Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm as ready as I'll ever be.
I'll do the turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy tomorrow.
My onions and celery are sauteed and my gluten free bread cubes are dried out and ready to be turned into stuffing.
My sweet potatoes are mashed and ready to be heated and topped with toasted pecans and maple syrup.
I made a small waldorf salad at the request of my celiac son, and my green beans are ready to go.
I need to bake rolls in the morning, and at some point my husband needs to assemble and bake his apple pie.
My gf cookie crumb crust is ready and waiting for my son's sugar free banana pudding.
And I have managed not to sample my store-bought pumpkin pie!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Turkey

It seems like I should have another week before Thanksgiving, dang it.

Anyway, this morning after my husband reminded me that I needed time to thaw the turkey, I decided I had better go buy the turkey.

It was so simple last year. I went to Smith's, I looked at their $5 turkey and it said gluten-free.

This year, I went to Smith's and instead of Norbest turkeys, their cheap turkeys were Private Selection turkeys, their in-house brand. And dang it, they not only did it not say gluten-free, Modified Food Starch was on the ingredients list. I hate that stuff, it can be anything. They didn't even have a 1-800 number on the package to make it easy to check. So I complained to the manager. And then I reloaded my 3 boys into the car and went home and called Jennie-O.

Jennie O said all her turkeys are gluten free, but her gravy packets are not gluten free (surprise!), and she even seemed to know what she was talking about. I said "It would be nice if you labeled them," and she said, "If there was any wheat, barley or rye in them we would put it on the label." So apparently Jennie-O is a truth in labeling company.

Next, I refueled the kids with gluten free muffins, reloaded the kids, drove to where my son thought he saw a Fresh and Easy store (he's usually right about these things, but not today), drove to where I knew there really was a Fresh and Easy Store and bought a Jennie-O fresh, young turkey for $.99 a pound. I decided that if I had to pay real money for a turkey I was not going to thaw said turkey out in a hurry.

I have also completed almost all my shopping (hubby forgot he needed sandwich bags, so I'll have to make a quick stop somewhere, and I probably forgot something, too). Tonight, I roasted my sweet potatoes, and made my cranberry chutney. Oh and I broke down and just bought myself a pumpking pie. Not a huge one, but I figured it would be one less thing to make, and the gluten-free monkey assured me he is definitely not interested in it. Tomorrow's project: gluten-free dinner rolls, and gluten-free dried bread for stuffing. I might still get it all done....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Roast Turkey and Gluten-free Turkey Gravy

This is the turkey recipe I use, it keeps the breast meat from drying out. I got it a few years ago from one of my sisters-in-law. She also gave me her gravy recipe and I adapted it to GF last year by using sweet rice flour as the thickener. I was pleasantly surprised that, unlike cornstarch, the sweet rice flour thickened the gravy, but did not turn it into a gelatinous blob when I put the leftover gravy in the refrigerator. I buy my sweet rice flour from the nearest Japanese grocery store.

Roast Turkey

Remove top rack, and put other rack in lowest position in the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove giblets from thawed or fresh turkey. Rinse the turkey and pat it dry. Tuck the drumsticks and wingtips under skin flaps. Brush the breast with melted butter (a couple of tablespoons is plenty). Salt the cavity. Set turkey on a rack in a broiling pan UPSIDE DOWN. Brush bottom of turkey with more melted butter (again, a couple of tablespoons, or so).

Roast for 1 hour.
Remove pan, reduce heat to 325 degrees, and rotate the turkey to breast up using clean potholders. Roast until the thickest part of the breast reaches 165 degrees and the thigh reaches 175 degrees, about 1-2 hours. Let it rest 30-40 minutes, before carving.

Gluten-free Turkey Gravy

1 Tbsp. canola oil
giblets and neck
1 onion, chopped
4 c. chicken broth (gluten free!)
2 c. water
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
3 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. sweet rice flour
1 c. chicken broth
salt and pepper

Heat the oil. Brown the giblets for 5 minutes . Cook onion for 3 minutes. Cover and cook over low for 20 minutes.

Add broth and water and scrape pan. Bring to a boil. Add poultry seasoning and simmer 30 minutes, skimming foam. Strain broth and hold in a pitcher (in the fridge if you are making it ahead of time).

After your turkey is roasted and resting, melt butter over med-low heat. Whisk in flour. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Bring broth in pitcher to a simmer if it is cool. Gradually add broth to roux, whisking constantly. Simmer until thick 30 minutes. Pour drippings off roasting pan, let the fat rise and separate from drippings in one of those handy fat separating measuring cups, I use a 4-cup one for this job. Deglaze pan with chicken broth and reduce drippings by half, about 5 minutes. Strain into gravy and heat and season.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Turkey Day update

The big dessert decisions have been made, kinda. My dear husband said he didn't want to buy a pie, and that he'd make one. Which is OK, except that I don't want flour flying around the kitchen while my little celiac is around or while I am preparing other Thanksgiving goodies. SO, I made several pie crusts today while my son was at school and stuck them in the freezer. (I rarely bake with regular flour anymore.) Then I spent a good chunk of time decontaminating the kitchen! I'll let my husband do the rest of the work later. He's still pondering what kind of filling he wants.

I, on the other hand, have decided that since I don't like pie crust, and I was totally grossed out by the amount of butter and shortening I put in the pie dough today, that I'm going to try making a pumpkin custard or a crustless pumpkin pie (it'll be gluten-free, so I'll see if I can convert my boys to pumpkin).

My sweet little diabetic celiac said he wants a banana pie with a Mi-Del gingersnap crust, so my plan is to make him a sugar-free banana pudding pie. (Although, I think I'm going to look around for some GF graham crackers or something instead of the gingersnaps.)

While I was doing my grocery shopping in Wal-Mart, I checked out their turkey selection. Most turkey should be gluten-free (but you never know!) and you can always call the company to check, but I like to support companies who do label so I checked for gluten-free labels. Anyway, they had Jennie-O and Butterball frozen turkeys, neither of which were labeled, and a Honeysuckle White, which didn't say gluten-free, but did say "No added MSG or Gluten," so I'll keep it in mind.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving, Version 2.0

Last year was our first gluten-free Thanksgiving. It was just us, at our house, no guests. My husband (he's the best!) and I tag-teamed it and cooked it all. It was crazy! So after the holiday was over, I sat down and wrote myself a plan for this year. It took me awhile to figure out where I saved it, but I pulled it out today and I'm ready to do it again. Hopefully, with a little less craziness!

This year I am going to invite my husband's parents to join us. We'll have two diabetics at the table and one celiac. And everybody needs to feel like they got a Thanksgiving dinner that fit their idea of Thanksgiving dinner.

So here's my working Menu, all tentative and adjustable.

Appetizers to pick at while we cook and wait: Crudite (I love that word!), dip, pickles, olives, nuts, cheese and crackers.

The Main Event:
Turkey with cranberry sauce
Mashed potatoes and turkey gravy
Sweet potatoes with maple syrup and roasted pecans
Green beans
Drinks (we don't drink alcohol, so it will probably be diet soda or punch, or maybe just ice water with lemon slices)

Dessert: Pie and pie-ish sort of things

And here's my timeline

Early November: Buy the Thanksgiving Game Every year we get a new board game to play together after the big meal. Last year I forgot to buy it until the day before and I had a hard time finding the one I wanted.
Decide what to do about dessert! I have several considerations here. First, the non-celiacs are going to want "real" pie; last year I ordered it from the bakery around the corner, and I will probably do the same thing again. Second, what kind of pies? Third, what kind of pie does the celiac want and can I convince him to let me make him a dessert that has fewer carbs than an actual pie? (He's one of the diabetics.) Fourth, am I really the only person who likes pumpkin pie? Dang it! And should I get a whole pumpkin pie for myself or should I make pumpkin custard (I'm really not a fan of pie crust) or should I just settle and eat the cherry?
Make the dough for my husband's favorite non-GF rolls, roll them out and freeze them. I want to get this done while my little celiac is at school, so I have plenty of time to decontaminate the kitchen. It's too stressful to do it the day of, and most bread dough's freeze great. I'll just let them thaw and rise and bake them on the big day. It's too stressful to have flour flying around the kitchen on the big day.

Two weeks out: Make a grocery list. Start shopping for shelf-stable items.
Buy a gluten-free turkey: Last year I bought a Norbest turkey from Smith's. It was labeled gluten free. I was also given a turkey by my sweet neighbors, who won two turkeys gambling at a local casino (I live in Las Vegas, if you haven't already guessed). It was not a brand I recognized, it was not labeled gluten-free, and it was treated with broth, so I got on the Internet and did a search for the name of the farm, and found out that they were owned by a large company that I did recognize (I think it was Foster Farms, but I could be wrong). So I called up the large company, asked if the smaller company's turkey was gluten free and found out it was! Yeah, two turkeys! Now, some people just buy as much turkey as they need, but I figure if you are going to the trouble of doing a turkey, you should do a big turkey and freeze your leftovers.

One week out: Make bread for the stuffing, dry it in the oven and freeze it. Last year I waited until the week of Thanksgiving and it just made life hectic, so I'm going to try and make it earlier and freeze it. I use the stuffing recipe from Annalise Roberts' "Gluten-Free Baking Classics." Last year I made cornbread stuffing, but I think I might make regular stuffing this year.
If possible, make gluten-free dessert, and freeze it!
Roast and mash sweet potatoes. The rest of the year, I use the microwave, but for Thanksgiving, I like my sweet potatoes roasted in the oven. I think it kind of carmelizes the sugars and makes them even yummier. I've never frozen it before, but the Internet says you can freeze sweet potatoes, so I'm going to roast, mash and assemble my casserole and freeze it. I'll thaw it in the fridge overnight and then just heat it and top it on Thanksgiving.

Saturday night or Sunday morning: Start thawing the turkey in the fridge. You need 24 hours for every 4 pounds. I like to give myself a little extra time, because nothing is worse than trying to hack the frozen gizzards out of your bird on Thanksgiving morning! Been there, done that!

Monday: Make cranberry sauce. I really like homemade cranberry sauce, and it is easy to make, and it keeps well in the fridge. But if life gets hectic, I'll just use canned sauce. Last time I checked Ocean Spray was gluten free.

Tuesday: Finish grocery shopping.

Wednesday: Prep the turkey.
Make broth from the giblets.
Toast pecans for sweet potatoes.

Saute celery, onions, mushrooms for stuffing.
Make crudite, dip, assemble snack trays.
Make pumpkin custard? Maybe.
Pick up the pies.
Make sure I have ice cubes.
Straighten up the house before heading to bed.

Thanksgiving Day: Roast the bird.
Assemble and bake stuffing (not a big fan of stuffing the bird....)
Reheat sweet potatoes, top with maple syrup and nuts.
Make gravy.
Make mashed potatoes.
Cook the grean beans. I just really feel like you have to have something green, and carb-free, and my kids really like those frozen haricots verde (? the long, skinny green beans). I'll just throw these in the microwave. If my in-laws come and I get ambitious I might make a green salad, too.
Bake GF rolls. (Takes 40 minutes to rise, 20 minutes to bake)
Bake non-GF rolls. My notes say it takes 3 hours for them to thaw and rise, about 20 minutes to bake.

Carve turkey, set table!
Whew! And it will all be gone in 30 minutes or less!

So that's my plan, more or less, I'll fill you in on how it goes, as it goes. And I'm planning on posting my recipes, or links to my recipes, during the next few weeks.