When you think of the holidays, you probably think of things like gathering around the table with family and friends; gift giving; and watching hours and hours of college football. But what would Thanksgiving be without your mom’s sweet potato casserole or your Uncle Irv’s deep-fried turkey; or gift giving without your dad’s killer eggnog; or watching all those bowl games without chicken wings?
Holiday food traditions are as varied as we are. Sometimes a dish is dreamed up by a relative and becomes an annual favorite. Other times, it has its roots in our family’s cultural heritage or where we come from.
Every Monday for the next several weeks, we’re going to be talking with a range of people — from restaurant chefs to home cooks — about holiday food traditions from different communities throughout Southern California.
It’s a series we’re calling “Dishing Up the Holidays.”
Alisa Reynolds is the chef and owner of My Two Cents — a soul food restaurant in L.A. She talks about one of her family’s Thanksgiving food traditions — macaroni & cheese.
Alisa Reynolds’ gluten-free Mac & Cheese
1 cup grated aged cheddar
½ cup grated Parmesan
1 cup grated Jack/cheddar mix
1 cup grated Havarti
1 cup grated Fontina
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon celery seed
1 ½ teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 pound gluten-free pasta of your choice — cooked al dente or according to package directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all cheeses together in a bowl, except Parmesan. Set aside.
Melt 6 tablespoons butter with milk, cream, celery seed, garlic, salt, and pepper in a saucepan over medium-low heat. When butter is melted, whisk in gluten-free flour for 1 to 2 minutes. Then add cheeses from bowl, whisking as you go. Allow cheeses to melt. Remove from heat.
Stir cooked, drained pasta into cheese sauce. Pour entire contents into buttered, 3-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle parmesan on top. Bake in middle of oven 25 to 30 minutes, until golden and bubbling.