Tips For A Gluten-Free Harlem For The Holidays

October 26, 2015

FGF Vanessa and Tryg2By Nicole Link

Vanessa and Chef Tryg, the husband and wife team behind popular gluten-free brand, have plenty of experience dealing with gluten-free diets throughout the holidays.

I recently got the chance to speak with Chef Tryg, and he shared some of the advice, tips and tricks that he and Vanessa have learned over the years. He repeatedly stressed to me how important communication is; “No host wants to poison their guest intentionally. Unless this is the game Clue, and it happened in the kitchen with the gluten.”

Follow the tips below for a delicious, easy and stress-free holiday season in Harlem!

 On Communication:

If You’re The gluten-Free guest

  • As a person who is gluten-free, you should definitely let your host know ahead of time. Explain that you are gluten-free and ask them to tell you which dishes contain gluten.
  • Do not be afraid to ask questions – “what’s in this? What’s in that?” Your host won’t mind because they want you to enjoy yourself.

If You’re hosting A Gluten-free Guest…

  • If you are having gluten free guests over, it’s important that you take the time to ask the guest about their diet or to do some research and educate yourself beforehand. The last thing you want is for people to feel uncomfortable.
  • Be clear with your guests on anything that may contain gluten. 9 times out of 10, the guest is going to be happy and appreciative that you pulled them aside and told them which dishes are safe for them to enjoy.

potatopancake in harlemOn Foods To Be Weary Of:

  • Cornbread is a pretty common Thanksgiving dish and a lot of premade cornbread mixes do have gluten in them. But cornbread is fairly easy to make gluten-free. And it can be quite delicious. Especially if you use a cast iron pan and it gets nice and crispy.
  • Some families like to stuff a turkey with stuffing. That’s a big no-no for a gluten-free guest because there’s a big risk for cross contamination. No one who is following the diet diligently would ever eat turkey that has been stuffed.  Don’t be afraid to say to your host, “I would love to enjoy some turkey, do you stuff yours?”
  • Gravy recipes will often call for flour. Be sure to ask your host how the gravy was prepared. Cornstarch is an easy substitute that most people have in their kitchens already!


On the Best Gluten-Free Dishes:

  • A lot of the side dishes out there – mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, green beans, cranberry sauce – are all inherently gluten-free.
  • This gluten-free potato pancake recipe is perfect for Hanukkah!
  • Vanessa and I like to do fried shallots with the green beans. We dust the shallots with corn starch and fry them up nice and crispy.
  • Check out this recipe for gluten-free aromatic glazed carrots.  They’re the perfect sweet and savory side dish for any meal.
  • You can make stuffing with gluten-free bread and it really becomes all about the other delicious flavors. Two years ago, Vanessa and I made sausage and apple stuffing with gluten-free bread and it was really delicious.

On Desserts:

  • We love to do Crème brûlée, and one year we did warm freshly fried apple fritters that were a huge hit.
  • Nut based crusts for pies are really great. Almond flour or pecan flour for a pumpkin pie or sweet potato pie is kind of out of this world. There are a lot of recipes out there with recipes for almond flour or nut flour crusts, and for a pecan, pumpkin or sweet potato pie, those flavor profiles just go really well together.
  • This recipe for pumpkin cheesecake is out of this world. The crust is made from gluten-free ginger snap cookies.
  • These individual chocolate molten cakes are a decadently rich dessert perfect for any holiday party or dinner.

Do you have your own Gluten-Free tips? Send them to us and we’ll share them with our readers.

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