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