Save room for cupcakes, and other Thanksgiving trends
Ali Graeme, owner of Sweet Ali's Gluten Free Bakery in Hinsdale, holds a gluten- free stuffing she made. People with celiac disease don't have to miss out on their favorite holiday dishes. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
(Adapted from Ali Graeme)
1 pound sausage
11/2 cups celery, chopped
2 cups onion, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms
1 stick butter
1 cup gluten-free chicken broth
1 egg, slightly beaten
6 cups gluten-free stuffing (cubes of dried, gluten-free bread)
1 tablespoon sage
1 tablespoon thyme
Salt and ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sauté sausage over medium heat, breaking up into pieces. When almost done, remove from pan with slotted spoon; set aside. Add 1/2 stick of butter to pan and let melt. Add onion, mushroom and celery. When onions are tender, return sausage to pan; blend well. Add additional butter. Once melted, add stuffing. Blend together and add thyme, salt and pepper. Slowly add broth and egg; blend. Place stuffing in casserole pan; cover and bake for 20 minutes.
Updated: November 17, 2012 7:17AM
The mention of gluten-free stuffing would have raised eyebrows around the dining room table in Norman Rockwell’s iconic 1943 painting of Thanksgiving dinner.
And cupcakes for dessert? The idea would have flabbergasted the suit coat-sporting host as much as guests turning up in blue jeans. The shortest way to describe the modern turkey day is: more options.
That’s especially good news for those diagnosed with celiac disease, which some studies show affects an estimated 3 million Americans. But more and more gluten free recipes for classics like stuffing, gravy and pumpkin pie are giving celiac disease sufferers their holidays back — rolls and all.
“There are so many more choices now for people who can’t eat gluten, which is especially nice during the holidays,” said Ali Graeme. She was diagnosed with celiac disease many years ago, and now owns Sweet Ali’s Gluten Free Bakery in Hinsdale.
Cubes of gluten free bread made at Graeme’s bakery can be used to make gluten free stuffing. The recipe and packaged stuffing is available on www.Artizone.com, an online grocer and recipe portal that launched in February.
The website is another example of the 21st century Thanksgiving.
“Treasured family recipes and ingredients are now being shared with larger audiences online,” said Josh Harrison, Director of Market Operations for Artizone.com.
Try explaining that to Rockwell’s grandmotherly figure, the woman famously holding the enormous turkey on a platter. She would be just as amazed by a newly popularized meal course called amuse bouche, which is French for “delight the mouth.” Restaurant chefs are increasingly offering small, flavorful bites as a complimentary mouth-pleaser before dinner. “It’s a nice surprise,” said Mark Grosz, chef de cuisine/owner of Oceanique in
Evanston. He gives restaurant guests an amuse bouche of ceviche made with salmon, halibut or yellow fin tuna. The amuse bouche course is typically paired with wine. “Champagne is always good; it’s light and lively and gets the taste buds moving,” Grosz said.
Grosz will make a tarte flambé as an amuse bouche for his Thanksgiving dinner guests at home. To make the tarts, he tops a puff pastry with fromage blanc, onions and bacon.
Amuse bouche ideas are limitless. Glam up turkey dinner with shot glasses full of pumpkin soup topped with spiced walnuts; spread herbal cream cheese on sage shortbreads; or carmelize figs to accent panna cottas flavored with sweet potatoes.
The beloved orange tubers have made it from the trusted casserole dish to the dessert course, too. In some homes this Thanksgiving, sweet potatoes cupcakes will go head-to-head with pumpkin pie.
Sweet potato cupcakes are part of an autumn line the bakers at SweetPea Cakes in Barrington and Crystal Lake make throughout November. A Bananas Foster cupcake is made with brown sugar and caramels. Another example is the Vanilla Chai cupcake, which is topped with cinnamon butter cream frosting and a drizzle of honey. “These are the kinds of flavors people crave this time of year,” said owner Carrie Curie.
Curie and her SweetPea Cakes staff will be exhibitors in the Chicago Fine Chocolate Show at Navy Pier Nov. 16-18. For details, see www.ChicagoChocolateFestival.com.