Wednesday, November 23, 2011

happy thanksgiving!

This will be my first gluten-free Thanksgiving and only the second Thanksgiving meal I have ever made. I feel pretty lucky that there are grocery stores that make gluten-free pie crust and bread crumbs. I can't imagine trying to make all the traditional favorites without those shortcuts. And I don't know if I could handle a Thanksgiving without stuffing. Though it is just Todd and me for Turkey Day, I had him request his favorites. We must have turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, some sort of greens, and pumpkin pie. I'm not an experienced chef and still need recipes for the foods that I don't make everyday, which would pretty much mean anything on our Thanksgiving menu. The first holiday meal I made, I turned to the Barefoot Contessa for all my recipes. It turned out well, but I want to try something new, with less butter. This year, I thought I would sample recipes from the great Giada de Laurentiis. We are in California, after all. So here's the menu:

Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Pancetta (I'm using gluten-free bread crumbs and Irish bacon.)
Pumpkin Pie (in a gluten-free, pre-made pie crust from Whole Foods)


I have been prepping all week for the big celebration, starting with the chestnuts for the stuffing. I could not find chestnuts in the jar, as Giada's recipe recommends, so I purchased whole chestnuts. Yikes. I had no idea what to do with these things. Roasting chestnuts sounds so festive but after researching on the web and finding way too many stories about chestnuts exploding in the oven, I just didn't think it was a good idea for me. So I steamed them to remove the skins, which worked surprisingly well (only a minor injury to my thumb after fighting one shell).

Another make-ahead recipe is the sweet potato gnocchi. I have wanted to make gnocchi for quite some time. I decided to make the full batch and freeze everything so we have some on had for a quick mid-week meal. I followed Giada's recipe but substituted gluten-free, all-purpose flour. I found that I needed a lot more flour than the recipe calls for, but maybe it was just too humid for me to be attempting gnocchi. I heard that's bad for these little buggers.

Though gnocchi are traditionally boiled (as Giada suggests), I once read about someone pan frying them. I believe it was on Heidi Swanson's blog, actually. Ever since I tried the frying method, I can't go back! I hope this will work. I tossed the gnocchi in the freezer and haven't tried them yet. If they taste good, I'll post the updated recipe. Thankfully, Todd eats anything I make. He's such a great sport.

I love all the satisfying food on Thanksgiving, but most of all, it's just a great reminder of all the things I'm grateful for . . . Too many to list here, but no doubt that all of these people are on my list.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

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