DF/GF Lavender Lemon Shortbread by audrey gebhardt

For real I promise you and whomever you serve this to will have no idea that it's both dairy and gluten free. 

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It's impossible to tell.

The first time I had shortbread was also the first time I had a proper massage. My lovely friend got me a gift card to the Lush Spa in Manhattan an oh my god was it magic. 

First, you walk through the Lush store filled with their signature third eye-opening scent. Then you walk up a cute little staircase to a GORGEOUS kitchen that feels like you're in the home of a faerie. Your massage therapist brings out a platter of lotion bars and lets you choose how you want to smell for the next three days. Then you are led into the themed rooms (I chose some nautical type of massage) where the music is set to your massage- the aromas transport you to dreamtime. I actually felt like I was on a boat somehow.

I did not expect to feel so completely stoned from a massage. The room was spinning, my legs were soooo heavy and I felt like I was a cloud. After you wipe your drool off the massage table they lead you back to the faerie kitchen and present you with loose-leaf tea and shortbread. I was so out of my mind that I actually put a few shortbread in my bag to go- I had never tasted something so melty and buttery and creamy that was solid?! I was confused. I felt great. 

lavender lemon shortbread

Shortly after my shortbread obsession began I also started that dairy-free life. I've been searching for a way to recreate the buttery melty delicious crumbly square for years and I finally stumbled upon it! 

This recipe uses creamed coconut, which you may also see as coconut manna or coconut butter. Same/same! The top of the jar generally has a layer of coconut oil on top, just push that aside and get to the good goods underneath for this recipe!

dairy gluten free lavender lemon shortbread

Dairy Free Gluten Free Lavender Lemon Shortbread

2/3 c sugar
zest 1/2 lemon
2 tsp food grade lavender
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1/2 c refined coconut oil- room temperature
1/2 c coconut manna
1 3/4 c gluten free flour blend

1 tsp lavender
1 TBSP sugar, to top

Preheat your oven to 350 and find an 8" round cake pan or standard loaf pan.

Flavor the sugar- in a medium bowl, combine the sugar, lemon and lavender. Rub together with your fingers for about a minute until everything is fragrant and evenly distributed. 

Beat in the coconut oil and coconut manna, continue beating until light and fluffy. 

Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla extract.

Stir in the gluten free flour blend.

Press the dough into the pan, use the bottom of a measuring cup to make it even across the top then top with remaining sugar and lavender (I also used calendula petals just for pretties).

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, until the top just begins to turn brown.

Let cool completely in pan before removing to cut! 

Shortbread will keep in an airtight container for up to one week.

**If you would like to make these completely vegan, simply omit the egg. I actually prefer the texture without the egg BUT it's not a very practical cookie. They are way too crumbly (which makes for a really great mouthfeel) but they're nearly impossible to transport without the egg to bind them. I have yet to try it but I could see these being successful with a flax egg or even a bit of applesauce to hold them together! 

xo Audrey

 

Vegan Tostadas, three ways by audrey gebhardt

Does anyone else have minor anxiety about eating crunchy things around other humans? 

vegan tostadas

Croutons, chips, carrots, celery...(is it weird that these all start with a C?)

I KNOW I DO. I'm one of those people who will leave the room if someone else is chewing loud. I can feel this monster that starts from my toes and fills my head with steam until I'm about to burst. It's one of the few things in the world that sends me into a feeling of rage. 

Thus, I feel it's not right for me to turn around eating crunchy things myself. So I try to only eat them in private, or I do that weird thing where I'm chewing excessively slow and everyone ends up looking at me anyway. 

That's why these tostadas make a perfect party food. Crank the tunes and serve them up when nobody can hear ANYTHING, so nobody has to feel uncomfortable with their symphony of mouth noises. 

vegan tostadas

You can totally make these one step easier and just buy pre-made tostadas at your local bodega or in the latin section of your grocery store, I just happened to have leftover corn tortillas laying around so I made them myself.

Vegan Tostadas, three ways

16 corn tortillas
2 TBSP olive oil
salt

1 batch Pecan Romesco
1 bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and washed
1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
pinch salt & pepper

your favorite hummus
1 english cucumber
1 ear of corn, cooked however (I grilled mine!)
2 TBSP tajin

1 batch Pico de Gallo
for the Black Bean Spread:
1 16 oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
1/4 c water
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp your favorite hot sauce

Prepare the tostadas- brush each tortilla with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Broil on both sides just until golden and crispy- keep an eye on these or things can go south realllll quick.

Prep the black bean spread: In a blender, combine the beans, water, cumin, hot sauce and salt- pulse until juuuuuust smooth. 

Chop the kale into fine ribbons and give it a nice rub down between your fingers with the olive oil and juice of one lemon. Toss with salt and pepper and set it to the side for a few minutes to settle in. 

Slice the cucumber, I sliced mine on a diagonal and then in half- also it looks kind've like avocado in the photos and you can tooootally sub avocado if that's what your heat is saying! This is certainly one of those choose your own adventure type situations.

Now you have all of the ingredients you need in front of you, basically a tostada bar. ALSO YOU COULD JUST MAKE THIS A TOSTADA BAR FOR YOUR GUESTS! But if not, prepare each as follows:

Spread a nice amount of romesco onto a tostada, top with the dressed kale. BOOM.
Spread a healthy amount of hummus onto a tostada, top with cucumbers, corn & tajin. BOOM.
Spread a generous amount of bean spread onto a tostada, top with pico de gallo. BOOM

Happy crunching!

xo Audrey

Strawberry Pavlova Cake by audrey gebhardt

TALK ABOUT FANCY. 

Strawberry Pavlova Cake

I promise promise promise you- this is the sneakiest, simplest fancy dessert you ever will make. 

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 this is what your meringue should look like pre-oven!

this is what your meringue should look like pre-oven!

You will garner ooohhhhss and aaaahhhhs from every guest. 

You will be begged for seconds. 

You will be told you are a magician (you are).

Gluten Free Strawberry Pavlova Cake

Best of all- you will make your gluten free buddies so so happy!

Strawberry Pavlova Cake

6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp lemon juice
1 TBSP cornstarch

2 lb strawberries
1/4 cup sugar

1 quart heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste!)

Clean your mixing bowl. Using the lemon that's already been juiced, run the fleshy side all around your mixing bowl then wipe dry with a paper towel. This is to make sure there are no oils in your bowl which would prevent your eggs from forming peaks!

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place the egg whites in the mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment and beat until stiff (so when you lift the beater up the peaks do not fall). Slowly add the (1 1/2 c) sugar a few tablespoons at a time and continue beating until thick and shiny. Gently fold in the lemon juice, cornstarch and vanilla. 

Separate the meringue into three even mounds on the parchment lined baking sheets, then working from the center, spread out with a spoon to create three circles about 9" in diameter and about 1" tall. You want the edges to be slightly higher than the center. Make sure the two on the same sheet are at least 3" apart or they will connect as they cook!

Bake at 300 for one hour until it looks dry around the edges. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Prep the strawberries (or any berries) while the meringue is in the oven. Wash and slice the strawberries then combine with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar- cover and set aside in the fridge until you're ready to assemble. 

WHEN YOU ARE READY TO SERVE AND NOT BEFORE THAT VERY MOMENT BECAUSE THIS IS INTEGRAL TO THE TEXTURE OF THE CAKE, assemble the Pavlova!

Whip the very cold cream with the vanilla until soft peaks form- do not over whip or you will have butter!

Place the first meringue on a large platter, top with 1/3 of the whipped cream and 1/3 of the strawberries. Repeat with the other two layers and LOOK AT YOU YOU JUST DID A THING! 

This does not hold up well once assembled, you're going to want to eat it all within an hour or the moisture of the berries will start to break down the meringue. I like to serve this super sloppy with a huge serving spoon and bowls- presentation is pretty, the way we eat it not so much. 

xo Audrey

 

Vegan Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers by audrey gebhardt

My first time eating rice and beans was one of the most exciting weeks of my life to date.

vegan stuffed peppers

It was a trip booked on a whim to visit a friend in Ecuador. Somewhere in between showering at a strangers house and hopping on the back of a different strangers' motorcycle barefoot & helmetless (sorry dad), I ate rice and beans for the first time. 

We were at a little beachside shack that served mounds, I mean MOUNDS of rice absolutely piled with beans for $3. Somehow we stumbled upon a dozen new friends and were surrounded by the liveliest people eating the cheapest dinner at 11pm. It was one of those, 'how did I end up in this exact spot with these people loving my life at such an extreme level' kind've moments. 

The man who was serving up the rice and beans was also cooking chicken on one of those grills that a deli would bring if they were catering a BBQ. Wanna know how he kept the flames in check? 

vegan bell peppers

A hairdryer. The only regret I live with is not getting a video of it. He was literally stoking the fire on his grill with a hairdryer. 

Anyway, this is a recipe reminiscent of that beyond magical week. You can totally dress it up, add some avocado/pico/mushrooms/broccoli rabe/meat/cheese/whatever you're into. This is more of a concept recipe, not so much a color in the lines recipe. 

vegan stuffed peppers

Vegan Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers
makes 4 peppers

1 cup dry rice (I use Trader Joe's Quick-Cook Brown Rice)
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 limes, zested and juiced
1 handful cilantro

1 shallot, diced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 TBSP olive oil
1 16oz can black beans (don't rinse!)
1 small tomato, diced

4 bell peppers
olive oil
salt
pepper

Prepare the rice: 
In a medium saucepan, combine the rice, stock, cilantro and lime zest (save the juice for later). You can totally add a little glug of olive oil and pinch of salt here as well.Prepare as the rice suggests on the side of the bag (the one I used was bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes until fluffy- ain't nobody got time for traditional rice!). Now add the lime juice!

Prepare the beans (you can do this while the rice is simmering, you're good like that):
In a different pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add in the diced shallot. Cook until just translucent and add the garlic- cook for another minute or so before adding your spices. Add the spices and keep over medium heat for another minute until everything is super aromatic and delightful- then add the tomato and beans (can juice and all!) to the pot. Cook over medium/medium low stirring occasionally until the water thickens and is just barely covering the beans, about 15 minutes or so. 

At this point you can turn the grill on and warm it up to medium/medium-high heat. 

Either chop the tops off the peppers and pull out the guts (white pithy parts and seeds) or chop in half and do the same- either way works! Brush the inside and out of the pepper with olive oil then sprinkle with salt & pepper. 

Combine the rice with the beans and stuff the peppers! Look at that! You're doing the thing!

Here's the best part- take squares of foil. Place one pepper on the center of the square and make a lil pouch out of the foil so it can steam. Throw those babies on the grill and then close it for about 15 minutes until you hear things sizzling and you are golden. You didn't even have to turn the oven on and make your whole house hot! This is a summertime dream that also makes it excellent camping food- all you have to do is prep the rice and beans ahead of time and keep them in your cooler until you're ready to eat!

Serve with your favorite hot sauce, unless your favorite hot sauce is not Cholula in which case you're wrong. I won't be mad at you if you find a way to get some guac on there either. 

cheers,
Audrey

GF/Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies by audrey gebhardt

In high school, I didn't really know how to have friends.

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I was in this weird purgatory of being 15 and wanting to fit in but also being 15 having experienced the death of a parent and feeling soooooo far out. 

I didn't really understand how to gossip (mostly because I didn't care). I didn't know how to just 'hang out' with people after school and on the weekends because my mind was on a constant loop of, 'mymomisdeadmymomisdeadheydontyouknowmymomisdeadandherewearealivepretendingthateverythingisokayEVERYTHINGISNOTOKAYBECAUSEMYMOMISDEAD'.

I ate lunch with my teachers, brought coloring books to class instead of textbooks and kept myself busy after school in the kitchen. There were always a plethora of cookies laying around my house (cough cough bakingismycopingmechanism cough), so eventually I started bringing them to school in a basket. 

That's when I figured out how to relate to people because everybody loves a good cookie. Soon I was a Wantagh High School mini-celeb - everybody said hi to me, people would chase me down to see what was in my basket that day. At the time I had no idea what that basket did for me, looking back I know that it gave me the courage to talk to anybody and everybody. 

Chocolate chip cookies were common ground. Humans from all walks of life can stand around a kitchen counter and bite into a warm chocolate chip cookie and feel a little bit of home. I was able to feel a little bit of home in a life that felt so foreign to me every time I ate one of those cookies. In 11th grade we read an essay about a couple who had lost their child who kept spending time with the chef who was supposed to make his birthday cake. The lesson of that essay was that food is love. If there's one thing I learned outside of the classroom in high school it's that gifting food is a way to give a little bit of your heart to someone else, and it's only when you share it that you begin to feel whole again. 

vegan chocolate chip cookies

Vegan/Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 18

1 cup almond butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown rice flour
4oz dark chocolate- chips or bar, chopped roughly
flaky salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350.
In a medium bowl, mix together the almond butter and brown sugar until combined and smooth. Stir in the applesauce, vanilla and baking soda until mixed in.
Slowly stir in the oats, rice flour and chocolate.
On a parchment lined baking sheet, drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough (I use this scoop) at least an inch apart, lightly sprinkle with flaky salt and send off to the oven for 9-11 minutes juuuuust until the edges start to brown and the cookie seems set. 
Cookies will keep really well in a sealed container at room temperature for up to a week!

xo Audrey

DF + GF Almond Butter Pancakes by audrey gebhardt

Remember going camping as a kid? You didn't have to do any of the work and all you had to do was eat s'mores and dig for worms and go in the lake? 

vegan + gluten free pancakes

We used to go as a whole family, cousins and all. Our grandpa would take us 'snipe hunting' with our butterfly nets, we'd walk through the woods banging tiny rocks together not even knowing what a snipe was. I was pretty confident it was a raccoon type animal and that it would DEFINITELY fit in my purple dollar store butterfly net. 

I found out about a year ago it was just a thing to keep us busy. A memory he created for us. There were no snipe in the woods we were camping in, he never even told us what exactly we were looking for. He would just occasionally rustle the bushes and make a scary grandpa noise to get all of us to squeal- and it was magic. 

The next morning we'd wake up with marshmallow still in our hair and beg Uncle Don to have a turn shaking the bisquick mix for pancakes. I was probably five when I learned how to make a perfect pancake, first you drop a few droplets of water on the skillet and make sure they dance to see if it's hot enough, then you watch for the bubbles in the batter and wait for the edges to dry just a tiny bit before flipping. 

People have been telling me for years that one day all of the early morning carbs and sugar would catch up with me and OH BOY they were right. This recipe helps fix that issue, a hearty batter that fills you up without leaving the 'I need to take a nap while laying on my belly' hangover pancakes can sometimes offer. 

vegan gluten free pancakes

Dairy Free + Gluten Free Almond Butter Pancakes
makes 3 cups of batter, enough for 15 pancakes or so

3 overripe bananas
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 TBSP almond butter
1 1/2 TSBP sunflower oil (or coconut)
3/4 c almond milk
1 1/2 c oats
1/2 c brown rice flour

maple syrup, for serving

In a medium bowl, smash the bananas with a fork- mix in the baking powder, salt and vanilla until the bananas kind've fluff up a bit. 

Stir in the almond butter, eggs and oil until combined and smooth- slowly whisk in the almond milk. 

Stir in the oats and brown rice flour just until mixed.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat until when you flick a bit of water on the skillet it starts to dance. Drop a bit of coconut oil in the pan and spread around in a thin layer with a paper towel. 

Drop spoonfuls of batter in the pan, just under 1/4 cup at a time. DON'T BE SAD IF THE FIRST PANCAKE SUCKS. THE FIRST PANCAKE ALWAYS SUCKS. YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO THROW IT OUT!

I like these pancakes with just a drizzle of maple syrup, but it does not hurt to throw a few chocolate chips in or a pat of butter on top! I won't tell your dietician, I promise. 

Recipe notes:
-I usually make these for myself, so I save the batter in a quart container in the fridge and stir in a little almond milk (because it will thicken in the fridge) when I'm ready to make more. It lasts for a week or so in the fridge! 
-You can also sub peanut butter for almond butter!

xo, Audrey
 

 

Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad by audrey gebhardt

I'm on a first name basis with my hometown pizza place (what up Umberto's of Wantagh!!)

Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad

In fact, I'm not only on a first name basis. I'm on a birthday basis. 

I walked in there on my 21st birthday and every person behind the counter wished my a happy birthday without me even having said anything. I was so confused and it felt like a dream come true at the same time. 

I was chalking it up to magic when it turned out that my dad had just assumed I would be there at some point that day (obviously) so when he had gone in for his slice he gave them a heads up it was my birthday. 

They have this salad dressing. It's just their house salad but I was honestly sad about moving across the country because this is my all time favorite salad dressing- I can eat gardens full of lettuce drenched in this stuff. After eating it for over a decade, I FINALLY cracked it!

This quinoa salad soaks it up beautifully and it's a super simple thing to throw together to bring to a Fourth of July BBQ! The best best best part- it doesn't make that nasty sound that mayo heavy pasta salads make when you stir them around. 

Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad

dressing:
1/8 sweet (vidalia) onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp oregano

salad:
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
pinch said
1/2 lb asparagus
1 bell pepper
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 english cucumber, diced
1 zucchini
olive oil
salt
pepper

\\ Prepare the quinoa. Place dry quinoa in a fine mesh colander/sieve and rinse under cold water for a couple of minutes, until there are no more bubbles popping up. Combine the quinoa and stock in a medium pot with a lid over medium high heat. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer and simmer, covered, for about fifteen minutes until the stock is soaked up and the quinoa is fluffy. 

\\ While that's working, heat the grill to medium high heat. Halve the bell pepper, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Chop about two inches off the base of the asparagus, you don't want any of that tough nonsense in your salad. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Cut the ends off the zucchini and quarter lengthwise, then brush with olive oil salt and pepper. Grill veggies for 7-10 minutes on each side, until the veggies are tender and starting to char. Allow to cool a bit then chop into 1 inch segments. 

\\ Prepare the dressing. In a large bowl, combine the onion, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, red pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking vigorously to emulsify the dressing. 

\\ Add the cucumbers and tomatoes to the bowl with the dressing, then the grilled veggies and finally the quinoa. It's okay if everything is still warm! This quinoa will actually soak up the flavors of the dressing beautifully if it's still a little bit warm. Serve immediately AND refrigerate some for later- it's so so refreshing when it's fresh from the fridge!

xo
Audrey

 

Simple Vegan Romesco Sauce by audrey gebhardt

The first time I had romesco sauce was at one of the most inspiring events I have ever been to. 

Vegan Pecan Romesco

It was at a Sunday Suppers dinner, back when they were held in a gorgeous studio in Brooklyn. I mean, floor to ceiling windows- white everything- huge open kitchen space and a table that was about 15ft long that sat almost 25 of us. 

We prepared a meal with cookbook author Sarah Copeland, and instantly my world felt like it grew tenfold. 

All of the sudden my dreams got huge- I saw what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be, the types of people I wanted to be around. One woman created this space and invited people from all over to join her in the kitchen to cook meals with renowned chefs and authors. She fit the whole world in 500 square feet. I was a tiny 18 year old pretending to sip on my wine and people were talking about their ski homes in Aspen, their summer trips to Napa, and what has been going on at the Met lately.

I was surrounded by a bunch of *worldly* people, and I had to prove that my appetite was worthy of their company. I found myself trying foods outside of my pizza and grilled cheese comfort zone, including romesco sauce. 

 me, at Sunday Suppers december 2013-look how tiny I was! and how 2013 my necklace was! 

me, at Sunday Suppers december 2013-look how tiny I was! and how 2013 my necklace was! 

I will admit I wasn't sold on it initially, just barely letting it graze my roasted vegetables at that table that night. Since then I've made countless variations and I've settled on one that really hits the spot for me. I'll make it as a sauce for some vegetables but then keep it in the fridge and spread it on sandwiches and use it as a dip throughout the week.

Vegan Pecan Romesco

Vegan Pecan Romesco
makes a little over one cup

2/3 cup pecans
1 bell pepper, grilled or roasted
2 medium tomatoes, roasted
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/3 c olive oil
small handful parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp salt

Toast the pecans in a saucepan over medium heat just until they start to smell really really good. 

Toss all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender (all of it fit in my lil bullet blender!) and process until nearly smooth. If the tomatoes and or peppers are still hot, don't forget to hold a dishtowel over the top of the blender so it doesn't explode!

Serve with roasted veggies while still warm OR let it hang in the fridge overnight and serve along some crudite- this is a very versatile spread!

xo

Audrey