Fruitcake. Bleh.
December 6, 2011 2:49 AM   Subscribe

I want to create new family food traditions for the holidays. What are some of your favorite recipes that only get made around this time of year? Due to a new Celiac diagnosis this year, I need to expand my repertoire (and we're bored).

In the past, we always make a sweet-dough Christmas tree bread (covered with icing and sprinkles), vegetarian lasagna with bechamel, the roast turkey feast, sugar cookies and almond biscotti. And now I can't eat most of those.

If you have any kick-ass recipes (even those with gluten), please share the wealth!
posted by kinetic to Food & Drink (25 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Allow me to share with you the Ultimate, Most Awesome Gluten-Free Stuffing.

- Good sausagemeat
- Grated mushrooms (lots)
- Crushed brazil nuts (put em in a bag and smash em)
- Herbs of your choice
- Finely-chopped onions
- Crushed garlic

Smush all together, put in bird.

You can very the quantities according to the consistency you prefer. You can also cook it in a dish if you aren't having a stuffable joint of meat. The problem with this is that as soon as it comes out of the oven you and your guests will pick at it and there won't be any left for the main meal. It's unbelievably freaking delicious.
posted by greenish at 3:06 AM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

One recipe that I have started making as part of my own holiday celebration is the one for Macadamia Lace Cookies. They are actually gluten free, which is a plus. They are also light, buttery, nutty explosions of goodness that will literally disappear within a day of your making them. As a note, the parchment/silpat mentioned in the first step is a requirement and not a suggestion.
posted by daikaisho at 3:15 AM on December 6, 2011 [4 favorites]

See if you can get hold of Phil Vickery's book on gluten-free baking. My mum has it, and she thinks it's great.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:20 AM on December 6, 2011

My mom frequently made Chicken Liver Paté which was very similar to this recipe. She used a fine Sherry instead of brandy. It's very rich and stupendously delicious. She served it on saltines, but it would certainly go on these crackers, which we recently tried as my daughter has Celiac disease.

She also made deviled eggs that were ordinary midwestern fare. Missing deviled eggs, I made this recipe from Gourmet over thanksgiving and it was very good, but I would change it by using hot sauce and horseradish in the yolk mix - maybe 1/2 t of hot sauce and 1 t of horseradish. Several comments on the recipe say "too much mayo" - procedurally, I suspect that this is because yolk size varies - instead of measuring, I did what I'd always seen which is to add enough mayo to bring the mix together. I despise -DESPISE- green olives and only reluctantly garnished them with the pimento stuffed olives. To my complete surprise, they go together like assault and battery. I used small whole stuffed olives rather than mincing them.
posted by plinth at 3:35 AM on December 6, 2011

a member of my family makes a fantastic cranberry sauce using champagne & orange juice - it's like this recipe only there's less sugar and somewhat less champagne because of the OJ. they play around with it to their taste, so I don't have specific amounts to advise, unfortunately.
posted by batmonkey at 3:48 AM on December 6, 2011

In my family, we have tamales for Christmas. The main ingredient in the masa is corn and the filling can be either vegetables or meat such as beef or pork.
posted by vacapinta at 4:20 AM on December 6, 2011 [7 favorites]

I have a super-simple cranberry-chicken recipe that I invented and like to make this time of year because of the ready availability of fresh cranberries.

Basically, take about 1.5-2 lbs of chicken breasts or thighs (if the breasts are pretty large, cut them in half) and bake them in a covered casserole along with a 1 lb bag of fresh cranberries, 1 cup of chopped pecans, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp. ground cloves. I've made it with more elaborate spice mixtures as well (a little cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and/or ginger), but the cloves is what I keep coming back to as giving it a little kick without being too much like the ubiquitous "holiday spice" blend.

It's quite flexible: you can bake it at 350 for an hour, or you can drop the temp down to 315 and let it go for 2.5 hours if you're like me and find yourself wanting to pop something in the oven in the late afternoon and then go out running errands for a couple hours. You can also do it up in the crockpot on low for 8-9 hours. The sauce is somewhat thin, so it's good paired with a starchy side that can soak it up (in the gluten free realm, I'd suggest mashed potatoes).

It's nice to have a recipe that feels seasonal and yet is easy enough that you can throw it together quickly during a time of year when you're busier than ever.
posted by drlith at 5:00 AM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Baked eggplant is a good alternative to lasagna. If you want to bread and fry the eggplant beforehand, used crushed non-gluten breakfast cereal (or, if you're into that sort of thing, potato chips) instead of breadcrumbs. Also, the thing about bechamel is that you can use any starch, not just flour, to thicken the sauce. I'd practice making it once or twice between now and christmas, though to see which starches/flours result in a sauce that works best for you.
posted by Jon_Evil at 5:20 AM on December 6, 2011

Mashed rutabaga. Like potatoes, but you'll have to boil it a bit longer to get it soft enough to mash. Make sure you take the wax off the rutabaga. It's super-healthy and has an interesting flavor. We always make this for the holidays.

Strawberry Dessert Omelet, for breakfast. We make this for the holidays because it's kinda of a pain in the butt, but really delicious. There are a lot of recipes online but basically you separate the whites and yolks and make something sort of souffle-y but as an omelet.

This isn't festive, per se, but Rice Loaf is one of those things that I always thing, "Ooh, that's weird" until I make it for the first time that year (it's a winter dish in our house) and then I'm like "WEIRDLY DELICIOUS." This is the recipe I use but I"m sure there must be many out there. My celiac uncle likes this a lot, use gluten-free bread crumbs (you can actually just use all-rice but you might need a tiny bit more binder in that case, I'd probably add a little extra milk or butter if you use all-rice and it's not sticking together well). We use brown rice:

Rice Loaf
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1½ cups cooked rice (leftover or freshly made)
1½ cups grated cheese
½ cups fine dry bread crumbs
¼ cup celery, chopped
2 T. onion, chopped
2 T. parsley, chopped
2 T. green pepper, chopped
¾ tsp. salt
1 cup milk
¼ cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9”x5”x3” loaf pan and line bottom with waxed paper.
Toss together all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Toss lightly.
Pour into loaf pan. Place loaf pan in center of casserole-type dish and place both in oven; fill casserole dish with 1” hot water (this keeps the bottom from heating too fast and burning).
Bake 1 hour, or until loaf is set in center.
Loosen loaf around the edge with spatula and turn out onto platter. Remove paper.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:21 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

My sister makes an amazing oyster stew every year (more a rich soup than a stew). I'm not a huge oyster fan yet even I look forward to that holiday family get-together dinner. I don't have the recipe handy but if you are interested memail me and I'll be happy to get it for you.
posted by mcbeth at 5:39 AM on December 6, 2011

Always rum balls for christmas
posted by raccoon409 at 5:39 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Meringue and macaron/macaroon cookies were already gluten-free before the world knew that was a thing. They use egg whites and ground almonds, no flour. And they're trendy right now, which is a bonus. There are also flourless cakes using ground almonds instead of the flour -- I've had a chocolate one, and I've seen a recipe for an orange one which sounds wonderful.

Ice cream is also a thought (because, seriously, who the hell doesn't like ice cream?). To make it more of a festive "thing," try making a bombe of some sort -- I've got a recipe somewhere for a "Christmas pudding ice cream bombe," where you soften some vanilla ice cream just enough to stir in a ton of candied fruit and almonds and nuts and all the other stuff you put into a fruitcake, then line a bowl with plastic wrap and dump the ice cream in and refreeze it. You could probably also make a sauce with brandy and use that when you serve it -- setting it on fire and everything (check the recipe for flaming cherries jubillee for how to do that).

And don't forget candy -- fudge, chocolate, and candy canes are all gluten-free and definitely Christmasy.

Finally: a couple I am dear friends with have been grappling with this for a few years now, as SHE is gluten-free -- but HE likes to bake. I had them both at a dinner party recently, and at their recommendation I tried a pot pie using a biscuit crust I made using a gluten-free pancake mix. Everyone there gave it a thumbs-up. So perhaps instead of the vegetarian lasagna, some kind of a vegetarian pot pie would be a good idea. (At his recommendation I followed the instructions from a box of Bisquick, using the gluten-free mix instead - worked like a charm.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:48 AM on December 6, 2011

Holiday season there are a lot of international cookie /bar recipes using expensive nut flours instead of wheat--basler brunsli, hazelnut cookies, walnut pillows, etc.

Cranberry jalapeno salsa--put it on GF crisps or provolone cheese or apple slices maybe. Roast chestnuts. Rosemary Spiced Nuts.
posted by ifjuly at 5:48 AM on December 6, 2011

Roasted brussels sprouts. Om nom nom nom nom.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:04 AM on December 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

On Christmas Eve, we typically have Tamales, Posole and Biscochitos. Posole is gluten free. Biscochitos can be as well.

Sometime in the winter we also make green chile stew. It is very similar to posole but it uses potatoes instead of hominy as the starch.

Cheesecake can easily be gluten free. Those macadamia lace cookies linked above could be used as the crust and just omit flour from the cheesecake batter. I never put flour in mine anyway. Thanks for that link, daikaisho. I'd been wondering what to use as the crust for my white chocolate macadamia nut cheesecake and you just solved that problem nicely.

For Christmas Day, we'll do a big prime rib or something similar. Our friends have brought a root vegetable gratin which could easily be made gluten free. Creamed Spinach can be gluten free as well. Finally, you could cube some butternut or other hard squash and toss with olive oil and garam masala and roast until tender.

There's tons of great food to enjoy and still have a healthy for you holiday. Good luck! My household went gluten free a few months and we've found there's no reason to get bored or be really limited with what we're eating.
posted by onhazier at 6:19 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

My Czech family has fried fish and potato salad on Christmas Eve, followed by a braided Christmas bread called Vánočka and about fifteen different kinds of Christmas cookies and a Bûche de Noël. And then my sister and I have potato salad for breakfast on Christmas Day, cause it is so good.

This list of Christmas dishes around the world might provide some inspiration!
posted by amarynth at 7:24 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Chestnut Soup - make it a day or two ahead.

Black-Eyed Peas - for New Years.
posted by expialidocious at 9:04 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

This might not be very formal, but at holiday parties I sometimes make "Muddy Buddies" using Chex Mix. The corn and rice varieties of Chex Mix are now gluten free!

Muddy Buddies Recipe on General Mills website

Another hearty dish that might be a nice tradition (although I eat it throughout the winter because it's so good) is braised short ribs:

Pioneer Woman Braised Short Ribs

She coats them in flower before browning - in the past I have either browned them coated in a gluten free flour or nothing at all, and both work out fine, alternately you can just not brown them at all. I've made this recipe with frozen short ribs in a slow cooker and it still turned out great.

Sometimes my family also eats slightly more exotic poultry than usual, like goose or duck. Here is a good GF recipe for duck legs:

Nom Nom Paleo Crispy Duck Legs

Bonus duck fancy recipe - Rillettes!

Serious Eats Duck Rillettes

As for sides, a fancy schmancy sweet potato and swiss chard gratin is rich and also brings greens to the table:

Smitten Kitchen Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin

And can be made gluten free by replacing the white flour in the bechamel sauce with gluten free flour.

Gluten Free Girl's blog has a bunch of recipes that are great, here is one for a cheese souffle.

Gluten Free Girl Cheese Souffle

I hope these are helpful. I have removed gluten (as well as most other grains, legumes, sugar and vegetable oils) from my diet for about a year now and I have never felt better... I have a large library of gluten free, or gluten free adapted recipes, and if you ever want some, feel free to Memail me. Have a great holiday!
posted by permiechickie at 9:35 AM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Nanaimo bars.

Technically, they are not a holiday treat, but in my family they are.
posted by asnider at 9:36 AM on December 6, 2011

Although, I'm not sure that they are gluten-free, since they have a wafer crumb base.
posted by asnider at 9:37 AM on December 6, 2011

Making marzipan paste, for middle-school aged kids to sculpt, paint, and decorate (something) with, then eat on Christmas evening (with leftover turkey).
Different years we made a nativity scene one year with a gingerbread stable, we made a (somewhat thanksgiving-like, now that I think of it) cornucopia of fruits, we made a herd of reindeer... These things were usually a table centerpiece or a mantel decoration for a couple of days before we were turned loose on them as food, but we'd also make our own little sculptures for consumption at will. Like when my brother insisted on making edible copies of his smurf figurines.
posted by aimedwander at 10:14 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Pavlova. It is the final word in deliciousness, and gluten-free to boot.
posted by apparently at 10:46 AM on December 6, 2011

I made this gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap-walnut crust for Thanksgiving, and it was great. EatingWell also has a recipe for a gluten-free bûche de Noël, and a slideshow of gluten-free ideas for Thanksgiving.
posted by amarynth at 11:36 AM on December 6, 2011

Super simple, awesomely tasty and very, very melty.

My favorite cookie recipe that I make for all my gluttarded friends:

Chocolate Drops
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup smooth peanut butter
mini marshmellows
salted roasted peanuts
wax paper and space in your fridge.

Lay out the wax paper on cookie sheets or plates. Melt the choclate chips and mix in the peanut butter over very low heat. As soon as the lumps dissapear you can mix in the peanuts, and add the marshmellows last. Using a metal spoon, drop small amounts (the width of a quarter works great- these things are rich) onto the wax paper and put it in the freezer or fridge to harden. Once they are cold you can toss them into a plastic bin to save space, but keep them chilled.
posted by Blisterlips at 1:23 PM on December 6, 2011

FYI - I made the braised short ribs from here and they came out very well. I used gluten-free flour for the dredging, bacon instead of pancetta, pan seared the meat and vegetables before putting them in a slow cooker for 8 hours on low. It came out wonderfully. Served it over saffron rice with cauliflower.
posted by plinth at 3:23 AM on December 12, 2011

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