When I tell people I cannot eat gluten, and then explain that foods like breads and pastas are verboten, I’m frequently asked, “What DO you eat?” (especially here in the South, where all foods must be consumed deep-fried and/or served between two slices of bread)
The question comes up even more often when it comes to Thanksgiving, so I thought I’d share our menu and some tips for other GF folks out there.
Turkey – many turkeys of the “self-basting” variety contain gluten. This has lead many people to spend a lot of money on free range organic turkeys – which, if you have the money, is a worthy investment. However, you don’t HAVE to spend all of that to get a good bird. Ours came from the local grocery store and is the same bird most other families on a budget eat. All I did is read the label. Most turkeys that contain no added gluten will say so, right on the label: GLUTEN FREE or NO GLUTEN.
Mr. Bird gets stuck on a roasting pan and anointed with olive oil. Then he’s stuffed with an apple, an orange, and an onion and sprinkled with assorted GF spices and whole herbs. I cover him loosely with foil and into the oven he goes.
Mashed Potatoes – Potatoes are of course naturally GF – just don’t add any gluten-containing ingredients. My hubby has charge of the taters because he doesn’t mind peeling. He makes a HUGE quantity (for leftovers) and adds a stick of butter, some milk, and a couple spoons of mayonnaise (we use Duke’s brand, which is GF)
Gravy – GF gravy is easy. Just use cornstarch to thicken it. If you like a little darker, richer gravy, add a splash of gluten-free soy sauce to it.
Stuffing – We make two kinds of stuffing… Ken will make the gluten-containing, chemical-laden stuff from a box at the store that everyone loves. I will make the grandest stuffing ever. 😀
Last night I baked two loaves of bread. One I cut in cubes and placed in the still-warm (but off) oven overnight to get crispy. The other I sliced for eating. Later, I’ll add pan drippings and seasonings and butter and pop it into the oven for a while. I’ve made it before, and it’s heavenly… with this bread I made last night… mmm. It will be glorious. I’ll post the actual recipe later.
Cranberry Sauce – I personally despise the jellied cranberry sauce since I learned to make my own. It’s GF, so if you like it, eat it with abandon. But if you want better, rinse a package of fresh cranberries, add 3/4 cup of sugar and just enough water to cover, and some fresh-squeezed orange and a dash of cinnamon and let it cook on down for a while.
Dinner Rolls – I haven’t tried this, and didn’t find the recipe until late late last night – but I’ll cook them this week to take to my mother in law’s for dinner: http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/2009/11/gluten-free-dinner-rolls.html
Vegetables – Veggies are, of course, GF – just make sure anything you dress them up with is also GF. Including the bacon, if you’re in the South and constitutionally unable to cook green beans without bacon. (I’ve never found a substitute for the french fried onion topping, but I’m sure if you’re into that, one can be made)
Sweet Potatoes – I like to microwave sweet potatoes until they’re soft, scoop out the innards, and feed the skins to Lucy (who adores them). Then I whip the potato with a little bit of butter and maple syrup and put it in a pan. It gets tossed in the oven along with the stuffing and baked (covered in foil if needed).
I’m not as big on the whole “candied yams” thing. (For one thing, they’re NOT yams) … but if you are, just be sure to use GF marshmallows.
Desserts – This year I made Pumpkin Stuff (Dunno what to call it, it’s definitely NOT a “mousse” but it’s delish) and apple crisp. If you make the pumpkin stuff, Jello brand vanilla pudding mix is GF. Can’t vouch for any other brands. We’ll serve the apple crisp warm, with Breyers (reliably GF) vanilla ice cream.
With a little planning, enjoying a gluten-free Thanksgiving is pretty easy 🙂