If Easter dinner will be your first big food event after finding out about gluten issues, you want to avoid the same fate...
For some of you this is nothing new and exciting, but I wanted to give our new friends a chance at some information that could be very helpful to them.
If you are traveling to someone else's house for the big meal, start talking menu NOW. Like today. Call them on your lunch hour or right after work. Make sure they fully understand what gluten free really means. And make sure that the ham (which is the centerpiece of the meal) is gluten free. We get ours from a local farmer to be sure. Also, offer to bring your own side dishes to contribute to the dinner (some good links below).
When you take your contributions to the meal, make sure they are well-marked. I use red dishes and red handled serving spoons. Red is an international symbol for "stop" so it's pretty obvious which items are gluten free. Be sure that all the guests understand that the red spoons CANNOT be used for anything other than the red dishes. If you need to, attach a little tag that says "Do Not Remove" to the spoon with a red ribbon. The concept of cross-contamination is very foreign to most folks, so just be ready to do a lot of explaining, and bring your patience. The last big family gathering I went to, I spent over an hour describing how we got to where we are, what we can eat, what we can't eat, and so on, and so on, and so on. And it wasn't because people were trying to be rude. These are folks we only see once or twice a year, and they were genuinely concerned.
At the party, consider options that are inherently safe - plain hard-boiled Easter eggs are safe, lettuce/greens for salads and plain vegies are safe. If you aren't sure about something - DON'T EAT IT!
If all else fails, offer to host the big event yourself. I know it's kind of short notice at this point, but if your family hasn't made the final plans yet, speak up and claim it. This way, you know the ham is safe (fantastic recipe below), the rolls are gluten free (use a mix to make your own, or serve Udi's bread), and even though you'll have the hustle and bustle of getting everything on the table, you can at least relax knowing that your meal is safe for you.
So here is what the Easter meal will look like at the Suburban Prairie Home...
This was my plan of attack for Christmas. You can use it for Easter as well. This link also has some side dish recipes in it.
This is the recipe for The Most Amazing Crockpot Ham EVER
Potatoes au gratin (More Make it Fast, Cook It Slow by Stephanie O'Dea)
Potato Rolls - Boil some potatoes early in the week. Save the water. Use the water to make Gluten Free Pantry (brand) Favorite Sandwich Bread Mix. Divide the dough equally among the cups of a well-greased muffin tin, and bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes.
Deviled Eggs - these are safe if you use gluten free ingredients.
Then, we're still on the fence about some vegies. I'm leaning toward either fresh asparagus or Brussels sprouts. Maybe some baby carrots. I still have a few days to figure it out. Still not sure what to do about dessert either.
And we all know it wouldn't be Easter without all that CANDY...
If you aren't sure about a candy product, look it up online by manufacturer. I can give you a few that will be safe - Butterfingers, M-n-M's (all but the pretzel ones), and of course the perennial favorite, Peeps. Peeps make a wicked good s'more, by the way. Use a plain Hershey bar, a Peep, and Smoreables (brand) graham crackers. Mmmmmm.
With a little advanced planning, you'll be ready to enjoy the big day. Then, you can kick back and relax, and enjoy time with family and friends.