Thanksgiving Recipe Round-upPosted: November 21, 2011
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!