Order an organic turkey from New Seasons or Whole Foods in plenty of time, or choose a less expensive option such as Norbest, Riverside, or Honeysuckle White (my favorite). Some commercially produced turkeys contain gluten in the broth used to inject them full of flavorings, salt, and fat. It is important to avoid eating gluten with your conscientiously prepared meal by choosing a gluten-free turkey as your centerpiece. Check the label and it should say no MSG and no gluten on the front or under the nutrition label on the back. Season turkey with high quality herbs like sage, thyme, and rosemary, or go Latin with cumin, chilies, and lime, but forgo additional salt. Most turkeys are pre-salted—some excessively so. The turkeys I surveyed at my discount grocer ranged in Sodium Content/Serving from 160 mg. to 325 mg. Honeysuckle White, which I cooked at my Thanksgiving Prep class, had 200 mg. and I did not need to add any salt when cooking. It was moist, flavorful, and delicious.
Gluten-free stuffing is easy, just buy or make the best gluten-free bread, cube it and dry in a low temperature oven. Angeline's bread, available locally here in the Pacific Northwest, makes excellent stuffing (it does contain milk powder). You can also make a wild rice/brown rice and dried cranberry pilaf style stuffing, which can be cooked separately, or used to stuff the bird. You can make terrific stuffing using my recipe for focaccia bread, available in my Thanksgiving Planner (see below).
Use sweet rice flour to replace the traditional wheat flour in thickening gravy. If it's not quite thick enough you can add a little tapioca or potato starch.
I’ll inject a note of caution here, for those folks with gluten-related bladder problems. If you still have a sensitive bladder, take it easy on the cranberry sauce. I know, it’s recommended to prevent bladder problems, but in reality, it is quite harsh on the bladders of those who already have them. You may be able to tolerate a little apple cider, though, and herb tea is a good option, especially some nettle leaf tea before you have dinner, whether it’s one you’re preparing or not—nettle leaf can help to minimize any food sensitivity reactions you may have, although it can’t prevent a reaction to gluten, so do maintain your gluten-free diet, and don’t be afraid to ask your host or hostess about ingredients. It’s best to do it before-hand rather than at the dinner table. Think about how relaxed you’ll be if you already have your game plan when you get to the table, and know exactly what you can eat, and which dishes you’ll need to politely pass on to the next guest.
For pumpkin pie, all you really need to do is make a killer pie crust and make sure your filling is dairy free if necessary. You can substitute Earth Balance for regular margarine—it's gluten-free and dairy-free, or if you tolerate dairy products, use butter. Or, you can use oil to make pie crust. I’ll include recipes for both crusts, and the pies, here. To replace milk in your pumpkin custard for the pie, there are many options to choose from: rice, soy, almond, hazelnut, or hemp, but for extra richness, try coconut milk—it has a very mild taste and won't overwhelm the pumpkin flavor. I'm very happy with the recipe I included in my Thanksgiving Planner & Recipe Guide.
Poached pears or other fruit make a lovely alternative to pie, especially when prepared with the finest ingredients and served in an attractive dessert bowl. I use my Mom’s retro 1940’s curvy glass bowl, which always brings back happy memories. No, I wasn’t actually around yet when she got the bowl!
Here’s the menu for my 2008 Thanksgiving dinner:
TWO GLUTEN-FREE PIE CRUSTS
Tender Gluten-Free Pie Crust
(Adapted from Karen Robertson)
1 ¼ cup gluten-free flour blend (+ up to 1 tablespoon more as needed)
¼ cup tapioca starch
¼ cup potato starch
1 ½ teaspoon guar gum or 1 ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum, not both
2 teaspoons fructose
9 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan margarine or shortening*
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar or cold water
(if using shortening, add ½ teaspoon salt)
1 cup gluten-free flour blend
½ cup potato starch
½ cup sweet rice flour
3 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fructose
3 tablespoons cold rice milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
PUMKIN PIE (Gluten-Free)
Choose either one of the pie crust dough and make as directed. Place in pie plate, and carefully cover inside of crust with foil. Fill pie crust with dried beans or rice, and pre-bake crust about 10 minutes at 350. When edges are set, remove foil and beans, and bake another 5 minutes, or until bottom crust is beginning to crisp slightly.
Here’s the filling:
This makes enough for two 8 inch pies, so if you’re only doing one, cut it in half.
2 15-ounce cans of pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling, or 1 29-ounce can of pumpkin
4 whole eggs
2 tablespoons gluten-free flour blend
1 teasoon sea salt
1 teasoon cinnamon
¼ teasoon cloves
½ teasoon allspice
1 teasoon ginger
½ cup fructose
1/3 cup dark agave syrup
2 teasoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup full fat (not light) coconut milk
2/3 cup unsweetened rice or almond milk
If making only half the recipe, you can make this in the blender, which is very quick and easy, and also makes it easier to pour into the crust. The full recipe will exceed the capacity of most blenders.
FOCACCIA BREAD WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS
Prepare liquid ingredients in a small bowl: