Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Holiday Tips
Getting through the holidays gluten and dairy free can be tough. Let me tell ya. But then, the holidays were always a challenge for me because I was mostly vegetarian for decades (meaning ovo-lacto vegetarian and sometimes vegan). In truth, Gentle Reader, my holiday foods have often tended, shall we say, to be a tad different from mainstream holiday fare.
Being the wild and free goddess-in-training I was back in those golden zen-kissed crunchy pre-celiac days, I learned early on how to tweak traditional recipes and reinvent old favorites- like using coconut milk as a vegan (non-dairy) sub in whipped sweet potatoes (everyone loved this!) and subbing butter and cream with vegetable broth and crushed roasted garlic in fluffy smashed potatoes. No one missed the animal fat (unless they were just being polite).
My stuffing back then (baked as a casserole) was naturally gluten-free. I used cubes of toasted cornbread tossed with a skillet of softened onions, celery, chopped apple and cranberries seasoned with a touch of curry- then moistened with broth and baked till golden- sometimes with pine nuts or pecans on top.
Instead of serving green beans swimming in canned mushroom soup (because I never- and I mean, never- got the appeal of that goopy combination) I roasted fresh green beans in sea salt and balsamic vinegar- just until tender-crisp. Or did this simple but elegant recipe with pomegranate glaze.
Lucky for me, I enjoyed thinking "outside the box". And in my vegan years- not once- did I make a turkey out of tofu.
Who needs tofurky when you have Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas?
As for 2007? It will be another quiet Thanksgiving holiday here by the mesa. No traveling. I'm still off my feet- though a slick new wheelchair has helped me feel more mobile here at home and allowed me to work at my desk (and not be bored beyond belief). Steve will be the official cook this year. I suspect the afore mentioned enchiladas will be on the menu.
Ten Tips for Tasty Gluten-Free + Dairy-Free Holidays:
For making gravy, use arrowroot starch, or sweet rice flour; these thicken better than wheat flour, anyway. Less lumps. Add a small dash of dry sherry, brandy, or wine, if you so desire.
For a non-dairy sub in pumpkin, squash and sweet potato recipes try full fat coconut milk- it's delicious.
Cook carrots in orange juice for a non-dairy flavor boost. Drizzle with a touch of pure maple syrup.
Use raw organic agave nectar or pure maple syrup for adding just the right touch of sweetness to veggies and sauces.
For stuffing, simply follow your favorite recipe and substitute toasted cubes of gluten-free cornbread, or a loaf of store-bought gluten-free white bread.
For a crunchy bread crumb topping try my Crunchy Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs (process toasted GF waffles- they make perfect golden crumbs).
As an all-around basic flour substitute keep a bag of Pamela's Baking Mix on hand (original has buttermilk- but there is a non-dairy mix now, as well); use it to thicken soup and chili, to coat and dredge pan fried cakes. It also works well as a one to one sub in almost every baking recipe I've converted. If you avoid dairy or nuts [Pamela's contains buttermilk and almond flour] try an all-purpose gluten free flour blend from Whole Foods, Bob's Red Mill or Gluten Free Pantry. Note that not all mixes taste the same (some feature bean flours- yuck).
For a classic cookie crumb pie crust use gluten-free cookies (Lemon or Ginger or Chocolate, depending upon the filling) processed into crumbs; I use Joy of Cooking's classic cookie/cracker crumb recipe and simply substitute with gluten free cookies.
Add turkey leftovers to nachos, soup, chili pasta, and frittata recipes.
Browse all my dairy-free recipes in this handy GF DF Index.
And one last holiday-kissed morsel- a few nut and crumb pie crust recipes from my baking file, see below.