white chocolate cherry bark

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

White choco­late, dried cher­ries and salted pecans are a great com­bi­na­tion for the hol­i­days. Coconut adds another bit of depth. Remem­ber, any kind of choco­late, even the stuff that isn’t really choco­late (like “white” choco­late) is bet­ter with salt, hence the salted nuts. I also tried this recipe with orange infused cran­ber­ries and wal­nuts which was also quite good. The point of mak­ing a recipe like this is to exper­i­ment. I think pis­ta­chios would be great here too — be cre­ative with the fla­vors and make it your own. This makes a lovely hol­i­day gift for friends and neigh­bors, but keep some for yourself.

Prep time: 25 min­utes
Total time: 3 hours, 25 min­utes includ­ing time for chill­ing
Spe­cial equip­ment: 9″ x 13″ glass casse­role pan and off­set spat­ula
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1 10 oz. pack­age white choco­late chips (I get mine at Trader Joe’s)
1/4 c. chopped dried cher­ries
1/4 c. shaved coconut
1/2 c. chopped salted pecans

  1. Fill the bot­tom of a medium sauce pan an inch deep with water and bring to a sim­mer. Pour the white choco­late into a heat­proof bowl and set over the sim­mer­ing saucepan. Stir with a spat­ula until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour choco­late into casse­role dish, smooth­ing evenly with off­set spatula.
  3. Sprin­kle cher­ries, coconut and pecans atop, press­ing them into the choco­late with a wide spatula.
  4. Refrig­er­ate for 3 hours.
  5. To dis­lodge, remove from fridge and let sit for 5–10 min­utes. Wedge a metal spat­ula or flex­i­ble knife into the cor­ner to lift the bark. Break into pieces with your hands.

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the gift of food

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

My birth­day was last month and I received some really lovely gifts. One of my favorites was from my sis­ter, Leigh. She lives in Boise on a huge par­cel of land. She’s been involved with agri­cul­ture her entire life, includ­ing earn­ing an Agri­cul­ture Busi­ness degree. It’s her pro­fes­sion and her passion.

So when I opened my birth­day present from her, I was delighted to find the best home­made grape jam I have ever tasted, along with savory dried herbs and pro­duce from her gar­den. I’m thaw­ing out home­made stock right now so I can make But­ter­nut Squash Soup.

Here’s a look at some of her bounty this past fall. I squealed when she texted me this photo. There’s at least 10 but­ter­nut squash in there, along with acorn squash, red kuri hub­bard squash, egg­plant, bell peppers…absolutely gor­geous. She and her hus­band are now sell­ers at the organic farmer’s mar­ket. I can’t believe we didn’t end up in the same town!

 

 

It got me think­ing what a lovely sur­prise the gift of food is. Grow­ing up, we grew arti­chokes, cucum­bers, onions, herbs and toma­toes in a yard rimmed by fruit trees and berry vines. Shar­ing this bounty with our friends and neigh­bors was a true joy.

I remem­ber com­ing home from church with a box full of home­grown cucum­bers from a fam­ily friend. We canned with our mom, all after­noon, turn­ing them into bread and but­ter pick­les we could eat in winter.

As the Christ­mas sea­son approaches, con­sider the gift of food. It doesn’t have to be some­thing you’ve grown your­self, but some­thing thought­ful and deca­dent like truf­fle salt (Trader Joe’s has a small sea­sonal con­tainer for around $6) or a block of great parmesan-reggiano. Happy Giving!

 


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butternut squash pumpkin soup

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

I love soup and stew sea­son. One pot dishes make life a bit eas­ier. This is a beau­ti­ful soup that can be made with cream for a richer prod­uct, or with­out for a cleaner, earth­ier fla­vor. Usu­ally, I roast but­ter­nut squash for soups, but for this quicker ver­sion, I sim­mered it. You can do either.

For added depth, I tossed in one of my new favorite spice blends — Chi­nese Five Spice. Appeal­ing to all five fla­vor senses, it adds a lovely fla­vor balance.

This is great served with a crisp glass of Sauvi­gnon Blanc or Pinot Gri­gio.
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Prep time: 20 min­utes
Total time:50–60 min­utes
Yield: 6 serv­ings
Spe­cial equip­ment: immer­sion blender

1 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 1/2 lbs. but­ter­nut squash peeled and sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 15 oz can canned pump­kin
1 tsp. Chi­nese Five Spice

1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pep­per
3 c. chicken or veg­etable stock
1/2 c. half and half or cream optional
salt and pep­per to taste
sour cream thinned with lime juice and lime twists as a gar­nish optional

  1. Saute onion in olive oil on medium heat until translu­cent, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add but­ter­nut squash, pump­kin, salt, pep­per and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce and sim­mer 20–25 min­utes until but­ter­nut squash comes apart when pierced with a fork.
  3. With immer­sion blender, puree soup to desired con­sis­tency. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
  4. Thin a few table­spoons of sour cream with lime juice so that it was be poured and driz­zled over soup. Gar­nish with lime twist.

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tasty gluten-free Thanksgiving side dishes

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

Thanks­giv­ing doesn’t have to be a huge carb fest. In addi­tion to the req­ui­site Sweet Potato Casse­role and Dress­ing (bread-based dish baked out­side the bird), load your menu full of veg­gies and inter­est­ing sal­ads. Here’s a few stan­dards that are sure to please.

Hol­i­day Rice Pilaf
Sweet Potato Casse­role
Gluten-Free Hol­i­day Bread Dress­ing
Green Bean Gre­mo­lata
Roasted Car­rots


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holiday chocolate mousse

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

The Choco­late Mousse recipe below is not a tra­di­tional Thanks­giv­ing dessert, but since the kids in our fam­ily request it each year, it’s found a per­ma­nent place on the menu. I finally got smart and used old fash­ioned, shal­low dessert cups.

Make these a day ahead of time (steps 1–5) and cover tightly with saran, then whip the cream Thanks­giv­ing morn­ing and serve with huge dollops.

My kids also request this recipe for Christ­mas din­ner. And Valen­tines Day. You get the pic­ture. Silky and sub­lime, it might sneak its way onto your Thanks­giv­ing menu too.
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Prep time: 20 min­utes
Total time: 4 1/2 hours (includ­ing refrig­er­a­tion time)
Yield: 8 serv­ings
Spe­cial equip­ment: stand mixer or hand mixer; indi­vid­ual ramekins or dessert dishes

3 large egg yolks (save whites for another use)
pinch of salt
2/3 c. whole milk
12 ounces good qual­ity semi-sweet choco­late (cut from a block or from chips in a pinch)
1 1/2 c. chilled whip­ping cream, divided
1 T sugar

  1. Whisk yolks and salt in medium bowl.
  2. Bring milk to sim­mer in sauce pan.
  3. Grad­u­ally whisk hot milk into yolk mix­ture, then return to the same pan. Stir over low heat until cus­tard thick­ens, about 1–2 min­utes. Do not let it boil. (If you think you’ve over­cooked it and the yolks have cur­dled, strain your mix­ture through a fine mesh sieve).
  4. Remove from heat and add choco­late, whisk­ing until smooth. Cool 40 minutes.
  5. Beat 3/4 c. cream in bowl until peaks form. Fold cream into mousse base. Spoon into serv­ings dishes and cover and chill at least 3 hours.
  6. When ready to serve, beat remain­ing 3/4 c. cream in bowl along with sugar until peaks form. Drop a dol­lop onto each serv­ing dish. Gar­nish with shaved chocolate.

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