Allergy Friendly Thanksgiving Tips

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Rockwell-Thanksgiving-218x300-1Delicious, Allergen-Free Turkey Day

On Thanksgiving, we gather and we eat for upwards of four hours, all the way from pre-dinner snacks to post-dessert dessert. But a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is literally one of the most allergen-laden meals possible.Whether this is your first allergen-free Thanksgiving or your twentieth, the following tips will help make it festive, mouthwateringly delicious, and safe.

Talking Turkey:

Did you know that many fresh and frozen turkeys contain hidden allergens? Most conventional, “self-basted” turkeys have been injected with butter, water and salt, and may also contain gluten. If you’re going to go the conventional turkey route, always verify ingredients with the manufacturer before purchasing. A safer option is a “Natural” turkey, which hasn’t been treated with any artificial colors or flavor enhancing ingredients. Look for “Organic” natural turkeys at websites like Local Harvest, or stores like Whole Foods.

Another good option: natural “Kosher” turkey. Guaranteed to have no dairy injected, the benefit of a Kosher turkey is that it has already been salted, and thus doesn’t need brining. I recommend Empire, the taste test winner selected by Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. Empire turkeys are also gluten-free. If you’re a die-hard foodie, take the adventurous (albeit, most expensive) route and look for a “Heritage” turkey, which is one of the pre-World War II breeds of turkey, like Narragansett and Bourbon Red. Slow Food has a great listing of independent farmers raising Heritage turkeys, state by state. Looking for something similar to what our forefathers might have eaten? Save yourself the hunt, check out D’Artagnan, to purchase a wild bird.

Last, to keep your turkey allergen-free, baste with olive oil. There is no need for butter, and in fact I prefer turkey with olive oil.

Savory Side Dishes:

Make baked sweet potato and potato dishes using canola oil instead of butter, and orange juice or rice milk instead of milk or cream. I prefer yams/sweet potatoes without marshmallows, but if like them, look for Allerenergy marshmallows, or try vegan brands like VeganSweets, made without eggs or gelatin, but be forewarned that they contain the allergen SOY. Instead of plain rice, mix and match with old world gluten-free grains like quinoa, millet, brown rice, wild rice, and buckwheat. All of these combine well with legumes like lentils or chickpeas, and are wonderful when enhanced with fresh herbs like thyme and sage. Dip into the plentiful array of winter squash available this time of year–not just butternut and acorn, but delicatared kuri, and sweet dumplings. For an allergy-friendly stuffing, check out my Cornbread Wild Mushroom Stuffing Recipe.

Gravy can be made with olive oil instead of butter, and alternate flours, such as brown rice flour for thickening, instead of traditional wheat flour. See my recipe for Allergy-Friendly Gravy below.

Try making roast brussel sprouts this year instead of drenching them in butter or hollandaise sauce. To roast, cook at 450 degrees on a baking tray, tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt and pepper, for 25 minutes, shaking once or twice until a crispy golden brown on the outside, and tender on the inside.

For cranberry sauce, omit walnuts (tree nuts), and use thinly sliced tangerines or mandarin oranges, keeping the rind on, to add texture and color.

For Pie, check out my cookbook, The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook for any number of wonderful allergen-free pie, crumble, and crisp recipes, from Pumpkin Pie, to Apple Cranberry Pie. Or see my Allergy-Friendly Sweet Potato Pie recipe, or Cranberry Apple Crisp.

Remember: if you’re only doing a few allergen-free dishes rather than a whole allergy-friendly meal, be aware of cross contamination and cross contact while cooking and serving. Consider labeling dishes with ingredient cards. If the meal is going to be served buffet-style, serve the food allergic person first to avoid cross contamination.

creamgravy-286x300Allergy-Friendly (Gluten-Free) Creamy Gravy

Makes 1 1/4 cups

Gravy is one of those things that everybody loves. Even the thought of gravy can make you smile. In fact, the term gravy, in slang, means happiness, stable goodness, and a state of complacency.Gravy also means cool, okay, and all good, as in “It’s all gravy, baby”. If something is better than gravy, it’s gravy on eggos or gravy on rice. Who doesn’t want some of that coolness poured onto their plate?

But beloved gravy is also highly allergenic. Yup, it’s loaded with no-nos for those with food allergies. Butter (dairy), wheat (gluten), and cream/milk (dairy again). It’s also often chock-full of soy derivatives.So I took on the challenge to convert beloved gravy into something allergy-friendly. Just pour this yummy goodness over rice, potatoes, turkey breast, or do like me, and eat it with a spoon!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup fine brown rice flour

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

pinch of dried thyme

pinch of cayenne pepper

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup warm beef (or chicken or turkey) broth or stock (Kitchen Basics is allergy-friendly)

1/2 cup warm rice milk

 

1. Heat canola oil in heavy pot over medium-high heat.

2. Add brown rice flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, 2 minutes, until golden and aromatic.

3. Add onion powder, pinch of thyme, pinch of cayenne pepper, pinch of salt, and a couple turns of freshly ground pepper. Cook about 1 minute more, stirring.

4. Reduce heat to medium. Using a whisk, whisk in the warm beef broth, in three batches. Whisk vigorously, to smooth out any lumps. Add warm rice milk, whisking, and bring to a simmer. Cook stirring often, until thick and creamy. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Allergy-Friendly, Gluten-Free Creamy Gravy
© 2010 by Cybele Pascal

(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available at Whole Foods, and online at Amazon.com. If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)

SAFETY NOTE: Because each person’s food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns beforeconsumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.

Allergy Friendly Thanksgiving

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BIG WEEK, here in the USA.  Big.  I’m so proud of all those who got out the vote. The people who stood in line in NYC for 3 hours, waiting endlessly, because 3 out of 4 polling machines were broken. The people who drove others to vote on LI and in NJ because people have no gas after Sandy. I’m just so proud of our country. No matter what your politics, this has been an inspirational week, a week full of tremendous humanity.  Between the relief efforts on the East Coast, to watching our democracy work against all odds, I’m feeling very thankful.

And speaking of thankful, I’d like to start an Allergy-Friendly Friday Linky Party devoted to Thanksgiving Recipes. What will you be bringing to our virtual thanksgiving table?  Share your links below. And feel free to share more than one link…. this is a two week party, and we need lots of food!!!!!  THIS LINKY EVENT WILL RUN from today 11/9 to Friday 11/23.  I can’t wait to see what everyone is making!

 

Thank you for contributing to last week’s Allergy-Friendly Friday roundup! Here are the recipe highlights from the last Allergy Friendly Friday. And remember, they are being featured on my Allergy-Friendly Friday Highlights Pinterest board too, so check them out there, along with other featured allergy-friendly recipes from weeks past.

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Allergy Friendly Gluten Free Turkey Pot Pie

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Thanksgiving Leftovers: How to recycle your holiday feast into an allergen-free, gluten-free one pot meal!

 

The term, waste not, want not has never held more weight than it does in these tough times. So after that huge Thanksgiving meal, rework those holiday leftovers into day-after-delicacies. The following dish is simple to make (who really feels like cooking after all that holiday prep?), uses up leftover ingredients, and calls for staples that most of us have on hand (because who feels like shopping, either?).

Allergy-Friendly Turkey Pot Pie with Mashed Potatoes

 

(Allergy-Friendly, Gluten-Free)

Makes 6 servings

Comfort food at its best: part potpie, part shepherd’s pie, and chock-full of leftovers. This one pot meal uses up turkey, gravy, and the thanksgiving sides; pearl onions, peas, corn, cooked carrots, and mashed potatoes. It also keeps well for several days, and can be reheated on demand. This can be made dairy-free, gluten-free, and allergen-free, by following the optional tips below. Additionally, if you don’t have an oven safe-casserole, you may bake this in a deep-dish pie dish or baking dish.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pearl onions (or 1/2 cup onion, diced)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, sliced or chopped (cooked or raw)
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup turkey gravy (Imagine makes dairy-free, gluten-free turkey gravy) or my Allergy-friendly (Gluten-free) “Creamy” Gravy
  • 1 cup rice milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 cups roast turkey, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup corn (cooked, frozen, canned, or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 3 cups mashed potatoes

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2, Heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots, and cook, stirring often, until just tender, 3-4 minutes. (If you are using cooked carrots, add them in the last minute of cooking time). Remove from heat and set aside.

3. In a medium oven-safe casserole, (3 1/2-5 quarts) heat the remaining 3 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add brown rice flour, and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes until lightly golden. Add gravy and rice milk, and cook stirring, until it thickens up into a nice smooth cream sauce, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of the lemon juice.

4. Add turkey, onion/celery/carrot mixture, corn, and peas to the “cream” sauce. Stir to coat. Add remaining Tablespoon of lemon juice, a little more salt and pepper, and parsley. Stir well to combine.

5. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over filling.

6. Bake in center of oven 30-40 minutes until potatoes are browned a bit on top, and filling is bubbling up around the edges.

Allergy-Friendly Turkey Pot Pie with Mashed Potatoes
© 2009 by Cybele Pascal

(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available atWhole Foods, and online atAmazon.com. If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)

SAFETY NOTE: Because each person’s food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns before consumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.