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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Dinner For The Allergic

My family is coming to Chicago for Christmas this year since it's cutting it too close for me to fly at this point.  Well, technically they are coming for "early Christmas".  Let me explain.  Every year we do two Christmases; one with each of our families since one is in Texas (mine) and the other is in Michigan (his).  We switch off every other year who gets to see our bright shining faces on actual Christmas and this year the honor goes to the Krautners.  Therefore, my family will be here to do early Christmas the weekend before actual Christmas.  We combined the families one year, which quite closely resembled the chaotic scenes from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, but that is a story for another day (it involves trumpet playing and hair catching on fire, among other shenanigans).  

My family has a Christmas day tradition of whipping up a really fancy meal, which my mom usually heads up.  Since they'll be here, that honor falls to me.  The last time we had Christmas in Chicago, I was in culinary school and went a little overboard (think butternut squash soup shooters with a perfectly diced green apple garnish along with sorbet palate cleansers).  This year, I have to tone it down for two reasons.

1. I am preg and get exhausted making a sandwich.

2. My sister is now allergic to just about everything.  She's gluten-free, dairy-free, and a long ass list of common grocery items-free.  We're talking basic things like no olive oil, celery, or basil (and that's just the tip of the iceberg).

Putting together our Christmas meal (and, frankly, every other meal they'll be eating while they are here) was quite the task, much like putting together a puzzle, but after three weeks of working on it, I have finally cracked the code and come up with a Christmas day meal that will (hopefully) accommodate everyone.  I now give you our gluten-free, dairy-free, allergy-accommodating Christmas day feast:

Cheese & Cracker Tray with Fruit & Nuts
Soy Cheese & Gluten-Free Crackers
Homemade Bread
Udi's Gluten-Free Bread
Various Dipping Oils to include 20 year aged Balsamic, Herbs de Provence Olive Oil, & Hazelnut Balsamic

Dinner Menu
Salt-and-Pepper-Crusted Prime Rib 
Sage Jus & Horseradish Sauce on the side
Cumin Roasted Fingerling Potatoes 
Truffle-Lemon Aioli on the side
Roasted Balsamic Asparagus with Sliced Almonds
Balsamic-Glazed Cipollini Onions with Lemon, Bay Leaves, & Vegan Butter

For the four of us:
Apple Tart with Almond Cream and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
For Courtney:
Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Ice Cream with Fresh Berries

So there you have it.  Yes, she kind of gets screwed on dessert, but we went through tons of recipes together and it's just too hard to make her dessert so I don't want to hear it.  Anytime olive oil is called for, I'll be substituting vegetable oil.  Any sauces she can't have get served on the side, but nothing I'm making has to have a sauce, I'm just making them as bonuses.  Yep, you get bonus sauce at my house.

I just realized that this might be my first post ever with no pictures and I kind of hate other people's blog entries that don't have pictures so here's one of me and some of my friends kicking it fancy-style last week.

I like that it looks like the only person drinking is also the only person who's preg.  Before I start getting concerned phone calls from the grandparents, rest assured that it's just sparkling raspberry juice.


  1. Are you just trying to show off your culinary skills??? JK! Your meal looks delicious, save soy cheese--yuck!

  2. the dislike vote was for courtney. not you or turducken or the post. you should make her sleep out on the balcony.

  3. Salivating. Can I join you for Christmas? I promise not to set anything on fire.

  4. Wow Rebecca. What a menu. We are hosting dinner and I haven't even planned a menu. I think I'll wing it and plan as I go at the grocery store on the 24th.

  5. Ali- Yes. In fact, you won't even know if I make it since you went and moved to Michigan. I could have made this entire thing up.

    Crissy- Understood and I did. Well, not sleep, but I tested her tolerance for cold and made her stand out on the balcony for five minutes without shoes.

    Karen- Absolutely, you can take over my drinking duties.

    Amber- Are you hosting in Austin or in Houston? I kinda over-plan and wish I was more of a spur of the moment kind of cook. Good luck!