Posts tagged ‘personal chef nyc’

November 6, 2014

Gluten-Free Gleefully: Tips for How to Host a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

by Jen Wanous

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner can be a complicated dance with dietary restrictions. A gluten allergy is a new food red flag to pop up around many dinner tables. In this post, we’ll figure out how best to host a gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner so that you and your guests strike a savory samba, without too much stress.

It may seem daunting at first to make an all gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner, but let’s think about it, really all you have to worry about is the stuffing, gravy and pie. The turkey, cranberry, vegetable side dishes- even the mash potatoes are all already gluten-free. Great. Feels more manageable already, doesn’t it?

Here are some general tips for making a gluten-free Thanksgiving meal and following is how to modify the traditionally gluten-full dishes: stuffing, gravy and pie.

  • Keep it simple: choose to make the whole meal gluten-free. That way you won’t have to worry about cross-contamination and you’ll be making fewer dishes overall.
  • Don’t skimp on the fat. You’re already taking out one comfort food, gluten; you don’t need to take out the other, butter.
  • Have store-bought rolls available to appease your guests who eat gluten.
  • Be careful of hidden gluten ingredients. Gluten is in some sausages, gravy thickeners, bullion mixes and is in cream of mushroom soup. (Make fresh roasted vegetables instead of the traditional green bean casserole.)
  • For your vegetable sides dishes, always start with the highest quality, fresh, organic vegetables you can find. A simple side dish is olive oil, salt and rosemary roasted root vegetables (like carrots, yams, potatoes and beets).
  • Be open to creating new family traditions. It may be hard for you or other family members to adjust to new recipes for such a traditional meal but they will prove to be delicious in a whole new way.


Forego stuffing your turkey, besides the bacteria risk of possibly undercooking your poultry, your bird will cook faster and you’ll avoid any potential gluten cross-contamination. Bite the bullet and make your own stuffing. Of course it’s not as easy as the classic Stove Top, but you can make something much more robust and flavorful. I recommend making a gluten-free cornbread a couple days before and using that cornbread to make your own stuffing. Easily make your corn bread gluten-free by substituting a gluten-free flour mix, like Bob’s Mills in place of regular wheat flour.


Could there be anything more flavorful than roasted turkey drippings? It’s a great place to start! Add onion, carrots and celery to your roasting pan for an even more flavorful gravy. You can make your gravy just as you would before, by using pan drippings and turkey stock-only switch out the flour with an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix to thicken your gravy. Be careful when using a brined turkey, it can make for a gravy that is too salty. Be sure to taste your gravy as you go along, being careful not to add additional salt.


In my family, the guests always brought dessert. We would end up with plenty of pie, (enough for our tradition of pie for breakfast the morning after). You can ask your guests to bring dessert too, this way there will be lots of options for everyone. Just make sure you have at least one that is gluten-free. You can make a gluten-free version of pumpkin pie by foregoing the crust all together to make a personalized pumpkin flan in a ramekin. Or you can also make a nut crust to go with most any pie filling. For a basic nut crust add 2 cups of roasted nuts, a little sugar and some melted butter into a food processor. Press into a pie plate and add your desired filling.

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August 15, 2014

Superfood Never Tasted So Good: Cherry Chocolate Chia Pudding

by Jen Wanous

Have you heard of chia seeds yet? They might ring a bell if you remember the popular: “Cha-cha-cha-chia Pet” from the 1980’s where the chia seeds sprouted and grew into cute pet-plants. Now chia seeds are hitting the market as the next big superfood.

Like their superfood cousin, the flax seed, chia seeds have a high omega 3 content which is an important fatty acid that reduces inflammation in blood vessels, protecting against diseases like arthritis and heart disease. Take away the kitschy clay pot pet and chia seeds are decidedly less fun, even with the health benefits…but that’s what chocolate is for.

Like chia seeds, chocolate also comes from a seed: the cacao seed. In its pure form, chocolate is a superfood too. Cacao is rich in two groups of antioxidants in particular, flavonoids and polyphenols, both of which are seen to protect against heart disease. Pure chocolate, or cacao powder, is bitter in its original form. The good news is that you don’t need all the eggs, butter, cream, and sugar to make chocolate taste good. You just need to creatively combine some superfoods.

When going dairy-free, one has to think outside of the box to achieve the familiar textures that dairy offers. Chia seeds can miraculously hold up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked. This makes for a gelatin-like effect which is useful for mimicking the texture of pudding.

The last ingredient in this superfood recipe are cherries. Cherries are summer’s sweetheart fruit. They are ripe when picked and promise a sweet seasonal treat. They are available for only a month-long window in late summer so grab them while you can. A superfood in a small package, cherries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Here is a simple recipe that combines a seasonal summer fruit, cherries, with other superfoods: chocolate and chia seeds to make for a creamy and cool summer treat. Cha, cha, cha, chia pudding!

Chocolate, Cherry, Chia Pudding

Serves 4

Equipment needed: blender


1 can or 13.5 ounces coconut milk

3 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened, non-alkalized

2 tablespoons chia seeds, ground

2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave syrup

½ cup cherries, pitted, roughly chopped


  1. In a blender, combine the first four ingredients. Blend on medium speed until well incorporated.
  2. Pour mixture into serving bowls, top with chopped cherries and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

If you don’t have cherries, try a berry like strawberry, blueberry, or raspberry instead.

Photo courtesy of Ella Leché, check out her incredible blog here:

Photo courtesy of Ella Leché, check out her incredible blog here: