This week I delivered my fifth round of meals and celebrated with a big ol’ piece of Southern Sweets strawberry cake and way more-than-usual leftovers, owing to a regular client being out-of-town. Like farmers who take a share of their crops for themselves, a huge perk of the meal delivery is getting to eat the leftovers. Sometimes they’re scant – literally a quarter cup of one side, a few tablespoons of dressing – and sometimes they don’t happen at all, but when they do, it’s always joyful!!! This week, at least, we ate well.

And so did my meal delivery folks! Let’s take a look at what they’re having this week, shall we?

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Main courses this week:

  • creamy chana masala, a long-simmered Indian stew with freshly-ground spices and coconut cream (three & five meal plans)
  • a twist on the cassoulet, with cannellini beans and fennel four ways: oven roasted bulbs, feathery fronds, & toasted seeds, topped with Tuscan fennel pollen (three & five)
  • pad thai with tofu, lime & peanuts on the side (three & five)
  • Bryant Terry’s smothered seitan-chops in mixed-mushroom gravy, with locally-grown shiitakes (five only)
  • Chilean pastel de choclo, a shepherd’s pie-like concoction with a creamy fresh corn topping (five only)

Sides this week:

  • Nate’s favorite dal with fried onions – organic yellow and pink split lentils boiled with turmeric & salt, spiced with toasted cumin seeds, chipotle powder, and coriander, with lemon juice and garam masala for balance (3 & 5)
  • roasted root vegetables in a creamy roasted garlic & lime sauce (3 & 5)
  • sweet-savory stir-fried vegetables (3 & 5)
  • slow-cooked southern speckled butterbeans (5)
  • freshly-shaved field corn with jalepenos (5)

Chana Masala with coconut cream

Fresh corn with pastel de choclo. The latter is a version of Terry Hope Romero’s recipe from Viva Vegan! I wanted to make it last week but ran out of time.

fennel four ways cassoulet, made with roasted bulbs, feathery fronds, toasted seeds, and topped with fennel pollen

Roasted fennel and garlic. This week’s hummus was roasted garlic – those three heads in two finished cups, whoo!

just a simple pad thai noodle.

Bryant Terry’s seitan medallions in mixed-mushroom gravy

This dish was phenomenal, one of the best things I’ve made all year. Let’s take a moment.

When I was a little girl one of my most favorite foods was pork chops. I grew up in the rural countryside and while we had a pig companion animal for a short while (no, we did not eat her; a wild animal did), I hadn’t yet made the connection between pigs and porkchops. We were also on the poorer end of the economic spectrum, so (my mom recently confirmed this) we often had meat only once a week, and when we did, they tended to be the cheapest cuts. I remember mamma battering and frying a whole mess of these small, skinny cuts and then throwing them in a half-inch of oil in her electric skillet. I could eat six at a time.

Of course, I now know the source of those pork chops – abhorrent, abominable factory farms – and am certain that animals aren’t for our use, but are ends in their own right. But I still love and seek out rich, fatty, salty vegan versions of former favorites. One of the best places to look for such recipes is Bryant Terry’s book Vegan Soul Kitchen.

My new favorite recipe in Vegan Soul Kitchen is his Smothered Seitan Medallions in Mixed-Mushroom Gravy. You can check out the recipe on Vegetarian Times here or see what it looks like in the book on Google books here. Also, you should probably listen to Terry’s NPR interview here about his Thanksgiving menu.

The recipe has four components: fresh mushroom stock, mushroom gravy, fried seitan, and then all of those things put together (the final recipe). The only changes I made were minimal: substituting boxed organic mushroom broth for fresh (couldn’t afford all the extra mushrooms for stock, didn’t already have enough stems on hand), adding locally-grown shittake mushrooms, and clipping chives from my back porch garden instead of green onions. I added a fifth component by making seitan fresh before I started the recipe (with more mushroom stock) instead of using commercially-available seitan pieces.

two cups of mushroom gravy, just hangin’ out

crispy battered and fried seitan.

the finished dish

The recipe takes a lot of time to make, but it is so totally worth it. In fact, Bryant Terry tweeted at me the night I made it with the following: “hand on bible, i cried the first time i tasted that recipe after testing. glad you like!” (If you’re on twitter, follow him here.) Yeah, it’s that good. Make it soon!

Just some simple stir-fried veg, to pair with the pad thai and lessen the guilt. ;-) This recipe actually contains no fat at all! (Probably a first in my kitchen this year, if we’re being real.)

Terry’s roasted root vegetables in creamy roasted-garlic lime sauce. I used a mixture of (all organic) carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes, celery root, and beets.

A mixture of plump fordhook and freckled speckled butterbeans.

Nate’s favorite dal with fried onions and lots of cilantro.

So, in summation, the five meal plan:

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That’s all for this week, folks! Gotta head to the market to get fresh vegetables for next week’s yumminess. Let me know if you’re ordering!