Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Turkey

I know that the idea of making a turkey gluten, casein free seems simple. Well, it isn't. First of all, you need to check the turkey you choose for fillers, which may contain gluten. There are only certain companies that make their turkeys gluten free. Often, it's a better plan to go with a fresh, unfrozen turkey since most turkeys that are frozen have additives.

So, if you must choose a frozen turkey... I would go with Honeysuckle. Butterball frozen, unfortunately, contains a "secret" basting that contains all the "no-nos" for this diet.

However, most companies carry a fresh variety that contain no additives, so I say safe bet is on the fresh turkey. Besides, who doesn't prefer fresh?

So, I have many variations on my turkey to keep my children on their toes. I hate doing the sage and butter turkey year after year, it's boring. So, here is a list of seasonings that go well together and make for a flavorful turkey;

Lemon and Rosemary:
4-Fresh Lemons
3-Fresh Rosemary sprigs
1/4 cup of clarified butter (ghee)
1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Cut the lemons in half. Pour the juices over the top of the turkey. stuff the turkey with the lemons. Take one sprig of rosemary, chop the leaves and add to the ghee. Add the garlic to the rosemary ghee mixture. Mix well. Take the remaining sprigs of rosemary and stuff them into the cavity of the bird.

Cover the top of the turkey with the ghee, rosemary and garlic mixture.

Sage, Celery, and Onion.
This is the classic bird.
4 sprigs of sage
5-stalks of celery
1-yellow onion
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup of ghee butter

cut 5 leaves of sage and add to the ghee. add salt and pepper and add to ghee. Cover tops of bird with ghee sage mixture and stuff pats of mixture under the skin of the breast.
Cut the stalks of celery and onion into 1/4 slices. Stuff the bird with remaining sage sprigs, celery and onions.

Herbs to Provence Turkey.
This is the easiest one and the one I will do this year.
1/4 cup of ghee
1/4 tsp of garlic, minced
2 tsps of herb de provence
3 tblsp of olive oil
1/4 cup of orange juice (natural, no added sugar)

Again, mix the ghee with the herb de provence, and the garlic. cover turkey generously. sprinkle with orange juice, sprinkle with olive oil.

Now, about cooking the bird, this is the area that most people "mess up".  No offense to you, or you. I have done this myself. Allow me to illustrate my very first turkey....

I was living in Japan and I had the oven the size of a shoe box. It was a small oven. Stupidly, I purchased a 24 pound turkey to make for all my military buddies.

The first problem, is that the turkey had to be squeezed in so that all the meat literally touched every surface of the inside of my oven. The second problem, was that I had no idea how to really cook a turkey...

So, I started cooking the turkey at 1pm, and everyone was coming over at 4pm. There is no way to cook a turkey, especially in a shoebox, in that amount of time.

Needless to say, I turned the oven up to 500 degrees, yes, I did. Well, we all eventually ate, but the turkey was black on the outside and stone cold pink in the middle. To this day, I wonder how many people got sick...

Well, that is an extreme case of what can go wrong... I know. :)

The main issues people have with cooking a turkey are this, that the outside is not crispy and golden brown, and that the inside is either dry, or it is gummy.

So, here is a classic way to cook the turkey and get that perfect bird...

First, make a "tent" for the breast, before you put it in the oven. take foil and make a triangle over the breast. Now, take it off, you will need this later.

Turn the oven on to 450 degrees. Put the bird in the oven, middle is best but lower is fine if you don't have room. Cook the bird for 35 mins at this temperature. This will give the bird that lovely browning.

Now, take the bird out and put the "tent" on the breast. This will keep it from being very dry.
Turn your oven to 325 degrees. Cook at this temp for 20 minutes per pound. So, for a 20 pound bird, you are baking for 5 hours.  for a 12 pound bird, 3-3 1/2 hours. I know this sounds extreme, but it isn't.

Personally, I like to cook a tad longer. But you know the rule, cook until the button pops out...

Happy baking all.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How to make GFCF stuffing that will compliment any Turkey, Turkey.

So, a promise is a promise, as they say. I said I would start posting recipes for Thanksgiving, and so I will.

I had to really pour over my recipes to decide where to start. I thought, "hey, you know what? why not start with something that is almost completely bread?"

It is easy to have a gluten-free meal without stuffing, but with stuffing, that is a whole other animal.

So, that is where we will start, with the stuffing, the perfect compliment to the turkey. I have two recipes to share, and I will say, my "martian" actually eats the first version. In fact, he will sneak pieces of it off the table, with his hand. (I know, very unsanitary, but at least he is eating!)

The first recipe is for sausage and apple stuffing. Now, I personally make my own stuffing with ground pork, but there are quite a few gluten-free, casein-free ground sausage products out there. For example,
Jimmy Dean and Johnsonville both have products now that are gluten-free, casein-free.

So, without further ado, here is my recipe for Apple and Sausage stuffing.

Here is what you will need:

1 medium onion
3 stalks of celery
1 bunch of fresh sage or 1 tsp of dry sage. (dry sage has a stronger flavor than fresh)
1 medium apple (I prefer the taste of braeburn or honeycrisp, a friend of mine made this recipe with granny smith and said it was great.)
1/4 tsp of rosemary
1/4 tsp of herbs de provence
1/2 package of sausage
4 tblsp of ghee butter (clarified butter, casein free)
1 tblsp of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups of chicken stock (gluten, casein free) or turkey drippings with water.
1 loaf of gluten-free, casein-free bread. (We love Udi's whole grain, but any will do.)

Toast the bread in the oven at low temp, 200 degrees for about 30 minutes until dry.
or, you can buy a package of the gluten-free bread cubes, I just prefer larger, irregular pieces, call me a purist.

 So, start by chopping 1/2 of the onion, the stalks of celery, and the apple in fine dices. chop the sage fine as well.

Then, brown the sausage in the skillet over medium-high heat. When done, put the sausage on a paper towel and set aside.

I am a southern girl, so I only pour off half of the grease from the sausage, if you are a healthy sort of person, you will want to drain all of the grease out of the pan.

Once the pan is where you want it,
Then melt the ghee and olive oil together in a large skillet over medium heat.

Once the butter is melted down, add the onions and celery, you are going to want to stir them and let them become translucent.

Then, add 1/2 of the sage to the pan, stir well.

Add the apple pieces and the sausage back to the pan.

Add chicken stock or turkey drippings with water, about a cup, to the mixture.

Cover and let simmer for about 1/2 hour.

Take the bread and cube or tear to bite-size pieces or add the store-bought cubes to a large bowl, (heat safe.)
Add the rest of the chopped-up sage, herbs de provence, and rosemary to the bowl. Add salt and pepper.

toss the bread pieces with the seasonings until well coated.

Turn the heat off of the skillet, let cool for about 5-10 minutes.

Pour the contents of the skillet into the bowl of bread cubes. Toss the mixture together well until all bread is well coated.

Put in the oven at 350 for 40 minutes until brown on the top.

Enjoy with turkey!!

Now the next Recipe is one that all southerners are used to, cornbread stuffing. I never did like cornbread stuffing, except with a glass of iced-tea. My mom never made this one in particular, but most if not all my neighbors did and many of my relatives as well.

For cornbread stuffing, you will need:
Cornbread, either a gfcf mix, or store-bought, because they do have it.
1 onion
1/4 tsp of garlic
3 stalks of celery
fresh sage or 1 tsp of dried sage
1 tsp of thyme
1 tsp of parsley or a small bunch of fresh parsley
6 cups of chicken stock or turkey drippings and water equivalent.
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs beaten well.
8 tblsp of ghee butter

So, start by pulverizing the cornbread into very small pieces. Otherwise, the recipe may be too dry.
place in a large bowl and set aside.

Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet.

Finely chop the onion and the celery stalks and add to skillet

cook for about 10 minutes, until  the celery and onions are transparent.

Add all the seasonings to the cornbread and toss well.

Stir in the vegetables until mixture well coated

Add the beaten eggs to the mixture, then the chicken stock.

Pour the mixture into a greased glass pan.

Bake in the oven at 350 F for about 45 minutes.

Enjoy with Turkey or Ham!!!

I really do hope this is helpful. I would love some comments and feedback. If you need me to answer questions, post and I will reply as soon as I can.

Next week, Sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce.

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's Been Awhile!

Ok, so I know it has been a long while since I last posted. I apologize to all of you. However, what better time to post about special meals and special diets than the Holidays, which are rapidly approaching?

Yes, I thought so too.

So, where did we leave off? Oh, yeah, my son is on a better diet, he can now eat chicken, which will be added to my recipes on this site. Also, he now has no issue with bananas, good deal. However, he has new issues with strawberries, go figure.

So, over the next few weeks, I will be posting recipes that address the mother of all meals, Thanksgiving.
I know that many of us get night sweats and palpitations at the idea of cooking for this event of all foodie events, irregardless of whether or not there are special food considerations. If there are special food considerations, we have even more cause for alarm.

I am going to ask you to do one thing for me, Don't Panic!!!!

We will and can get through this...
We can plan and cook a dinner that will not only support our special kids' special diet, but also please and placate the numerous family members that will be eating as well.

Trust me on this, I won't steer you wrong.

I have been cooking  THE Thanksgiving meal for my family for four years now and that includes extended family, friends who don't cook, and various lonely service men and women who end up at my doorstep on Thursday afternoon, right about 2pm.

Remember, my family has a allergy-free home, which means that everyone is eating what we eat, no exceptions.

I am happy to report that I have had no complaints about the food.

So, next week, the first recipes I will post will be for stuffing, gluten, preservative, and dairy free stuffing recipes. We will get through this! I promise!

See you next week!

Gluten Free Victoria