Even with the unexpected guests, our refrigerator is packed with food. We’ll be eating leftovers all week. Friday lunch (after surviving the horror of Black Friday as a retail employee) was potato pancakes, as I still couldn’t quite look at turkey after two full Thanksgiving dinners in two days. Bonus, these pancakes were super quick, meaning I could nap even sooner!
|Potato Pancakes & Eggs with Cranberry Sauce|
Mashed Potato Pancakes
- – 1 c. mashed potatoes
- – 1 egg, lightly beaten
- – 3-4 Tbsp gluten free flour (I used a bit of Pam’s Pancake Baking mix. These pancakes are very forgiving)
- -Optional add-ins of your choice (I added a few tablespoons of parmesan cheese and some chopped chives)
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Lightly grease the hot skillet and spoon in potato mixture, pressing down lightly until the mixture spreads to 4-5 inches across. Allow pancake to cook for about 2 minutes, or until bottom is set (you should be able to feel when you try to put your spatula underneath whether it is set or not). Carefully flip to other side and allow to cook for 1-2 more minutes. Serve hot with eggs, and/or bacon, sausage, or turkey (if you can bear to eat another bite!)
This year’s Thanksgiving was wonderful. We had unexpected visits from a few of my friends from high school. Their presence was very much appreciated, as we had more than enough food for six people, let alone the four that we had initially planned on. Everything went off without a hitch. That entire table you see is gluten-free (excluding the stuffing in the metal bowl on the bottom right). It was such a relief to know that I wouldn’t be paying for such delicious food in a few hours.
My Pepperidge Farms knockoff homemade gluten-free stuffing was perfect! In fact, it won over my mother: we can use my (entirely gluten-free) next year, inside the bird. So next year’s holiday really will be completely free of gluten.
Thanksgiving table 2011
Knock-off Pepperidge Farm’s Cornbread Stuffing (gluten-free!)
- – 1 batch Old Fashioned Cornbread, cubed (about 4 cups)
- – 8-10 slices of gluten-free whitebread, cubed (about 2-3 cups) (I used Udi’s)
- – 1 c. chopped onion
- – 1 c. chopped celery
- – 3-3 1/2 c. chicken broth*
- – 6 Tbsp butter, melted
- – 2 Tbsp poultry seasoning OR 1 tsp each: marjoram, thyme, sage, rosemary, onion powder, & parsley
- -1 tsp (additional) onion powder
- -2 tsp paprika
- -salt & pepper to taste
My stuffing is in the center, behind the bottle of red wine. As I mentioned, I used Nicole Hunn’s Old Fashioned Cornbread recipe (which is naturally gf!), baked thin, as a base. I also added about half a loaf of Udi’s white bread. I chopped both breads into small cubes, and let them sit uncovered on the counter fr three days to dry out. The afternoon before Thanksgiving, I placed the bread cubes on a baking sheet in a 150 degrees F oven for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. You want the bread to be very dry.
On the morning of Thanksgiving, place the bread cubes into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 Tbsp of the melted butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add your chopped onion and celery. Sauté vegetables until they begin to soften and turn translucent. Pour remaining melted butter over bread along with cooked vegetables. Stir to incorporate. Return saucepan to heat, add in chicken stock and all spices. Cook for about 10 minutes, until broth is hot and spices are fragrant. Slowly pour broth over bread cubes, mixing constantly. Once all broth is soaked in, loosely stuff mixture into Turkey cavity for proper stuffing. Cook turkey according to package directions for “stuffed bird”. Or spoon mixture into baking dish or crockpot for dressing. In baking dish, cook dressing for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. In crockpot, cook dressing on low for 4-6 hours. If able, baste dressing periodically through cook time with drippings from turkey pan.
*Use the greater amount of broth if you are cooking the mixture outside of the bird, as a dressing, or if you prefer a very wet dressing. Stuffing will absorb some juices from the turkey, and needs a little less broth initially.
Well, perhaps I’m a little behind in blogosphere standards, but its better late than never to round-up my plans for Thanksgiving! And since today is Prep Day #1, this update can help me build up my game plan for the next 48 hours. Look at that multi-tasking skill!
This year, my family is doing Thanksgiving on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. My mother works Thursday night, I have a shift at a major American retail store early (so early!) Friday morning, and my sister is coming home with a friend on Wednesday then switching to her friend’s house for Thursday then back to our home for the weekend. Plus, with Monday and Tuesday as my days off, I would have plenty of time to prep the food. All in all, Wednesday was a better day to celebrate.
We’re sticking to a fairly traditional menu, but this is my first Thanksgiving tackling gluten-free traditions. I’ll admit, last year, only 4 weeks after going “off” gluten and at the home of an old family friend, I cheated. Considerably. (Confession: I am a stuffing addict). I wasn’t ready to tackle the huge task of de-glutifying traditional foods, and I wasn’t so adjusted to making the fuss necessary to keep myself safe and healthy. I didn’t want to impose.
This year, I’m closer. At the very least, I will be entirely gluten-free. My mother is still making a batch of her from-the-bag store-bought stuffing mix that I was raised on. I’ll be following along with the mix-in recipe on the back of the packaging, starting with a base of old-fashioned, flour-free cornbread. Other than that sticking point, all of our rolls, our pie crusts, our gravies will be wheat- and gluten-free. I’d say that is several steps forward.
The clock is counting down on my prep time, so, here is our
- Turkey (21 lbs, no brine or anything snazzy. Just my mother’s tried & true roasting. I’ll keep an eye out for any family secrets–we’ve never had dry turkey, and we’ve never had to brine for that moisture)
- Gravy isn’t too hard for us, as we’ve always made gravy with cornstarch, even before I stopped eating gluten. An extra minute to double-check that our broth was gluten-free was all the prep we needed.
- Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing for my mom, sister, & guests with the traditional celery/onion/herb add in listed on the bag.
- GF Cornbread Stuffing made with Nicole Hunn’s Old Fashioned Cornbread, a recipe using only corn meal. I made the batter last Friday, and spread it into a greased jelly roll pan (the wide, flat cookie sheets with a low lip all around) and baked the bread at the same temperature for 10-15 minutes. The bread came out moist and thin, so that every crouton will have the crispy crust. With this stuffing, I will be trying to imitate the recipe on the Pepperidge farm bag (and maybe win over the critics for an entirely GF Thanksgiving for next year). Look out for onions, herbs, celery, broth, etc adding to the mix!
- Potatoes (I’ll be the first to admit: we’re going a little overboard on potatoes this year. Ah well, ’tis the season to indulge!)
- Mashed Potatoes mixed until smooth with onion and chive cream cheese, cream, and butter. Any extra will be mixed up for potato pancakes to go with our eggs and turkey hash the next morning.
- Roasted Red Potatoes With Balsamic Dressing was one of two dishes my sister specifically requested she make. I’m a sucker for balsamic vinegar, so a second potato dish joins our table.
- Sweet Soul ‘Taters from Ree at The Pioneer Woman. I made this recipe once, on a whim for no more special an occasion than a Tuesday night. It was gone by the next morning–my mother and I polished it off for breakfast. Sweet and crunchy, this will be the bridge dish between dinner and dessert.
- Green Beans won’t get too fussy, although I was sorely tempted to try adding bacon and shallots for a casserole. But this year, we stick to the classic: sauté’d with butter, letting the fresh green taste keep center stage.
- Popovers will be gluten-free, mostly because my GF recipe starts in a hot oven, and my mother’s needs to start cold. I used a recipe modified from Living Without‘s October issue
- – 1 c. milk
- -4 eggs
- -1/3 c. tapioca starch/flour
- -2/3 c. white rice flour
- -Dash salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a 12 cup muffin tin in the oven to preheat. Keep the tin warm until you are ready to pour in the batter. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until well blended. Add tapioca starch/flour, white rice flour, and salt. Whisk until combined and smooth. Carefully remove hot baking tin from oven. Lightly grease with cooking spray. Pour in batter, filling cup s 3/4 full. Place popovers in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees, then turn the temperature down to 350 degrees for the final 15 minutes. It may be my old, finicky oven, or knowing my mother’s tried-and-true recipe also necessitates a temperature change, but this is the trick that works best for me.
- Cranberry Sauce is the second recipe my sister claimed. All I know is that it will contain oranges as well. We also have plenty of that lovely American staple: canned, jellied cranberry sauce. We will serve it in the perfect can shape and all. Some traditions cannot be broken.
- Pumpkin Pie using my riff on Bette Hagman’s Dream Pastry Pie Crust and the filling recipe on the back of the Libby’s can of pureed pumpkin. Again, a classic.
And we have our family’s tradition of pickles (sweet and dill) and olives (traditionally black, though we’re stirring things up and adding feta-stuffed green olives to the mix) and nuts to tide over the nibblers in the last hour, when all the smells drag everyone to the kitchen, milling apprehensively as we wait for popovers to rise, for the turkey to set, as we mash the potatoes.
The pre-dinner nibbles are a bit of a mystery. I’m not sure who first set out the dish of pickles and olives on that first Thanksgiving…most who hear this tradition look at me like I’m a little crazy. Finally, last year, my friend from New England backed up my insistence, as her family does the same. Maybe its a northern thing? My dad is from New England. Either way, I’ll have a dish out for all of my Thanksgivings. It keeps fingers from picking at the turkey wings.
I keep going back and forth as to whether I should make another vegetable dish (or another dessert) but time will be that deciding factor. Today (Prep Day #1) I’ll be baking the sweet potatoes, mixing the wet and dry for Sweet Soul ‘Taters but storing the two parts separately. I’ll be mixing the pie crust dough and let that refrigerate overnight. My cornbread has been going stale on the counter all weekend. Tomorrow, I’ll chop all the veggies, bake the pie, and set up mise en place. The turkey will have to go in quite early Wednesday morning, so that we can eat by 1pm or 2pm, and having everything set up in a clean kitchen will let us have a little longer to sleep.
Thanksgiving dinner. Here we go!
I have a…ahem…special friend who is about to have a birthday. Or just did, as I’ve finally discover how to time post publishing for later dates, I’m sticking to the safe side of things and putting this to publish after his birthday. Though I doubt he knows about this blog. But just to be safe…
Anyways: special friend+birthday=birthday festivities. Also, coincidentally, he is also gluten-intolerant. I met him a year before my own diagnosis, and it was the time spent with him that really prompted my to guess that gluten was my issue, and to start the food journal that confirmed that diagnosis. It was gluten or it was coffee, folks. I have to say I’m glad it was the former. I love my lattes. Or any coffee really. But I also love alliteration. Deal with it.
Anyways. Birthday. I’d toyed with the idea for a while, knowing my friend’s love of pie and, frankly, his obsession with snickers. All of my searching for snickers pie resulted in some odd mixture that used the candy bars and cream cheese. Probably still delicious, despite the promised heart attack, but I wanted something more pure, something undeniably “Snickers+Pie”. When I found this chocolate caramel tart from mybakingaddiction.com I knew we were in business. Here was the starting point I was looking for.
Adapted from Jamie’s Chocolate-Caramel Tart on mybakingaddiction.com
The Crust:(I tried several different crusts for this pie: Jamie’s shortbread, traditional pie crust, and finally settled on a graham cracker crust. I like the touch of cinnamon and the guaranteed crunch against the soft caramel and chocolate.)
- -2 c. graham cracker crumbs (while I’ve made my own before, I saved some time and crushed up Kinnikinnick Gluten-free Graham Crackers)
- -6 Tbsp butter, melted
- -1/2 c. brown sugar
- -1 tsp cinnamon
The Filling (Caramel & Peanuts)
- -1 1⁄2 cups sugar-3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- -1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
- -6 tablespoons water
- -6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- -6 tablespoons heavy cream
- -1 tablespoon sour cream
- -1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- -1 1/2-2 c. dry-roasted, salted peanuts
The Chocolate Ganache
- -3/4 c. heavy cream
- -3/4 c. (4 oz) bittersweet or dark chocolate chips/pieces
Make the Crust: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk graham crackers crumbs, cinnamon, and sugar in bowl until well-mixed. Add melted butter, stir until all crumbs are coated and mixture sticks together when pressed between fingers. Press mixture into 9-inch pie pan or 6 (3.5 in) tart pans. Make sure crust is even throughout bottom and sides of pan. Refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes). Bake for 13-15 minutes. Allow crust to cool.
Make the Caramel: Put a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 6 tbsp. water and bring to a boil. Allow to boil, without stirring, until a candy thermometer inserted into the syrup reads 340° (PLEASE check your candy thermometer before use. Temperature is crucial here. Attach your thermometer to a pot of water and bring to a boil. Water boils at 212 degrees F. Read what temperature your thermometer is at when the water boils and adjust your waiting for the caramel temperature accordingly. For instance, my thermometer read 5 degrees to low. I had to wait until my thermometer read 345 degrees for this caramel). Remove pan from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients (butter, cream, sour cream and vanilla) until smooth. Pour a thin layer caramel into cooled pie or tartlet shells. Then add peanuts to remaining caramel and stir until thoroughly coated. Pour peanut-caramel mixture into shells and let cool slightly; refrigerate until firm, about 3-4 hours.
Make the Chocolate Coating: In medium bowl, combine cream and chocolate pieces, reserving about 1 Tbsp of chocolate pieces for seed. Microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring well between each intervals. After 3 or 4 intervals, stir chocolate and cream for 1-2 minutes. The remaining lumps should melt into the mixture. Add you seed chocolate and continue stirring until those melt in as well. Spread chocolate evenly over pie/tartlets and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. If desired, slice a mini snickers as garnish. Serve cold.
The weather in my area is unusually extreme this fall, flipping between freezing temperatures (and snow! We had snow yesterday!) and balmy days every few weeks. In some ways, I think this constant roller coaster weather is worse: my allergies go haywire and my sleep schedule is rattled. It isn’t so surprising then, that I’m already craving warm, hearty dishes to ward off the winter that is fast approaching. Unfortunately, with my crazy schedule (more on that later), I’ve had very little time to cook. It takes all my effort to rustle up breakfast and find something pack-able for lunch as I rush blearily through the morning. Dinner is becoming more and more reliant on fast food (a detriment to my wallet and my waist).
Despite the questionable quality of my meals, I’ve also been reminded of how therapeutic cooking became during my unemployment. I am itching to get into the kitchen. On my most recent evening off, what started as a quick look to find something gluten-free to eat in my friends’ fridge turned into twice-baked potatoes for the whole household. I’m craving vegetable chopping, sizzling pans, preheating ovens, whirring mixers. So it wasn’t so much of a surprise that the span of an expected hour at home midday resulted in homemade chicken soup. Even when I had a can in the pantry. Chicken broth rested coyly in my peripheral vision as I peered in the fridge. Carrots waved desperately from the crisper. Spices held their breath behind the cabinet door. How could I resist?
Honestly, I was surprised at just how well this soup came out. I didn’t pull out any measuring cups. A spoon, a pot, and a cutting board were my only company. I tossed in what I wanted and let it all simmer into something wonderfully, unexpectedly perfect. Looking back on it, I’ve done my best to approximate the measurements. Feel free to play with it. Add what you want. Take out what you don’t. Make this yours.
Easy Chicken Soup
- -4 c. (gluten-free) chicken broth or stock
- -4 lg. carrots, peeled & chopped (about 1 c.)
- -1/4-1/2 c. chopped onion
- -1/4 c. chopped celery
- -1 clove garlic, minced
- -1 c. shredded, cooked chicken (I’ll admit, I used chicken from a can, and it turned out just fine)
- -1/2 tsp. ground thyme
- -1 tsp crushed rosemary
- -1 tsp celery seed
- -1/2 tsp pepper
- -1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- -1/4 tsp nutmeg
- -splash of cooking sherry
- -salt to taste
Add ingredients to large pot in order of ingredient list. Allow some time after adding vegetables (carrots, onions, celery) to simmer in the pot and soften vegetables. After vegetables have cooked through, continue adding all ingredients in order. Simmer for 10-15 minutes after final ingredient. Serve.
–Chicken Noodle Soup: While soup is simmering, cook gluten-free pasta according to package directions in separate pot. Drain noodles 3 minutes before cooking time listed on box. Add noodles to hot soup, allow to simmer one more minute and serve.
–Spicy Chicken Soup: (This was perfect to clear up my cold) Add 1/2-1 teaspoon (to taste) of Franks Hot Sauce to each serving of Chicken or Chicken Noodle Soup.