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Thanksgiving for the Hard-to-Please

A Thanksgiving feast—hold the dairy, wheat, and (barring the turkey) meat.

The full Thanksgiving spread

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Mixology by the bowl

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Serious stuffing and not a breadcrumb in sight

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Brussels sprouts to love, sans bacon

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Pillowy, butter-free puree

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Bourbon-spiked sauce

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Gluten-free bread that actually tastes good

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The road to pie nirvana is paved with coconut butter

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A bird that lived well

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Celeriac, Chestnut, and Delicata Squash Purée

“Although for me Thanksgiving is all about butter, this vegetable purée is topped with a beautiful herb oil that will work for everyone.” —Amaryll Schwertner, Chef And Co-Owner, Bouli Bar

The savory, delicate celery root meets sweet delicata squash in this purée from Amaryll Schwertner of Bouli Bar. The chestnuts may be omitted, but they add wonderful depth of flavor. Serves 8

3 pounds celeriac (celery root)
Organic lemon zest strip
2 Tbsp. sea salt
1 cup raw chestnuts (or purchased shelled and precooked)
3 pounds delicata squash
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

For the Fresh Herb Garnish

1 cup mixed herb leaves (celery leaf, parsley, lovage, chive, chervil, and/or tarragon)
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 hefty pinch of sea salt

Peel celeriac and dice into 2-inch cubes. Rinse. Place cubes in a wide pan and just barely cover with cold water. Add zest and 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Bring all ingredients to a simmer. Cover and continue to simmer for 30 minutes, or until soft. If you are using shelled and precooked chestnuts, add these to the celeriac pan during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Drain celeriac and chestnuts. Save the liquid. If you are using fresh chestnuts, score each one with a paring knife and place directly in a separate pot of boiling salted water. Cover and cook until soft, then drain and peel. Preheat oven to 425°. Wash squashes and carefully cut in half lengthwise. Place in a roasting pan cut side down. Add 1/2 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover with foil and braise for 25 minutes, or until soft. Cool down squashes a bit and scoop the flesh from the shell. Combine celeriac, squash, and chestnuts in a food processor. While running the processor, drizzle in 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil. The purée should be about the texture of softly mounding mashed potatoes. Add small amounts of the celeriac cooking liquid as necessary. Make the herb oil by blanching the leaves in rapidly boiling water for 30 seconds. Strain and shock with cold water. Squeeze out excess liquid with your hands. Then, in a food processor or blender, combine olive oil, herbs, and sea salt until smooth. To serve, mound the whipped vegetables into a bowl and drizzle with the herb oil.

Bourbon-Maple Cranberry Sauce

“Try to have friends and family around when you light a flame to the bourbon sauce.” —Ted Fleury, executive chef, the Alembic

The scent of spices, vanilla, citrus, and booze fill the kitchen when you make this festive sauce from chef Ted Fleury of Alembic. It tastes just as good on vegetables as it does on a roast fresh from the oven. Serves 6 to 8

1 pound fresh cranberries
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup maple syrup
1⁄2 cup bourbon
1⁄2 cup fresh-squeezed clementine juice

1 tsp. allspice, whole
1 inch fresh ginger, smashed
1⁄2 vanilla bean
1 strip clementine peel
1 cinnamon stick

To make the sachet of spices, wrap all sachet ingredients in a 5-inch square of cheesecloth or a large coffee filter. Form a pouch and tie the top shut with butcher’s twine. In a medium-size pot, place all ingredients except bourbon. Simmer with sachet of spices immersed beneath the liquids, about 5 to 7 minutes. Lightly crush cranberries with the back of a wooden spoon several times during the thickening process. Add bourbon and carefully ignite the surface of the liquid with a match to burn off the alcohol in the liquor. Allow the flame to die out on its own. Continue to simmer mixture for about 3 minutes, until thickened further. Serve warm or chilled.


Thanksgiving Adventure Bread

“This ‘bread’ is different: No flour, no fermentation. It’s basically just a bunch of seeds, nuts, and berries to sustain you through the most exhausting of family reunions.” —Josey Baker, Head Baker, The Mill

Josey Baker was tired of saying no to gluten-free bread requests at the Mill, so he came up with this seed- and nut-filled loaf. Baker recommends making two loaves the day before Thanksgiving, the extra one to sustain family and friends through the day of cooking. Slice and toast the other loaf, then serve with pumpkin butter or your favorite festive spread. Makes 1 loaf

1 cup sunflower seeds
1⁄2 cup sesame seeds
3⁄4 cup walnuts
21⁄4 cups rolled oats
3⁄4 cup dried cranberries
3⁄4 cup whole flax seeds
1/3 cup psyllium seed husk
1⁄2 tsp. orange zest
2 tsp. finely ground sea salt
1⁄4 cup maple syrup
1⁄4 cup olive oil
21⁄2 cups water

Preheat oven to 300°. Oil an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan. Toss sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes, turning halfway through. In a large mixing bowl, combine toasted nuts with rolled oats, dried cranberries, flax seeds, psyllium seed husk, orange zest, and sea salt. Add wet ingredients, then mix with your hands or a big spoon until dry ingredients soak up the liquid to create a dough. Take pride in your mush job—it may take 5 to 10 minutes. Scoop mixture into an oiled pan and smooth out the top. Refrigerate for a few hours to one day. When ready to bake, place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°. Bake loaf for about 90 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on a rack for at least 2 hours.

Page three: Pecan pie and turkey.