Happy Halloween tablescape

10:46 AM












For the last half dozen years, and now that our children are long gone, 8 of us have been getting together on Halloween night to share a dinner. I decided when my turn came around, since we may or may not get trick-or-treaters on Halloween night, but just in case we did, to have the party the night before. I have very few Halloween decorations to set out so mostly I rely on pumpkins and black napkins to set my Halloween theme. Add a gigantic web and a few spiders and I was spooky enough for any goblin. Dinner was gluten free, which it almost always is at my house. One of the other guests was gluten free as well so she was very happy to be able to enjoy the entire menu. This is a very rare thing for those who are gf and she was delighted. We gathered at the fireplace where I served cheese toasts and wine (I use Udi's frozen French Baguettes and no one ever guesses they are gluten free. See the recipe for cheese toasts below.) We then sat at the table for tomato soup with pesto sprinkled with pine nuts. The entree was individual chicken pot pie that I topped with this most amazing pie crust, The Easiest Pie Crust, Ever from the Apt. 2B cooking blog. The writer uses regular all purpose flour but had tried it also with gf flour and it turned out great, so that was enough recommendation for me. It was entirely easy and was perfectly flakey, tender, and delicious and is now my new go-to pastry. I do have one tip when working with gf flours as I find there is little, if any, elasticity in a gf dough: I added 1 Tbsp. of water during processing and worked the dough well with my hands to get the crumbles worked into balls. I did not refrigerate, but instead rolled the dough out immediately. The reason for letting the dough rest in the fridge is to strengthen the gluten, a step gf flour doesn't need. Also a cold dough is easier to roll, which is true for a wheat flours, however with gf flours I have often have difficulty with cold doughs. Anyone out there bake with gf flours and have any tips? Also, what brand gf flour do you like? I find some taste too beany and some are too gritty. I've landed on King Arthur's Measure for Measure All-Purpose Blend as my favorite, and I've tried many. I've also tried a few of King Arthur's gluten free mixes and think they have done a great job with gf. In a future post I'll share some of my favorite gf mixes--you'll be surprised how much gluten free products have improved.

Cheese Toasts

Slice a baguette into 1/3" slices. Make topping: Mix 1/4 C grated parmesan, 1 C gruyere, and 1/2 C sharp cheddar.  Add 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1/4 tsp dry mustard and a dash or two of paprika. Mix with enough mayonnaise to moisten and make a spreadable mixture. Spread one heaping tablespoon mixture on each bread slice, sprinkle with more pepper and paprika. Bake in a hot oven (400 F) until bubbly and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Serve hot. You can substitute almost any cheese you have on hand, but I always try to use some parmesan.

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8 comments

  1. How do I get on your invitation list? :)

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    1. LOL! This Halloween party was started years ago by one creative friend of mine and I'm so glad we still do it--not every year, but when we can!

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  2. What beautiful pumpkins and what a glamorous witch. I have other dietary issues but always glad to hear of gf tips and recipes should I ever need them for guests and such. Chloe

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    1. Thank you! I bought that witch years ago when I chucked out all my 80s Halloween kid stuff! I think she is **pretty**!

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  3. Beautiful table Kristen. Classy and elegant. That witch is perfect. Love the menu and would love to be a guest.

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    1. Thank you Linda! I'd love to have you as a guest!

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  4. Love the table, but really love the witch.

    Carole

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  5. How considerate of you to make sure your guests are well fed, happy AND healthy!!! I know several people whose diets are required to be gluten-free. They are always so appreciative when you have plenty of choices for them available. In this case, though, the whole meal was accommodating...and the others didn't even know it! Just goes to show what we don't know won't hurt us! :-)

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