Friday, November 28, 2008

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: My First Gluten Free Thanksgiving

My first Gluten Free Thanksgiving. I was so daunted by this idea when I submitted my proposal to Food buzz. I had never cooked a Thanksgiving meal...especially a gluten free Thanksgiving meal. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in this past Spring, so this was going to be my first real holiday gluten free. I was so excited when my proposal was selected! I was so looking forward to the challenge of creating this meal! PLUS, I invited everyone who has been so supportive to me in the past few months since my diagnosis. I was excited to prepare a meal for my friends and family to say Thanks.

The Gluten Free Menu:

Turkey with gravy
Savory Stuffing
Asparagus Popover
Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Fritters
Pumpkin Cake with Fresh Cream Cheese Icing

The night before I planned out the entire day. I read each recipe 3 times and thought about my timing. After planning out the next day, I started to brine my turkey. Brining is great for a turkey, it makes it moist and tender. Plus, you don't have to baste and the turkey will cook in less time. To make the brine you'll need:

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 gallon gluten free vegetable stock
1 tbsp. black peppercorns
1/2 tbsp. allspice berries
1/2 tbsp. candied ginger
1 gallon iced water

Combine all the brine ingredients in a large pot except for the ice water and bring to a boil. Stir and cook for 10 minutes at medium heat. Then remove the pot from heat and let it cool until it reaches room temperature. Then refrigerate until completely chilled.

The allspice berries and peppercorns will not dissolve. ( I kept boiling my brine and waiting for them to dissolve!!) Combine the brine with the ice water in either a clean 5 gallon bucket, large container, or brining bag. I found a brining bag at my local Harris Teeter that was perfect!

Add your thawed turkey and securly fasten. Refrigerate your turkey in the brining bag or the bucket. If there isn't room in the fridge, then place the turkey in a cool place. If you don't have room in your fridge, I would add a little bit of extra ice.

I sat my brining bag inside of my roasting pan to keep it compact in my fridge.Max likes the brining turkey.

I brined my turkey overnight and into the Thanksgiving Day. 9 hours total. After the turkey is finished brining, remove it from the bag and pat dry. Place in your roasting pan on a rack so that the bottom of the turkey isn't resting on the bottom of the pan. I just inserted a cookie drying rack into the bottom of my roasting pan. Rub your bird with a light coating of olive oil, being sure to get underneath the wings. Next you'll need your aromatics:

2 red apples, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
3 cinnamon sticks
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
5 sprigs thyme
6 leaves sage

You stuff these aromatics into the cavity of your turkey. It gives the meat an amazing flavor, plus your kitchen will smell insanely good! Chop your apple and onion into chunks. Toss in to a bowl with the cup of water and cinnamon sticks. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. This steeps the mixture and add to the flavor. Stuff the steaped mixture and the fresh herbs into the cavity.

Start Cooking!

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Bake the turkey at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Cooking at a high temperature at the beginning, gives your turkey a crisp golden skin and makes it picture perfect! Then pull your bird out and lower the oven temperature to 350. Insert your meat themometer into the largest part of the turkey breast (without touching the bone) and cover the turkey breast with aluminom foil. This way the breast meat will not overcook and dry out. Continue to cook for 2 1/2 hours or until your turkey has reached 161 degrees. Pull from the oven and loosely cover with aluminum foil.

Second, the pumpkin cake!

The ingredients
*You only need 4 eggs (not 2 cartons!) I was using up the last of an older pack!

This cake is super easy to make. Use the recipe card for step by step directions. It's a great dessert to make for a big meal, because you servce it cooled. That way you don't have to worry about it being fresh from the oven. I made this cake before I even put the turkey in the oven. That way it had all day to cool before I made the fresh icing.

Incorporate the dry ingredients before mixing into the wet.

The batter is super smooth, but you'll need to use the spatula to spread it evenly in the pan.

To make the icing you'll need:

8 ounce package Organic cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Organic butter, softened
2 cups Confectioner's Sugar
1 tsp. Fair Trade Vanilla Extract

Beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth in a mixer on medium speed. Mix in the sugar slowly until combined. Add the vanilla extract last. I like to whip my frosting at a high speed for a few seconds right before I ice my cake.
I printed out leaves and cut out stencils to decorate my cake. I sprinkled cinnamon on top to shade in the stencil.

Up next on the list, the stuffing!

I was lucky enough to find a really good gluten free bread. My local Great Harvest Bread Company has started making gluten free breads. They're making a plain, herb, and cinnamon. I thought the Herb gluten free bread would go great in a stuffing. I bought the bread a week and a half before Thanksgiving and left it in the fridge to dry out. Luckily, gluten free bread is already pretty dry, so it doesn't take long to stale. I did alot of the prep work for the stuffing Thanksgiving morning. I cubed the bread and measured it out in advance.

I also chopped my onion and cubed my brie in advance. Cubing the brie was pretty tough. It's such a sticky cheese, that my knife kept getting caught. It's a little time consuming, but worth it! Use the recipe card above for the step by step process of making this stuffing.

The stuffing mix ready for the pan

Up next the Asparagus Popover!

The popover is SUPER easy to make. I used the Gluten Free Pantry Beth's Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. Use the recipe card for the step by step for this recipe.

I also made some mashed potatoes for the meal. Nothing special there, just Organic yukon gold potatoes, fresh local butter, and local whole milk. Whipped until creamy. Yum!

I made the Cranberry Fritters last. They're best served warm and frying is the quickest cooking method.

First you have to cut the cranberry sauce in to half inch rounds. Freeze the rounds on a parchment lined baking sheet for at least 4 hours.

Before you start the battering process, heat the oil to 375 degrees. Then dredge the frozen round in the flour, then the batter, and then fry.

Cook in the oil for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. I didn't get the hand of the fritter until the 3rd one, so give yourself a few more rounds than you have guests so you can have a few mess ups. I also bought a pre-made Cranberry Relish from my co-op just in case the fritters didn't turn out. But they actually really worked! However, since they are deep fried, it is nice to offer an alternative for guests who are watching their calories!

I dusted them with powdered sugar once they had cooled.

The guests began to arrive around 6:30. I knew I wanted to give myself some wiggle room, so I set out a few appetizers. (But not too many because they needed to be hungry for supper!) I love serving Thanksgiving Supper. It's not the best for metabolism, but that way when you're sleepy after eating, you go to bed!

Olives stuffed with garlic & hummus with red peppers

It literally was an ENTIRE DAY of cooking! But it was surely worth it. I was so proud when I presented my very first gluten free turkey!

Hard work!

The table is set

My full plate


Everyone really enjoyed the meal! I don't think anyone would have even known the dishes were gluten free if I hadn't told them. The stuffing was my favorite...and the cake!

I am so thankful for all my friends and family. I am so lucky to have such amazing people in my life. And of course, I couldn't have done any of this without....

My tiny wonky stove

Happy Thanksgiving!

Want to see more? Visit and click on the 24,24,24 tab to see what other bloggers did to celebrate Thanksgiving!

Thanks so much to Foodbuzz for this opportunity!


Unknown said...

Your first gluten free Thanksgiving looked great!

I made a new gluten free blog:

Check it out :)

Unknown said...

I know I am biased, but I can't help but say how amazing the Thanksgiving was. The spinach & artichoke dressing was outstanding, the turkey as perfect and even made great sandwiches yesterday! The Cranberry Fritters were something that I was curious about and ended up being something that I have craved since the dinner. What a great thanksgiving!

MoonGoddess said...

It looks so good I just want to reach through the screen & taste a little of this & a little of that!

Congrats on a job well done! I'm really curious about those cranberry fritters. What can't we fry in the south? ;)

Allie said...

WOW -- your dinner looks amazing! Those cranberry fritters look awesome too... Nice work! Not sure I'm ready yet to cook a thanksgiving dinner on my own yet - seems stressful, but rewarding!

HuggingtheCoast.Com said...

Brining is the best! I love what it does to the taste and texture of the turkey.

FYI: I'll definitely be linking to your 24, 24, 24 blog post on my blog tomorrow!

Marlow said...

Thanks Endless! Neat blog!

Allie- It actually was stressful! The planning and ending were fun, but the in between tough. Especially since I was trying out all new recipes!! But I think I will def do it again. Next year, smoke the turkey! That way you have the oven free and a super flavorful bird!

Hugging the Coast- I love your blog! I'm originally from SC but moved to the coast of NC. Represent!

Liz said...

That is SO impressive! It took an army to put our Thanksgiving meal together, and you did it all yourself.

I am going to make every single recipe you posted; they all look great!

Jennifer said...

Delicious recipes!!! Im glad I just came across your blog- my husband and I both have celiac as well!

Marlow said...

Liz- The stuffing is INSANELY good. And warms up perfectly!

Jennifer- I'm so glad you found my blog! Now I've found yours! I love it!! I also get an enewsletter from The Daily Green and I own many World of Good products. I love your Daily Bible Verse generator!

Joie de vivre said...

Great post. I've forwarded it to a friend with a gluten intolerant hubby.

Anonymous said...

Good job! Everything looks great. I had a gluten intolerant guest over, so my 24 submission was nearly gluten free.

Rachel said...

Congratulations on such a fantastic feast. And for making gluten-free so delicious!

Maureen "Hold The Gluten" said...

Congrats are in order -- you did an AMAZING job on your first gluten free Turkey Day!! And how awesome that you were featured on Foodbuzz!! Way to go girl :)

Marlow said...

Joie- You have to tell your friend about Gluten Free Pantry Beth's All Purpose. It changed my gluten free life!

Norecipes- Thanks!!

Rachel- Thank you! It really was delicious! Some of my guests were surprised!

Maureen- Eeeeh! I know! Being featured on Foodbuzz was probably the most exciting thing! Well and the food! :)Love your blog as always!