I had my first gluten-free Thanksgiving last year. This year was my first dairy-free Thanksgiving. A challenge? A little, yes. But I think I did a pretty good job. The menu was similar to last year. The exceptions were really the pies. I managed to have 2 days off in a row. That rarely happens unless I request it. I used those two days to start my prep for Thanksgiving.
Once I saw Carol’s post on the Perfect Gluten-free Pie CrustI knew I had to go for it finally. I took my pie crust recipe that I used for years and simply substituted the flours. I used my food processor to mix it like Carol suggested. However, I over mixed it so the crust turned out crumbly during the baking process. Lesson learned. Do it by hand like I’ve always done next time. Despite the little crust issue, the pie was just like I remember it. I wound up eating the whole pie by myself since Chaz hasn’t had a sweet tooth lately. Good thing I don’t use refined sugar and I used bean flour.
The night before Thanksgiving, I quickly whipped up Shirley’s Crustless Gluten-free Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie. Did I mention how easy it was? I had it ready before the oven was even preheated. Chaz still didn’t have a sweet tooth so the pie was all mine again. I used real pumpkin and bean flour. More vitamins and protein, the better! The coconut milk helps in that area, too. I did not puree the pumpkin. The recipe doesn’t say to if using real pumpkin. The thought did come to me after I poured the batter in the pie dish. It always happens after, right? I was staring at some chunks of pumpkin wondering if I should have used the immersion blender to mix it all together. I figured if it didn’t turn out, I still had enough pumpkin to whip up another one. I have to tell you, it was good with the pumpkin chunks. The spices seeped into them so it wasn’t like a void in the pie. It just gave the pie more texture.
I made sour cream and cashew cream cheese from Go Dairy Free’s book to make my potatoes. This is where I really missed dairy. While the sour cream was even better than real sour cream to me and the cream cheese gave me the idea to use port wine for port wine cheese, they did not bind the potatoes well. The potatoes were still good, but no matter what I did to help the binding process, I didn’t get the creamy texture I’m used to. I will definitely use the sour cream and cream cheese for other things. I’ve already made the cream cheese with port wine, and it was as good as I imagined it.
I made the same gluten-free stuffing that I created on the spot last year and used Earth Balance soy-free butter to cook the celery and onions. Not one bit of difference at all. It was the side that I had most of and it disappeared from the fridge first. Last year, I used Whole Foods’ gluten-free sandwich bread. This year, I used a mix of Katz Gluten-free Wholesome bread (my favorite gluten-free bread) and Rudi-s Whole Grain gluten-free bread (my second favorite).
Last year, I made pan roasted Brussel sprouts with bacon and did so again this year, using my new favorite bacon, Applegate Farms. They make my favorite hot dogs, too. It was easy to do some prep on the veggie dishes while this dish cooked. I never get tired of this dish. Bacon just makes everything better.
I went simple on the other two veggies. Roasted sliced eggplant and roasted golden beets. I was trying to make sure there was a lot of color in the veggies since the rest of the sides and the turkey are the same color. I used my toaster oven and roasted the golden beets earlier in the day after putting the turkey in the oven so they would have time to cool off enough for me to handle when I trimmed them up and peeled the skin off to slice. So thankful for toaster ovens! The eggplant, I simply sliced and drizzled with oil and salt. Then I put it in the oven after taking the turkey out.
I love making fresh cranberry sauce during the holidays. I love that I can make it ahead of time, too. Which is what I always do. However, this year I changed it up a little. I used less water and less pure maple syrup. The result was more of a compote than a sauce. I’m so glad I bought extra cranberries so I can perfect this before sharing it with you. I’ve already used the leftovers to make a “milk” shake and to top gluten-free blueberry waffles.
The one thing that gave me trouble this year was the turkey. I had it in the oven longer than recommended and the temperatures all checked out when I took it out of the oven. Once I started to carve into it after letting it rest, I saw the dark meat was still pink and so were the juices. I was not happy. Okay, I was starving. So the idea of having to put it back in made me not happy because I was ready to eat. I turned up the temp on the oven and put it back in. Once it was done, it was perfect.
I enjoyed a full plate while Chaz had 2 plates. We were happily stuffed.