In my first Good Taste column, I promised to “keep it relevant” for gluten-free peeps. It’s a pleasure to do so by showcasing Shauna James Ahern, who has of late been tirelessly touring the country promoting her new cookbook, Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. Shauna is the go-to-girl for gluten-free recipes; as a matter of fact, when searching for lesbian or bi gluten-free food bloggers, I came up dry. All I found were happy lesbian gluten-free bloggers who religiously link to her blog and her recipes.
Shauna and her husband, chef Daniel Ahern, have revolutionized the gluten-free world with their ambitiously gourmet (yet very accessible) oeuvre. They’re sharing a delish recipe for a vegan garlic and white bean spread recipe that can go on crackers, serve as a veggie dip — or be surreptitiously or flagrantly eaten with a spoon.
Shauna supportively shared some insights on how to have a gluten-free, taste-full Thanksgiving. You can also tap into her super-extensive Gluten-Free Thanksgiving 2010 guide.
AfterEllen.com: Hey, Shauna. How can newly gluten-free folks have a happy Thanksgiving?
Shauna James Ahern: Thanksgiving is meant to be a holiday of comfort, family, and good food around the table. For many gluten-free folks, that first Thanksgiving can be anxious and alienating instead. Nibbling on salad while everyone else piles plates high with the traditional foods feels a little sad.
There is no need to suffer. If you can convince your family to feast on foods that are naturally gluten-free, make a few dishes with gluten-free flours instead of regular all-purpose flour, and be careful with cross-contamination, then everyone can eat well. If this is a holiday about family and friends, everyone should feel welcome at the table.
Gluten-Free Roasted Garlic and White Bean Spread
Reprinted with permission from "Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef"
Serve this with store-bought gluten-free crackers, or with Shauna’s gluten-free quinoa crackers with seeds.
1 large head garlic
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1 cup dried cannellini or great northern beans, soaked overnight
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 large shallot, peeled and sliced
1 lemon, zest grated, and juiced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
Roasting the garlic
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the head of garlic in half, horizontally. Drizzle both halves with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Put the garlic in a small sauté pan and cover it with aluminum foil. Roast in the oven until the garlic is soft enough that you can squeeze the cloves out of their skins, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Cooking the beans
Set a large saucepan over high heat and add the beans. Cover the beans with cold water by 2 inches. Toss in the rosemary. Bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and allow the beans to simmer until they are very tender to the fork, about 45 minutes. You don’t want a bit of crunch in them. Drain the beans.
Sautéing the shallots
Set a sauté pan over medium heat and pour in 1 tablespoon of the oil. Put the shallot in the hot oil. Sauté the shallot until it is soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Do not allow it to brown.
Making the spread
Pour three-quarters of the beans, 1 teaspoon of the roasted garlic, and the sautéed shallot into a food processor. As the beans are pureeing, drizzle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Taste the puree. If you like more garlic in your puree, add it here. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the bean puree back to the bowl of whole beans. Toss in the lemon zest and parsley. Pour in 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Taste the puree — you want hints of lemon, roasted garlic, beans, salt, and pepper. Season with salt and pepper and whatever else you might need. Refrigerate the spread until it is cool.