Gluten-Free Holiday Dish for (his) Extended Family
**duplicated from original post in Home Cooking**
So, I'm going to be meeting the boyfriend's extended family for Christmas. I know his mom is gluten-free, and as far as I know nobody else has dietary restrictions. Without going over the top, we'd like to make something together to bring/contribute to the holiday meal. Any suggestions for something (probably either a pre-meal nibble or a dessert) that would be gluten-free, delicious, and accessible to an audience that includes several kids and not-so-adventurous eaters, and overall is not super spice-tolerant? Suggestions appreciated... I bake and cook, so pretty much anything goes!
If you haven't cooked or baked gf before, I'd suggest making/taking something that's naturally gf rather--it'll save you time and frustration, plus you won't have to worry about handling practices to prevent cross-contamination. Maybe roasted nuts as an appie? There are lots of recipes for flavor options. GF baking can be tricky; GF flours don't behave like wheat flour, and, despite what ads would have you believe, just swapping out a GF blend for wheat flour will not always yield the same results. Again--a dessert that's naturally GF, such as a flourless chocolate cake, might register lower on the frustration meter. Plus everyone loves chocolate.
I tend not to prepare anything dippy. If something else is served as a dip- and usually has non gf crackers, people tend to dip non GF items into it.
I do a simple grilled shrimp- can be room temp so you can prepare ahead.
Dessert is always good. Try a lemon curd- something that is not expected and works after a heavy meal.
You can make a lot of elegant canapes on a base of Belgian endive leaves, filled with whatever appeals and looks festive. Ditto filled celery stalks, which can be popular with kids if you gear some of the fillings to their tastebuds, and they stand up well to travel. There is the entire world of dips served with colorful raw vegetables instead of crackers. (Florets of broccoli romanesco speared on toothpicks look like tiny Christmas trees.)
This unusual recipe for popcorn balls might be fun for a big party and easy to transport. You can cut back the spice, and make sure you use a puffed corn cereal that is gluten free. I'd buy it a health food store to be sure, rather than use the suggested Corn Pops.
For a pre-meal nibble I second hotoynoodle's suggestion of polenta bites, and you have a lot of other topping options - pesto, herbed goat cheese or ricotta, sun-dried tomato spread, mushroom ragout...
Sweet or savory baked Brie (without pastry) served with gluten-free crackers would be nice.
If you want more of a casual snack-type food you could make a couple of different varieties of candied/spiced nuts.
Desserts that will appeal to all ages and can easily be made gluten-free: pumpkin pie; banana or chocolate cream pie; apple crisp or tart; gingerbread, fig or maple bars; pumpkin brownies or blondies; whoopie pies; and of course, ice cream!
Baked apples could be a great fall dessert- stuff the insides with a mix of gluten free oats, chopped walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon- bake ahead, warm just before serving with whipped cream.
A panna cotta or pot de creme would be gluten free.
There are lots of delicious recipes for chocolate cake made with almond flour, or you can do a cheesecake with a raw pressed crust of dates and nuts.
Chocolate truffles or fudge would also be gluten free
if you want to bring snacks, try bringing something that will not require stove or oven space since they may be at full capacity by the time you get there.
i fry up shrimp crackers as nibbles for cocktail times and serve with simple dip of mayo mixed with sambal sauce. people hoover them. you could make an avocado-based dip for non-spicy peeps.
use rice-paper wraps and fill them either with a mix of crunchy veggies, and/or shredded chicken, shrimp or salmon. serve with a peanut dipping sauce.
deviled eggs with bacon mayo.
salmon mousse with rice crackers.
tapenade over polenta squares.