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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