thanksgiving countdown — cranberry relish

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

Whether you’re prepar­ing for an inti­mate meal or are expect­ing a house full, if you’re host­ing Thanks­giv­ing this year, there are plenty of things you can do ahead of time. In fact, there are a few items that taste bet­ter done in advance. My cran­berry rel­ish is one of them. I make my rel­ish at least a week in advance so that all the fla­vors can develop. It’s just like mak­ing refrig­er­a­tor jam. Super easy, super quick and do-ahead.

You can add any­thing you like to this rel­ish — raisins, nuts, chopped apples. My fam­ily likes it the way my grand­mother and mom made it. Set it into an sealed glass con­tainer and you’ve taken one thing off your list.

This year I used organic cran­ber­ries which tend to come in 8 ounce pack­ages instead of the stan­dard 12 ounce. Here’s a recipe using 8 ounces of cran­ber­ries.

Prep time: 5 min­utes
Total time: 15 min­utes
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

1 8 oz pack­age fresh cran­ber­ries, rinsed and picked over
2/3 c. sugar
3/4 c. orange juice
tiny pinch of salt
1 cin­na­mon stick

  1. Place all ingre­di­ents into saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Sim­mer for about 10 min­utes, until most of the cran­ber­ries have popped. Cool and refrig­er­ate. Remove cin­na­mon stick prior to serving.

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chocolate dipped macaroons

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

I really think mac­a­roons are the poster child for gluten-free treats. Plus, you’ve got to love a “cookie” that dates back to 16th cen­tury Italy. Over the years, Ital­ian Jews adopted the recipe due to a lack of leav­en­ing (no flour). Over the next cen­turies, the recipe under­went a few cul­tural iterations.

Here in the states, we asso­ciate mac­a­roons with shred­ded coconut, but really they first orig­i­nated with an almond base. In fact, the mul­ti­col­ored French vari­ety, mac­aron, is still made with almonds. Grad­u­ally, Amer­i­cans replaced the almond base entirely for shred­ded coconut and in many cases, added a dip in chocolate.

Even though the mod­ern recipe is very much the same, I find each fam­ily has their own secrets. My grand­mother height­ened her egg whites with a dash of cream of tar­tar and I’m fairly cer­tain she slightly toasted the coconut before fold­ing it into the stiff egg whites. Go dig for your fam­ily recipe and if you come up short, try these.

I made bite sized mac­a­roons with the assis­tance of my mini ice cream scooper, but they can be made into a loftier spec­i­men by sim­ply drop­ping them with a soup spoon. I tried agave with this recipe and didn’t like the spongy tex­ture. I try not to eat a ton of sugar, but every once in a while when we do, I don’t mess with tradition.

Prep time: 15 min­utes
Total time: 30–35 min­utes
Yield: 34 small cook­ies
Spe­cial equip­ment: parch­ment paper,  mini ice cream scooper (optional) 3 cookie sheets, stand mixer or hand mixer, double-boiler (optional)

4 large egg whites
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
3 c. unsweet­ened shred­ded coconut, plus 3 T set aside
1 c. semi-sweet choco­late chips (I use Trader Joe’s) optional

  1. Pre­heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line cookie sheets with parch­ment paper.
  3. Com­bine egg whites, sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk until glossy and stiff peaks form.
  4. Gen­tly fold coconut into egg white mix­ture until evenly combined.
  5. Drop scoops of mix­ture atop parch­ment paper lined bak­ing sheets with mini ice cream scooper or spoon.
  6. Bake for 10–15 min­utes until just golden.
  7. Remove to cool­ing rack for 30 min­utes until com­pletely cool.
  8. Melt choco­late over dou­ble boiler, (or very care­fully over low­est heat) stir­ring con­stantly until smooth.
  9. Remove from heat and dip mac­a­roons. Before the choco­late sets, sprin­kle with reserved shred­ded coconut. Cool and eat.



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banana berry scones

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

Okay, admit­tedly I’m on a bit of a scone kick. I can’t help myself with my recent dis­cov­ery of Lucy’s amaz­ing almond flour and all the fresh, organic berries South­ern Cal­i­for­nia has to offer.

A note about Lucy’s and other small busi­nesses. No, it won’t arrive two days later by drone, but you can be happy you are patron­iz­ing a small busi­ness. The flour is extremely well processed and is lighter and rises bet­ter than any­thing else I’ve found out there. Thanks to my friend Erika for intro­duc­ing me to it. Inci­den­tally, after a phone call to place my order, I got my deliv­ery three days later.

These freeze beau­ti­fully, but like most baked goods, are best five min­utes out of the oven. Slather with but­ter or jam, or just eat on their own for a quick and easy break­fast or a nutri­tious after­noon snack.

Prep time: 10 min­utes
Total time: 30 min­utes
Yield: 15 muffins
Spe­cial equip­ment: ice cream scooper and parch­ment paper (if desired)

4 c. almond flour
1 1/2 tsp. bak­ing soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs (I use 3 extra large or 4 large)
1/3 c. agave, honey or maple syrup
1 large, very ripe banana, mashed
1/3 c. fresh blue­ber­ries
1/3 c. fresh rasp­ber­ries
1/3 c. fresh straw­ber­ries, trimmed and sliced into pieces the size of blueberries

  1. Pre­heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix almond flour, bak­ing soda and salt together.
  3. In a sep­a­rate bowl, whisk eggs and agave until thor­oughly combined.
  4. Add wet ingre­di­ents to dry and mix.
  5. Add mashed banana and mix.
  6. Fold fresh berries into bat­ter by hand until combined.
  7. With ice cream scooper, place scoop onto parch­ment paper lined (or oiled) bak­ing sheets.
  8. Bake for 18–20 min­utes or until a tooth­pick comes out clean.

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chicken breakfast sausage

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

Try­ing to find chicken break­fast sausage with­out night­shades (paprika) has proven to be impos­si­ble. I’m glad really, because mak­ing these myself is quite easy, thanks to my neigh­bor­hood butcher who grinds organic, bone­less, skin­less chicken thighs for me. The fla­vor of thighs is far supe­rior to white meat and has nearly enough fat to yield a fla­vor­ful sausage. Don’t use breast meat — it’s just too lean and dry.

You can use fresh sage if you’ve got it. The ratio of dried to fresh herbs is about 1:3. One tea­spoon of dried sage equals one table­spoon of fresh.

I make a dou­ble recipe on the week­ends and freeze these pat­ties for use dur­ing the week. Using an ice cream scoop pro­duces a per­fect patty — just don’t fill it all the way. A scant scoop is just right. These pat­ties make great slid­ers too, using gluten-free buns sliced down to a smaller size. My kids also like to wrap them in a let­tuce leaf with mayo, mus­tard and onion for an after school lunch. For break­fast, lunch or din­ner, these lit­tle sausages are a healthy, tasty and quick addi­tion to my pantry.

Prep time: 10 min­utes
Total time: 30 min­utes
Yield: 10 sausages
Spe­cial equip­ment:  ice cream scooper optional

1 lb. ground chicken thighs
2 T finely minced yel­low onion
1 scal­lion finely diced
1 medium clove gar­lic, minced
1 1/2 T extra vir­gin olive oil
1 1/2 T maple syrup or honey
1 tsp. ground sage
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1 T olive oil

  1. Add first nine ingre­di­ents to a bowl and mix thor­oughly until well combined.
  2. Heat a heavy bot­tomed pan (cast iron works great) to medium heat and add 1 T olive oil.
  3. Scantly fill an ice cream scooper and place con­tents into hot pan and smooth top with a spat­ula, flat­ten­ing slightly. Don’t crowd pan. Cook pat­ties over medium heat for 3–5 min­utes per side, depend­ing on thickness.
  4. Remove to paper tow­els to drain.
  5. Cool com­pletely to refrig­er­ate or freeze.

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cheddar dill biscuits

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

Adapted from Jodi Bager and Jenny Lass’ won­der­ful grain-free gourmet cook­book, these bis­cuits are a won­der­ful gluten-free, no-grain option that will melt in your mouth. The onion and cheese pro­vide just the right amount of savory — so deli­cious. If you make them ahead of time, pop them in the toaster oven for a minute to crisp them up before serving.

They freeze really well too, so make a bunch and watch your almond flour disappear.

Prep time: 10 min­utes
Total time: 25 min­utes
Yield: 9 bis­cuits
Spe­cial equip­ment: ice cream scooper and parch­ment paper

3 c. almond flour
1 tsp. bak­ing soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 oz sharp ched­dar cheese, grated
1/2 yel­low onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. dill (dried or fresh)
3 eggs
4 T plain Greek yogurt

  1. Pre­heat oven to 350 degrees and line a bak­ing sheet with parch­ment paper.
  2. Com­bine flour, bak­ing soda, salt, cheese, onion and dill.
  3. In a sep­a­rate bowl, whisk eggs and yogurt together.
  4. Add wet ingre­di­ents to dry and stir until thor­oughly combined.
  5. Using an ice cream scooper, place level scoops of dough onto lined bak­ing sheet, press­ing down slightly to flat­ten with the palm of your hand.
  6. Bake for 15 min­utes until nicely browned.

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