Thanksgiving comes a week early at our house.  A few years ago, I decided to challenge myself and see if I could make a Thanksgiving dinner. All by myself.

Throw in an extra challenge: my mother is allergic to wheat and corn.

Unfortunately, I don’t have many/any photos (probably a good thing.. the dining room had no walls or ceiling..).  However, I do have the menu and meal plan still. The timeline was strict and in typical fashion, my shopping list was organized by store and department.  This year, I have “decant first bottle of wine” on the schedule. Yes, I am a Virgo.

Since then, my family has insisted that they contribute to the meal and I have since agreed.  I believe it was our 2009 dinner, my sister brought a bag of brussels sprouts to cook on the stovetop.  I remember looking at the sprouts, then at her, and thinking to myself “why the eff-ewe-cee-kay did you bring that garbage”?  Turns out we love brussels sprouts.. so much that we made them for a huge family birthday dinner in December that year.

But I digress.  The Hughes family Thanksgiving dinner is something I look forward to every year.  My first turkey was a butter, garlic & herb rubbed bird; the second (and third) was a smoky spice brine/rub; recipe from Central Market. That was amazing.

This year, I’m going back to my roots to do a garlic/sage butter rub with citrius brine.  At Christmas, I watched my chef cousin baste the turkey with a stick of butter *swoon*, so that’s what I’m going to do this year.

As for mashed potatoes, we may change gears and revisit two past dishes and marry them: caramelized shallots and toasted hazlenuts with browned butter.  Recipe here: and here: … well I’ll get back to you on that one.  I’m pretty sure it was from Sunset but I can’t find it anywhere. D’oh!

Gravy: what to say. I bought some turkey necks from the butcher (Double DD Meats!!) to roast and make turkey stock.  I made the gravy for mother in law’s Thanksgiving last year with turkey stock from our Thanksgiving dinner… I want our gravy to taste that good.  Use arrowroot and chickpea flour instead of cornstarch and regular wheat flower- it adds good flavor.

Stuffing: not gonna happen this year. Just not feeling it, but I have made artichoke-parmesan-sourdough stuffing a couple of times.  Trust me, it tastes a million times better with 1) homemade chicken stock, and 2) gluten free bread; preferably the browwn rice bread from Trader Joe’s. The sourdough was so doughy and goopy it was kinda gross. I’m trying to remember if we put a double batch into a single dish (?? possibly – could explain the soggy mess), but still. Try the rice bread.  Recipe here:

More Potatoes: I’ve decided I want to have a yam/sweet potato dish this year. Sorry to anyone who has written a recipe for this, but I imagined it so I’m taking credit. Planning on cutting yams and apples into cubes, tossing in some cipollini onions and fresh sage, tossing with olive oil & roasting (and topping with bacon).

Dessert: Pumpkin cheesecake!  I’m so excited I found my original recipe last night so I can actually site my source:  Obviously slight modifications are necessary for a wheat & corn free dish: gluten free/vegan gingersnaps. No graham crackers, just gfv gingersnaps.  Recipe here:

I think that about sums it up… I think.  Come next week, there will be lots of photos of some amazingly good food.