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

"Much as we have awakened to the full economic and social costs of cigarettes, we will find we can no longer subsidize or ignore the costs of mass-producing cattle, poultry, pigs, sheep and fish to feed our growing population. These costs include hugely inefficient use of freshwater and land, heavy pollution from livestock feces, rising rates of heart disease and other degenerative illnesses, and spreading destruction of the forests on which much of our planet's life depends."

"As forests are cleared to create new pastures, livestock is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where some 70 per cent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing." UN report

According to scientists at the Smithsonian Institute, the equivalent of seven football fields of land is bulldozed every minute, much of it to create more room for farmed animals.

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.

I was inspired to create this series by former Beatle and vegetarian advocate Paul McCartney (Macca) 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!

Kudos to San Diego Unified School District for joining the Meatless Monday campaign!

Here in Florida, one of the most welcomed harbingers of the fall season, after the very subtle temperature and humidity decrease, is the opening of the local Farmers Market. Although we have a long growing season the Farmers Market closes for the summer because it's just too darn hot for most to spend time outdoors in the open midday sun walking the large open area allocated for the market. It can't be healthy for the vendors or optimal for the perishable products either. When we finally have the opening of the market in early October, seasonal colors and produce reflect the coming cooler weather and my favorite time of year.

Today I will share some recipes in anticipation of the local produce which will be available when the Farmers Market opens so that I will be prepared, shopping list in hand, when the doors open.

Delicious, creamy and easy. I usually just use a hand-masher to puree as I like the soup to have some texture.

    1 head cauliflower, chopped
    2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
    2 carrots, chopped
    1 large yellow onion
    4 garlic cloves
    1 cup dairy-free milk
    4 cups good quality vegetable broth
    a dash freshly ground black pepper
    a pinch salt
    chopped fresh herbs, to garnish (such as dill or parsley)

    Heat up a large pot. Add in the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes, or until onion is lightly brown. Stir in potatoes and carrots and cook a few minutes more. Pour in the vegan vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the chopped cauliflower, cover with a lid, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender. This will take about 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
    Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor, or in the pot using a hand blender. Return the pot to the oven at low heat and stir in milk, salt and pepper. Serve warm, garnished with your herb of choice. You can let it simmer on low heat for several hours if you wish, and it is possible to heat it up the day after.

Florida cukes and tomatoes will still be available as will the Florida avocado, which hands down beats the western and Mexican variety for flavor. Serves 2

    1 cup quinoa, rinsed
    sea salt, to taste
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 cucumber, chopped
    2 tomatoes, chopped
    1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
    1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
    1 avocado, sliced – garnish

Cook quinoa in one and a half cups of water in a pot, bringing to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice and parsley. Stir in cooled quinoa.

Top with avocado!

Florida tomatoes are at their peak right now and are perfectly suited to star in this classic Greek dish.

5 medium perfectly-ripe yummy Tomatoes
5 medium green peppers
3/4 cup olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon long-grain rice for each veggie to be filled
1 large onion, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced very fine
1/4 cup fresh mint, minced
1/2 cup parsley, minced
1/2 cup pine nuts or 1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup hard mizithra cheese or 1/2 cup kefalograviera cheese or 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, cut into tiny cubes (I use vegan feta-yummy!)
1/2 cup sultana raisins (optional but I love them here, very Greek)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
salt and pepper

Cut off tops of tomatoes (retain tops) and carefully scoop out flesh (retain this as well). Cut off tops of peppers (retain tops) and remove seeds and membrane.

Place tomatoes and peppers in a pan large enough to hold them comfortably and give each veg a tiny dash of sugar with the tips of your fingertips (important!).

Take tomato flesh and process it until pureed.

Add olive oil, rice, onion, garlic, mint, parsley, nuts, cheese, sultanas, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper (or season to taste).

Stuff the vegetables evenly with this mixture. Replace tops of tomatoes and peppers.

Combine 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup olive oil with a scant tablespoonful of tomato paste and a little salt and pepper and pour this around the veg.

Bake in a preheated 375F oven (180C) for approx 1 3/4 hours (vegetables should pierce easily and be slightly blackened in parts).

Turn off oven and leave in for another hour to'mellow' before serving. This is best served slightly warm or at room temperature.

Finally, curry weather! Serves 2-4

    1 12-14 oz. cake tofu, drained well
    1 large head broccoli
    1 white onion
    2-3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 cup white or crimini mushrooms, sliced
    1 red pepper, sliced  
    1 to 2 tablespoons green curry paste
    15 ounce can low fat coconut milk
    Juice of half a lime

    In a small bowl, whisk together the green curry paste and coconut milk until well combined. Set aside.
    Drain your tofu and wipe off excess liquid. Cube and set aside while you warm a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large fry pan. Cook the tofu until well browned on all sides.
    In another, larger pan over medium-high heat, add your oil and onions and garlic. Cook until glassy + fragrant.
    Then add in the broccoli and red pepper. Cook until softened, but still a bit crunchy. Then add in the mushrooms and cook a few minutes more.
    Add the coconut curry mix to your veggie pan. Cook for a few minutes, until bubbly.
    Add the tofu to the veggie/curry pan . . . then cook covered over low heat for another 10 to 15 minutes. Then squirt in the lime and stir.
    Serve over rice  and add basil or another garnish as desired.

Feel free to sub. any fresh veggies you like. The cashews make this crunchy and special.

    2 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
    1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
    1 medium onion, diced
    1/2 cup each corn kernels, small diced carrots and peas, defrosted if frozen or any small pieces fresh veggies you like- 1-2 cups total
    1/2 red bell pepper, deseeded, diced
    3 1/2 cups previously cooked scented rice (I use chilled cooked brown rice)
    2 teaspoons soy sauce or to taste
    Black pepper, to taste
    3/4 cup cashews
    1 green onion, finely chopped
    Salt to taste, optional

Heat oil in preheated wok on medium-high heat. Add ginger, stir until fragrant. Add onion, stir-fry for about 2 minutes, until softened.

Push the onion to the sides of wok. Add the frozen corn or peas in the middle, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Push to sides, add red bell pepper in the middle and stir-fry for 1 minute.

Add rice in middle of the pan. Stir until heated through (about 2 minutes), using a spatula to turn and move the rice around the pan. (Note: You can remove the stir-fried vegetables before adding the rice if the pan is too crowded, and then add them back before adding the seasonings. It's generally not necessary though, since the rice is already cooked and just needs to be heated through).

Stir in soy sauce, and pepper. Stir in cashews. Stir in green onion. Taste and add seasoning if desired.

A really fast veggie entree which would be great with the fried rice above or on its own with a small salad.

    3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    1 large shallot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (1/3 cup)
    16 ounces fresh or frozen edamame
    10 ounces fresh or frozen corn kernels
    1 teaspoon coarse salt
    1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

    Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add shallots and saute until golden, 2 minutes.

    Add edamame, corn, salt, and pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are heated through and browned in places, about 5 minutes.

    Remove from heat; stir in basil and remaining tablespoon oil and serve.

This is an amazing recipe which utilizes that extra zucchini. Plus it's moist and super delicious and healthy enough for breakfast!

2 cups flour (barley, wholemeal spelt, wholewheat pastry or gluten-free)
1 ¾ cups raw sugar or rapadura
¾ cup cocoa powder
¾ cup chickpea flour (besan)
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt  
¾ cup oil (olive, sunflower or melted coconut) or apple purée
¾ cup water  
1 ½ – 2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375F (175C). Grease and flour a large bundt pan or some muffin tins.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, chickpea flour, bicarb soda, baking powder and salt. Break up any lumps and mix until evenly combined.

In a separate mixing bowl combine the oil, water, zucchini and vanilla. Add this to the dry ingredients, stirring until no traces of flour remain.

Pour into the bundt tin and bake for around an hour, until the top is firm and the knife comes out with a couple of moist crumbs (not batter!) when put through the middle of it, around 60 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the outside and invert onto a plate. Leave the bundt tin on top while it cools. Best served after it has cooled down.

For muffins, bake for 20 to 25 minutes. This recipe makes 24 muffins or 1 bundt cake of Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Mud Cake.

"Back in the USSR" Paul McCartney live in Red Square
  "Take me to your daddy's farm"

"Junior's Farm"  Paul McCartney & Wings

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


Originally posted to Meatless Advocates Meetup on Mon Sep 16, 2013 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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