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

Mark Bittman, New York Times

A primer: The earth may very well be running out of clean water, and by some estimates it takes 100 times more water (up to 2,500 gallons) to produce a pound of grain-fed beef than it does to produce a pound of wheat. We are also running out of land: somewhere around 45 percent of the world's land is either directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, and as forests are cleared to create new land for grazing animals or growing feed crops, the earth's capacity to sequester greenhouse gases (trees are especially good at this) diminishes.
Here'™s the thing: It'™s seldom that such enormous problems have such simple solutions, but this is one that does. We can tackle climate change without inventing new cars or spending billions on mass transit or trillions on new forms of energy, though all of that is not only desirable but essential.

In the meantime, we can begin eating less meat tomorrow. That'™s something any of us can do, with no technological advances. If personal choice enacted on a large scale could literally save the world, maybe we have to talk about it that way. We could be heroes, like Bruce Willis in Ãrmageddon, only maybe the sacrifice is on a more modest and easier scale. (You already changed your light bulbs; how about eating a salad?)

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!

Most of my time writing for Daily Kos has been spent writing about the very serious environmental issue of climate change.  In fact, climate change is the most crucial issue our species has ever faced.  How we respond will influence if our species and others which coexist on our planet will survive.   I research to find the latest news on the severity of the climate change crisis and also search for the most pragmatic and low cost solutions for mitigating the crisis.  At times it gets overwhelming as I daily read teeth-clattering frightening scientific articles.   So I try to balance this experience by bringing some levity to the equation.  This series has been invaluable to me in providing the necessary balance because it's been creative and lots of fun to write.  We learn how to take care of our health and the health of our planet, listen to great music and have loads of fun all at the same time!

Today is one of those days when we'll have the most fun here because we are making a virtual trip to London to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee.  She has now occupied the British throne for 60 years!  I'm not a royalist at all but I love parties and I raised myself on Dickens, Shakespeare and Austen.  Dickens is responsible for my politics and I will always be grateful.  The Queen's Diamond Jubilee has been a four day holiday in the UK with yesterday's event a flotilla on the Thames with the Queen and family joining the flotilla on the "Spirit of Chartwell"
       Spirit of Chartwell at the Diamond Jubilee

Today is the day set aside for the thousands of street parties which will occur around the UK.  We we are going to join them!  And that is where I will provide you with a Diamond Jubilee free veggie lunch. A lunch consisting of typical Uk street party veggie food.  There is even a live stream of the Diamond Jubilee concert with artists including Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney..yes, our own Macca will be preforming live!  Hope we are able to catch the live stream!

The UK has been preparing for the celebration for years.  Merchants have been preparing Diamond Jubilee limited editions of their products for all to collect and enjoy. There are even Diamond Jubilee treats...The English do know how to party!
    Diamond Jubilee Biscuits
So on to our Vegetarian Diamond Jubilee street party lunch.  Traditional English food can be a challenge.  So today I looked far and wide for inspiration and found some interesting recipes utilizing trad English ingredients and produce but in an updated version.
            English Pea Pancakes with Colorful Vegetable Saute and Basil Butter
Lots of my inspiration today came from megabeth including this updated trad recipe.
The recipe comes from the Cafe Flora Cookbook which suggests that if making the meal together that you start with the basil butter. Then prep the veggies for the saute.  Then cook the pancakes, keeping them warm in the oven while you finish the veggie saute as it only takes a few minutes and should be served asap.
This recipe makes about 18 5-inch pancakes.  So feel free to halve etc.

3 cups shelled English (or shelling) peas, fresh or frozen and defrosted
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
2 T finely chopped fresh basil
2 2/1 cups milk (I use plain soy milk)
2 eggs, lightly beaten or use egg sub.
3 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I use Earth Balance)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
Vegetable oil for the griddle (I used cooking spray)

Make the pancake batter. In a blender, puree the peas with the shallot, mint, basil, and milk.

Add the eggs and butter to the blender, and blend until combined.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper, and sugar into a medium bowl. Add the pea mixture to these dry ingredients, and stir just until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Be careful not to overbeat.

Cook the pancakes. Heat a lightly greased driddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, drop 3 tablespoons batter per pancake onto the hot skillet. Cook until bubbles form, about 3 minutes, and then flip to brown the other side, about 1 minute.

Stack the pancakes on a plate, cover with a damp towel, and keep warm in a 200-degree oven until all the pancakes are done.

To serve individually, place 3 pancakes overlapping in a circle on a warm plate. Put 2 slices basil butter on them, and top with some of the sauteed vegetables.

Basil Butter
Cafe Flora Cookbook

Note: The amounts below reflect the recipe cut in half. I have a small food processor and really didn'™t need to have the equivalent of two sticks of butter. One stick is plenty for my uses.

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature or use vegan butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 small shallot, minced
2 T finely chopped Italian parsley
5 big basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
A few cranks of freshly ground pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor.

Process until completely mixed, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.

Shape the butter. Roll the butter into a log about 2 inches in diameter using plastic wrap or parchment paper to help you roll it. Twist each end tightly, and refrigerate until firm. (About one hour.)
         Vegetarian Caesar Orzo and Asparagus
H/T to megabeth for this timely, seasonal recipe which is perfect street party /pot luck food.

    1 14.5 ounce can vegetable broth (approx 1 3/4 cups)
    1 cup water
    1 cup orzo, uncooked
    1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces on diagonal
    approx 1/4 cup vegetarian Caesar dressing (recipe below)
    2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, or use vegan parm. reserve some to sprinkle on top

Vegetarian Caesar Dressing
by Megabeth

    1 Tablespoon mayonnaise (I use Veganaise..yummy!)
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
    1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
    1 teaspoon vegan worcestershire sauce
    1/4 cup olive oil
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl. Whisk until all ingredients are combined. Set aside. (If using vegan mayo, expect to whisk a lot to make sure it incorporates into a creamy dressing.)

Bring water and broth to a boil in a large pot. Add uncooked orzo and cook for 3 minutes.

Add asparagus and cook for another 7 - 8 minutes or until orzo is tender. Stir often to make sure orzo does not stick to bottom of pot.

Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. (If extra liquid remains, drain, then transfer to bowl.)

Add vegetarian caesar dressing and stir to coat.

Stir in shredded parmesan. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Sprinkle some extra parmesan cheese on top when serving if using.
            beet salad

Roast beets in a medium oven(375f) until cooked through, tossing with freshly shelled peas(or use defrosted frozen, and lovely lettuce and dill, then lightly dress it all with a sherry-shallot vinaigrette.
       Vegeable Pan Bagnat (Layered Vegetable Sandwich)
Layered Vegetable Sandwich from megabeth Recipe from Vegetarian Times   Gotta have sandwiches at a street party and these travel well and only improve while sitting.

    1 8-inch round loaf of crusty bread, preferably with rosemary
    ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
    1 large clove garlic
    2 Tbs. low-sodium tamari soy sauce
    ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
    1 6-oz. zucchini, ends trimmed
    3 4-inch portobello mushroom caps, gills removed
    1 8-oz. pkg. tomato-and-basil hummus, I used red pepper hummus
    3 whole roasted red bell peppers or 1 12-oz. jar, drained
    1 packed cup baby arugula leaves
    1 large ripe yellow or red heirloom tomato, thinly sliced
    Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Halve bread horizontally, using serrated knife. Starting 1/2-inch from edges, remove about 1 inch soft bread from center of each half, making hollows for filling; lightly brush cut surfaces with 2 Tbs. oil, and rub with garlic clove.

2. Squeeze garlic clove through press into bowl; add remaining 2 Tbs. oil, tamari and mustard, and whisk to blend. Pare zucchini lengthwise with vegetable peeler into paper-thin slices, omitting seedy center. Cut mushrooms on diagonal into wide paper-thin slices. Add zucchini and mushrooms to dressing; toss. Marinate 10 minutes; drain, reserving any dressing.

3. To assemble sandwich, spread bread hollows with hummus. Over bottom half of bread, layer zucchini slices, half the peppers, mushroom slices, arugula, tomato slices and remaining peppers; grind on black pepper to taste, and replace bread top. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap; place on large plate and top with heavy pot lid. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, unwrap and cut into 6 wedges.
            Legume salad
Excellent picnic or street party food.  Very traditional and yummy. Serves 6

    500g fresh or frozen broad beans or use 2 cups canned drained and rinsed white or cannellini beans
    2 cups (300g) fresh or frozen peas
    200g feta, crumbled
    1 cup mint leaves
    1 red onion, finely chopped
    1 preserved lemon quarter, finely chopped
    100g baby snow pea tendrils  (optional)
    2 tbs olive oil
    2 tbs lemon juice

    Cook the broad beans in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 2 minutes or until tender. Refresh under cold running water. Drain well. Peel and discard the skins.

    Cook the peas in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 1 minute or until tender. Refresh under cold running water. Drain well. Place in a large bowl with the broad beans, feta, mint, onion, preserved lemon and snow pea tendrils. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently toss to combine. Place in a large bowl to serve.
        Tea bread
Inspired by The Best Quick Breads, by Beth Hensperger.  One of my all time fave recipes.  It's easy, vegan and perfect for any time of day.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup organic brown sugar
1 12-ounce Samuel Adams or Samuel Smith stout beer, minus a sip (fun for the cook!)
1/2 cup raisins or use dried cranberries
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, then spoon into a greased loaf pan.

2. Bake 50 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.
            Diamond jubilee cake
A perfect ending by No More Tiers(York)

"Money Can't Buy Me Love"   The Beatles  "I'll buy you a diamond ring, my friend"

"Her Majesty"   Paul McCartney

"London Town"   Paul McCartney & Wings

If you're also an anglophile, please check out my other UK diaries here and here.

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

Update: Sorry, looks like we missed the livestream due to the time difference in UK.   Concert ended @ 10:30pm gmt (can't keep the Queen up too late lol) which is 5:30 eastern.   McCartney ended the show which lasted for hours. Here is his setlist: Sgt. Pepper, All My Loving, Let It Be, Live & Let Die, olbladi olblada

Update with you tube of McCartney set at Diamond Jubilee concert
wow, this was fast

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