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Options to dine gluten-free on Thanksgiving

November 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity can't tolerate wheat, rye, barley, even oats, and you'd be amazed how many products contain these grains. This Thanksgiving, let's give them some foods that they can be thankful for."Gluten can be in anything. It can be in the chips you serve, it can be a coating on potatoes or french fries, it can be in a seasoning in a salad dressing, chicken broth can and also self-basting turkeys," said dietitian Linda Illingworth of Cal-a-Vie Health Spa.

Illingworth said if you are cooking for someone with this allergy, establish a gluten-free zone in the kitchen.

"Have separate cutting board, a separate knife, separate serving spoon, and just to keep things separate so you aren't contaminating gluten products into the non-gluten products. For someone who's very sensitive, that could mean a hospital trip," Illingworth said.

Cal-a-Vie Health Spa Chef Jason Graham whipped up some hearty gluten-free stuffing using bread made from tapioca, rice and potato flour.

"The rest of the stuffing ingredients are pretty much the same, we just put less fat in, so we have turkey sausage instead of pork sausage, we're using Earth Balance instead of butter so we have much lower cholesterol and much healthier fats," Graham said.

Graham also whipped sweet potato with a bit of orange zest, a dash of salt and a touch of light coconut milk for a creamy side dish, then created a gluten-free cobbler with gluten-free flour for his pastry, and a compote of agave, cranberry and Fuju persimmons to utilize the seasonal fruits.

"The fuju is firm, kind of like an apple, but has a sweet kind of a 'cinnamon-y' taste," Graham said.

But gluten-free flour is heavy, so Graham offers advice to lessen the density.

"In the recipe, I've doubled the baking powder to make up for the lack of leavening that you're going to get from the gluten-free flour," he said.

So again, double the leavening when swapping gluten-free flour in desserts.

Since Graham is a spa chef, his desserts are also petite in size, perfect for that big holiday meal.

"I think it's almost better to make petite desserts so everyone can try a little bit and not feel committed to an entire piec,e which they're just going to leave on the plate and get thrown away," Graham said.


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