Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ode to Thanksgiving: Pièce de résistance - Turkey!

And how can we describe a Thanksgiving meal without the centerpiece, the Pièce de résistance- the Turkey!!

We got our bird from FreshDirect, complete with a brining kit.  If you are a FreshDirect customer, you can find this recipe known as the "Two Hour Holiday Turkey."  If not, don't fret! Recipe below.

(notice the Aleia's stuffing in the background!!)

For the Turkey
1 Plainville Antibiotic-Free Butterflied Turkey, thawed
1 package FreshDirect Turkey Brining Blend
1 new, sealable plastic brining bag

Additional Equipment
Paper towels
Large sheet tray with rack
1 large sheet aluminum foil
Oven thermometer
Instant-read thermometer
Oven mitts/potholders


1. To brine your turkey, first make sure it's completely thawed, then remove any exterior packaging and rinse the bird under cold running water.

Mix the brining solution by stirring 1 lb brining blend into 1.5 gallons water. (See brining blend label for more detail.)

Put the turkey into the plastic bag and pour in enough brining solution to fully submerge it. Depending on the turkey's size, not all of the brine may be necessary. Press out any air bubbles, seal the bag and chill for 6 to 12 hours in the refrigerator.

After brining, we recommend you rinse the turkey with cold running water, pat it dry with paper towels and chill it in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 2 to 6 hours. Drying promotes a crispy skin and is well worth the effort.

2. Preheat oven to 425°F. (Check temperature accuracy with an oven thermometer.)

Place the turkey breast-side up on a rack over a drip pan, making it as flat as possible. Turn the wings away and under, and turn the drumsticks away from the body to equalize the height.

Depending on the height of the roasting pan, you may pour in up to 1 cup of water to prevent the drippings from burning.

Rub a little oil on a large sheet of foil (to prevent sticking) and loosely cover the turkey. Poke a few small holes in the foil to vent steam.

3. Place the prepared turkey on the center-most rack of your oven. After one hour, if the turkey looks lightly golden, remove foil cover; if the skin looks very dark, leave the foil in place.

Check temperature in the breast (avoid contact with the ribs) with an instant-read thermometer. When breast temperature reaches 160 to 165°F, remove the turkey from the oven and transfer to a platter or a sterilized cutting board. Cover lightly with aluminum foil to retain heat.

To complete cooking and maximize juiciness, allow the turkey to rest for approximately 30 minutes before carving and serving.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ode to Thanksgiving: Pumpkin pie

Ahh...we have finally made it to dessert!  This pumpkin pie recipe has been passed down from my fiancé's family and we call it "Mom's Pumpkin Pie."  Hope you enjoy!

2/3 cup sugar
1 package unflavored gelatin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 slightly beaten egg yolks
3/4 cup of milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
9" GF pie crust, thawed (I used the GF version from Whole Foods)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)

Put pie crust into 350 degree oven for 10-20 minutes to get a nice golden brown.  Remove and let sit at room temperature.  This can be done in advance.

Separate the eggs and set aside.  In a large pan, combine 2/3 cup sugar, gelatin, cinnamon and nutmeg.  In a smaller bowl, combine egg yolks and milk, and add to the sugar mixture in the larger pan.  Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture thickens slightly.  Stir in pumpkin.  Chill until mixture mounds slightly when separated, stirring often.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and then gradually add in 1/3 cup sugar.  Fold pumpkin mix into egg whites.  Spoon into pie crust.

Chill until firm.  Just before serving, top with whipped cream.

I hope you enjoyed this week long tribute to Thanksgiving - GF style.  Here is another pic of the meal we had last year - a two plate portion for each of us!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ode to Thanksgiving: Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

This recipe is a classic in my home, and Thanksgiving would not be the same without it.  Comfort food at its best.

This version is a variation from a recipe.

2 cans yams (aka sweet potatoes!)
1 tbsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon to taste
1/4 - 1 tsp. nutmeg to taste
1/4 c. orange juice to taste
Marshmallows (lg. or miniature)
Cinnamon sugar (opt.)

Drain yams and add to medium bowl.  Mash and add vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and juice.  Spray or grease lightly Pyrex or Corning dish. Put a layer of potatoes, layer of marshmallows until filled. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar for added flavor. Bake about 350 degrees until HOT. Remove from oven and put marshmallows on top. Place again in oven to brown lightly. Serves 10 to 12.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Great GF Thanksgiving article today on NPR

I will take a momentary pause in my cooking posts to highlight a great article that appeared today on with amazing recipes for a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving!

This article touched me as I felt that I was reading from my own diary!  I'm so glad we can share this and have amazing options for GF Thanksgivings all over!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ode to Thanksgiving: Mashed Potato Casserole / String bean Casserole

I have to give thanks to my friend Kathy for the delicious mashed potato casserole recipe. It was in her family for years and I'm happy to share with all of you.

The string bean casserole is a GF twist on an otherwise classic recipe. But first, let's get to the mashed potatoes!

Mashed Potato Casserole
6-8 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed in equal-sized portions (depends on how much you want to make)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
2 cups Asiago cheese (shredded)
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups GF Breadcrumbs (I like Aleia's which can be found in Whole Foods)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bring water to a boil on the stovetop in a large stockpot. Rinse the potatoes and add to the boiling water.  Add a pinch of kosher salt to remove starch foam.  Boil potatoes until they are fork-tender.  Drain in colander, and add potatoes back to hot stockpot to mash.  Add butter and milk slowly and continue to mash. Add another pinch of kosher salt and pepper if desired.

Put some of the mashed potatoes in one layer in a pyrex dish or oven-safe casserole.  Sprinkle Asiago and Parmesan cheese.  Add breadcrumbs.  Add another layer of mashed potatoes and repeat the process until you have no more mashed potatoes left.  You can add extra breadcrumbs on the top layer for added crispiness.

Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes until breadcrumbs are toasty and cheese is melted.

String Bean Casserole
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can GF Cream of Mushroom Soup (I used Pacific brand)
3/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 (9 oz. each) pkgs. frozen cut green beans, thawed
1 1/3 cups homemade fried onions*

For Fried Onions:
1 red onion, cut into equal sized parts about 1/3 inch wide
1 1/2 cups corn starch
2 eggs
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Add 2 eggs to a bowl and mix.  In separate bowl, add cornstarch, salt and pepper.  Take onion piece and add to egg mixture, then into cornstarch mixture, back into egg mixture and again in cornstarch mixture.  Put on greased cookie sheet and add to oven until onions are crispy (about 25-30 minutes).  Remove from oven and let cool (can be made in advance.

MIX soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2 -qt. baking dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup homemade fried onions.
BAKE at 350°F for 30 min. or until hot.
STIR. Top with remaining 2/3 cup onions. Bake 5 min. until onions are golden.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ode to Thanksgiving: Citrus-glazed Carrots

Thanks to this easy recipe for citrus-glazed carrots makes your Thanksgiving day spread colorful and healthy - well, at least you will feel healthy eating veggies along with those extra helpings of stuffing and pie!

Here is a quick peek of the carrots simmering (my fiancé's arm!)

    2 1/2 pounds medium carrots, peeled, cut on diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices
    2 cups (or more) water
    1 cup fresh orange juice
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
    2 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
    2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Combine carrots and 2 cups water in heavy large skillet. Add all remaining ingredients except parsley. If needed, add enough water to just cover carrots. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil just until carrots are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally, 8 to 9 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer carrots to medium bowl; cool. Boil cooking liquid in skillet until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Transfer to small bowl. DO AHEAD:  Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover carrots and cooking liquid separately; chill.

Bring reserved cooking liquid to boil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots and boil until just tender and liquid is thickened to light syrup consistency, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ode to Thanksgiving: First up, GF stuffing!

As Thanksgiving is approaching, I thought I would post once a day this week with recipes you can make this holiday.  Recipes will include stuffing, sweet potato casserole, citrus-glazed carrots, mashed potato casserole (thanks Kath!), stringbean casserole (sensing a theme??) and pumpkin pie.  Here is a quick glance of the spread we had last year!

Feel free to comment and share your own best Thanksgiving recipes. Here's my toast to kick off the holiday season, starting with Stuffing!

Easy GF stuffing:
1 package Aleia's GF breadcrumbs (Available at Whole Foods)

(if you can't find this, you can use your own GF bread to create your own stuffing crumbs, recipe below)


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup onion (chopped)
1/2 cup carrots (chopped)
1 cup chopped celery
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp Italian seasonings (including rosemary, thyme, sage, majoram)
2 cups chicken broth (I use either Kitchen Basics or Pacific but it tends to be very salty, so you can also substitute for 1 Herb Ox cube dissolved in hot water)

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Saute the onion, carrots and celery in a large pot on the stove using the butter.  Add in Italian herbs.  When veggies are just getting soft, add in the chicken broth.

Combine this mixture with the breadcrumbs and place in an oven-safe dish.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

GF Stuffing Crumbs
One package of your fav GF bread (I used the Prairie Bread from Whole Foods GF Bakery)

Cut slices into small squares (this can easily be done when they are still frozen/slightly thawed).
Arrange on a cookie sheet and bake in 250 degree oven until crispy (keep checking to see).  These can be made in advance and used whenever you are ready to make the stuffing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Garlic-Lime Asparagus, Steak and Parmesan Polenta

This recipe is great for summer grillin' or can be done in the oven during the colder months.  I've learned this quick trick at last summer's cooking club, but since asparagus is in season, we made this again last night.

Buy a fresh pack of asparagus, rinse and snap off the ends (they break easily).  Add to a grill pan (you may want to cover in foil) or pyrex dish.  Add a drizzle of olive oil, about a half of tablespoon of minced or fresh garlic, and few squirts of lime juice (fresh or from the bottle).  Mix and add to 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

The lime juice brings out the great flavor in the asparagus and adds a citrus zest to the meal! We made this along with steak and polenta and it came out great!  A special trick for the ready to make polenta - add in fresh Parmesan shavings and mix in while the polenta is simmering on the stove top.  Makes a gooey yummy side dish!