Monday, August 13, 2012

Dinner Tray: Tempeh Chops + Miracle Mushroom Gravy, Truffled Cream Peas, Corn & Tomato Salad, and Seared Apples

If this was a Houston High School tray circa 1990 -- the second year that the school where we met was open and the first year it had a working lunchroom -- it would have a pile of dinner rolls, hash browns, and some inexplicably greasy cookies. If it was our Picadilly tray of the same era, it would have a cloverleaf roll, mashed potatoes, and a tall, dark cup of amazing egg custard. Our experience with tray food for vegetarians in the past has been pretty starchy, but the memories sure are sweet. We had to re-do it and make it better for 2012. 

We found our trays at Lit Junior here in Memphis. (You can also procure a beige tray there if you prefer a more realistic tray food experience.) You can make this meal without them, sure, but some reason, this stuff is just better all around on a tray. (Now we have a craving to go here for the same old school vibe.)

Dinner Tray

Tempeh Chops + Miracle Mushroom Gravy

1 8-ounce package of tempeh
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (like Whole Foods 365 brand)
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 large egg  (beaten)
1 tablespoon mustard (like Zatarain's Creole)
1/4 cup canola oil (like Whole Foods 365 brand)
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the tempeh into 4 triangles. In a large bowl combine the flour, garlic, and salt. Toss it around and coat tempeh. In a separate bowl whisk the egg and mustard together and dip each tempeh triangle into the egg mixture one at a time. Put the breadcrumbs in a separate bowl and dredge the tempeh in them until they're coated. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, lay the tempeh into a single layer and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately with Miracle Mushroom Gravy on top and add salt and pepper to taste. (Serves 2 as a main dish.)

Truffled Cream Peas

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large shallot (diced)
1 package of fresh English peas (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon truffle salt
truffle oil (to taste)
cracked black pepper (to taste)

Melt butter in a medium skillet on medium heat. Add shallot and when it is translucent, add peas. Add cream and truffle salt. Cook 5-7 minutes until peas are tender. Drizzle with truffle oil and add pepper to taste. 

Corn and Tomato Salad

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 a white onion (diced)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup white wine (like Pinot Grigio)
2 ears of corn (kernels removed)
2 cups cherry tomatoes 
sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)

Melt butter in a medium skillet on medium-high heat. Add onion thyme and sauté until onion is translucent. Add wine. Reduce by half and then add the corn and tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes and add salt and pepper before serving. 

Seared Cinnamon Apples

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large Pink Lady apples (peeled and thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch or two of sea salt 
1 tablespoon port wine

Melt butter in a skillet on medium-high. Add apples, sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt. Push apples around every minute for about 3 minutes. Once you see browning that signals caramelization, carefully pour in port. Let apples cook for 3 more minutes while continuing to move them around the pan. Serve them alongside the 'chops'.


Bianca said...

Adorbs!! I need to head to Lit and get me some trays! I would soooo have to make a rectangle pizza for the big hole. Remember those? Anyway, the chops sound amazing! And so does the corn salad!

Anonymous said...

oh my goodness those peas look amazing! and what a fun tray!

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

Square pizza is a beautiful invention. Pizza is never bad in any incarnation!!

Tender B. said...

Love the picture! Wish my high school had served something like that.

Sara @ The Cozy Herbivore said...

My girlfriend & I bought a set of trays from Target because we both have some serious lunchroom nostalgia. What a perfect menu to fill those babies with!

And as a side note, may I just say that I'm following your exploits on the facebook, and you guys are seriously ROCKING the house. A huge congratulations on everything going on in your crazy exciting lives, and, as always, your food remains gorgeous, delicious and completely wonderful.

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

Thanks SO much Sara!!


Tiff said...

Finally! So glad to have found a fellow vegetarian who isn't stuck on boring dishes. I had a hard time making the switch but I did finally make it a few years ago - and now my kids are wanting more vegetarian meals. You definitely have some fun stuff (want them to make the Kool-ickles this weekend - that'll be so fun for them.