thanksgiving 2012 — first-time gluten-free

Thanksgiving 2012

Clearly I’m not very good at this blogging thing, otherwise I would have written about Thanksgiving weeks ago with recipe tips and suggestions, or I’d be saving this post for pre-Thanksgiving next year. Planning ahead isn’t one of my strengths. That being said, a bunch of friends on Instagram were asking about the recipes I’d made for my first gluten-free Thanksgiving. I was pretty nervous about it because my mom was coming over for the holiday, as always, and since she’s not gluten-free, I didn’t want her to be disappointed. I did my research, asked some friends for help, and all turned out well. Here’s how it went.

Thanksgiving 2012

I always make some kind of orange-colored (sweet potato, pumpkin, squash, etc.) soup, and this year I wanted to try something different. The Butternut Squash Soup with Cider Cream from The Bon Appetit Cookbook was an instant favorite. I’ll be making this again for sure. Swirling the cider cream into the soup just before serving gets you a few oohs and ahhs.

Thanksgiving 2012

Here’s where the cooking got tricky, with the Gratin of Sweet Potatoes and Mushrooms from the brand-new From a Southern Oven by Jean Anderson. There are a few tablespoons of flour in the cream sauce, so I substituted a Gluten-Free Girl all-purpose blend (it worked great), and then you top the whole thing with a mixture of bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, and melted butter. I used Schar gluten-free bread crumbs on top, and while I’m sure it turned out a bit differently without real bread crumbs, I think it was a success. Oops, I overfilled my casserole dish, so there was a bit of spillage. Well, it tasted great, and that’s what counts.

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I’ve been known to make up a Brussels sprouts dish (usually with bacon) at the last minute, but this time I wanted to try something new and actually plan ahead. This recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cauliflower and Orange also comes from The Bon Appetit Cookbook — the orange taste was more subtle than I’d expected, but the dish was a nice balance to some of the heavier ones I was serving — definitely recommended.

Thanksgiving 2012

I was super nervous about the stuffing because I’ve always made mine with regular bread. I asked around, and then it became clear — go with a traditional cornbread stuffing. Of course most store-bought cornbread and cornbread recipes have all-purpose flour in them, so I did some research and found this recipe for Skillet Cornbread (I made a double batch so I used a baking pan) in The Glory of Southern Cooking (now available in a more affordable paperback edition). A lot of bacon grease went into this, so it tasted pretty amazing on its own.

Thanksgiving 2012

My friend Autumn tipped me off about this Martha Stewart cornbread and sausage stuffing recipe. It turned out really well, though it was tricky to get the moisture just right since I was baking it outside the turkey, which makes stuffing a bit drier. Still, this will probably be my go-to recipe for stuffing in years to come because it would be so easy to make adjustments to the herbs, moisture, salt, and other spices to suit your personal tastes. This turned out to be extra-good when we ate the leftovers, with some extra stock drizzled on top.

Thanksgiving 2012

I’ve been teased for never posting a photo of my turkey. I guess I don’t think turkey is all that pretty, probably because there was a long time in my life when I didn’t eat meat (but oddly or not, I would still always make a turkey for my family). Well, here it goes. The basic method I followed is from the recipe for Herb-Roasted Turkey with Roasted Pan Gravy, also from The Bon Appetit Cookbook. You make a fresh herb butter which you spread under the skin before you start roasting. I think I tented the turkey breast just a bit too long while cooking because the front of the turkey could have been a bit more roasted-looking like the rest of the bird. Otherwise, this turkey turned out beautifully, maybe my best ever in terms of crispy skin with still juicy meat.

Thanksgiving 2012

Of course I made cranberry sauce — cranberries, sugar, water, Grand Marnier, and some grated orange zest.

Thanksgiving 2012

The gravy had me the most worried. The recipe, like ones for most gravies, called for flour of course. Gluten-Free Girl came to the rescue again. I went with her advice to just make a cornstarch slurry. Not only did this gravy turn out good, it too may have been the best I’ve ever made. Who needs flour?

Thanksgiving 2012

The photo at the top of this post was a teaser… now you can see the inside of the Pumpkin Cheesecake with Frangelico from The Bon Appetit Cookbook. I was so worried about the crust, but I found gluten-free ginger snaps in my local deli (score!). Perhaps the crust was a bit moister than it should have been, but no one minded. This was literally one of the best desserts I’ve ever made! It’s impossibly light and fluffy, with that extra yummy sour cream layer on top. What a great way to end the meal.

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17 Responses to thanksgiving 2012 — first-time gluten-free

  1. That looks AWESOME… Best looking Gluten free dishes I’ve seen. I’m sure your mom was pleased! – Thanks for sharing & Happy late Thanksgiving – Kent

  2. Wow.. what an incredible line-up of dishes.. I can’t wait to try a few at Christmas:)

  3. Sasha Lynn says:

    That all looked lovely. Congratulations on a successful GF Thanksgiving!

  4. Janet says:

    I’ve been cooking GF for a few years now due to my daughter’s celiac diagnosis. I think you learned this Thanksgiving what I have learned: there is really little reason to worry about converting a recipe to GF if you just substitute a good GF flour blend (I just mix 2 cups brown rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, and 1/3 cup tapioca starch — easily doubled, tripled, etc.) where you would use flour. I make excellent pie crusts, cornbread, gravies, etc. And as for those bread crumbs? The better option is to save the crusts from any GF bread you use (assuming you buy GF bread), toss them in the freezer to accumulate, then throw the frozen crusts into your Cuisinart and voila: bread crumbs. Much less expensive than those pre-made and better, IMO.

  5. Amy Tong says:

    What a beautiful GF feast. I particularly love the pumpkin cheesecake! So perfect and beautiful.

  6. I’m not usually all that interested in GF although I love following your site. When I looked through this feast however, it was really impressive. I can see that this was one amazing Thanksgiving dinner!
    I just noticed you have an interesting rack for the turkey. Does it actually make a difference having a rack that is not flat? We don’t do Thanksgiving but Christmas is approaching fast and with it, our turkey and sprouts time! I’m just interested in whether or not a non-flat rack holds and special powers ;)

  7. Pingback: corn bread done right | Justcook NYC

  8. Looks delicious!

    I have those same Pyrex bowls! :-)

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