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In this weekly series we have been discussing the benefits of a vegetarian diet including: better health, animal rights, food safety, public health, frugal living, global food crisis and the staggeringly huge contribution of livestock/meat production to climate change/resource depletion(pdf)
                 

Macca's Meatless Monday/Meatless Advocates is a solution oriented activist group, with solutions for some of the most pressing issues of our time including: climate change, global food/water insecurity and public health.  Here we don't just talk about the severity of the crisis.  Armed with knowledge about how our actions can contribute we become part of the solution.

Intro

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I was inspired to create this series by former Beatle and vegetarian advocate Paul McCartney who partnered with the Meatless Monday campaign to promote less consumption of meat.  We not only discuss the advantages of a less meat diet; we also do some cooking, share recipes and listen to great Beatle music!

For over a century almost every aspect of our lives has been permeated by the fossil fuel industry; the construction of our homes, our transportation, our communication and overwhelmingly; The Oil We Eat. Especially, the livestock industry is one of the greatest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. As we're confronted with the environmental crisis of climate change we're also presented with the opportunity for rapid cooling simply by a major reduction of meat consumption.

As July 4th approaches it's a good time to declare our independence and freedom from the tyranny of the fossil fuel industry. And the most rapid and effective way is by eliminating/reducing meat consumption. So today I'll share some recipes for having a healthy, Earth friendly July 4th celebration!

As a  heatwave spreads across the US we are all looking for ways to keep our cool. Grilling outdoors is a great way to celebrate and to keep heat out of your kitchen. Whether you're staying in your backyard or taking a picnic to the beach or park here are some recipes to help you enjoy your holiday.
    Pomegranate San-Tea-A
                              credit: Evening Edge, flickr
POMEGRANATE ICED TEA
It's a tradition here in the South to provide some freshly brewed iced tea to family and guests while they are waiting for the grill to heat up.   Since I am on a love binge with pomegranate juice and have been adding it to everything including Sangria,  I decided to make a drink using tea as a base instead of wine then add the pom juice and fruit as I would Sangria.   Bingo! a refreshing Sangria like taste without the heat amplifying alcohol...a new love!

    1 quart brewed, sweetened black tea
    2 cups pomegranate juice
    1 lemon, sliced into rings
    1 lime, sliced into rings
    1 orange, sliced into rings
    1 apple, sliced into strips

Mix tea, pomegranate juice and lemon, lime, orange and apple slices in a 3-quart pitcher, stirring well. Chill until very cold, and serve. Pour into wine goblets (no ice) and serve.
           Cucumber avocado soup
                       credit: ErikaKerekes, flickr
COLD AVOCADO and CUCUMBER SOUP
A refreshing no cook appetizer, serves 8

    Flesh of 4 Fuertes or Hass avocados or use 2 Florida green avocados
    2 English cucumbers, with skin, cut into chunks
    1 clove garlic
    juice of 1 lemon
    1 cup plain Greek yogurt or use 1 cup plain almond milk
    1/4 cup olive oil
    salt to taste

Put all the ingredients in a blender - not a food processor, because it won't achieve the right texture. You need a blender, and you might have to make the soup in batches, depending on the size of your blender.

Anyway, whizz the mixture up for a good long time. Open the blender. If it's too thick to qualify as soup, add some water and whizz again. Chill in the refrigerator at least a couple of hours before serving. Garnish with chopped herbs, a perfect sprig of parsley  or some diced cucumber and/or avocado.
       Finer Things Club Lunch
                    credit: sal e mander, flickr
GRILLED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM BURGERS
Grilled Portobello Burgers are always a hit and this is the best bello burger recipe I have tried.   It's really a favorite with everyone I have served it to and fantastic for a cookout party. From Vegetarian Times

    6 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed, gills scraped out
    2 cups Syrah red wine or other wine of choice
    2 shallots, chopped (1/4 cup)
    1 clove garlic, chopped (1 tsp.)
    8 black peppercorns
    2 sprigs fresh thyme
    6 toasted whole-wheat hamburger buns
    Soy mayonnaise, onions, tomatoes, and arugula for garnish (or your favorite burger trimmings)

Poke holes all over mushrooms, making sure not to break them. Place in large glass baking dish.

Add wine, shallots, garlic, peppercorns, and thyme to mushrooms, and season with salt if you like.  Cover, and marinate for 2 hours at room temperature.

Preheat grill or broiler. Remove mushrooms from marinade, and discard liquid. Grill mushrooms 5 minutes on each side, or until browned and juicy. Serve on buns with burger fixings.
       Grilled Romaine with Balsamic Syrup
                        credit: sewtrashy, flickr
GRILLED ROMAINE with BALSAMIC SYRUP
While your grill is still hot surprise your guests with this fast, easy and spectacular grilled salad!  Use one small to medium romaine head to serve two.

Simply halve the head with the core still intact. Brush with olive oil. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side. Done!

Balsamic Syrup  

3 cups balsamic vinegar

Bring the vinegar to a boil in a medium heavy saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced by nearly three-quarters in volume and thickened to a syrup. Remove from the heat and cool completely before using. This keeps indefinitely.
Yield: 3/4 cup to one cup
may also add some shaved parmigiano reggiano....extra yummy!
          Grilled Chili Lime Corn
                         credit:Dayna McIsaac, flickr
GRILLED CHILI LIME CORN

 4 ears corn, in husk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (I use Earth Balance)
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

In a small bowl, combine butter, lime zest and juice, chili powder, garlic and salt and pepper and set aside.

Carefully peel back husk from the ear, without detaching from the bottom, remove silk from corn, fold the husk back around the ears and soak in water for 30 to 45 minutes. Make sure to weigh down the ears so that they are fully submerged.

Preheat a grill to medium, indirect heat. Remove ears from water, drain, open husk, dry ears with paper towel and spread butter mixture evenly on corn. Fold husk back over corn and grill, turning often, for 35 minutes (change heat to medium-high for the last ten minutes of grilling). Serve immediately.
      portobello mushroom salad
                       credit: erin matthes
GRILLED PORTOBELLO SALAD
Lovely extreme weather entree salad.  

Dressing:
1/4 cup prepared spicy, smooth mustard
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or use olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or use agave

Salad:
8 cups mixed greens (whatever you like)
1 avocado, peeled, halved, pitted, and sliced thinly
1 small red onion, sliced into very thin half-moons
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 recipe grilled portobellos (see recipe above)
crumbled goat cheese(optional)

Prepare the dressing:
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Done.

Prepare the salad:
Throw together all the ingredients except the portobellos, in a large mixing bowl. Pour on the dressing and use tongs to toss.

When ready to serve, place the dressed greens on plate and add the sliced, warm portobellos. That’s all there is to it!
       3-Bean Salad with Sundried Tomatoes
                      credit: britton618
3 BEAN SALAD with SUN DRIED TOMATOES
Delish and great for picnic or take to work lunch. Serves 4-6

1 can each red kidney beans, black beans, and cannelini beans
3/4 c red onion, chopped
1 c oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, julienned
1/4 c oil from sun dried tomatoes
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 c fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 tsp green peppercorns in brine, drained and chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp mustard powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 c pomegranate balsamic vinegar (or regular balsamic vinegar)

In a large bowl, combine drained and rinsed beans. Add onion, sun dried tomatoes, parsley, basil, and green peppercorns. In a small bowl, whisk oil from sun dried tomatoes, mustard powder, salt, and vinegar. Pour over salad and stir well. Serve and enjoy!
a href="http://www.flickr.com/... title="Papaya Tree by hyperion327, on Flickr">Papaya Tree
PAPAYA TREE
If you've never seen one this is what they look like.  They have skinny (6-8") trunks, grow quite tall and are perfect in a tropical garden as they require almost no space and very little care.  If you've never tasted a papaya, try to find the opportunity as they are otherworldly fabulous.   Grilling takes the papaya to another dimension.
       Plate of Papaya
GRILLED PAPAYA
Or use any local available fruit.

Just split, remove seeds and brush with neutral oil(coconut oil is good here).  Place cut side down on grill.   Grill on high about 5-7 minutes.

"Imagine"   John Lennon

"Freedom"  Paul McCartney

What have you all been cooking? Please share your recipes and fave Beatle music here!

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