Every year around this time, the question starts getting asked in my family: What Do You Want for Christmas This Year? And while it sort of takes the wonder out of gift-opening, there’s also something to carefully creating a wishlist like you did as a kid.
I was totally that kid who would pour over the Sears Catalog (often while spending some quality time in our duck-wallpapered bathroom), diligently dog-earing corners for coveted items like Lite-Brites, Easy Bake Ovens, and Rock Polishers (why, year after year, did this seem like such a cool toy to me? #lamesciencetoy).
I even remember using a typewriter to type out a very official list for a few years there in elementary school, just so there would be absolutely no confusion as to what my heart’s desire was.
In recent years when this question has been asked, I usually come up with a blank “ummm” and struggle to think of things I want or need, but not this year. This year, I got down with my inner child and wishlisted up a storm on Pinterest.
As I was reviewing my list last night before sending it out to my family, I realized that 15 of my 23 Christmas wishes were kitchen/cooking/hosting related, a percentage which officially confirms me as a kitchen nerd.
I mean, a few weeks ago, when my mom and sisters came up to visit, we were walking around the Williams Sonoma Store at the mall, and I found myself walking from item to item, lovingly stroking some of them and mentally rearranging my cabinets to accomodate this Le Creuset pot! or that shiny new Mandoline slicer!
While we were there, they were handing out their Shared Thanksgiving Guide, and I immediately began salivating over some delicious looking Thanksgiving recipes inside. Their gluten-free quinoa and red rice stuffing recipe especially caught my eye, because I’d spent the weekend with my gluten-free sister Sara.
I brought the guide home and decided I wanted to make this recipe for our Thanksgiving Thursdays series, with some serious tweaks.
First of all, I wasn’t going to pay $15 for their mix of quinoa, rice, cranberries, and spices, so I found read this review, looked at this copycat recipe, and decided I would need to add some serious flavor to this recipe.
Here’s what I did: I changed the red rice to wild rice because it felt way more autumnal and Thanksgiving-y. I added apples and Italian sausage (which you can totally leave out to make this vegetarian-friendly, but it adds some nice flavor). And then I went to spice town, and added oregano, garlic powder, sage, thyme, cloves, and curry in lieu of their mysterious “spice packet.”
And the result was fantastic. My house smelled like Thanksgiving, and the combination of flavors was a happy dance on my tongue. As I made it, I kept tasting it, and it was really bland until I added the curry powder and cloves. Thanksgiving purist? Skeptical of curry in your Thanksgiving feast? Don’t be. The curry played off the apples and lemon zest perfectly, and really rounded out the flavors of the other spices. But make it your own…add things one at at time; this recipe is beautiful in its flexibility.
While I don’t know if I’ll actually make this on Thanksgiving, since my sister is vegetable-averse, I know we’ll be making this at our house all winter….it’s filling, makes a ton of food for your efforts, and is just plain pretty with that green kale, ruby red craisins, and comforting mixture of wild rice and quinoa. I can’t recommend this stuffing recipe highly enough, especially if you’ve got gluten-free folks coming to your Thanksgiving feast.
(recipe adapted from Williams Sonoma Recipes )
(yields 6-8 servings, easily doubled for a larger crowd)
This recipe is based on a Williiams Sonoma recipe, but does not require you to purchase their cooking mixture. I adapted the recipe by using wild rice instead of red and adding apples and Italian sausage as well a bunch of spices. This recipe tasted like real-stuffing and would be a treat for any gluten-free guest at your Thanksgiving feast.
1/2 c. uncooked quinoa (for 1 c. cooked)
1/2 c. uncooked wild rice (for 1 1/2 c. cooked)
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 large onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 medium tart apple, cored and diced
1/2 bunch dino or Tuscan kale, stems removed and thinly sliced (about 2 c.)
3/4 tsp. oregano
1 hearty tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. sage
1/4-1/2 tsp. curry powder (to taste)
3/4 tsp. thyme
dash ground cloves
1 c. craisins
1/2 c. pine nuts, toasted
zest of half a lemon
1/2 c. vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
(optional: 1/2 lb. ground sweet Italian sausage, browned and drained)
Prepare quinoa and wild rice (in separate pots) according to package directions.
If using, brown your sausage, over medium heat, drain, and set aside in the fridge.
You can also toast your pine nuts at this time, by placing them in a small pan over medium heat and stirring ALMOST CONSTANTLY until they are golden-brown and very fragrant. Remove to a plate and set aside.
In a large saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add in your apple slices, saute for another 3 minutes. Finally add in the kale, and saute it all together for another 2 minutes (so about 8 minutes total of sauteeing).
Lower the heat to medium-low, and add in your oregano, garlic powder, sage, curry, thyme, and cloves (feel free to add smaller amounts and more to taste). Cook for another minute until mixture is quite fragrant. Add in the craisins, toasted pinenuts, lemon zest and stir to combine.
Mix in the cooked quinoa, cooked wild rice, cooked sausage, and vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 375*. Transfer the mixture to a GREASED 8x8" pan. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.