Friday, November 26, 2010

The Ultimate Turkey Sandwich - GF

Here's a turkey sandwich that captures the spirit of Thanksgiving dinner, without a chance of blandness.  I used Udi's GF White Sandwich Bread for the sandwich, but the Whole Grain GF bread for the stuffing.

It's a great sandwich, even if you're not gluten-free.

1. Slice the Turkey Thin

A commone mistake is to try and do it with a single thick piece; slice the meat as thinly as possible, and use a couple of layers at least.  Makes for an easier bite.  Oh, and salt and pepper on top of the meat, before you move on to the next layer....

2.  The Stuffing - Critical for Flavor

Stuffing out of the bird actually works better for this; it wants to be sliced, just like the meat.  But a thin single layer is what you want here.  It's just to bring that magnificent flavor into the sandwich, so a little goes a long way.

3.  Cranberry Sauce

You can see why the jelly is preferred over the whole-berry kind of sauce; you want it evenly spread through the sandwich, not clumped and dripping out the sides.

4.  Cole Slaw

Do not skip this most critical layer!  It adds a wonderful zing to the sandwich, and wakes up the other flavors.  This is a sweet'n'sour dressing, not a mayonaise-based dressing.  For best results, use this recipe.  It's the best slaw dressing in the universe.  I know that slaw has fallen off the traditional Thanksgiving table somewhere along the line, but it was on the very first menus that cropped up in the 19th century.  In my family, it stayed on the menu, and I can't imagine a turkey dinner without it.

5. Enjoy the best damned turkey sandwich you've ever had.

This one's piled a leeetle too high; I could have gone with less turkey.  But dang, it's a good sandwich.  Dagwood Bumstead wouldn't criticize this snack.


So Fla Gluten-Free Expo

Clean Plate Charlie reports that the South Florida Gluten-Free Food Expo has been set for February 19, 2011.  It's sponsored by the Celiac Disease Foundation (South Florida Chapter).

And save this link: Clean Plate Charlie GF.  This New Times blog is a great resource for GF news.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Dinner

Sorry this is up after the fact, but the truth is that this was the first time doing an all gluten-free Thanksgiving Dinner, so I thought I'd make it, and tell you about it, and you'll have it for Christmas, if you like.

I've been gluten-free since 2002, but this is the first time I really committed to having an all gluten-free holiday dinner.  Even when my family made the effort to use alternative ingredients, all their utensils and bakeware were contaminated.  So every year, I've suffered a few days of post-Thanksgiving discomfort.  This year, I have a larger kitchen, some time, and lots more access to GF products.

First, I made the family cole slaw recipe.  I know, most of you don't prepare slaw for Thanksgiving, but that's your problem.  My family recipe adds a nice zing to dinner, and is a key ingredient in the sandwiches the next day.  I've adjusted it to be gluten-free.  But it has to chill before you pour it over the shredded cabbage, and then it needs to set and soak for a few hours after that.  Honestly, it really improves with age.

Next, I baked a pumpkin pie.  I've tried frozen pies from Whole Foods, but frankly, they were miserable.  First, they were tiny, and it was hard to cut them into a piece and serve.  Second, they tasted like thawed cardboard. Mrs Smith would be appalled. (And when is she going to make GF pies?).

So this year I baked a pie. I didn't go crazy; while I've made pies from scratch before, this time I used Whole Food's Gluten Free Bakehouse pie crusts.  I had done this a few years ago with mixed results, but then I realized I hadn't thawed the crust before baking, as indicated on the package.  D'oh!

This time, I gave the pie crust time to fully defrost.  This gave me the chance to close up a crack that had appeared in the crust; no big deal, once it's thawed, it's very easy to pinch the gap closed.

For the filling, again, I didn't go crazy. I used Libby's pumpkin puree, and followed the recipe on the label.  I figured it was a step above simply using canned pie filling. And there weren't that many ingredients, it only took a few minutes to put it all together.  An investment since the last time I baked a pie was my standing mixer.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

I baked it according to the Libby's recipe, and set it aside to cool down.  (You can see where I poked it with a knife to confirm it was fully set.) 

Now it's time for the most doubtful part of the day; gluten-free stuffing.

I didn't do a whole turkey this year, because I did the day on my own.  I had several invites, but this year I wanted a fully gluten-free meal.  I didn't want to invite folks over, because it's so experimental.  I'll have people over next year, now that I know what I'm doing.

Anyway, I decided to skip a full bird, and just went with a breast.  So I did an oven stuffing, which some experts say is better for you anyway.

The only change I did from a traditional stuffing was to substitute GF bread.  I used Udi's Whole Grain bread, available in the freezer section of my local Publix.  I let it thaw overnight, and then cut it up into cubes and let it dry out while the pie finished baking.

I set a cup of chicken broth to boil, and then I then chopped up an onion, and three stalks of celery, and tossed them in a hot skillet with some olive oil.  As they softened and turned translucent, I added a teaspoon each of thyme and sage, then discovered I was out of rosemary.

Pie's out, so I reset the oven temp for the stuffing.

I mixed everything together in a bowl, found it kind of dry, so I added another cup of chicken broth.  I put the resulting mix in a casserole dish, and baked for about 15 minutes at 450 covered.  I removed the cover, lowered the temperature down to 375, and set the timer to 30 minutes.

I used this time to clean up the kitchen and load up the dishwasher.  How did I live for 20 years without a dishwasher?

Once the stuffing came out, the turkey breast went in.  I kept it simple, coated it with butter and salt and pepper, and stuck it in.  I used the time to prep my other dishes; but you can find your own mashed potato recipe.  Green beans, and finally, I opened a can of jellied cranberry sauce.  This horrifies most people; get over it.  It's delicious, and again, it's a necessary ingredient for tomorrow's turkey sandwich.

Imagine Organic Gravy, Roasted Turkey Flavored, 16 oz, (pack of 3)I have to admit, I didn't try to make gravy from scratch.  I'm only roasting a breast, and I didn't think I'd have enough juice to make any reasonable amount of gravy. I used a package of Imagine's Roasted Turkey Gravy, another product I was able to pick up at Publix. Thank god for Publix and their Greenwise Sections; last year I was at the mercy of Whole Foods, who carried lots of gluten free products, but not Turkey Gravy at Thanksgiving.  What's up with THAT?  I did add some juices from the turkey to the gravy, to take away some of that over-processed taste that pre-packaged gravy tends to have.  A couple pieces of skin helped, too.
 Finally, it was time for dinner...

The result was very satisfactory, although as I suspected, the stuffing needs work.  More celery, I think.  Rosemary would help.  And I think a third cup of chicken stock wouldn't have hurt.

But desert....

Honestly, this is the best pumpkin pie I've had in years.  It might be the best pumpkin pie I've ever had!  The filling is light and sweet, the crust is perfect.  It cut smoothly and lifted right out of the pan.

Tomorrow, I'll show you how to build the best turkey sandwich you've ever had, using Udi's GF sandwich bread.


Gluten Free Cole Slaw Dressing

This Cole slaw dressing recipe has been in the family for years; not sure where it came from, although my Aunt Dorothy opined that my grandmother might have found it in a magazine.

But it's sweet and tangy and marvelous; I have never found a slaw dressing nearly as good.

The original recipe called for either all-purpose flour or corn starch; Cornstarch is, of course, gluten-free, but I wasn't pleased with the consistency. But you can use it if it's what's available. I have rice flour on hand, and i find it superior for thickening sauces and gravy.

I find this makes exactly enough dressing for pre-shredded cabbage sold by the bag (10-12 oz), but if you are shredding a full head of cabbage, double the recipe.

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon white rice flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
Combine dry ingredients in a small sauce pan; beat in egg
combine vinegar and water, and mix into the rest of the ingredients over low heat.
Stir constantly until thick.

Remove from heat, and store in refrigerator until well-chilled.

Mix thoroughly with shredded cabbage

Allow to sit in fridge 2-3 hours before serving.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

More GF Restaurant Options

Let's face it, we miss pizza more than anything.   Still Riding Pizza is a resource for finding GF pizza in your neighbor hood.  Looking on the site, if you live in Coral Springs, you can order gluten-free pizza from Pasquale & Sons.  I'm not sure if they are related, but Pasquale Pizza Express in Coconut Creek also offers GF pizza.

Mellow Mushroom has numerous Florida locations, but their only South Florida restaurant is in Delray Beach.  But if you're in Palm Beach County, you might try Cafe Lombardi in Wellington.

Other Resources
I've just learned that Urbanspoon, a restaurant review site, filters for gluten-free menues.  You can check it out here.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Times on GF Fast Food

The New Times Clean Plate Charlie blog discusses which fast food joints have GF menu options.  No real surprises, but a reader notes that Hardee's offers a "low carb" burger, basically a burger wrapped in lettuce instead of served on a bun.  Hmm.

The blog as apparently talked about GF foods before.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy National Celiac Awareness Day


About This Blog

A guide to living Gluten-Free in metropolitan South Florida.

I'm not looking to become "Gluten-Free Guy" and wax lyrical on the joys of living with celiac disease, nor am I interested in compiling a recipe book. I just know how hard it is to find the foods we like and safe places to eat.

A few years ago, I created the South Florida Theatre Scene, so people could find reviews, articles, and theatre websites all in one place. And that's what I want to do with Gluten-Free South Florida.

About Celiac Disease/Gluten Free Diet

Celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance, is a genetic disorder that affects 1 in 133 Americans. Symptoms of celiac disease can range from the classic features, such as diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition, to latent symptoms such as isolated nutrient deficiencies but no gastrointestinal symptoms.

The only acceptable treatment for celiac disease is strict adherence to a 100% gluten-free diet for life. An adherence to a gluten-free diet can prevent almost all complications caused by the disease. A gluten-free diet means avoiding all products that contain wheat, rye and barley, or any of their derivatives. This is a difficult task as there are many hidden sources of gluten found in the ingredients of many processed foods.
- Scott Adams,
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