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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020 Was Not The Same

 Who would have thought that the year 2020 would turn out to be the weirdest year in most peoples memory.  We thought back in March if we stocked up on a few extra groceries and wore a mask in public for a couple weeks, we would be able to move on with our lives.  As we all know, that wasn't the case.  We missed all the major holidays with our family including birthdays.  Last Thursday was Thanksgiving.  We didn't get together with anyone, and I cooked your typical Thanksgiving dinner for the two of us.  I have ordered all my groceries since March and have not been in a grocery store.  Therefore, I had to make due with a few things that I would have "run to the store" for.  One of those things was gluten free flour blend and freshly ground pork.  

We discovered a few years ago that we like our stuffing (some call it dressing) made with gluten free bread cubes.  It makes for a firmer stuffing and not quite so soggy.  We do have family members who grew up with soft bread stuffing and that is their preference.  I did not.  My mother made a drier stuffing that was golden brown with a crusty edge.  

Since necessity is the mother of invention, I went about trying to do the best I could with what I had on hand.  I do make gluten free bread on occasion but it never turned out exactly right.  It was always good enough for stuffing.  So on Tuesday, I made a loaf of bread.  Here is the link for the recipe I modified.  http://www.thecabincountess.com/2018/05/lets-try-againgluten-free-bread.html When I started mixing it together, I discovered I only had half the amount of gluten free flour, but I did have some gluten free baking mix.  It was a much finer texture and not meant for bread, but I had no choice.  My yeast spilled a little so I probably added another teaspoon of yeast using 4 teaspoons rather than a tablespoon.  I also baked it in the bread machine on a dark crust setting.  When it was finished, it turned out better than any I had ever made.



My homemade gluten free bread is usually very heavy but even the texture of this loaf was good.  I cubed it up and let it dry out.  I sprinkled the cubes with a little poultry seasoning and some melted plant based butter before I put them in the oven and browned them just as I do for regular bread croutons.  I included the crouton recipe in this blog from 2013.  http://www.thecabincountess.com/search?q=stuffed+pepper

 

We all have our own recipe for our favorite stuffing.  I saute onion and celery and brown some ground pork.  I add turkey broth and some cut up turkey meat but others may add cranberries and other ingredients.  I did make a few mistakes with this years dinner.  My heart wasn't in it.  I over salted the stuffing and it required adding more liquid than I wanted to.  It defeated my purpose and I ended up with a pretty soggy stuffing in a quantity that would have fed ten people.  To compensate for this, I added a little more plant based butter, spread it in a cake pan and baked it until it dried out and turned brown.

 

As the two of us sat and ate our dinner, we were thankful for each other but nothing tastes the same without the love of the family and lively conversation.  I suspect Christmas will be the same.  It is a big test for all of us.  We hope next year we will turn the corner, and we live long enough to  enjoy all the holidays next year.  I am sure we will appreciate them more than ever before.

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