Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Thanksgiving - Round 1

Yep, Round 1. I'm doing multiple Thanksgivings this year!

First up, I'm headed to Calgary to celebrate with family from my side. Our first stop will be a Thanksgiving potluck brunch. I've been trying to be more considerate of people with restrictive diets, specifically gluten sensitivities, so everything I make for this weekend will be gluten free. However, I also acknowledge that a lot of the households attending this brunch are also restrictive of meats and dairy... and I'm much less considerate on that front. Well, the husbands might think I'm being considerate of their inner carnivore at least; I'm bringing my Prosciutto Egg cups! Minimal prep time (I can throw 2 dozen of those babies in a pan in less than 10 minutes), gluten free, and super, super yummy.

Next stop will be a dinner at my aunt's house. My 16 year old cousin was recently diagnosed with a severe gluten sensitivity, so I offered to bring GF foods for the group. I'll be making a Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing: it'll be enough of a switch-up from our regular stuffing that no one will be comparing it to the 'normal kind' all night. Gluten Free cornbread is a breeze to make, but the real trick will end up being making sure my sausages are gluten free and yummy.
I also offered to bring a dessert, and my brain almost exploded from the potential of this. I toyed for a long time with the idea of a seasonal fruit tart with an almond crust and some caramel drizzle, and for a lesser time on things like poached pears and pumpkin Fro Yo, but I finally landed on a Pavlova - a gorgeous, beautifully elegant dessert that demands to be made ahead!
But even once I landed there, I needed to figure out what would top this tower of yumminess. I pictured something tall, opulent, and decadent. But alas, I had a heck of a time deciding, especially considering some chocolate allergies in the family. I needed to keep it more simple than not, but something that would be beautiful in its simplicity. And to be honest, in the back of my mind I always had the nagging that a pavlova as big as I was hoping to make (with at least 2 layers, plus filling), would be pretty hard to cut well.
Then it struck me: why make decisions when I can use variety to my advantage??

Individual pavlovas, people!

I'll be making 2 dozen individual pavlovas. The first dozen will be topped with chocolate whipped cream and pomegranate arils. The second dozen will have a maple flavored whipped cream with red pear slices!

Silly aside, while discussing this plan with my mother, she seemed a bit taken aback. I asked what she thought I should have on them instead and she suggested, "Every time I've had pavlova they've just been topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit!" It took her a while to clue in that that was essentially all I was doing. Funny how differently two people can see the same thing!

In any event, making the individual pavlovas might be a bit more of a pain, but they'll be much easier to serve!

I'm excited for this round of Thanksgivings! And FYI, Round 2 will be on the holiday Monday with the in-laws (I'm making pecan strudels and potatoes), and Round 3 will be a hosted event at my house with a family from church that won't get a Thanksgiving this year with their family!

Mrs. VanderLeek ;)

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