any good suggestions for a dinner entree to serve to company which could easily accommodate food allergy restrictions.

Within in two seconds, I had the perfect suggestion: Tetrazzini.

If you’re not familiar with tetrazzini, it’s a pasta dish which incorporates protein and vegetables into the pasta with a creamy white sauce. With the exception of mushrooms which every recipe you’ll find seems to have, everything else is pretty much up to your imagination and available food staples.

For a company dish, it’s perfect because you can assemble the dish ahead of time and then just pop it into the oven. It’s filling so you can simply add a salad to accompany it, and it’s pretty when it comes out of the oven. For folks with allergies, it’s highly adaptable.

Some thoughts on Tetrazzini:

1. The pasta: Almost every recipe you’ll find online has too large a pasta to protein/vegetable ratio. For your health and for good eating, I recommend cutting the pasta by half for any recipe. When I make the dish for company in a large 9 x 13 pan I cut the 16 oz of pasta to 8 ounces. Your ratio of protein and vegetables to pasta will be healthier but it’s also tastier in my opinion.

Also the usual pasta used is a long noodle like spaghetti. I like to use small shells because they capture the sauce in their crevices well and are easily spoonable and mix well with any meats and vegetables you add. Ancient Harvest has a gluten free quinoa small shells which taste really good and have a wonderful texture.

2. The meats and vegetables: You can use just about anything in tetrazzini. The most popular meats are turkey and chicken. For company, if there are no seafood allergies, I like to use cooked frozen shrimp. It’s easy and it makes the dish special. The nice thing about tetrazzini is that it’s a great dish for using up your leftovers, so feel free to be creative with whatever you have on hand. You can even use firm tofu. You should cut the tofu into small squares and saute them on all sides first, though, before adding them to the dish.

The same goes for the vegetables. As I mentioned above, a key ingredient in most tetrazzini recipes is mushrooms, but you can leave them out if you don’t like fungi. I happen to adore mushrooms, so I usually use mushrooms and asparagus or broccoli because I like the flavor and color combination. Again, whatever leftover vegetables will work. I’ve often just chopped up leftover zucchini, squash, peppers, etc… and thrown them in with good results. The key is to make sure your vegetables are bite-size.

3.  The sauce: The sauce for tetrazzini is just a basic white sauce, so for folks with food allergies, it’s easily adaptable. While many recipes will call for butter, you can substitute olive oil or use a vegan allergy friendly butter. I prefer the taste of olive oil and the added health benefits. For the milk, I’ve found just that other “milks” work just as well, though I tend to use either flax or soy milk myself. For the flour, just about any type will work. I’ve used garbanzo bean, sorghum, gluten free oat, and brown rice flour with success.

Many recipes call for you to just use a cream based soup like cream of celery or broccoli or chicken. You can always go this route as well. It’s certainly easier than making your own white sauce and if you don’t have to worry about sodium or allergies, the taste doesn’t suffer in any way.

4. The seasoning: Most tetrazzini recipes just call for salt and black pepper. I usually omit salt and add thyme, oregano, and paprika. I also use garlic and onions for flavoring.

5. The topping: Many tetrazzini recipes call for a topping but the topping varies. Some say just to put cheese on top, usually parmesan. Others use a nutty topping with almonds combined with the cheese. Some call for bread crumbs. Some just tell you to top with chopped green onions. It’s really up to your tastes and preferences. There’s a lot of vegan parmesan-style cheese these days. I like to lightly saute gluten free bread crumbs in a little bit of olive oil with herbs and mix in the vegan parmesan with the crumbs with some garlic and evenly spread that on top of the tetrazzini because it then gives a little crunch to the dish plus it makes the casserole look pretty.

Shrimp Tetrazzini


8 oz Ancient Harvest Quinoa small shells

2 tsp olive oil

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

one bunch asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

1 tbsp minced onions

1 tsp mince garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp sweet white sorghum flour

2 cups flax or soy milk

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves

1/2 tsp paprika

16 oz thawed frozen cooked shrimp, tails removed

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 cup vegan parmesan

Cooking Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.Thaw shrimp and remove tails.  Set aside.

3. Prepare the shells as directed on the packaging. Drain and rinse well with cold water.  Set aside.

4.  In a pan saute mushrooms over medium-low heat with 2 tsp olive oil for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Add the chopped asparagus with 2 tbsp water, the minced onion, and the garlic. Saute for another 4 minutes and remove from heat.

6. In a pan heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Whisk in the sorghum flour and cook, stirring for a minute. Slowly add the “milk”, whisking continually until the flour is fully mixed into the milk. Cook until the sauce has thickened, stirring continually, about five minutes.

7. Add the pasta, mushrooms and asparagus mixture, and shrimp to the sauce and blend well.

8. Pour the casserole into a 9 x 13 pan.

9. Saute the bread crumbs with the olive oil and oregano for a minute or two. Mix in the paremsan and evenly spread the bread crumb mixture over the tetrazzini.

10. Bake the casserole for about 20-30 minutes until the dish is warmed through and the sauce is bubbling.





Cooking Techniques: Crab Cakes

website crab cakes

Proceed to Rte 2.  Proceed to Rte 2.

Until recently, I had traveled the old-fashioned way: Jotting down directions on a piece of paper which I figured out using a map. This past year, however, my father gave us a GPS, which I have been using whenever I’m going someplace new.

For the most part, the GPS has been very helpful. I enjoy no longer trying to look at written directions and drive at the same time.  I appreciate that the “woman who lives in the GPS” tells me exactly when to turn and in which direction.  I have fun with the kids as we laugh when the GPS tries to phonetically pronounce New England towns which are never pronounced as they are spelled.

The other day, though, I was driving to a new destination which I knew I’d need to take Rte 2 to find.  The GPS, however, seemed to believe I wasn’t actually on Rte 2 itself.  The little arrow which indicates where you are had me off to the side of Rte 2.  So, for the next ten minutes, I listened as the poor woman in the GPS valiantly tried to get me onto Rte 2.  At every intersecting road, she would tell me to turn in a direction which would supposedly get me back to Rte 2.  Finally, as those intersections ceased to exist, the poor GPS simply continued to say over and over again, “Proceed to Rte 2.  Proceed to Rte 2.”

I confess, I was torn between feeling quite sorry for the machine and being frustrated with the absurdity of technology.  On the one hand, the machine was only doing what it was programmed to do – get me onto the correct route. On the other hand, with all our technological advances, someone hasn’t figured out how to correctly input the longitude and latitude of Rte 2?

These similar feelings were aroused when a friend of mine called last week about her crab cakes. She wanted to impress some dinner company, and the recipe she had found online wasn’t working.  On the one hand, I felt terrible for my friend who was doing her best to make a nice dinner.  On the other hand, I was frustrated by the number of recipes which are published which don’t actually work well.

So, for this post of our continuing adventures in cooking techniques, we are going to focus on crab cakes. I realize some folks will have shellfish allergies and never actually make crab cakes, but the fundamental principles also apply if you want to make a vegetable panccake instead.

Some problems with crab cakes:

1. If you try to make crab cakes, you quickly realize that trying to keep the crab in an actual cake or patty shape without the crab cakes falling apart as they cook can be difficult.  So, the key to helping with this problem is in how you make the crab cakes.

I have found that doing two things in conjunction with each other works best. First, mix all your binding ingredients together before adding them to the crab. Whatever you’re using – cracker crumbs, bread crumbs, cornmeal – mix that up with your eggs and herbs and liquids first and let it sit for a few minutes.  Then, mix the binder into your crab pieces.  You’ll need to take a few minutes to incorporate the binder well, but it’s worth those few extra minutes to do so.

The second thing to be done is to chill your crab cake mixture before forming the crab cake patties.  Chilling allows the ingredients to better meld with another so that when you form the patties, they’ll hold together better. So, after you make your crab cake mixture, cover it well with plastic wrap or foil and let it rest in the fridge for a little bit.  I find that fifteen minutes is really the minimum you should keep it in the fridge.  I usually opt for about 30 minutes.  You will find recipes that suggest an hour or two.

2. Another potential problem with crab cakes is the taste. People differ on their expectations about crab cakes. Some folks like the cakes to have a strong flavor of something other than crab so you’ll find recipes which use mayonnaise and mustard which make for a heavier taste. Other folks prefer the taste of the crab to come through and would rather use just some herbs. For my friend, the recipe she found was heavy on the mayonnaise, and she didn’t really like it. If you’re trying to compromise, you can do what I do which is to make a lighter crab cake with lemon juice and herbs and accompany it with a nice remoulade sauce which is essentially mayonnaise with herbs and seasonings.

Folks also differ about the type of crab to use. Fresh is said to be the best, and I would agree. Unfortunately budget limitations and availability of fresh crab can limit the opportunity to use fresh. I personally use frozen or canned crab meat. This time of year (winter) it’s usually canned. While you lose some of the texture and taste of fresh crab, you can still have great tasting crab cakes, so do what works for your budget and what’s available for you to purchase.

If using frozen, though, make sure thaw the crab pieces first, and if using canned, be sure to drain the crab pieces.

3. The final potential issue with making crab cakes is how you cook them. Recipes vary from deep frying to cooking them in the oven. It really comes down to preference and health issues. If you are trying to eat healthy, then baking the cakes in the oven is the best, but you will find that the flavor is lacking a bit. What I do is to put a teaspoon or two of olive oil in a bowl and lightly brush the olive oil on the top of the crab cake; then halfway through the cooking time, flip the cakes and do the same with the other side.

For my preference for cooking crab cakes, I cook them on top of the stove in a pan lightly coated with olive oil. This works well and is quicker than cooking the crab cakes in the oven.

If you do choose to deep fry the crab cakes, the key is to have hot oil, 350 to 375 degrees, so you can fry them quickly which reduces the amount of oil the cakes absorb.

So, for a recipe that I use:

Crab Cakes


1 tbsp dried dill

2 tbsp chopped chives (dried or fresh)

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 cup liquid egg whites

3/4 cup gluten free bread crumbs (whatever you’d prefer)

24 ounces of crabmeat (six 6 oz cans will give you 24 oz of meat)

Cooking Instructions:

1. Whisk the dill, chives, lemon juice, black pepper and egg whites together.

2. Add the bread crumbs and mix well.  Let sit for a few minutes.

3. Drain the crabmeat and put into a bowl.  Add the breadcrumb mixture and combine well.

4. Cover the crabmeat and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, 30 if you have the time.

5. Form the crabmeat mixture into patties. (I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop out the crabmeat so my patties are uniform.) Loosely and lightly pat the crab cakes into shape.

6. Coat the bottom of a nonstick skillet with about 1 tsp of olive oil. Heat to medium-low.

7. Place the patties onto the skillet and slightly flatten them. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the side is browned.

8. Flip the crab cakes and again slightly flatten. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the second side is browned.

9. Serve with remoulade sauce.

Remoulade sauce: Mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I like to use a reduce fat olive oil mayonnaise.) with 2 tbsp finely chopped green onions, 1/2 tsp ground mustard, and 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning.  Add lemon juice until the sauce is at the consistancy and lemony flavor you like. (I usually use about 3 tbsp.) Put it into the fridge for the flavors to meld while you’re cooking the crab cakes.

Handling Holidays: The Main Entrees

website entrees

“But it’s bleeding!”

Imagine that you’re meeting your future spouse’s parents for the first time. They’ve invited you over for Easter at a cousin’s home and the cousin raises sheep. You’re already nervous because you really want his parents to like you. However, you now learn that, you who are a vegetarian, are about to be served lamb for Easter dinner. More so, the family has just had a lengthy conversation about the best way to cook lamb which apparently is to simply torch the outside a bit while leaving the lamb mostly rare.

You’re expecting the worst, but nothing prepares you for actual reality. When the lamb appears, you glance at the platter and see what looks to you like blood running in riverlets down the lamb’s sides. Your stomach, which has already been lurching horribly due to nerves, can’t take this unexpected sight, and you promptly run from the table and spend the next half an hour incredibly sick in the cousin’s bathroom, wondering if you’ve doomed your chances of ever impressing your future in-law’s.

I, unfortunately, don’t have to imagine the above scene, because I lived it. That experience, though, solidified a few things for me. One, I have never entertained without making sure that everyone who is coming will be comfortable with what I serve. Two, no new experiences where folks have made a dish I can’t eat has ever come close to topping that one, so I’ve been able to handle them with much more aplomb. And three, I’ve learned that when it comes to food, everyone’s tastes are different, and we have to be accepting of that.

So what do you do when you need to cook a main course that accommodates your health needs and is delicious for everyone who gathers at your table who may not need to watch what they eat?

1.  Plan ahead:  Don’t decide the day before what you want to try to make. If it’s something you’ve never made before, be sure to have a practice run, so you can learn what might be a potential glitch in the recipe. If it’s something you have made many times, be sure you have all the ingredients you need so you’re not running out at the last minute to purchase something you forgot.

2.  Forget the fat and focus on the cooking:  The mantra is that meat and chicken and turkey need the fat to taste good, but that’s not actually true. Whether your meat or turkey or chicken is dry and tasteless really depends on your cooking technique.

For meats and poultry, the key to seasoning is to do it everywhere.  Make a rub of herbs and spices and onions and garlic with just the tiniest bit of an oil like olive oil to create a paste and rub it everywhere.  For the meat, you can even put little slits into the meat and put seasoning into.  For the birds, use your hands to pull the skin away from the flesh and put the herbs in between the skin and breast as well as on top and inside the bird.  For inside, add an onion or garlic cloves or veggies like carrots and celery for even more flavor.

Cook the meats and poultry to maximize moisture.  Cook them on high heat for only 10 minutes to get the outside crisp immediately, then tent them with foil and cook on low heat for more even cooking. At the end you can cook them for another few minutes at high heat to finish them off with a nice brown crust or skin.  For folks who are extra wary, you can also use a reduced sodium, fat free stock to baste meats and birds during the cooking process.

Finally, let your meats and poultry rest after cooking.  If you let them sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes, all the juices which have been released will be reabsorbed into the meat and poultry, to allow for moister slices when you do cut them into pieces.

For tender cuts like a pork tenderloin or turkey tenderloin, just trust the meat. Once you season it with your herbs and spices, you can simply cook them at 350 for an hour, and they’ll taste great.  You choose to make a nice glaze to brush on instead, too.

For ham, you can omit the glazes that come packaged with the meat, and either cook it without or make your own less caloric version and just cook the ham according to instructions.

3. Make it yourself: If you’re making something like chicken cordon bleu, make your own bread crumbs. Whether you use 100% whole wheat bread or a gluten free millet bread, you’ll add more fiber to the crumbs which is good, and you can then season the bread crumbs as you’d like without all the salt. Contrary to thinking, it literally takes about two minutes to make your own crumbs.  A couple of tips:  For gluten free bread, use frozen slices.  For both breads, if the bread is already at room temperature, toast them on the lowest setting and cool before processing. If adding herbs and spices, throw them in with the slices you’re about to zoop in the processor, because that will meld the herbs and spiced into the crumbs.

If you’re supposed to use a certain type of bottled glaze or marinade, find a recipe that you like and modify to omit the salt and sugar and fat, using the tips I’ve put into past posts.

If the recipe calls for a bottled spice that includes salt, create your own mix, using herbs and spices from your cabinet which you combine with onion and/or garlic powder and black pepper.

4. Look for better options: If you’re making something like a stuffed, rolled pork tenderloin and the recipe calls for crumbled sausage, use a turkey variety. If you’re supposed to use cheese, find a lower sodium, reduced fat variety or a vegan substitute instead. If the recipe calls for ham and you really want to use ham, use half the amount and slice it into smaller pieces to distribute the taste throughout something like a cordon bleu. If you’re supposed to use meat to stuff a meat, try using sauteed vegetables instead. If butter is required, use a heart healthy and dairy free oil instead.

5. Think outside the box: Maybe this is the year you don’t make a chicken cordon bleu or ham for Christmas. Maybe you created a stunning whole wheat or gluten free roasted vegetable lasagna. Or maybe you make a spanikopita, only you use olive oil instead of butter and lower fat cheeses. Or maybe you try your hand at a vegan manicotti which used vegan cheeses and pureed cashews and is stuffed with butternut squash.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

(This is for four chicken breasts; we always double the recipe and use a 9 x 13 pan. If you aren’t allergic to dairy, you can use low fat real cheese!)


1/4 cup reduced sodium, fat free chicken broth

2 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp herbs of choice (oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, etc…)

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (make your own!)

1 tbsp grated vegan Parmeson

1 tsp paprika

4 chicken breasts (smaller 4 to 6 ounce portion, not the huge ones!)

herbs of choice (oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, etc…)

black pepper

4 thinly sliced pieces of fat free ham or turkey ham (the ultra thin deli style works well)

chopped fresh baby spinach

1/4 cup shredded vegan mozzarella

Cooking Instructions:

1. Lightly coat an 8 inch square pan with your choice of “grease”. (I usually brush a very light coat of olive oil.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine the broth with the garlic and herbs and microwave for 20 seconds until it’s warm.

3. Combine the bread crumbs with the Parmeson and paprika.

4. Pound the chicken breasts to a uniform thinness.  (We put the breast between parchment paper and pound them with the bottom of a heavy ice cream scoop.  If you have a meat mallet, that works, too. Recipes will often tell you to pound between saran wrap. Do what works for you.)

5. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with the herbs of your choice and black pepper.

6. Place one slice of the ham, some chopped baby spinach, and 1 tbsp of the mozzarella on top of each chicken breast and roll up the breasts in a jelly roll style.

7. Dip the rolled chicken breasts into the chicken broth and cover with the breadcrumb mixture.

8. Put the breasts into the baking pan, seam side down, and pour the remaining chicken broth over the chicken breasts evenly.

9. Bake for about 30 minutes until the juices from the chicken are clear and the chicken is golden brown.

10. You can serve immediately or cover them with foil to keep warm until it’s time to serve them.