Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner that Your Mama Didn't Make

Creating a sauce that tastes of warm carmel apple with the pleasant and not so over-powering tang of cranberry, was the beginning of putting together a semi-non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner that taste better than any traditional meal I've made in the past. According to my husband, the best ever!

Don't wait until next Thanksgiving to try these recipes - Christmas is just around the corner. Enjoy!

Our Gluten-Free Holiday Menu
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Tamari Gravy 
  • Tempeh and Sage Loaf with Cranberry Maple Cider Sauce
  • Ginger-Glazed Parsnips & Carrots
  • Romaine, Red Onion & Orange Salad with Lime Dressing
  • Cranberry-Apple Pie

So, let's go through the ingredients and directions for all the recipes. Click here for the cranberry sauce.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Gluten-Free Tamari Gravy

Since you probably already know how to make garlic mashed potatoes, I'll only share that we boil white potatoes until soft, then mash them with freshly minced garlic, a cup of non-dairy sour cream, along with some of the reserved potato water in the pot, with sea salt to taste.

Tamari Gravy

You'll love the ease and simplicity of this one!


1/4 cup Tamari, organic and gluten-free soy sauce (San-J)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast


Pour all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until a smooth consistency. While preparing the rest of the meal, I leave the gravy mixture in the blender to give one final blend until ready to pour into a small gravy bowl or pitcher as dinner is about to be served. Yields 1 cup.

Tempeh and Sage Loaf

I thank my daughter for this fabulous gluten-free entree, which she found in the cookbook Casseroles (and Loaves) You Wish Your Mother Had Made (page 99). My husband says it's an excellent alternative to both turkey and stuffing all in one. What I love about this recipe is that you mix the ingredients a day ahead and then on the day you serve it, it slow cooks in a crock pot while you busy away in the kitchen making the side dishes to accompany it.


1 package plain Tempeh, cubed (8 ounces)
1 small Onion
2 cloves Garlic
2 stalks Celery
1 medium Carrot
1 cup fresh, sliced Mushrooms
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup gluten-free Bread Crumbs
2 tablespoons Flaxseed mixed with 2 tablespoons Water
2 tablespoons vegan Chicken-Flavored Bouillon
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 teaspoon rubbed Sage
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried Rosemary
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt


  1. The day before, steam the cubed tempeh for 10 minutes and cool.
  2. Using a food processor, mince the onion, garlic, mushrooms, celery and carrot. To avoid the mixture from becoming mushy instead of minced into small bits, I pulsed separately first the onion, then the carrot and celery, and lastly the garlic and mushrooms.
  3. After heating the oil on medium heat in a skillet saute the vegetables for a few minutes, only until the onion is translucent.
  4.  In a large bowl, crumble the cooled tempeh and add the vegetable saute, the bread crumbs, flaxseed mixture, bouillon, herbs and salt.
  5. Mix thoroughly, then refrigerate in a sealed container overnight.
  6. Planning ahead when you wish to serve your meal, put the tempeh mixture into the oiled crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours (7 is about right). Keep the lid propped open during cooking to keep the condensation from dripping on top on the loaf. You want the top to have a crisp texture; the center will be moist. Use a flat spatula to cut and lift out each serving. Serves 6 

Ginger-Glazed Parsnips & Carrots

This Ginger Glazed Carrots recipe has been one of my favorite holiday side dishes for years; a recipe from Spices of the World Cookbook by McCormick I acquired in 1978. This adaptation includes my other favorite root vegetable, parsnips.


4 medium Carrots
4 medium Parsnips
1 teaspoon vegetable-based Bouillon, chicken-flavored optional 
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Bon Appetit seasoning, optional
3/4 cup Water
4 tablespoons Butter or butter substitute
1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
3 tablespoons Honey
1/2 teaspoon Ginger powder, or fresh minced
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg powder, or freshly grated

  1. Wash, peel and slice diagonally carrots and parsnips. 
  2. Finely chop some parsley for garnish.
  3. In a skillet add the carrots and parsnips, bouillon, water, sugar, Bon Appetit and 1 tablespoon of the butter.
  4. Cook covered over medium-high for 10-12 minutes - or until tender, then drain.
  5. To the skillet, add the remaining butter, lemon juice, ginger, nutmeg and honey.
  6. Cook uncovered over medium heat 2 to 3 more minutes, tossing continually to glaze the carrots and parsnips.
  7. Garnish with parsley when serving.
  8. Serves 4

Romaine & Orange Salad with Lime Dressing

Dressing - Mix the following ingredients by shaking in a tumbler or by blending in a blender:

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/8 teaspoon grated Lime Peel
1 tablespoon fresh Lime Juice
1 large clove Garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon Sugar
1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt

Salad - Toss together six (6) cups of washed, crisped and torn Romaine Lettuce leaves with 1/2 cup thinly-sliced red onion and 1 can of drained or freshly chopped mandarin oranges. Either drizzle dressing over individual salad servings or toss the dressing with the salad.

Cranberry-Apple Pie

Working with a gluten-free dough can be tricky, especially when trying to make a pie with a lattice top. Photo clearly shows the challenge I had making a "pretty pie". If it's texture and taste you're going for ,bursting with flavor, tucked into a flaky crust... it's so worth the effort.

Start by making the dough for the top and bottom gluten-free pie crusts:

Recipe for 1 crust (for 2 crusts, double the ingredients except for the salt)

Wet Ingredients:

1 Egg
2 teaspoons White Vinegar

Dry Ingredients:

1-1/4 cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour*
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum

Additional Ingredients:

6 tablespoons Butter Flavored Crisco, chilled or frozen
1 teaspoon ice cold Water

  1. Whisk the egg and vinegar until very frothy and refrigerate while mixing other ingredients.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients.
  3. Cut the Crisco into the flour mix until a coarse, mealy consistency the size of small peas.
  4. Add the egg/vinegar mixture. If the flour mixture is still too dry, add cold water 1 teaspoon at a time until you have the consistency where you can form the dough into a ball (2 balls if doubling for 2 crusts).
  5. Wrap dough balls in plastic wrap and refrigerator for an hour.
  6. Roll the dough between wax paper or parchment paper until the circle is the size to fit your pie pan.
  7. Add the filling** and top second crust. I used a lattice cutter as I found the top too fragile to weave strips of crust into a lattice top.
  8. Brush the top with a glaze made of mixing together: 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of milk brush over the top and edges of the crust, then sprinkled with a mixture of: 2 teaspoons sugar and a dash of cinnamon.
  9. Bake pie in an oven pre-heated to 400-degrees and bake for 25 minutes.
  10. Reduce the oven to 325-degrees and continue baking for another 40-45 minutes.
  11. Especially yummy served warm a la mode with vanilla coconut ice cream.
* Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix

Blend together the following ingredients and store in an air-tight container:
2 cups Rice Flour
2/3 cup Potato Starch
1/3 cup Tapioca Flour

** Filling for Cranberry-Apple Pie

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together the following:


1/2 cup dried Currants and Raisins
2 tablespoons Dark Rum or Water
1 cup fresh, whole Cranberries, washed and drained
3/4 cup Sugar
5-6 medium Baking Apples - Fuji or Braeburn, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 tablespoons quick-cooking Tapioca
1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cranberry Maple Cider Sauce

Thanksgiving without cranberries, whether celebrated with a traditional or non-traditional feast, would be to me like taking the "Thanks" out of "Thanksgiving". I've enjoyed serving raw cranberry relish as a healthy and delicious alternative to traditional cranberry sauce or jelly, but this year I created a new recipe that by all appearances looks like traditional sauce, but is a variation with a deeper color along with the combined, naturally sweet and rich flavors of maple and unfiltered apple cider. I call it... wait for it... Cranberry Maple Cider Sauce. It has the tang of cranberries with the warmth of other fall flavors that evoke wonderful memories.


1 12-ounce bag of whole Cranberries
1 cup Apple Cider, unfiltered (thick)
1 cup Maple Syrup (real maple syrup)
Grated zest of 1 large Orange
1 cup coarsely chopped Pecans


  1. Rinse and drain the cranberries.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, apple cider, maple syrup and orange zest.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low heat and continue to cook for about another 10 minutes or until all the cranberries pop open. 
  4. Use a "potato" masher or fork, to lightly mash the cranberries into the liquid.
  5. Stir in the pecans.
  6. Serve the sauce warm or cool, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, no more than a few days  before Thanksgiving. 
Serves 8-12

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Zucchini-Feta Flapjacks

When I asked a friend of mine what she was doing today, she replied that she was making flapjacks for a bonfire tomorrow night.  Her comment reminded me that I had not posted my recent gluten-free recipe for making a savory pancake (aka flapjack) as a brunch, lunch or dinner side dish or entree. 

So here it is!


1-1/2 pounds of Zucchini, grated (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup Feta Cheese, finely crumbled
2 eggs + 1 egg white, beaten
3/4 cup All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour
3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Sea Salt
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (or 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper) 
1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
Olive Oil (spray) for coating fry pan


  1. Once the zucchini is grated, squeeze out excess liquid using just your hands pressing down the zucchini in a fine strainer, through cheesed cloth, or like in my case since I had neither at hand, pressing the moisture out into layers of paper towels (worked great).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, blend well the zucchini, feta, eggs, flour, baking powder and seasonings.
  3. Heat over medium-high heat, a wide frying pan that is coated with the olive oil.
  4. You should be able to cook 3 to 4 flapjacks that are 2-3 tablespoons of mixture each, spreading them out to make 4-inch rounds.
  5. Cook the flapjacks for about three (3) minutes per side, or until golden. 
  6. Serve warm as is, with butter, sour cream, greek yogurt, savory cream sauce or condiment to taste.
These were a BIG hit at my dinner table!