Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I’m Not Going Cold Turkey THIS Turkey Day!

I may be the only gluten free gal not shaking in her boots this year. I find it just as easy to enjoy myself on this holiday as I do every other day of the week. Why all the trepidation? I am probably less scared than the diet obsessed calorie phobic that lurks around every family. You know who I am talking about. The one that cringes with the crackle of freshly baked loaf of bread because of the carb content, or hides in the bathroom while slices of pie are being deliciously devoured. Resolutions are made at the beginning of the next year for a reason my dear readers. We work hard all year, and I think we need to reward ourselves! Being Greek, I have learned some wonderful lessons around the holidays. For instance, there are no calories on holidays. It’s true I tell you! Once you stop counting carbs and just enjoying your favorite delights, you’ll realize how miniscule a couple more ticks on that scale for one day can be. Plus, we all burn off half the cranberry dressing with a rousing game of football right?

Okay off my perch now. I am not saying to overindulge by any means by the way. Dig in with appropriate portions of course. If I can remain at ease on this holiday, I see no reason why you cannot. It’s after all, a holiday based on a feast!

So feast your eyes on

some good advice on keeping gfree guiltily below. I’ll keep you from hyperventilating at either the scale or the site of the potentially gluten gravy, and you just sit back and enjoy.

For my advice about a stress/gluten free Thanksgiving, I give you tips from my blog mentor herself, the glutenfreegoddess. I often get inspiration from her recipes, and she has had much more experience in the gfree world than I. She has written a great guide about where your gluten may be lurking. A bit from her blog below!

•Marinades and soy sauce, broth and bouillon may use wheat or barley in flavors and seasonings. Although I urge you to check your turkey for gluten-free status, most I've seen are safe- if you avoid the seasoning or gravy packet.
•For thickening gravy, whisk in a tablespoon or two of sweet rice flour or an arrowroot starch slurry. Potato flour is another choice- but be careful you don't add too much and end up with gravy you have to slice and serve. I like to add a splash of dry sherry, brandy, or wine to the gravy as well. It gives it that extra kick (and goddess knows, sometimes we need it- especially around the holidays).
•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. Or try my personal favorite stuffing recipe- Cornbread Stuffing with Curried Apples and Cranberries.
•For a crunchy bread crumb topping, try my Crunchy Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs (process toasted GF waffles- they make perfect golden crumbs).
•For a gluten-free mac and cheese try my Kicked Up Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe or my dairy-free Baked Mac and Cheese or my totally from scratch Cheesy Uncheese Mac and Cheese (fab for vegan guests).
•For a classic cookie crumb pie crust use Pamela's 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. For a butter replacement, try Spectrum Organic Shortening.
•For a gluten-free pie crust folks rave about, try Rebecca Reilly's Gluten-Free Pie Crust recipe with sorghum flour.

Read more: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2008/11/thanksgiving-recipes-tips-for-gluten.html#ixzz167Xdn3Mo

Let's Talk Thanksgiving & Local Thanksgivings

I am very much a celebrator of Thanksgiving. You won't find me hanging my stockings with care until I have dined and stuffed myself fuller than the turkey.

I feel it's only decent to give Thanksgiving the time and respect it deserves. The pilgrims didn't peace pipe it with the Indians over a bird for nothing my friends.

I love Christmas time, but December is the month I dedicate to it's festivities. The month of November is a great time to think about all the wonderful blessings we have in our lives. Like for instance, I am thankful that there are so many more gluten free conscious places in Tulsa now! It’s amazing how quickly our city adapted to people’s needs and I am so grateful to be living in a community that aims to please and satisfy it’s consumers.

So before Turkey Day arrives, I want to share a local downtown restaurant that has helped me wind into Thursday’s celebration… Mod’s Coffee and Crepes. Every Tuesday, Mod’s opens it’s doors and arms to the g-free community, making glorious gluten free crepes.

I have not had a crepe since my French Club days back in high school, and they are just as delicious as I remember. Well, probably more delicious as we were making ours on a portable griddle, masking any recipe flaw with gobs of nutella, but as president I was happy to make this a Friday morning tradition nonetheless.

I digress back to modern day and Mod’s. I have been a friend of theirs on facebook for a few months and have seen posts about their gluten free crepe Tuesdays for quite some time, but have never been able to stop by to try, until today that is. I tried the Spicy Turkey and Cranberry Crepe, perfect for preparation for Thursday’s feast.
My oh my friends, I could not get enough! The crepe was lighter than any wrap I have had, the cranberry was fresh and delicious, a little spicy mustard, turkey, and cheese and perfection was accomplished. The portions are quite generous, but I felt as light and fluffy as my lunch when I left. My husband tried the baked ham and green apple and said it was remarkable.
He forgot to order the gluten free so I was unfortunately not able to try but I'll trust his palate preferences. He does live with a cook that makes him taste test the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly after all. We split the nutella and banana gluten free crepe for dessert
which ended our delightful lunch. I got to reminiscence in my nutella days from French club too. Les crêpes étaient remarquablement délicieux!
(Side note:Please excuse any tense or gramatically incorrections those of you who are more brushed up in your french flair.)

So I am giving a large THANKS this Thanksgiving to Mod’s for your AMAZING crepes and consideration for the gluten free community. Make a spot for me by the window as you are now my new Tuesday tradition! If you are g-free, vegan, or just a local food connoisseur, get your bum downtown!

Mod’s is open Mon: 11am-2pm, Tues-Fri: 11am-10pm, and Sat:4pm-10pm

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Spooky and Savory Halloween

The weather always seems to dip dramatically as the haunting hour of Halloween approaches in Oklahoma. It's as if the spirits trail into town, tipping the temperatures to make us aware of their icy presence. So how do I combat their cold weather trickery? With warm and spicy treats in the kitchen! And what is more comforting than a bowl of hearty chili, warming your heart,and sedating those ghoulish goosebumps.I have pulled my fair share of tricks in the past during the witching hours of all hallows eve, so this year I think I will just focus on the treats.

Halloween is my favorite holiday, so I was more than thrilled to host on Sunday night. It's always rewarding to entertain and satisfy a big crowd for not a big buck. This recipe is heavy on the flavor and light on the wallet. One thing that I NEVER skimp on however, is the decorating. I admit, it looks like halloween threw up in my house, and we could probably rival a Griswald Christmas, but we are festivous nonetheless.

Chili is a fall/winter crock pot staple in our house, and I always enjoy adding seasonal ingredients to any dish I dish out to you lovely readers. So here it is...a spooking spiced chili concoction I threw together in my bubbling cauldron, "Pumpkin Chicken Chili". Feel free to add more spice, if you dare...

Pumpkin Chicken Chili
•2 tablespoons EVOO
•1 small yellow onion, chopped
•1 orange bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
•2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•1 ½ lbs boiled, shredded chicken
•1 (14.5-ounce) can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes (with juice)
•1 (15-ounce) can organic pumpkin purée
•2 cups water
•2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
•3 tablespoons chili powder
•1 teaspoon ground cumin
•Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
•1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
•1 package organic shredded mild cheddar cheese (optional topping)
•Corn tortilla strips (optional topping)

Heat the EVOO in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeños and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add your shredded or cooked shredded chicken and cook until browned. Add tomatoes, pumpkin, water, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium low and add kidney beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes-1 hour. Ladle chili into bowls and serve. Taste test, and adjust spices to your liking.
Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, and corn tortilla strips for toppings. I also accompanied mine with my pumpkin corn muffins below.