Sunday, November 29, 2009

My First Gluten-free Thanksgiving

I cooked a turkey! But boy did I have NO idea just how gross a raw turkey is. All those giblets and other bloody viscera...who would have thought something as amazing as gravy could come from something so icky as that. I kept telling my mom I was going to become a vegetarian...and I was kind of serious.

Of course that was before I tasted the GRAVY. Mmm...the best part of Thanksgiving dinner! What's turkey without gravy? For that matter, what are green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and stuffing without gravy? I like to put everything on my plate, mix it all together, and top it with gravy. I followed Gluten Free Girl and the Chef's recipe for gravy and it was amazing! I melted 2 Tbsp. of butter and whisked in 1 Tbsp. of white rice flour and 1 Tbsp. of sorghum flour. When the turkey came out, I took it out of the roasting pan and put the pan with all the drippings on the two front stove burners. With the burners on low, I added in the stock (from the giblets and other funny little things that were inside the turkey), then whisked in the roux and continued to whisk for a few minutes until it was the desired consistency. Ours was a bit salty since we used salted butter, so we had to add in some extra water, which was great because we ended up with more gravy. I'll definitely be using the same method next year.

(This is actually my mom's plate of food. It looked so much prettier than mine.)

Have I mentioned yet the two things that made Thanksgiving difficult this year? First, this is my work space. We don't really have counter space, so we bought a little rolling counter when we moved in. I'm sometimes amazed at how much I can fit on that little thing, but never more so than on Thursday! I was pretty proud of myself for managing a Thanksgiving feast in my small kitchen.

And the other thing? Just a little problem with a frozen turkey! My mom told me, "We'll bring the ingredients, and you cook." So they drove in Thursday morning with bags of organic produce and a lovely 11 pound turkey from a local farm. But my mom and I got our signals mixed, and she thought we were going to do our actual dinner on Friday. But no fear! We filled up a cooler with water and defrosted that turkey, determined to have Thanksgiving on Thursday. We didn't end up eating dinner until almost 9pm, and at that point we had to save our pies for the next day, but it was a dinner worth waiting for.

The turkey itself was a little dry because we kept waiting for the little red button to pop. Alas, it never popped and the turkey got a bit overcooked. But that's what gravy's for, right? Next year, I'll know to trust my instincts over a red button. It was a beautiful turkey nonetheless; so much tastier looking after being cooked. I used this recipe.

This is probably the point where I should thank the turkey for giving up its life, and say that I watched Fast Food, Inc. last night. Probably not the best thing to watch after eating turkey leftovers. Once again, I might have to become a vegetarian. Too bad I love gravy so much.

But on to happier topics...

While waiting for the turkey to defrost, we kept ourselves busy with appetizers. Shrimp (Trader Joe's has a gluten-free cocktail sauce), olives, and celery. I should probably thank the shrimp too...

Raw celery actually makes my tongue tingle, but it's a family tradition and my mom loves it. And the olives? When we were little, we always celebrated Thanksgiving at my Grandma Higgins' house. We would sit at the kids table and giggle while my Grandpa threw olives at us and my Grandma admonished him with, "Oh John!" I like olives, but I love the memories of my Grandpa that our Thanksgiving traditions bring back.

Another tradition is the Martinelli's Sparkling Cider. For some reason, I always thought we were the only family that knew about Martinelli's. Of course, when I saw the bottle pop up in every store right before Thanksgiving, I realized it wasn't just our tradition.

Around 7pm, I started getting really hungry. The turkey was finally in the oven, and I was trying not to ruin my appetite, but I had to give in. I grabbed a Cranberry-Pecan muffin that I had made using Elana's coconut flour recipe and slathered it with butter. I don't usually use butter, but on special occasions I give myself permission to have it with abandon! The jury's still out on the muffins. I followed a reader's suggestions to replace the oil in the recipe with applesauce and the honey with agave nectar. I'll admit, I scarfed them down, but I couldn't decide if I actually liked the muffin or just liked the butter. I might end up trying them again since I still have so many cranberries and pecans left.

And finally! Dinner was served, 8:45pm.

We sat on the floor around my coffee table (I don't have an actual table), and gobbled up our dinner. Turkey, mashed potatoes, my acorn squash stuffing, green beans with slivered almonds, candied sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and cranberry-pecan muffins. Did I miss anything? Oh yeah, and GRAVY.

We were too full after that for dessert. So we did what we always do after Thanksgiving. Laid down on the rug and dozed off.

The next morning, I'll admit it, we had pie for breakfast. I know, I know...I'm a weight loss consultant. But I had a salad later. That's gotta count for something!

My mom's always been the pie maker in the family. She makes the world's best pie crust! This year, she made a blueberry pie with a store-bought gluten-free pie crust. And then she made an apple pie with a homemade pie crust, also gluten-free. The homemade crust was definitely better than the store-bought, although admittedly not as good as her regular crust. It came pretty close though. And considering it was her first gluten-free pie, I was rather impressed. Doesn't it look delicious?

And look! She used her extra pie crust to make a heart on the blueberry pie! How cute is that? And fitting. My parents brought the food, and they brought me tons of love.

Now my list for next year:
  • Defrost the turkey ahead of time
  • Learn how to not overcook the turkey
  • Experiment with various pie crust recipes (or get my mom to experiment since she's such a better baker than I am)
  • Learn how to bake my own gluten-free bread for the stuffing with my new handy-dandy bread machine that my mom brought for me!
How was your Thanksgiving? Was it gluten-free? Vegetarian? What's a traditional Thanksgiving like at your house?


Just Call Me Zippy said...

I don't know how you pulled it off! I have to practice up on dressing/gravy/pie crusts for next year. The dressing, the gravy, and the sweet potato pies were made using the same recipe that my Grandmother used (contained wheat flour). Unfortunately, I had no time to test alternate recipes for these before the big day. I was so nervous about those foods even being in the same kitchen with my GF food. Thankfully, they are all gone now and I escaped cross-contamination. *whew*

Iris said...

Zippy, you should definitely try Gluten Free Girl's gravy for next year. It tasted just like my Grandma's normal gravy!

fartygirl said...

I'm so impressed! So many gluten free peeps substitute gluten free foods for the traditionals (me). But you kept it for real & very delicious! It sounds fun too, eating on the floor around the coffee table.

Jondahl said...

Love this Iris!! Missed you guys. I like the part about laying down on the rug to take a nap ;)

Anonymous said...

My MIL sent me the link to your blog & I just had to comment...T-giving was at our house w/10 people who included 1 gluten-free/"low glycemic index" person, 3 vegetarians (including me), 1 nut allergy, and 2 dairy free, 1 Weight Watchers fanatic (me again) and 2 5 year olds...the meal turned out fantastic! I used brown rice flour for the vegan gravy, which went on the corn/brown rice/squash loaves & was delish! and for the sweet potato biscuits which turned out too crumbly, but tasted good. Hubby took care of the turkey. Not the 1st TG at our house but the dietary limitations amongst the guests seem to keep expanding.

Iris said...

Wow, that sounds like a tough Thanksgiving to plan. Sounds like you did a great job though!

Marillyn Beard said...

Looks like you had a good Thanksgiving! There's nothing wrong with having pie for breakfast!! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you will get the chance to make the cake... it is so good :o)

Gena said...

What gorgeous baked goods!

Linda said...

What a wonderful dinner and time together. It's nice to have a dinner like that in your home, even is space is small. I'm very impressed with the pies. Did your mom use a particular recipe for the crust that she made?

Iris said...

Thanks Linda! I'll check with my mom and see what recipe she used.

words evaded said...

Your Thanksgiving sounded lovely! That heart pie is adorable and sure looks delicious. Oh and FYI- delicious vegetarian gravy is totally possible, so don't let that dissuade you if you're thinking of vegetarianism :]


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