Saturday, November 20, 2010

An Allergy-Free Thanksgiving: Sweet Potatoes

Thanksgiving could be a challenge for someone with food allergies. Think about all the classic recipes: green bean casserole with cream soup...sweet potatoes with a crumb topping...mashed potatoes with flour-thickened gravy...and let's not forget stuffing/dressing.

I'll tackle the sweet potatoes. There are yummy alternative recipes for the rest out there on the net, and in print. Living Without just did a holiday special edition with a whole spread of gluten-free, dairy-free Thanksgiving recipes (sadly, not all of them are egg-free, the major allergen in our house). The Gluten-Free Goddess also just posted a collection of gluten-free, mostly vegan Thanksgiving sides.

Anyway, the sweet potatoes. Our traditional recipe involves a lot of butter, coconut, brown sugar, and a crumb topping. A crumb topping made with flour and nuts. The thing I have noticed about gluten-free all-purpose flour (at least the brand I have been using), is that it sometimes has a, well, beany taste in its unbaked form. Licking the beaters after making a cake is not as sinfully delicious as it once was. I didn't particularly want to stake my Thanksgiving sweet potatoes on flour that might give questionable results in this usage.

With that in the back of my mind, and with an idea from the last go-round with food allergies, I decided to try sweet potatoes with apples. It's a blessedly simple idea, and comes together very fast. I fixed it in the twenty minutes I had one evening between the time I got home, and the time we had to leave for a community Thanksgiving dinner, although the sweet potatoes were already cooked. At that dinner, someone at our table raved about how good the sweet potatoes were, unaware that the harried cook was sitting across from them. I love unsolicited compliments!

Sweet Potatoes & Apples

2-3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cooked
4-5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
6 tablespoons butter or acceptable margarine, divided (I couldn't give up all the butter!)
4 tablespoons brown sugar

While 3 tablespoons of the butter are melting in a medium skillet, peel, core and slice apples. An apple corer-wedger makes quick work of this step. When the butter is melted, add the sliced apples and cook, stirring occasionally until the apples are softened and slightly caramelized.

While the apples are cooking, dice the cooked sweet potatoes. You can decide how chunky you want them. I made them fairly small, because I knew my 1-year-old, 2-toothed son would be eating them.

When the apples are done, add them to the sweet potatoes in a microwave-safe serving dish. Top with remaining butter and brown sugar. Microwave on High 1 to 2 minutes, until sweet potatoes are heated through and butter is at least starting to melt. Stir to coat sweet potatoes and apples with brown sugar and butter.

There you go. Super simple and quick. Yum.

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