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A Community Dinner: One Dish at a Time

Buttermilk Biscuit Bites with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes (recipe follows)

This post is about community, friends and family. And, yes, it’s about food. The kind of food that makes it easy to get together: Perfect One-Dish Dinners.

A while ago I mentioned having had the good fortune of meeting Pam, Maggy, and Sharon over at Three Many Cooks. Pam (Anderson) is the mom of the family and a cookbook author many times over. Her latest book, Perfect One-Dish Dinners, is the featured subject of blog posts appearing across the www today as a dozen or so food bloggers whip up one-dish dinners, enjoy them with friends and family, and then share them with you, dear readers.

Perfect One-Dish Dinners is not a gluten-free cookbook. It does have some naturally gluten-free recipes—like Shrimp Ceviche Dip, Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans, and Ouzo-Flavored Blood Orange Sorbet. And, as I’ve found out, some of the remaining recipes can be easily converted to gluten-free goodness! A recipe for feta and sun dried tomato studded biscuits from Pam’s book—converted to gluten-free—follows this post.

There are two things I’d wish for you to walk away with from this post: don’t let food restrictions stop you from sharing time with your family and loved ones over a well-cooked meal and don’t be afraid to try to convert recipes to meet your food needs. Granted some recipes are just a “no go” but, there are many that just beg to be tried. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but sometimes you win…big time.

Assorted Olives and Orange & Wild Fennel Salame

My day with friends and family….

The mission, should we choose to accept it, was to make a beautiful, simple dish from Pam’s cookbook and  share that dinner and the evening with friends and family.

The timing couldn’t have been better in our home—the kid was home from college. His best bud, the son of my dear friend and her husband (who happens to be a childhood friend of the hubs!), lives next door. We’ve had many Sunday dinners over the years at one another’s houses but as the kids have grown life’s gotten busy and we’ve enjoyed those group dinners with less and less frequency. This seemed like a natural opportunity to reestablish our Sunday dinner tradition. So, that’s just what we did.

My neighbor, Kathy—both artsy and a foodie—loved the idea right away. We planned the day, the food, and threw in a little fun—a walk around the local annual art show. After gorging our eyes and brains with the wares of talented artisans we headed to a local farm for pumpkins, fresh vegetables, fruit, and a big old pumpkin pie.

Back at home I readied the kitchen for an onslaught of cooking and Kathy planted dozens of tulip bulbs in her garden. (Spring at her house will be quite beautiful.)  The appetizers were first up because we had to grab the afternoon light and take some good photos before the sun disappeared.

The apps were quickly ready because they were simple: prosciutto cups filled with caponata, manchego cheese, some beautiful olives from the local Italian delicatessen, and a lovely dried salumi from Boccalone in San Francisco. (I have no idea if Boccalone’s cured salumi is gluten-free.)

Arms filled with a tray loaded with all that good stuff I headed next door and spent the next hour with Kathy setting up and taking photos of the appetizers. So much fun!

Caponata in Crisp Proscuitto Cups

Then back to my house to make the dinner: Coq au Vin Blanc with Spring Vegetables, Buttermilk Biscuit Bites with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes and a big bowl of organic greens with fresh vegetables and tossed with a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing.

Although we didn’t take photos throughout the evening here are the images that click through my mind as I remember our dinner:

My husband setting the table.

The boys heading out to pick up whipped cream for the pumpkin pie.

Carefully decorating the island with beautiful appetizers.

Old friends greeting us with smiles and beautiful hydrangeas in hand.

The clink of wine glasses. The smell of good food. The sound of camaraderie.

A steaming dish of coq au vin flanked by biscuits and organic greens.

Stories of the day—many laughs and good-natured banter among the kids.

My son’s smile.

The faces of my friends and husband—engaged in the enjoyment of the food and company.

Who wants pie? And, whipped cream.

Being thankful for such a wonderful day, wonderful friends, wonderful family, and the good food that graced our table.

Cleaning up, putting it all away and thinking about the next time we come together to keep our tradition of sharing a Sunday meal with those we cherish.


What a beautiful fall appetizer spread. Photo courtesy my friend Kathy.

Buttermilk Biscuit Bites with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Gluten-Free)

Adapted from Pam Anderson’s Perfect One-Dish Dinners

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Whisk together in a medium bowl:

2 cups gluten-free flour blend

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (I used one made from goat milk)

Coarsely grate and add to the flour mixture mixing together with a fork or your clean hands:

8 tablespoons frozen Earth Balance (or butter, if you prefer)

In a separate measuring cup, mix together with a fork:

1 cup cold hemp milk (or buttermilk)

1 teaspoon lemon juice (omit if you’re using buttermilk)

2 tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes

Continuing with the fork, mix the wet ingredients into the flour mixture until the dough comes together. Drop by round spoonfuls onto a silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet. Press each biscuit lightly to flatten. Bake until just browned, about 10-12 minutes. Serve warm.


Link Love

Here are links to the other blogs featuring Pam’s Perfect One-Dish Dinners:

Art of Gluten-Free Baking

Gluten-Free Girl and The Chef

Celiacs In The House

Dad Cooks Dinner

Recipe Girl

Kitchen Gadget Girl

My Baking Addiction


Bluebonnets and Brownies

What’s Cooking Blog

Two Peas and Their Pod

What’s Gaby Cooking


Smith Bites

My Favorite Everything

Food For My Family

Savoring The Thyme

Dine and Dish

This Week For Dinner

What We’re Eating

She Wears Many Hats

Tickled Red

Picky Palate

Ivory Hut


Good Life Eats

How To: Simplify

Rookie Moms

La Fuji Mama

The Steamy Kitchen on TLC

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Reader Comments (18)

Hmm!, Great post.
Hope post more articles like this

Oct 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDinetonite

Sounds like the perfect evening! Looked beautiful!

Oct 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwenderly

Great post! I need to make these and soon!

Oct 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

LOVE your observations during dinner. Those are precious & that's what Sunday dinners are all about, right? I'm sending my Mom (gluten free) this recipe link :)

Oct 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLori @ RecipeGirl

Nancy, wouldn't it be wonderful if a new generation got to experience the tradition of Sunday Suppers? Here's hoping that it dinner at a time.

Nancy, my favorite part of your post was not the photos, but the moments you remember! This is exactly why Sunday Suppers should be a household tradition. I'm glad you got those moments with the husband and the kid. They make a lot of other stuff very worthwhile.

MMMMMMMMMMMMM,..these gf hearty biscuits look amazing & must taste wonderful!!

Great food to enjoy in good company!

Oct 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSophie

Sunday dinners with the family our the best. I love the little moments you shared.

Oct 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternaomi

Mmmmmmm. My daughter immediately picked out the prosciutto cups for my "to-do" list of recipes! This is a wonderful story!

They look delicious, and what a great meal to share with your family and friends!

Oct 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShaina

I love reading about the different recipes people tried for their Sunday Supper. What a wonderful and tasty way to bring the family together.

Oct 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRookieMom Heather

I was going to make this one but then I realized that I didn't have any sundried tomatoes. I'm glad someone made it because it sure sounds GREAT!

Loved reading your post! The biscuits look incredible, and the Coq au Vin Blanc is a personal favorite of mine, too!

Oct 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

I ordered Pam's cookbook on Amazon and tried it out before I left for San Francisco. I got some of my GF blogger buddies to go to Pam's visit at Book Passage at the Ferry Building before we all met at the Plant before dinner. I love that cookbook and the dinner ideas. So many are adaptable to gluten free or are already gluten free. The link to my post is here:
Absolutely loved finally meeting you and that dinner at The Plant was so much fun.

I must make the proscuitto cups - I think I would be heroine in this house if I made them.

Oct 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer (Savor)

Oh my word! Those look sooooo good! I have been drooling over those feta biscuits for some time now. I know what I am making this weekend for sure!

Oct 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTickled Red

Wow, wow, wow!!!

Great advice about not being afraid. Don't let the gluten get you down! I am a qualified chef with InTolerances and I don't let it stop me doing anything! Good for you.

Oct 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterInTolerant Chef
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