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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


Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 2.5 Pounds

Each time you have a plant-based lunch like a PB&J you'll reduce your carbon footprint by the equivalent of 2.5 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over an average animal-based lunch like a hamburger, a tuna sandwich, grilled cheese, or chicken nuggets. For dinner you save 2.8 pounds and for breakfast 2.0 pounds of emissions.

If you have a PB&J instead of a red-meat lunch like a ham sandwich or a hamburger, you shrink your carbon footprint by almost 3.5 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

Conserve Water: 133 Gallons

You'll conserve water at lunch too! How about 133 gallons of water conserved at lunch versus the average American lunch? To put this in perspective, five PB&Js or other plant-based lunches per month would save more water than switching to a low-flow showerhead. If you're replacing hamburgers, it should take you just three lunches to conserve more water than the low-flow showerhead.

Save Land: 24 Square Feet

Don't forget the land you save from deforestation, over-grazing, and pesticide and fertilizer pollution: about 24 square feet at lunch.

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!


I couldn't resist this; the amazingly talented Astaire and Rogers-"you say tomato and I say tomatoe"

Tomatoes are everywhere and the price is right this time of year in Florida. There are so many varieties that I have never seen before; but I usually stick with the 'ugly' tomatoes grown in north Florida whose taste reminds me of my childhood summers. They are wonderful for sandwiches and are so juicy that eating them whole can quench your thirst. Not a summers day goes by without having tomatoes for at least one meal and that includes breakfast. It doesn't get better than a tomatoe and avocado sandwich on whole grain bread for breakfast.

So today I'm sharing a few of my many tomatoe recipes and I hope you'll share some of yours in the diary comments.

www.worththewhisk.com, creative commons, flickr
GAZPACHO
Summertime and the living is easy and gazpacho fits right in for a cool, easy start to a summer meal or for a refreshing afternoon snack.

1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

MAKE YOUR OWN SUN DRIED TOMATOES:OVEN or SUN

Klearchos Kapoutsis, creative commons, flickr
Seems like everyone here is growing their own tomatoes, even if it's just a hanging tomatoe patio plant. If you have more than you can use especially of the roma variety try drying them. It deepens the flavor of the tomatoes and makes them a great addition to many fast summer recipes.

7 -8 lbs firm ripe roma tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
1 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)

TOMATO PREPARATION BOTH METHODS.

Cut out the stem and scar and the hard portion of core lying under it.
Cut the tomatoes in half, lengthwise. If the tomato is more than about 2 inches long, cut it in quarters.
Scrape out all of the seeds that you can without removing the pulp.
Mix together thoroughly basil,oregano, thyme, and salt.
Sprinkle a small amount of this mixture on each tomato.

OVEN-DRYING (approximately 12 hours).

Arrange the tomatoes, with the cut surface up, on non-stick cookie sheets (glass or porcelain dishes are OK.) Do not use aluminum foil or aluminum baking sheets as the acid in the tomato will react with the metal.

Bake in 170°F oven for about 3 hours.
Leave the oven door propped open about 3 inches to allow moisture to escape.
After 3 hours, turn the tomatoes over and press flat with your hand or a spatula.
Continue to dry, turning the tomatoes every few hours, and gently pressing flatter and flatter, until tomatoes are dry.

SUN-DRYING (approximately 3 days):.

Dry in hot weather, with relatively low humidity.
Place tomatoes, cut side down, in shallow wood-framed trays with nylon netting for the bottom of the trays.
Cover trays with protective netting or cheesecloth.
Place in direct sun, raised from the ground.
on blocks or anything else that allows air to circulate under the trays.
Turn the tomatoes over after about 1 1/2 days, to expose the cut side to the sun.
Place the trays in a sheltered spot after sundown, or if the weather turns bad.

ADDITIONAL NOTES FOR BOTH METHODS.

No matter what method you choose, be aware that not all of the tomatoes will dry at the same rate. They do not all have the same amount of moisture, nor do they experience the same temperature and air circulation while they are drying.

They are done when they are very dry, but still pliable. Texture is about that of a dried apricot. If dried too long, they become tough and leathery. If not dried long enough, they will mold and mildew, unless packed in oil. So watch them carefully while they dry. Try to remove them on an individual basis, before they become tough.

sweetonveg, creative commons, flickr
PENNE with KALE and SUN DRIED TOMATOES
This is for one serving but just double etc. to serve more. If you want to add more protein to make a one dish meal, add some drained and rinsed cannellini beans when you add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes.

1 cup, penne pasta (I use whole grain)
2 tablespoons, extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a bunch of lacinato kale, finely chopped
handful of baby spinach
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained & chopped or use regular sun dried tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon, crushed red pepper flakes
salt, to taste

Cook penne according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, kale, spinach and salt – cook gently for a couple of minutes. Then add sun-dried tomatoes and red pepper flakes.

Drain pasta and add to veggie mixture in skillet – stir well. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and serve.

Sweetonveg, creative commons, flickr
TOMATOE & ARTICHOKE PITA PIZZA
I love pita pizzas, because they're fast and easy, of course!

pita bread (6″ – 8″ round) I use whole wheat
pizza sauce
marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
tomato, sliced
Daiya mozzarella vegan cheese

Simply spoon pizza sauce over pita bread. Top with sliced tomatoes and marinated artichoke hearts. Then sprinkle with Daiya mozzarella vegan cheese.
Place pita pizza directly on oven rack and bake for 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees.

cookipediachef, creative commons, flickr
RED LENTIL KEDGEREE with AVOCADO and TOMATOE
A  popular Indian breakfast dish that is perfect for a light supper or snack.

    3/4 cup basmati rice - rinsed well under cold running water
    3/4 cup red lentils
    1 tablespoon ghee or butter (I use Earth Balance vegan butter)
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 onion, peeled and sliced
    2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
    2 tablespoons korma, Madras or vindaloo curry paste
    1 bay leaf
    2 cups vegetable stock
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 ripe avocado
    4 tomatoes, peeled
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 lime, sliced to garnish

    Soak the rice and lentils in cold water for 10 minutes, drain well.
    Heat the oil and butter in a large pan and sautee the onion gently for 5 minutes
    Add the crushed garlic and the curry paste and stir-fry for a few minutes
    Tip in the rice and lentils and bay leaf, stir to coat with oil.
    Add the stock, stir once and bring to the boil.
    Simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes - check that the lentils are properly cooked, some take a little longer it seems!
    Peel and dice the avocado and toss in the lemon juice, chop the tomatoes and coriander and mix in with the avocados.
    Season with salt and pepper.
    Serve the rice and red lentils, topped with the tomatos, avocados and herbs.

Serve garnished with lime slices.

Rooey202, creative commons, flickr
QUICK WHITE BEAN STEW with SWISS CHARD and TOMATOES
This is fantastic with either white or garbanzo (chickpeas) beans.  Serves 2-3

    2 pounds Swiss chard, large stems discarded and leaves cut crosswise into 2-inch strips
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1 large fresh tomatoe, chopped including juices
    One 16-ounce can cannellini or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
    Salt

    Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the chard and simmer over moderate heat until tender, 8 minutes. Drain the greens and gently press out excess water.
    In the saucepan, heat the oil. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is golden, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the beans and simmer over moderately high heat for 3 minutes. Add the chard and simmer over moderate heat until the flavors meld, 5 minutes. Season the stew with salt and serve.

Selena N B H, creative commons, flickr
STUFFED TOMATOES and MUSHROOMS with ISRAELI COUS COUS
Serves 2-3 for a light dinner or 8 as appetizer. If serving as appetizers no need to serve over cous cous

10 oz. frozen spinach
1 lb. large crimini mushrooms
1 lb. large cherry tomatoes
6 oz. crumbled feta cheese (I use vegan feta)
5 cloves minced fresh garlic
1/4 c. minced green onion
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Israeli Cous Cous made according to package instructions.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Defrost and drain the spinach thoroughly, pressing it with paper towels to get out as much moisture as possible.

Open up the cherry tomatoes about 1/3 way down and clean out the insides using a melon baller.

Brush the mushrooms and remove the stems. Mince up about 1/4 cup of the stems.

In a skillet, saute the garlic, stems, and onion in the olive oil, then add the spinach and mix well. Add basil, then add salt and pepper to taste. Cool before adding the feta.

Put about 1 tbsp. of the filling in both the mushroom caps and tomatoes.

Arrange on a lightly oiled baking sheet and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes until the mushrooms are a light brown and done all the way through. Serve on a bed of lettuce or shredded cabbage if serving as appetizer.

"Hello, Goodbye"  The Beatles "You say goodbye and I say hello

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

Originally posted to Meatless Advocates Meetup on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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