caesar dressing II

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

One of my favorite restaurants in San Diego is the long-time family owned Brigantine. And one of my favorite dishes is their chicken caesar salad in part because of the vinegary dressing. On the off-chance I could find a recipe, I did an on-line search and lo and behold, I found the recipe. If you want a nice evening out, give the Brig a try at multiple San Diego locations including my favorite in Coronado.

However, if you want a taste of the Brig at home, here’s a great recipe. I’ve halved the original recipe and made a few slight changes, but we still go through it rather quickly. It’s great for a crowd and my kids will always eat a salad if they’re starving and “there’s nothing to eat.”

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
Yield: about half a quart (2 cups)
Special equipment: blender, Vitamix or food processor

1 small or medium egg (if using an extra large egg, scramble it and use half)
2 T Dijon mustard
2 small garlic cloves
2 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1 T anchovy paste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

3/4 c. olive oil
3/4 c. avocado oil or olive oil (not extra virgin)

  1. Put all ingredients into blender or food processor EXCEPT for oils.
  2. Blend at high speed until thoroughly mixed. With the blender running, add the oils slowly in a fine stream until all oil is incorporated. Refrigerate immediately.

This dressing is best made a few hours ahead of serving and even better when made a day ahead.

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sparkling holiday punch

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

This couldn’t be easier! This is the perfect holiday punch because it’s served alcohol free, yet when you mix it 1:1 with white wine, it makes a delicious holiday sangria. Great for kids and adults for brunch or any party or celebration. I got all my ingredients at Trader Joe’s, but any super market will have everything you need.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes
Yield: 18 servings
Special equipment: punch bowl or beverage dispenser

1 cold 12 oz. can thawed orange juice concentrate 
1 cold 42.3 oz. bottle sparkling water
2 cold 25.4 oz. bottles sparkling apple cider 
1 cold 25.4 oz bottle sparking cranberry cider

1 orange sliced
1 apple sliced
1/2 c. fresh cranberries

  1. Pour first four ingredients into a beverage dispenser and stir thoroughly.
  2. Float orange, apple and cranberries atop for garnish.
  3. Serve beside a bucket of ice and a few bottles of white wine for sangria.

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white and dark clusters

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

I think the only reason my children make candy with me is the reward of licking the chocolate drenched spatulas. It’s a good deal for everyone, actually. While making my traditional bark that my husband hands out at work each year, I came up with this little treat. It’s lovely to look at, but the taste is one of those really perfect balances of savory and sweet with the surprise of cinnamon. I’m always encouraging people to mess around with recipes, but really, try this one just the way it is – divine.

The key is using roasted, salted almonds. Odd as it may seem, salt is the perfect counter measure to chocolate. It makes it taste full and balanced. It provides that quality that makes you want another piece. My only advice – make extra!

Prep time: 10 minutes:
Total time: 2 hours
Yield: as much as you want
Special equipment: sheet pan and parchment paper

I’m giving general measurements here, because you can produce as much as you want, with just a few guidelines:

about 8 ounces dark chocolate (I use the 72% dark chocolate block from Trader Joe’s), chopped
about 12 ounces white chocolate (I used Trader Joe’s white chocolate chips)
about 1 c. roasted, salted almonds

  1. Arrange parchment upon sheet pan.
  2. Place almonds atop pan in groups of four.
  3. Melt white chocolate over double boiler, tempering it.
  4. Using a table spoon measurement, (or a soup spoon), drop white chocolate onto almond cluster and wait until it sets about 45 minutes.
  5. Melt dark chocolate over double boiler, tempering it.
  6. Using a table spoon measurement, (or a soup spoon), drop slightly less amount of dark chocolate onto almond cluster, so that the chocolate drapes over the white chocolate but doesn’t obscure it.
  7. After 10 minutes, dust the clusters with cinnamon. Allow clusters to set further another 45 minutes.

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goat cheese christmas log

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

I was trying to come up with something festive for a client’s holiday party when I spied scallions and fresh cranberries in the fridge. Here’s the result – a luscious goat cheese log with scallions and orange spiced dried cranberries. Delicious and so pretty for Christmas. The creaminess of the cheese pairs perfectly with the crunch of an almond or rice cracker. Wash it down with a Champagne Cosmopolitan Cocktail and you’ve got a party!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yield: 1 log that serves 8 as an appetizer

1 10.5 oz. log of room temperature goat cheese
1/2 c. dried cranberries (Trader Joe’s sells amazing orange flavored ones*)
1/4 c. finely chopped scallions

  1. Soak the cranberries in boiling water for 5 minutes to soften. Drain and finely chop.
  2. Upon a long piece of plastic wrap, spread the cranberries and scallions into a rectangular shape no longer that the log.
  3. Roll log in mixture, pressing so the ingredients adhere.
  4. Roll log tightly in plastic wrap, twisting the ends firmly so that it looks like a fat, little sausage.
  5. Refrigerate until needed. Remove 20 minutes before serving. Goat cheese thats too cold will crumble and you want this creamy.

*If you can’t find orange-infused cranberries, use regular cranberries and 1/2 tsp. orange zest.

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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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