An Early Gluten Free Thanksgiving

Last night my friends hosted an early Thanksgiving.  They normally go to Austria for Thanksgiving holiday and celebrate  it the week before.   My friend’s husband was diagnosed with a gluten allergy last year and is still being tested for Celiac disease.  They have transitioned to gluten free living pretty easily, but he has been missing bread.  We also wanted to make sure we could have all the traditional dishes for Thanksgiving, that were safe for him.   My friend is a wonderful cook, but does not think of herself as a baker, so I wanted to test out the recipes before we did it together. 

So a couple of weeks ago I started practicing for Gluten Free Thanksgiving.  I made a loaf of bread using the local Turkish gluten free flour mix.  Thankfully the flour mix also includes xanthan gum.  The bread turned out really well, it was a little eggier than regular bread, but tasted great.  It was also fairly easy to make, I found this recipe to be one of the simplest and was very pleased with it.

GFbread

My friend and I got together on Wednesday to bake bread for stuffing.  As it had the time before, the bread came out nicely.  While we were baking she asked me to bake the pies for Thanksgiving as well.  I took on the challenge of the GF pies.  However, I have to say, it turned out to be much more difficult than the bread. 

I have been making pie crust from scratch for years, but really had trouble with this.  Perhaps it was the flour.  Many of the gluten free websites specify a mix of certain types of flours, but I only had one option available in the store.  Whatever it was, it was not working.  I could not roll it out.  Different recipes said rather than to roll out the dough, to extrude it, by rolling it between wax paper.  that worked well enough but then I couldn’t get the dough off the wax paper.  It was SOO sticky.   I finally pressed the flour into the pie pan itself, for the pumpkin pie.  I had been planning on making an apple pie as well, but since I could not roll out the dough, I decided on making an apple tart.  I “extruded” the dough using baking paper and managed to scrape it off one of the papers using a sharp knife.  Woot Woot!  Step 1 completed!

Then, using the gluten free base, I followed the recipe from Smitten Kitchen for Apple Mosaic Tart with Salted Caramel.  It came out really well.  I loved the salted caramel with the apples.  I think I will try it with the puff pastry base suggested in the recipe next time. 

We brought both with us last night, and had a delicious and traditional gluten free Thanksgiving.  As always, my friends cooked a beautiful meal, and the company was great!  We had such a lovely time.  This year I am not hosting Thanksgiving, much to Bülent’s relief, but I am very lucky to have such wonderful friends.  I was invited to 3 Thanksgivings this year, unfortunately 2 of them are are at the same time.  We so enjoyed Gluten Free Thanksgiving  last night, and are looking forward to celebrating with a different group of friends next week.

Thanksgiving

THXGIVING TURKEY FRUITS N CHEESE

How to have a successful Thanksgiving…

Friends+ Laughter+ Love+ Food+ Wine= Fantasticness

When I first moved away from home I was far enough away that I was not really able to go home for Thanksgiving. I have to admit to a lower lip tremble over that. I am from a very close family and getting together for the holidays has always been very important to us. But since I was away, I decided to make the best of the holidays and to create my own holiday rituals and customs.

I have been very lucky in my Thanksgivings since I left home. The first year, I lived in San Diego, it was just Bulent and me. After the large chaotic extended family Thanksgivings it was a little hard emotionally. However, the high point of that year was that I successfully learned how to cook the entire meal by myself.

The second year in San Diego my BFF from New Hampshire came out with her husband and we had an amazing time. They had never been to California so it was a beach vacation rolled into the Thanksgiving holiday for them. Together we made the meal and had such a happy holiday. It really soothed my holiday homesickness.

The third year in San Diego my cousin had moved to LA and we had many more close friends. That year we hosted a Bad Ass Thanksgiving, complete with apple cider martinis and after Turkey clubbing downtown.

Last year we didn’t host but this year we really did it in style. This was our first “Married” holiday so it was pretty special that way. We had a fantastic Thanksgiving. We hosted 16 people, there was food, conversation and general merriment. We had an amazing time.

In the short time I have been in Ankara I have been lucky enough to make some truly amazing friends. Now I have my family that I was born to and the family that I have made. Holidays are no longer a time of the lower lip trembling– which is excitement in itself.

While Thanksgiving was a blast there was a lot to the preparation because of the amount of food to be cooked.

TXGIV TURKEY 2010 It included–

2 Turkeys
3 Kilos of green bean casserole
4 Kilos of mashed pumpkin
3 Kilos of cauliflower gratin
2 Kilos mashed potato
1 Salad
1 Pecan pie
1 Pumpkin pie
1 Apple pie
1 Crazy Allergic Reaction*

THXGIVING SPIRIT

While I did cook most of the food myself, two of my amazing friends decided to deal with the kitchen afterwards. They did all of the pots and pans, put away the food and in general took care of 90% of the clean up. It was the best gift EVER!

Next year I will re-introduce the apple cider martinis and the dinner may be potluck. It will still be fantastic though, no matter what! All the trappings and trimmings Thanksgiving just disguise the real point of the holiday. A time for our “Framily” (friends+family) to spend time together.

*One of the reasons this post is so late and also will be the subject of the next post.

Technological Thanksgiving

I had a lovely Thanksgiving meal tonight.  Bulent and I were invited to a friends, where there was great food, good conversation and good friends.

After I came home I got a call from my parents on Skype.  They had brought their laptop to Thanksgiving dinner at my cousin’s house.  They turned Skype on and then passed me around.  I spoke with my Nana, my parents, my cousins and aunts and uncles.  I spoke to my brother and his random friend who he brought to dinner.

It was fabulous.  I got to see and talk to everyone and feel that even though I am over 5000 miles and 7 time zones away.

Today I am thankful for family, for their love and support, for friends and this amazing adventure I am on.