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Ask A Local Chef: Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving Turkey
(credit: istockphoto)
Scott's Restaurant
(credit: Scott's Restaurant)

Michael Doctulero
Scott's Restaurant and Bar
3300 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 979-2400

Michael Doctulero has been the chef at Scott's Restaurant and Bar for 10 years, but has been cooking since age nine when he learned from his grandfather. He has cooked at, consulted at and helped to open 47 restaurants. His first job as a chef was in Seattle, where he cooked for 10 years. He explains what a gluten-free diet entails and how to approach Thanksgiving dinner if one of your guests observes a gluten-free diet. You hear a lot about gluten-free food items, but maybe you've never taken the time to know what it means. You're not alone. A food item contains gluten "if it has a soy or wheat derivative. Dark vinegars - which are fermented from yeast - have gluten aspects."
The major reason gluten-free diets have become so prominent is that glutens cause adverse reactions in people with Celiac disease. Some people choose to follow a gluten-free diet simply because it seems like a healthier way to eat. If you're preparing Thanksgiving dinner and one of your guests follows a gluten-free diet, you just have to learn the limitations of what you can prepare. "You're going to see wheat in all bread products. So stuffing, croutons on the salad and anything with a dark vinegar are out." The gravy, of course, cannot have flour, but that doesn't mean your guest can't have something to put on the turkey. Sauces can be made "as a reduction or with pureed vegetables."For Thanksgiving, Scott's Restaurant offers a lot of gluten-free options.
Below are some side dishes you can make for your guests or try at Scott's Restaurant if you don't feel like cooking dinner. You'll notice right off the bat that gluten-free doesn't have to mean flavorless. If bacon is gluten-free, maybe everyone should try a gluten-free diet. Before serving any of these to your gluten-free guests, show them the ingredients list just to make sure everything meets their restrictions.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts And Bacon
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
• 1/4 cup applewood smoked bacon
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 2 cups Brussels sprouts (cut in half)
• Kosher salt (to taste)
• Ground black pepper (to taste)

• Blanch the Brussels sprouts in boiling salted water until two-thirds cooked (about three or four minutes).
• Remove the Brussels sprouts from the water.
• Brown the bacon in olive oil.
• Add Brussels sprouts, and sauté for four minutes.
• Season with Kosher salt and pepper to taste.

candied yams
(credit: istockphoto)

Caramelized Yams
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 2 whole garnet yams
• 1/4 cup whole butter
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 2 Tbsp chopped pecans
• 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice blend or nutmeg
• Kosher salt & ground black pepper to taste

• Rub yams with olive oil.
• Bake the yams with the skin on in 350° F oven until a toothpick can be inserted into the middle.
• Let the yams cool.
• Scrape the skin off the yams, and cut them into one-inch cubes.
• Melt the whole butter in a pan over medium heat.
• Add brown sugar, and cook until the sugar is caramelized.
• Add the cut yams, and toss until fully coated with the caramelized sugar and butter.
• Season with salt, pepper and five-spice blend or nutmeg.
• Serve the yams on a plate and top with chopped pecans.

Related: Best Apple Pie In Orange County

Garlic button mushrooms
(credit: istockphoto)

Sautéed Mushrooms
• 3 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
• 1 Tbsp chopped shallots or onion
• 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms
• 1/2 cup portabella mushrooms
• 1/2 cup oyster mushrooms
• 1/2 cup domestic button or crimini mushrooms
• 1/4 cup cooking sherry
• 2 Tbsp whole butter

• Cut and wash all mushrooms to uniform size.
• Heat the olive oil and add chopped garlic and shallots.
• Add the mushrooms and sauté until soft.
• Add sherry and cook until liquid is absorbed.
• Add whole butter and sauté until melted.

Related: Best Lobster Bisque In Orange County

Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on

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