This year marked the first year I’ve spent sans family and old friends. Flights from Chicago to Albany were far too pricey around Thanksgiving so I decided to just suck it up and stay here to work on final projects and stuff like that. Fortunately for me, some fellow grad students arranged a “Refugee Thanksgiving” dinner for all of us who wouldn’t be spending the day with family and friends. To sweeten the pot, it was also taking place down the street from my apartment.
Lovely host Gillian is a vegan and of course, I’m gluten-free, so we ended up with multiple versions of a number of dishes. Chelsea made the turkey, and Gillian had also cooked a meat-free “field roast.” There was vegan gravy and regular gravy, although I’d forgotten to bring cornstarch so I went without gravy this year, and both vegan and non-vegan mashed potatoes. And then there was regular stuffing, vegan stuffing and gluten-free stuffing. This marked the first time I’d attempted GF stuffing and it came out surprisingly well considering I totally improvised.
I found Gillian’s gluten-free croutons, no relation to my host, on sale at the grocery store for $2.49 a bag and it occurred to me that they looked a lot like Stove Top mix. A quick search on the Internetz turned up a bunch of stuffing recipes made with croutons so I decided to give it a whirl. After sauteeing some diced garlic, onion, carrot and celery in olive oil, I mixed the vegetables in with two cups or so of the croutons, and then poured chicken broth over the mixture, threw in a little butter, salt and pepper and then mixed in a raw egg before baking it in the oven in a casserole dish. It was surprisingly tasty and reminded me exactly of the regular stuffing I remembered.
I’d also made roasted brussels sprouts with garlic and toasted hazelnuts, a giant pan of roast root veggies and a “crustless” pumpkin pie — basically just a custard. All in all, it was really quite lovely.