A couple years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting former-Memphian-
turned-Oakland-based-vegan-chef Bryant Terry at a booksigning at the Memphis Farmer's Market. He was signing his new book Grub: Ideas for the Urban Organic Kitchen, which he co-authored with Anna Lappé (the daughter of Diet for a Small Planet author Frances Moore Lappé).
The front half of the book contains helpful information about the importance of eating organic, whole foods. The second half is made up of Terry's menus for "Grub Dinner Parties." Terry includes menus for any occasion, as well as a list of mixtape suggestions to provide the soundtrack. Not all of the recipes are vegan (a small few even include fish), but many are meat, egg, and dairy free. The others are easily veganizable.
Shortly after reading the book several years ago, I neeeded to plan my annual Samhain feast, in which in dine in memory of all my dead friends and family (not that I have many ... but I like to remember the ones that are gone). Samhain is an ancient Celtic festival that pre-dates the modern Halloween celebration. In one of Terry's Fall menus, I stumbled on a recipe for Spicy South American Seitan Stew and a tradition was born:
This is the third year I've made this stew for the occasion, and to keep it special, I only make it once a year. You can't tell from the picture, but all those chunks are seitan (which I made using gluten flour and besan flour), red potatoes, and fried plaintain slices. It's simmered in a tomato-y, chipotle broth. So, so good!
I highly recommend the book if you don't already have it. It's great for party planning, but it's also nice to pick one or two recipes from for weeknight meals. On another related note, Terry has a new cookbook due out soon called Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African American Cuisine, based on the traditional Southern cuisine he grew up with (sans the ham hocks and bacon fat, of course).