What To Do With Your Gluten Free Holiday Leftovers

Those who know me will know that any excuse for cooking for a crowd (by which I mean anything more than just my boyfriend and myself) means I will purchase a rather large amount of food, make huge amounts of dishes, and have lots of leftovers. Case in point: when my boyfriend told his brother that I was making Thanksgiving dinner, his brother’s first response was ‘Oh, so she’s making at least 10 courses?’ I guess there are worse things to be known for than making great quantities of tasty food.

(Yes, I ordered a lot of food)

Other coeliacs will probably understand the reason for so much cooking. If I make it myself, at my gluten free kitchen, I can eat everything I want and not worry about contamination. So I’m going to cook everything I’ve wanted to eat, and then eat it for the rest of the week too. Also, the traditional meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas are both easily made entirely gluten free. A bit of gluten free flour or corn flour in the gravy and some good-quality gluten free bread for the stuffing are all that are strictly necessary to transform a traditional holiday meal into a coeliac-friendly holiday meal. Most of the traditional vegetable sides are naturally gluten free, which to me means that Thanksgiving provided an opportunity to cook six. For six people. Plus biscuits. And two types of dessert. Maybe I do have a problem…

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

The full meal. Minus desserts.

All of which means that I end up with a large amount of leftovers, providing multiple holiday packed lunches. (Hint: pack gluten free gravy granules with your lunch and you can have fresh gravy at work). But even I can hit a wall where having the same roast dinner every lunch/dinner can get a bit boring. And holiday meals (Thanksgiving or Christmas, it’s really the same meal) can get a bit repetitive. So I’ve been experimenting with different ways of using up my leftovers, both the food I’ve cooked and the leftover fresh food that I ordered but didn’t need. I can imagine that other coeliacs have woken up on the morning after Thanksgiving or Christmas and faced the same vast quantites of food, so I thought I’d share my successes from this year.

(A tiny pot of gravy granules makes a work lunch so much better!)

First up, how to use up stuffing. My stuffing was made using gluten free bread from Artisan Gluten Free Bakery, which comes unsliced so it was perfect to make into large chunks. I used Smitten Kitchen’s apple-herb stuffing recipe, which worked a treat. I also used her ‘put an egg on it’ philosophy to transform leftover stuffing into breakfast for two days. A crispy egg (ie an egg fried until the white can almost shatter) was a great addition, adding some protein to the meal and making it feel very breakfast/brunch-worthy.

I also used up my leftover mashed potatoes with the stuffing in this weird version of a tarte tatin. I reheated my caramelised shallots and their braising liquid in a frying pan, then added potatoes and stuffing that had been mixed together with an egg for binding on top. I tried to flip it so the shallots and liquid poured over the hash, but I’m still working on my flipping skills. But it didn’t matter because it was a glorious lunch.

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

One leftover that shouldn’t need instructions for using up is apple crisp. But, in case any of you have not tried it for breakfast, DO IT. It’s really just baked oatmeal and stewed fruit, which is definitely a balanced breakfast. I would also recommend it with a bit of cold milk. I used Delicious Alchemy oatmeal for my crisp, but any gluten free oats are fine.

 

As you might have guessed from the produce photo, I also had some fresh vegetables leftover to use up. So I tried to find dishes that were completely different from a traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas meal to add some variety in among the stuffing.

First up was saag paneer: curry made with spinach and paneer, a type of Indian cheese. I am a big fan of this Delicious Magazine recipe, which is naturally gluten free, really easy to make and doesn’t involve the huge amounts of cream or ghee you often find in curry recipes. I used up onions and the entire 450g bag of spinach I had leftover, as well as the cream from the pumpkin pie (I would usually use the yoghurt recommended by the recipe). The curry was delicious and a good break from roast dinners.

 

Even though I made two separate sweet potato dishes for Thanksgiving I still had about a kilo leftover. So I continued on the spicy trend and went for chili. The chili was inspired by this recipe from Simply Quinoa, but I didn’t feel the need for extra grains after all the stuffing I’d been eating and added extra beans and sweetcorn instead. I also made the chili on the stovetop, rather than a crockpot. It took about 35-45 minutes of simmering, just be sure to check if the sweet potatoes are becoming too soft.

The chili was a great way to wind up the post-holiday overeating. It’s vegetarian, vegan and grain free, but very hearty so you’d never know. Also good if  you’re coming down with a cold in the winter, the spices really clear you out.

Grain free gluten free chili

Hopefully some of these ideas will be helpful in your quest to eat up all your gluten free leftovers. None of them require much onerous cooking, which is great if you’ve had to cook an entire Thanksgiving or Christmas meal recently! And all of them are vegetarian, if you either can’t face any more turkey or want to make sure everyone can eat. I would love to hear any other ideas people have for using up their holiday leftovers. As of writing, it’s only one month to Christmas!

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Boston – Gluten Free Travel

In late September my boyfriend and I were in the USA for two weeks, primarily for my sister’s wedding but also for a holiday. During that time we spent just over 24 hours in Boston to visit one of my oldest friends from school. 24 hours didn’t give me huge amounts of time to explore Boston’s gluten free options but I was determined to give it my best shot. Luckily I’d been given great recommendations (which I’ve listed at the end) so I knew that  I should be eating well.

One of the repeat recommendations I got was for The Elephant Walk, a French/Cambodian restaurant. There are two of them in the Boston area, one in Cambridge and the other in the South End, was the one we went to. My non-coeliac friend had been before and recommended it too, which is always a great sign.

Gluten free food Boston

The gluten free options were listed right on the menu, which always makes me feel better (though I always mention the coeliac disease as well). The three of us shared two gluten free starters, the Nataing and the Salade Cambodgienne. The Nataing was a ground pork dish served with rice, and the salad included chicken and shredded vegetables. As you can see from the photos, either of them could have been a main in their own right.

Gluten free food Boston

For my main I had the Poulet a la Citronelle, which was a peanutty curry quite similar to a satay. All three of the dishes I tried were really fresh and tasty. All five of the dessert options were or could be modified to be gluten free, but I resisted because I was already pretty full and I knew there was a dessert treat waiting for me two doors down…

Before we went to The Elephant Walk, we’d gone into The Gallows bar for some pre-dinner drinks. My friend had been waxing lyrical about their dessert: the ‘Stoners Delight’, made up of banana, chocolate ganache, peanut butter mousse, and bruleed marshmallow fluff. Imagine my excitement when I looked at the menu and saw the ‘gf’ beside this delight! So after dinner we obviously had to go back and order it.

Gluten free cider Boston

I also enjoyed this Downeast cider that was everywhere in Boston. Recommended if you’re in a bar.

Although the bar had been quite empty during our pre-dinner excursion (probably because we showed up 2 minutes before they opened and left after one drink), it was packed when we got back an hour later. Luckily they had one table left, but it was in their darkened dining area. So my photos of the awesome dessert are not as good as I would have liked. But you can all imagine how tasty it was. My boyfriend, unaccountably, does not like peanut butter so my friend and I shared the dessert. It was delicious, although I think my sugar rushed lasted for about 3 days. Not helped by everything I ate the next day.

The next morning we started the day with breakfast at The Friendly Toast in Back Bay. This was a very cute diner doing an very large selection of tasty-sounding food. But there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity for gluten free pancakes. So I ordered two banana pancakes, which turned out to be the size of my head. Or probably larger. Though luckily the fresh banana was very present, so I at least felt slightly like I was eating fruit.

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We then walked the Freedom Trail, with a quick stop into Uniqlo at Faneuil Hall because the weather had dropped about 15 degrees celcius since we’d arrived in the USA, and neither of us had brought more than a cardigan. So some new fleece-lined hoodies were in order! We then decided that the only thing even more necessary to warm us up was donuts. Amazingly enough, I can’t resist a gluten free donut either. And Kane’s Donuts are famous for their regular donuts, so had to be worth a slight detour.

There were three types of gluten free donuts on the day we went: chocolate, vanilla and pumpkin spice. The donuts are made and fried separately, and were kept on their own stand. I could even see that the three trays of gluten free donuts waiting to be put out were kept on a separate tray rack from the regular ones. I tried the pumpkin spice and the chocolate donuts, though I did keep the chocolate one for breakfast the next day. And they were some of the best donuts I’ve ever had, and definitely the best since I’ve was diagnosed with coeliac disease. If you are in Boston, GO TRY THE DONUTS.

Gluten free donuts

The rack with three trays in the background is the specifcially gluten free one.

We were meant to eat lunch in the North End, further along the Freedom Trail and home to a number of Italian restaurants that were recommended to me (see below). However, as you can imagine, after all this sugar we decided that maybe we didn’t need a big pasta lunch. So we went to Boston Public Market instead, where we meant to go to pick up food for dinner on the train home anyway.

Boston Public Market has only been open since 2015, and has around 40 vendors providing produce and food from the New England area. This includes prepared food, farm stands, butchers and specialty products. And, luckily for us coeliacs, lots of it is gluten free.

The most obvious gluten free stall is Jennifer Lee’s Gourmet Bakery, which specialises in allergy-free food. Unfortunately we arrived a bit late for lunch, just after they’d stopped serving their paninis for the day. And I felt I’d had more than enough sugar for a few weeks, so resisted any of their baked goods. But it all looked interesting and worth a look if you’re in the area.

For lunch I instead went for some latkes from Inna’s Kitchen, a Jewish cafe and bakery with a large selection of gluten free options. They serve a more limited selection at the market cafe (they have another location in Newton Centre), but there were lots of tasty things. Even gluten free knishes to take away.

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Many of the speciality producers’ goods were gluten free. We bought some charcuterie and cheese for the train home, and I was sorely tempted by Q’s Nuts. Nuts can often be subject to cross contamination so it was great to see one proudly stating its gluten free-ness (though I somehow forgot to take a photo).

Obviously, 24 hours was not enough time to eat everything I wanted to in Boston. Lots of people gave me more recommendations for my trip, so thank you very much to  Gluten Free Jessica, gfreeguru, lovethingsgf and happywombelle . I’m including a list of those recommendations below in case they’re useful to anyone else!

Otto
Lucca
Terramia
Mamma Mia
Beneventos
Bostonia Public House
Crazy Doughs
Committe Boston
Legal Seafoods
Nebo

(The following recommendations are from lovethingsgf, who is gluten sensitive but not a celiac. She says that most of these are good about cross contamination but I didn’t try any of them and would recommend that celiacs contact the restaurants and take the usual precautions)

The Thinking Cup – gf sandwiches (try the Barcelona Bliss) ( there are several locations)
Sweet Green – salads and grain bowls (several locations)
Dig Inn – salads and grain bowls (Boylston Street)
Otto Pizza – gf pizza (try the mashed potatoes, scallions and bacon one!) (Cambridge)
Salvatore’s – gf pizza (Theatre District)
Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons -gf burger (in front of the Boston Common)
Met Back Bay – gf burgers and great brunch (Newbury St.)
Joes American Grill – gf burger (Newbury St)
Chinatown restaurants – ask for fried rice without soy sauce
Antico Forno – gf pasta and pizza (North End) There are other Italian restaurants there that also offer gf pasta.
Barcelona – their tapas are incredible! Great for dinner or brunch (South End)
Paramount –  love their huevos rancheros for brunch. You cannot rsvp just go and make the line its worth it. (Beacon Hill)
Amorino – love their gelato (Newbury St.)
Georgetown cupcakes – gf cupcakes available (Newbury St.)