Sunday, 31 March 2013

Day 37: Easter Dinner

One of the things most celiacs seem to struggle with is holiday dinners. Your choices seem to be:

  1. Go to a restaurant with your family, and hope they pick a safe one, or eat beforehand, and don't eat anything there.
  2. Make the whole dinner yourself, and include little to no items with gluten.
  3. Go to a home-cooked dinner and either risk it, or don't eat anything.
  4. Help somebody make a dinner so that it is gluten-free and you can trust it.
I kind of think celiacs have trust issues...

So, I didn't actually decide to do anything with either side of family. I kind of figured if either want to make a meal, I don't want to complicate their lives, but I might show up. Instead, Banana decided to do an entirely gluten-free dinner with my help. She did make most of the dishes, but I was at a minimum aware of what was in them, and mostly just stirred things together when she handed them to me.

Tonight was the night, although we've spent much of the last week prepping (to minimize work today). The dishes on the table were:
  1. Ham
  2. Scalloped Potatoes
  3. Mashed yams, with a glaze
  4. Green beans
  5. Spinach and strawberry salad
  6. Deviled eggs
  7. Rice casserole
  8. And Trifle!
Okay, so everything was just so delicious that as soon as everything was ready we just dug in, and I completely forgot to take pictures for you! I took some after dinner, which might show you how delicious everything was... But really, I'm sorry this looks like somebody's leftovers. It was just too good to waste time taking pictures!

Ham is one of those sketchy meats that usually contains gluten. As such, we were hunting for one that said gluten-free, when we found a bone-in shoulder that said gluten-free. Not the usual type, but it was GF, so we were happy! We mixed up maple syrup, mustard and brown sugar and brushed it on the ham and then covered it and baked it for about six hours. It went in the oven just after lunch, and came out in time for us to carve and serve. We repeatedly brushed more glaze on over and over throughout the day. It came out tender, juicy and delicious.

Scalloped potatoes usually contain flour. I don't really know why though. You don't add it to the milk to thicken it, you put it as a layer between the potatoes and then pour milk over top of it. So we just scalded the milk a little longer, made it a little thicker, and skipped the flour altogether (as per suggestion of Banana's aunt). It was really delicious. There were of course layers of thinly sliced potatoes, and sharp cheddar cheese and swiss, and I think onions and spices. I didn't put it together, but I did supervise it's baking time. Which was until the potatoes were soft, and then remove the tin foil until the cheese browns. It was a very creamy, cheesey dish.

The yams are pretty self explanatory. We peeled and chopped a few sweet potatoes and then put them in the oven with a lid on until they were mashable, and then we mashed them. We boiled equal parts maple syrup and butter until it thickened (and tasted amazing) and then drizzled that on top of the mashed yams and cooked them a bit longer.

The green beans were put on the stove with a bit of garlic and some butter until they were cooked. And then we ate them.

The spinach salad was really simple. Spinach, sliced strawberries, slivered almonds, crumbled goat cheese, poppy seeds, and a raspberry vinaigrette. Very simple, but flavourful! And easy peasy to toss last minute.

We mostly made deviled eggs because I remembered I had a deviled egg plate I've never used. And Banana wanted to dye Easter eggs with her cousin, who is spending the weekend with her. So she dyed eggs, and then we deviled them. Mixed the yolk with mayonnaise, a bit of mustard and a splash of vinegar, topping them with paprika.

The rice casserole was probably one of my favourite dishes. We cooked up a bunch of wild rice and brown rice blend, and then mixed it with slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and slices of dried apricots. It was very colourful as well as sweet. Half an hour or so before dinner, we poured about half a cup of veggie broth over it and baked it. Chicken broth would be just as good, but we were also cooking for a vegetarian.

Ah! And my favourite dish! The trifle! I could probably devote a whole post to this one! Mmm... Layers of homemade lemon pudding, GF pound cake, freshly whipped cream, blueberries and raspberries! Does it get better than that? Okay, it might. I don't know. I haven't had every trifle ever. But this was perfect. Banana's ten-year-old cousin actually put this all together, that's how easy trifles are to make. She also decorated the top, which I just loved. 

I don't think the eight of us got even halfway through this thing, despite how amazing it was.

So! That's my gluten-free Easter dinner. Not as hard as it sounds, huh? I mean, if you're going to cook everything at home, you need to be careful about reusing bread knives, cutting boards and pans, but if you are aware of cross-contamination, and ensure things like mayonnaise and honey either come from a squeeze bottle or are brand new, you should be fine. Things like that tend to be things other people forget or don't think about, but if you help or remind them, it's sure to be simple!

Hoppy Easter, everybody!

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