Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Updated with "After" Pics! Preparing a Gluten Free Thanksgiving Feast

My mom and Seth's mom on dish duty (we don't let them cook), and my sis-in-law who is an amazing cook!
My mom's plate- she only took a small amount of bread at first, leery of gf breads, but she loved the Against the Grain Baguettes, so she ended up eating more of it!  I used Seth's grandma's china and bought gold chargers.
Me.  Cooking.  In pajamas.  As an active-duty military family, we rent this house, so disregard the ugly cabinets and appliances.  The granite counters are nice, tho! 

This will be my second time hosting a gluten free Thanksgiving.  I've had the luxury of two other gluten free Thanksgivings hosted by my mother (when it was just she & I), and by my best friend (who also made vegetarian options for another guest, so I wasn't the only one requiring intensive care in food prep).
Here are "professional" Turkey Day recipes from Living Without Magazine.

This is what I plan on preparing for Turkey Day: (note: the pink are UPDATES added 11/16/11)

  • Gluten Free Turkey (remember some poultry is injected with gluten containing flavorings/broths).  I've tried Shelton's before, but it didn't knock my socks off, so I'll try another brand this time.  Now that we live in Atlanta, we'll have to see what Whole Paycheck Foods offers.  Other gf options listed in an old copy of Living Without magazine show Aaron's Gourmet, Empire Kosher, Honeysuckle White, Jennie-O, Norbest, Organic Prairie, Perdue, and Shady Brook Farms.  **Remember NOT to stuff the turkey.  Martha Stewart doesn't recommend it (due to bacteria from poultry), and my mother insisted we do it with gf stuffing once, and it was so mushy we had to throw it out.  Obviously, if you are also having gluten-ful stuffing, do not put it in the turkey!
  • Gluten Free Stuffing - I haven't decided yet, between cornbread stuffing (my bff made it superbly one year) or the new recipe, here, that I got from the gluten free expo from Against the Grain.  Click here for Enjoy Life's gluten free recipes for pie crust made from smashed cookies, stuffing, etc.  Remember, many people find cooking the stuffing in the crock pot keeps it moist.  Click here for more stuffing recipes.
  • Cranberry Sauce- I'm a purist- no chutneys, no orange zest.  Just the original sauce, naturally gf!
  • Bread- Leaning toward Against the Grain, but may choose Schar rolls or make cornbread-- I love Sylvan Border Farm Classic Dark Bread Mix (similar to Pumpernickel), but I think I'm going to order CranRaisAppWalnut bread from Sally's GF Bakery in Sandy Springs, GA.
  • I also recommend ordering from THE SILLY YAK Bakery here. Feeling gutsy? How about trying a gluten free bread bowl recipe, here.
  • Yams- regular recipe, with brown sugar, butter, and marshmallows- naturally gluten free!
  • Click here for a link to gluten free flour blends you can make yourself, or try Better Batter, GF Bisquick, or Pamela's Baking Mix.  Be mindful of whether or not it already includes baking powder and xanthan gum/guar gum.
  • Green Beans- I like them with slivered almonds, but my Midwestern mom loves that green bean casserole, so I did by a gravy packet from a guy at the gf expo, his website is here.  I also liked the sample he had of sausage gravy (like for breakfast), yum!  
  • Corn Pudding:  Combine and mix:  14 oz can creamed corn, 2 eggs (lightly beaten), 1 c evap milk, 1/4 c sugar, 2 and 1/2 c GF flour blend, 2 tbsp butter, salt to taste (add a can of drained corn if you wish).  Pour into 1.5 qt casserole dish or 8x8 square dish. Bake @350 for 50 min. Serves 6
  • Mashed potatoes- a la Gordon Ramsey, using a potato ricer, hot milk, whipping over heat.
  • Gluten free Gravy- in the past I've used drippings with corn starch, but this year I'm using the packet I bought at the gf expo (see link under green beans).
  • Appetizers: olive/relish tray, brie cheese and Trader Joe's rice crackers, crudite with pumpkin hummus recipe here.
  • Desserts:  Gluten Free Hello Dolly Bars (my mom just subs gf ingredients, but there is a recipe in the latest Delight GF Magazine, Apple Cranberry Crisp (remember to omit the gf flour the recipes call for- texture is like sand! I use gf oats and gf graham crumbs), Vitamix pumpkin cake (sub gf flours), and Gluten free Chocolate cream pie with gf graham crumb crust. Click here for a version of Betty Hagman's pie crust.  Some Whole Foods Markets sell pre-made pie crusts. Remember to use Aluminum-Free Baking Powder for your baking this year, to avoid a metallic aftertaste.
  • Drinks:  Rhubarb wine, water, apple cider, soda, milk, and PUMPKIN LATTEs with VitaMix!
  • Ask guests to bring:  flowers, cranberry sauce, crudite, cool whip, ice cream, yams, gr.beans, or hummus, drinks.  Explain about cc.
  • Now, this won't work for everyone.  My stepdad and mom are coming from FL for the holiday weekend, but they will be dining out for Thanksgiving, choosing to opt-out of a gf dinner.  My stepdad is a stickler for tradition and a control freak.  He's also unable to stay at other people's homes, always in a hotel.  Hopefully he remembers his blood pressure meds this year (to see what happened when he didn't one year, click here). **UPDATE:  My stepdad and mom skipped the restaurant and ate with all of us!  My stepdad gobbled his plate clean!  They all were surprised how buttery and yummy and great-textured the Against the Grain baguettes were and the proof was that they ate tons of them.   Everyone commented on how juicy the brined turkey from Trader Joe's was.  It was the best Thanksgiving I've had since going gluten free in 2005.
  • If you're traveling, you can order travel sized dressings and soy sauce packets here.
  • I'm also hosting my first Halloween Party.  Here is the list of gluten free Halloween treats I'll be serving.

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Festering gluten-Freely at the Fall Festivals

    So, let's start with Oktoberfest. Helen, Georgia, embodies the German influence in its half-timbered buildings, sausage-laden menus, and alpine attitude year-round, so it's the perfect place to celebrate Oktoberfest. And, oh, do they celebrate! People were carrying steins and sporting Bavarian style green fedora hats, lederhosen, Saint Paulie Girl outfits, and suspenders, and noshing on streudel, sauerkraut, hot Bavarian pretzels, and various -wursts. But, really, when one is gluten-freestyling one's way through most "fests", food (and beer, in this case) is to be circumvented, rather than encircled. It's not easy Living Without (love that magazine!), especially when funnel cake is in fruition. Beer was abundant, but I never found a stein or boot-shaped mug, or table tapper offering Green's, New Grist, or Redbridge. Yes, it was disappointing watching everyone devour their delectable delights. For once, I was wishing I was with a weight-conscious, fattening food-avoiding, fork dipping in the salad dressing (on the side), diet-obsessed girlfriend. At least I indulged in a scrumptious caramel apple and a chocolate turtle, alongside my Glutino granola bars and fruit.

    Next, was the Tuskeegee/Morehouse football tailgate fete. Holy wow, do these Southerners know how to tailgate. Giant turkey legs, fried fish, barbecue, you name it! And, what was I able to indulge in? A mango smoothie and a bad ear of corn (hard to please a Midwesterner when it comes to corn). Be still my heart. We were there all day and a Lara Bar wasn't cutting it, so I had Seth stop and pick me up some fast food fries when I came home. Thank goodness for Five Guys. The best part of the lackluster football game was the Tuskeegee Band- dancing tuba players and Beyonce-inspired dresses on the drill teams were jaw-dropping. This ain't no Midwest band attire. (We attended because a USMC General was doing the coin toss- Seth had brunch with him,
    but I skipped that, for gluten free and sanity reasons. Since Seth is Commanding Officer, we have many weekend functions to attend like this.)

    Kilted Men
    Giant Potato Ribbon
    Scotch Egg
     Finally, there was the Scottish Highland Festival. My Major is Scottish, (but his ginger hair comes from his mom's Italian side).he Carolinas have a huge population of Scots, who come down to the woods of GA to compete in Highland Games including the Caber toss (where they toss a giant log, end-over-end---this began as a bridge building skill in Scotland!), the sheep toss (they use hay bags to simulate sheep, since the PETA probably wouldn't be happy about them chucking the real woolies multiple stories thirty feet in the air), Highland dancing , falcons flying, and sheepdogs herding by whistle command. Kilted men, redheads, and bagpipes abound! Way fun, but I couldn't even partake in ice cream because when I asked if they could scoop mine from a clean container, they opened a new package of cups and scooped it from the container contaminated with waffle cone crumbs, etc. This is why I heart Baskin Robbins. They always get the clean container of mint chip or gold medal ribbon for me. I only wish they still had Martian Mint, my all-time fave. Although, I wonder if that flavor is gluten free? So, I noshed on Glutino crackers and Justin's almond butter and Lara bars which tasted all the worse when watching people devour mile-high ribboned potatoes, Scotch eggs, Bridies, essentially a sausage turnover (which I forced The Major to sample- and he wouldn't put it down, he loved it! It really irks me when he won't try new foods, because I have always enthused in this when I travel or go to cultural events and now I am unable to partake in ethnically eclectic edibles.

    Gluten Free Apple Cranberry Crisp
      Halloween and Fall- Yes, there are gluten-free recipes in abundance, but it really irritates the heck out of me when people SUBTRACT the BEST PART of dishes to make them gluten free. CRUSTLESS pie? Are you freaking kidding me? Isn't that called pudding? Or porridge? Or mush? Or gunk? What's so difficult about concocting a nut crust, gf graham cracker crust, or a gf flour crust? Here's a clue: we already live WITHOUT enough stuff. And nobody eats the pie for the filling. I don't recommend pumpkin pancakes- Seth's banana ones are far superior. Pumpkin cookies, chili, Vitamix pumpkin bread, Sylvan Farms pumpernickel bread, apple-cranberry crisp (without sand-like gf flour--this omission is an improvement on the crunch factor), caramel apples and that dip, and those ginger spice cookies with the Sun on the package, Laffy Taffy, mini-Snickers, and Charleston Chew are probably my gluten free fall favorites.

    Glutenized Fall foods and candies I yearn for: bread bowls of soups and dips, licorice Nibs, Milky Way, Ralph's grocery store soft sugar cookies, Kit Kat, Twix, and all the festival foods!


    Frozen Gluten Free Mozzarella Sticks
    NEW GLUTEN FREE FOODS ON MY HORIZON: I can't wait to try: Frozen GF Mozzerella Sticks, Trader Joe's mac n cheese, and Good Grub Subs. What I've been eating (since I have to drop a few extra pounds-our USMC Birthday Ball is in Nov.- and Seth is in CA all week): I'm trying not to mess up the kitchen and be low-maintenance for my own satisfaction: Breakfasts: Grits, Greek Yogurt, or Udi Raisin Toast Lunches: Lara Bars, Kettle frozen chili (only b/c it was on sale), or egg salad on Udi bread Dinners: Bell & Evans chicken tenders with bbq or with mozz cheese and spaghetti sauce, or GF Brisket Tamales from the tiny Farmer's Market on Johnson's Ferry Road, and sweet potato, and veg Snacks: Individual packet of French Meadow Bakery brownie or cookie, pears, and celery (plain)
    Serendipity! Gluten free tamales under my nose!
    What I'm afraid to try: @Joy_bauer 's idea to add canned pumpkin to yogurt for a fall treat. sounds ick What I've tried recently: red quinoa- very nutty flavor. I don't think Seth loved it. I can see why they recommended half red and half plain in the recipe I found online. Gluten free frozen bavarian pretzels- pretty fantastic! Fall foods I'm happy I never cared for: pumpkin pie, cheesecake of any kind, butternut squash soup, casseroles of most kinds. Baby hats my aunt sells that I buy from her to use as gifts:

    Gluten Free Favorites