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

Amazing visual of amount of water it takes to produce one hamburger.  2393 litres of water to produce one burger!  2393 liters = 632.2 gallons!

           

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!

Thai is one of my favorite ethnic foods.  It's sweet and salty tastes are comfort for me.  And I recently got the news that a casual new Thai restaurant is opening in my area.   It's called Yummy Thai and I don't know anything about it but think it's part of a national chain.   Anyone heard of it?  What I want to know is should I be first in line on opening day?  So today I'm sharing some of my most used Thai recipes in hopes that maybe I can put these recipes to rest and let Yummy Thai do the cooking for a change.
           thai iced tea
Thai Concentrate for Thai Iced Tea at Home
Best way to start a Thai meal.

1/3 cup loose Thai tea leaves
4 cups water
2/3 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer and brew for 20 minutes.
Pull off heat and cool completely and then strain out the leaves.

When cool, store as a concentrate.
Pour over ice and top with 2 or more tablespoons of coconut milk sweetened or unsweetend to taste.
           Lettuce Wraps
THAI LETTUCE WRAPS
A great starter or entree with lots of protein!  Serves 6

Sauce

    ¼ cup lime juice
    ¼ cup sugar
    2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
    1 Tbs. rice vinegar
    ½ tsp. light brown sugar

Filling

    2 8-oz. pkg. plain tempeh, broken into chunks
    1 Tbs. vegetable oil
    2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
    2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
    1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
    ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
    ¼ cup lime juice
    2 Tbs. chopped shallots
    1 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
    1 Tbs. rice vinegar
    2 tsp. sugar
    1 tsp. chile sauce, such as sriracha
    ¼ tsp. light brown sugar

Toppings and Wraps

    ½ lb. green beans, thinly sliced
    2 cups bean sprouts
    1 cucumber, peeled into thin strips
    1 large carrot, shredded
    Fresh mint, cilantro, and basil
    18 whole large lettuce leaves
    ½ cup chopped peanuts

1. To make Sauce: whisk together all ingredients in small bowl.

2. To make Filling: Pulse tempeh in food processor until coarsely crumbled. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Add tempeh and broth, cover, and cook 
5 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and cook 10 minutes, or until liquid has evaporated. Stir in remaining ingredients.

3. Mound vegetables, herbs, and tempeh mixture on platter. Let diners fill lettuce leaves with Filling and Toppings. Serve with bowls of Sauce, peanuts and extra shiriacha and lime wedges.
         Pad Thai (Jhanjay Vegetarian Thai Cuisine, Ballard, Seattle)
PAD THAI
This is a happy addiction for me.  It's gluten free and vegan and so delish! Serves 4-5

1/4 cup crunchy, salted peanut butter, at room temperature
1 cup lime juice (about 5-1/2 large limes)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Mirin (sweet rice wine)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons chili paste (Sambal Oelek is perfect)or your fave chili paste

Grapeseed oil for the pan or use vegetable or peanut oil

1-1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
2 cups grated carrots
1-1/2 cups bean sprouts
1-1/2 cups thinly sliced red bell peppers
2 cups finely sliced Napa cabbage
8-ounces Pad Thai-Style rice noodles
6-10 ounces lightly fried firm tofu cubes (optional)

1 cup roughly chopped, fresh cilantro
1/4 cup roughly chopped, fresh mint
5 finely chopped scallions
About 3/4 cup roughly chopped salted peanuts
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the peanut butter with the lime juice, Mirin, soy sauce, sugar and chili paste. Set aside.
    Generously coat a large sauté pan or wok with grapeseed oil. Place the pan over low-medium heat and add the onion. Add the garlic after about 5 minutes, and continue to cook until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes.
    Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the carrots, bean sprouts, peppers and cabbage. Stirring occasionally, cook until the carrots are tender, about 7 minutes.
    Remove the vegetable mixture from the heat while you cook the noodles.
    Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling, salted water just until tender but still firm to bite, about 6 minutes.
    Remove 1/2 cup of the noodle water and add it to the vegetable mixture. Then drain the noodles and add them along with the tofu if using.
    Add the cilantro, mint, scallions, and pour the sauce over the entire mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper (if necessary) and gently toss to evenly combine all of the ingredients and garnish with the peanuts.
           Curry fried rice with fried tofu (Jhanjay Vegetarian Thai Cuisine, Ballard, Seattle)
PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE with CASHEWS
So yummy and great for a party served in a pineapple boat.  Serves 5-6 as entree

1 small can pineapple chunks (packed in juice), drained, OR 1+1/2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
    3-4 cups cooked rice (I use brown jasmine), preferably several days old (Tip: if fresh, leave for an hour or more in the refrigerator uncovered)
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    2 shallots, finely chopped
    3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1 red or green chili, thinly sliced, OR 1/4 to 3/4 tsp. dried crushed chili (chili flakes)
    1 egg (vegans can omit)
    ½ cup frozen peas
    optional: 1 small carrot, grated (about 1/4 cup)
    ¼ cup currants OR raisins
    ½ cup roasted unsalted whole cashews
    3 spring onions, finely sliced
    1/3 cup fresh coriander

    STIR-FRY SAUCE:
    3 Tbps. soy sauce
    2 tsp. curry powder (your choice)
    optional: 1/2 tsp. sugar

    Mix 1 Tbsp. oil with the rice, using your fingers to separate any chunks into grains. Set aside.
    In a cup, stir the soy sauce/fish sauce together with the curry powder.
    Drizzle 1-2 Tbsp. oil in a wok/large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic, and chili, stir-frying until fragrant (1 minute). Whenever the wok/pan becomes dry, add a little stock (1 Tbsp. at a time to keep ingredients sizzling).
    Crack egg (if using) into wok and stir quickly to cook (like making scrambled eggs).
    Add the carrot (if using) and peas. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes, adding more stock if needed.
    Now add the rice, pineapple chunks, peas, currants and cashews. Drizzle the soy sauce mixed with curry powder over and gently stir-fry to combine over medium-high to high heat until the rice "dances" (makes popping sounds) - about 5 to 8 minutes, or until desired lightness is achieved. Tip: Avoid adding any more stock from here on, or your rice will turn out heavy and/or soggy. If desired, you can push ingredients aside and add a little more oil to the pan/wok (this will give your rice that special 'shine' you see in restaurant fried rice)
    Remove from heat. Do a taste-test for salt/flavor, adding a few shakes of salt or a little more soy sauce, as needed. If too salty for your taste, add a squeeze or two of lime juice.
    To serve, scoop rice onto a serving platter (or in a carved-out pineapple, if serving at a party . Top with spring onions and coriander, and ENJOY!

Note: Vegans may omit the egg without losing the flavour or nutrients of this great dish (cashews provide the main protein source).
         Vegetarian Thai Panaeng Curry
THAI PANANG CURRY
Serves 4-6, adapted from Bon Appetit

    1 tbsp vegetable oil
    2 large shallots, thinly sliced
    2 tbsp panang curry paste
    2 tbsp chopped, peeled ginger
    1 14 oz can lite coconut milk
    1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
    8 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves (I used dried)
    2 dried chiles de arbol
    1 butternut squash, chopped into 1-inch chunks (or use equivalent sweet potatoes)
    1 small head of cauliflower, cored and broken into 1-2-inch florets (or use broccoli)
    1 lb carrots, peeled and cut on a diagonal into 1/2-inch slices
    2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch squares
    1/4 cup liquid tamarind concentrate or 2 tbsp tamarind paste mixed with 2 tbsp water (or use 1/2 amount or omit to taste)
    1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
    2 tbsp soy sauce
    1 tbsp fresh lime juice
    1 12-oz package firm tofu, drained, patted dry and cut into 1-inch cubes
    kosher salt

    Heat oil in a large heavy wide pot over medium heat. Add shallots, panang curry paste, and ginger; stir until shallots begin to soften, 2–3 minutes. Add 1/3 cup coconut milk; stir until browned, about 4 minutes. Add remaining coconut milk, 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock, lime leaves, and chiles; stir to blend, scraping up browned bits.
    Add butternut squash to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until squash is almost tender, 15–20 minutes. Stir in cauliflower, carrots, and peppers. Cook until all vegetables are tender, 10–15 minutes.
    Stir tamarind concentrate, half of basil, soy sauce, and lime juice into pot; add tofu. Cover and simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes, adding more stock if too thick. Season to taste with salt.  Serve, garnished with the basil.
         Thai Sticky Rice and Mango (Khao Nieow Ma Muang) by my mom and me.e.e.e...
THAI STICKY RICE and MANGO (Khao Nieow Ma Muang)

1 1/4 cups raw sticky rice (sweet or glutinous rice). Use Thai sticky rice if possible.
3/4 cup very thick coconut milk for mixing with rice (do not shake the coconut milk can before opening. Spoon out only the thick part that's usually on top)
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup very thick coconut milk for topping the rice (freeze the rest of the coconut milk for other use later)
1/8 tsp salt for the topping
1/2 tbsp salt for mixing with rice
1/4 tsp rice flour
6 medium mangoes -- peeled and sliced

Wash and rinse the sticky rice well. Add enough water to the rice so until the water is about 1/4" above the rice surface. Cook rice in an automatic rice cooker or in a bowl in a steamer. Do not open the rice until fully cooked (about 20-25 mins).

Heat, on low, 3/4 cup of coconut milk in a small saucepan. Add sugar and 1/2 tbsp salt to the coconut milk and cook until dissolved. Remove from heat and pour into cooked rice. Stir to mix well and set aside to let stand for about 15 mins.

Heat the rest of coconut milk and add salt.
Stir until the salt is dissolved.
This makes the topping sauce.

To serve, place sliced mangoes on a side of a serving disk. Spoon some seasoned sticky rice on the other side. Top the rice with 1 or 2 tsp of coconut sauce and serve..

"With A Little Help From My Friends"  "I get high with a little help from my friends" The Beatles

"Revolution"   The Beatles

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

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