Saturday, November 25, 2006

The good, the bad, and the ugly of Thanksgiving

Gluten Free Thanksgiving: The Maiden Voyage

Ok, maybe it wasn't that dramatic. It was an adventure, though. My mom felt that this was the most disorganized Thanksgiving yet. Eh. It kind of was. Hey, I tried setting the dialogue going about planning our menu. Regardless, it still turned out just fine. Some dishes were more successful then others. As previously mentioned, the stuffing was not so good. The turkey itself was very nice. We forgot our Cucumber in Sour Cream dish that we always have. That is ok, we still have Christmas lurking around the corner. The Strawberry-Banana Jello is another holiday favorite. The layer of sour cream in the middle makes it a special treat. The sweet potatoes were over cooked (they were supposed to be the "candied" variety with marshmallows.) No problem! I whipped them up with a little brown sugar, vanilla, and half & half. Lightly sweet, fluffy and creamy. I think I preferred them to the original version.

I was put in charge of dessert. I decided on Pumpkin Cheesecake. Very simple recipe from our fellow goddess, Karina. The filling was delish! I messed up the GF crust. Silly mistake. I over processed the cookie and nut mixture. The butters started to turn to butter. It was goopy. I added a bit of rice flour and pre-baked the crust. Sadly, it ended up a bit burnt. Not a complete disaster, but not exactly a success. We had tons of extra filling so I poured it into custard cups and baked. Those were excellent. I am going to make it again someday and will simply skip the crust. I will also make some whipped cream for topping. MMmmmm..... ::drool::

The biggest success (in my opinion) was the cranberry sauce. Super tangy and flavorful. We have always eaten the canned jellied stuff. I have to admit that I love it. I decided to be fancy this year. I recently purchased The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. LOVE this book! Not only does it have 100's of wonderful recipes that have been tested 40-60 times before making it into their cookbooks, but it includes product reviews. Wonderful step-by-step photo illustrations for some of the techniques are included. I have not yet tried a recipe from this book or any of their other books that has failed. I combined two of the variations they included in this book for cranberry sauce, and came up with this year's dish: Orange-Ginger Cranberry Sauce.

Orange-Ginger Cranberry Sauce

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 t. salt
1 T grated ginger or ginger puree
zest of one large orange (I used a navel orange)
1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries

Bring sugar, water, salt, ginger and orange zest to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally to help dissolve the sugar. Stir in the cranberries an simmer until slightly thickened and the berries begin to pop, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature before serving (about one hour). Can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week.

I stuck with the 10 minutes of simmering. It began to thicken and pop prior to that, but I like fewer whole berries and more mush. This recipe was so simple. A great effort to flavor ratio. I am thinking of making it again and using it as a glaze for a pork roast in the slow cooker. We will have to see how that works.

So did any of you try new GF holiday dishes?

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