First gluten free Thanksgiving review

eandhlNovember 23, 2012

I bought Aleia's stuffing mix and added more veggies than the package called for. What was roasted in the turkey was good. The extra stuffing baked not so good.

First time I made gravy with cornstarch, not as good as my past gravies but okay. The gluten free bread wasn't good but the reg whole wheat rolls was!

Gluten free pie crust, yuck. The nut one mentioned in another post sound better. All in all we did have a very nice Thanksgiving.

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What was wrong with the pie crust?

I have been experimenting with gluten free pie crusts and could maybe help.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 11:24PM
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We have 6 gluten free bakeries in town.Bought a crust and it was better than the regular pumpkin pie. Made a white cake gluten free cake mix today and froze it so not sure how it will taste. Plan on a rich dark chocolate frosting about mid Dec.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 3:32AM
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Interesting about your gravy. I know several people who have been using cornstarch for a gravy thickener for a long time. They like it better because it dissolves better so no lumps. I've always thought they tasted fine but I'm not too fussy on gravy as long as it's good and hot and plenty of it.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 4:52AM
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Pie crust was kind of chewy. We have done cakes and been very please with flavor as well as texture.
I think I let the gravy get to hot, it went to boiling and became to thin after my error. I just need more practice, the flavor was okay. Can anyone else offer an explanation why it would become thin?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 9:04AM
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Yeah, gluten free takes a lot of playing around with. I don't use mixes and usually change up recipes for my liking. I find most flours have very different tastes and textures that can really stand out. If it's a pumpkin pie crust I usually make it nut based and it's so good. As far as stuffing goes Udi makes a superior product for bread. It is light in texture and the taste is great. I don't have it often because I try to keep my carbs on the lower side. Just weird about the gravy.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 10:21AM
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I make crustless, gluten-free pumpkin pie using the Impossible Pumpkin Pie recipe (Bisquick/Betty Crocker recipe). You can use the gluten-free Bisquick, Bob's Red Mill gluten-free baking mix, or your own homemade gluten-free baking mix mixture. I make a high-fiber, high-protein, low-carb, gluten-free baking mix.

Makes approx. 1-cup baking mix:
1/2 c. almond flour
1/2 c. hi-maize resistant starch (available through King Arthur or Honeyville Grain)
1/4 t. salt
1-1/2 t. baking powder
1 T. coconut oil (or other fat/oil of choice)
Mix ingredients with a hand-held electric mixer until fat is well blended.

My mother was gluten-intolerant and made gluten-free cornbread. When it was cool, sliced it into small cubes and toasted the cubes in the oven before using it for dressing. You could use the same method with other gluten-free breads (commercial or homemade).

Cornstarch is what my mother always used for thickening gravy, and you can also use rice flour, arrowroot, or Instant Clear Jel, to mention a few alternatives.

Instant Clear Jel (available from King Arthur and larger amounts available on-line - I buy it in #10 cans) is a modified corn starch that is popular with pie bakers. (Note: Do not use the instant version for canning of pie fillings because it is designed for heating only the one time which is when the pie is actually baked - use regular Clear Jel for canning).

Features and Benefits:

INSTANT CLEAR JEL will begin to swell or thicken as soon as it is added to water, milk or juices; it will impart a smooth, short texture when fully hydrated. The viscosity will increase slightly upon heating. It has excellent heat and acid resistance and can be used in acid containing foods and in those applications where heating is required.

INSTANT CLEARJEL also has good cold temperature storage stability making it particularly well suited for refrigerated and frozen foods.

1 T. cornstarch = 1 1/2 T. Instant Clear Jel
2 T. flour or tapioca = 1 T. Instant Clear Jel

Not all thickeners work the same. Some break when cooked too long, some are poor at gel formation, not all of them freeze well, or don't reheat well. Different thickeners work for different food applications, so 2 or 3 gluten-free thickeners may be necessary for different uses.

For every 2 tablespoons of flour used as a thickener use:

-1 T. cornstarch
-2-1/2 t. arrowroot
-1 T. tapioca (quick cooking, granulated)
-1 T. potato starch
-2-1/2 t. rice flour or rice starch

I've been experimenting with a recipe I found on-line for "One Minute Muffins" and I thought it might also work for the bread substitute in dressing (cubed and toasted) but haven't tried it yet.

Our daughter (the work-out warrior in the family) was looking for a low-carb, high-protein, bread substitute she could make at home without a lot of time and expense, and this recipe has worked well for her for a lot of applications (burger buns, toast, grilled sandwiches, bread pudding, etc. - and it's also gluten-free.

One Minute Muffin
1/4 c. almond flour
2 T. golden flaxmeal (we also like to substitute the flaxmeal with 2 T. hi-maize resistant starch or 2 T. unflavored whey protein isolate)
pinch of salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 T. unsalted butter
1 large egg

1. Melt butter in a 4-1/2-inch ramekin.
2. Whisk egg then slowly drizzle in the melted butter.
3. To the egg and butter add almond flour, flaxseed meal and salt. Mix well with a spoon.
4. Sprinkle with baking powder and mix one more time.
5. Spoon into ramekin and microwave for one minute.
6. Remove from microwave with dish towel and invert onto a cooling rack.
7. Split in half and toast. (I get 3 thin slices from each "muffin".
NOTE: If you don't like eggs, you might not like this bread substitute because it has an eggy flavor. If you spread peanut butter on the toasted slices, you won't notice the eggy flavor.

Options: This morning I made the recipe but I used the batter to make 2 small sticky pecan rolls in 3-1/2-inch ramekins. I melted the butter between the ramekins and made the recipe for the batter (using whey protein isolate). In the bottom of each ramekin I added 1/2-t. of palm sugar nectar (honey or agave nectar would also work) and a light sprinkle of palm sugar (brown or white sugar could be used), cinnamon and chopped pecans. Divided the batter between the two ramekins, microwaved for 45-seconds. Hubby approved!

A lot of low-carb foods are also gluten-free, and this recipe is a good example.


    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 10:59AM
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Thanks for tips and recipes. Do you think I am right about the over heating the gravy? I read somewhere the Stuffing mix I did buy was supposed to be superior. Again what was roasted in the turkey was very good, just not baked alone. I didn't trust myself to make my own from cornbread. Maybe by next Thanksgiving. Now to plan GF Christmas Eve. I didn't do to bad last Christmas Eve, just made DD something different.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 6:47PM
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eandhl, cornstarch will "break down" if it's heated for too long, whereas flour isn't as prone to that problem. So if you boil your gravy too long or too hard it gets thinner rather than thicker. Cornstarch does give a slightly different texture, more gelatinous than flour, but I don't notice a difference in flavor, really.

Some of the gluten free flour/baking mixes are OK, some are horrible, all you can do is try to see what your DD likes. It's not something that a lot of people keep on hand, but at least it's available in small amounts.

Go for the cornbread stuffing. I made it for Elery a couple of times. My family wants no part of it, they like very moist white bread based stuffing, but Elery liked it and his daughter helped him eat it all, so I didn't have leftovers.


    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 7:00PM
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I wish there were more threads regarding gluten free cooking and baking!!! I noticed that the 'Special Diets' forum is basically dead, so there's no help there. :p

Re GF pie crusts, the best recipe I've found on-line came from the King Arthur Flour website. Many of their GF recipes are very good.

I haven't fully experimented with GF gravy thickeners, but quickly eliminated using rice flour. I only use cornstarch for thickening fruit because of that 'gel like' quality that Annie talked about. I've tried tapioca starch, potato starch, and sweet rice flour as gravy thickeners, and had decent success. I need to continue the experimentation to figure out which works best for each type of gravy. :)

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 11:38AM
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Thanks Annie, I thought that might have been what happened. Live & learn.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 12:47PM
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I took the recipe for One Minute Muffins I posted above and cut it into three slices, cut the slices into 1/2-inch cubes and made dressing in a small 2-cup casserole dish as a test.

Toasted the cubes in the oven (while it was preheating for a loaf of banana bread) and made a simple dressing mixture (toasted bread cubes, minced onion, chopped celery, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and turkey broth). I thought it was a very good gluten-free substitute, or for anyone watching carbs since the bread is also high-protein/low-carb.

The cubes kept their shape - I was afraid they would dissolve or become sticky - and was moist in the middle and crispy on the outside (covered for the first portion of cooking and uncovered until the top was crispy). Results would vary depending on how much moisture you added to your dressing. I like it on the dry side.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 12:22PM
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party_music50, are you dissolving the rice flour directly in the gravy? I make a golden brown roux with glutinous rice flour and butter or fat, and I haven't found anyone yet who can tell it from gravy made with a wheat flour roux. It adds no strange flavors, and the consistency of the gravy is the same. I think I've used regular white rice flour for the roux too, but I'm not 100% sure.

I haven't played with pie crust yet- I've been curious about a nut one or a toasted coconut one. But, if all else fails, the Mi del gingersnaps are fantastic, and those could be used in a graham cracker type crust. They might need to be dried out a bit in the oven before being pulsed though. I am not actually that wild about regular pie crust- it never seemed to taste that good for the enormous amount of calories, but I'd eventually like to come up with a recipe for that too.

I made stuffing with slices of EnerG white rice bread, baked at 350 until crunchy all the way through. The chestnut stuffing that holds my heart uses the Pepperidge farm stuffing mix, and I thought I would miss the extra seasoning, but I couldn't tell the end result from mom's. Sauteed onion and sage cover a multitude of sins :-) I'll try dusting the bread with powdered seasoning, just as soon as we solve the argument about whether the prepackaged stuff is flavored with Italian spices or poultry spices.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 12:47AM
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jessicav, I have tried w/ a roux from regular rice flour, but haven't tried a roux w/ glutinous/sweet rice flour (I dissolved in liquid instead). What ratios do you use for the glutinous rice flour, fat, and liquid? There are so many things I still need to experiment with...

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 11:17AM
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For a very thick gravy, 10g butter/7g glut ri/85g liquid. That gives unwieldy amounts in volume measurements, but if you double it, it's approximately:

1.5 tbsp butter
1 tbsp + 1 tsp glutinous rice flour
3/4 cup liquid

You should find that the flour and fat form a textured paste. If they seem more like a liquid, add extra flour a tsp at a time until you can see texture. This will prevent having a layer of grease on top of the gravy. I like to then cook the roux over med/high heat until light brown, which probably takes under a minute, then whisk in the liquid. If this makes a gravy that's too thick for your taste, it's no problem to add more liquid. If the gravy seems thin, just keep cooking until you have a smooth consistency with bubbles in the middle of the pan. It won't thicken properly until it's simmering all the way through.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 3:33PM
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Dear Grainlady, Thanks for that low carb one minute muffin. Sounds tasty and also versatile.

I like one minute things.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:04PM
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