Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Planning: Allergen-Free Christmas Dinner for Ten

That's right, Christmas dinner is in full planning mode at Eagle Loft Kitchen!  It is not only possible to make a holiday dinner for ten people that is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free, etc. etc.... (not taste-free!), but in some ways it is even easier than the traditional way.  What makes it easy?  Planning.  And the freezer!  And a bit of a messy kitchen a few days before the event. :)

Here's what we will be serving for dinner this Christmas:
  • Turkey (salted, then basted with olive oil and oven roasted)
  • Gravy (chicken broth mixed with turkey drippings, poultry seasoning, tarragon, salt, pepper, and thickened with arrowroot flour)
  • Mashed potatoes (boiled, mashed and mixed with rice milk and Becel RSF)
  • Mashed sweet potatoes and yams (boiled, mashed together and mixed with Becel RSF, fresh orange juice and a touch of agave syrup)
  • Bread stuffing (cubed homemade gluten-free bread mixed with sauted onions, celery, sausage meat and bacon, tossed with poultry seasoning -- stuff in turkey or add some chicken stock or white wine and bake covered in the oven)
  • Sausage meat (made fresh by our local butcher, allergen-free -- hooray!)
  • Carrots and peas

And for dessert:
The beauty of this menu is how much can be done ahead.  All of the desserts are already made and frozen except the pie, which I am making Christmas Eve night.  The mashed veggies can be done the day ahead, and pretty much everything else is finished off late Christmas morning as the turkey goes in the oven.  I'm anticipating getting a lot of time this year to visit with my guests Christmas evening.

Wishing you a very merry Christmas, and a tasty allergen-free holiday feast.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Apple Fennel Salad

This refreshing salad is quick and easy to make.  It works with any crisp apple.  I used Gala apples, but it would also be good with Granny Smith.
  • 2 crisp apples, cored, sliced thinly, then cubed
  • 1 bulb fennel (while bulb only, not stalks), chopped
  • 1/3 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp light olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp agave syrup
  • pinch salt (or Herbamare)
  • generous pinch pepper
  • 4 iceberg lettuce leaves, whole
  1. Mix apples, fennel, onion and mint in a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk together oil, vinegar, agave, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and stir to coat.
  4. Put one lettuce leaf on each bowl/plate and spoon salad into lettuce.
Serves 4.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ham and Split Pea Soup

The days have turned cold, but we're still spending lots of time outside.  There's no better feeling than returning home to the comforting smell of hot soup throughout the house.  This soup makes use of leftover ham, but you can omit the ham for a vegetarian option.  I don't cook the ham in the soup these days as Little Man doesn't eat ham yet;  I simply stir ham into the bowls of those who are eating it.  Depending on if you are serving ham or not, you need to adjust the salt -- more salt if no ham.  The timing for this soup is very dependant on the temperature at which you cook it.  You can have it ready in an hour and a half if you keep it at a good boil, three hours if you use a high simmer, or 8 hours in a crockpot.
  • 9 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 1/2 cups yellow split peas, well rinsed
  • 3 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 3 stalks celery, backs peeled and diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp tarragon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cubed ham (1/2 cup per bowl)
  1. Bring stock to a boil.
  2. Add all ingredients (unless you are serving some bowls without ham -- then leave out the ham until serving)
  3. Turn down the soup a little but keep the soup boiling.  Stir every 20 minutes when cooking it at this heat (very important so it doesn't burn!).  Cook with the lid on, but remove the lid for the last 20 minutes.  The soup should be ready in 1 1/2 to 2 hours when cooked at high heat.
  4. Adjust seasonings and serve.