Sides

Penne Ala Vodka (V) by audrey gebhardt

Penne Ala Vodka is the first dish I mastered. 

Vegan Penne Ala Vodka

I've been whipping up pots of orange pasta for crowds for over a decade now. I remember one of the first times I made this for more than just my immediately family, we were out in Montauk having a beach vacation with a bunch of friends. 

It was late September and grey and chilly and foggy and rainy, much like it's been in Denver these past couple of days. I had the windows open when I made the sauce because I'm neurotic about the house smelling like onion and people staying at the condo a few doors down knocked on the door because they could smell how good this sauce was. If that's not a testament to how bomb this sauce is, I don't know what is! That version of it had a good bit of butter and heavy cream, but I've swapped those out for homemade cashew cream and olive oil and can't even tell the difference.

This recipe is a triple whammy, not only are you learning how to make my favorite sauce- you're also getting recipes for the simplest and most versatile cashew cream and vegan parmesan!

vegan cashew cream

Vegan Penne Ala Vodka
makes enough sauce to 1 pound of pasta

cashew cream:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (alternately, you can cover them with boiling water for about an hour until they plump up)
1/2 c water

vegan parmesan:
1/4 c raw cashews
1 TBSP nutritional yeast
pinch salt

vodka sauce:
4 TBSP olive oil
5-7 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
15 oz tomato sauce
1/4 c vodka
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
pinch red pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil or a few fresh basil leaves
1/3 c cashew cream 

Prep the cashew cream: Drain the cashews and blend them with the new fresh water for about 3-5 minutes until silky and creamy. For this recipe, I like this a little bit on the thicker side (you can always add more water to thin it out later). Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, sauté the green onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until the onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, vodka, oregano, salt, red pepper and basil. Bring to a simmer then lower the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes until thickened and fragrant. Add 1/3 c of the cashew cream and simmer for another ten minutes before tossing with your favorite pasta (I use Barilla Gluten Free).

While the sauce is simmering, make the vegan parm. In a coffee grinder or a food processor, blitz the cashews, nutritional yeast and salt for about a minute until the cashews have been broken down to grated parmesan sized pieces (don't blend too long or you'll have cashew butter!)

Sauce will keep in the fridge for up to a week and it freezes beautifully as well!

xo
Audrey

Cheddar Grits with Roasted Baby Broccoli by audrey gebhardt

One of the greatest compliments I've ever gotten was from a coworker who grew up in Alabama. 

Cheddar Grits with Roasted Broccoli GLUTEN FREE

She said to me, 'you're the closest I've found to a Southern Belle outside of the south.'

I have been trying to live up to that title for about five years now, wearing the fullest skirts whenever possible, drinking everything out of fancy glasses, never arriving to somebody's home without full arms, and eating grits for breakfast perhaps a little too often.

The first time I had grits was in Charleston, on a trip dripping with mystery and charm. Since then I've realized that cheesy grits are basically the next best thing to mac n' cheese when you're gluten free! Not only do I love the flavor of roasted broccoli with cheddar, I also feel much better about eating a bowl of cheesy carbs when there's something green in the mix. 

This recipe comes together in a half an hour and though I find it to be a perfect cozy breakfast, it's also a great side dish!

Cheddar Grits with Roasted Broccoli GLUTEN FREE

Cheddar Grits with Roasted Baby Broccoli
makes two hearty servings, four sides

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 tsp salt
1 TBSP butter
1/2 c stone ground grits (I got mine at Trader Joe's)
1/2 c milk
4 oz mild cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 tsp black pepper

1 bunch broccolini
2 TBSP olive oil
pinch salt
pinch pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 and trip the ends off of the baby broccoli.

Toss the baby broccoli in olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet in the preheated oven.

While the broccoli is roasting, prepare the grits. Bring the vegetable stock, salt and butter to a boil. Stir in the grits and bring the temperature all the way down to the lowest temperature possible (low and slow is the secret to creamy grits!) so it's just gently simmering. Stir quite often for about 15 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the milk and cook for about ten minutes more before stirring in the cheddar and black pepper to serve. 

Remove the broccoli from the oven when it's crisped and the flowerheads are just browned. Serve over grits in delight.

xo
Audrey

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Sunflower Pesto (V) by audrey gebhardt

Do you know how many grown adult men in this country don't eat raw tomatoes? 

Heirloom Tomato Tart

They will eat all of the pizza, endless bolognese, put raw eggs in their smoothies, drink the broth of another animal's bones, spit their phlegm across three lanes of traffic and still push the tomatoes from their salad off to the side. 

I don't entirely blame them though, you know why? 

Vegan Tomato Tart

They're being served something entirely unlike what a tomato should taste like. 

A tomato should taste like the sun, exploding in your mouth. Warm and soft and delicate and bursting with bright flavor. 

Vegan Heirloom Tomato Tart

The tomatoes we see in our grocery stores are often much closer to their plastic play kitchen friends than they are like the real deal juice-dripping-down-your-chin sweet-as-candy still have a bit of dirt on them tomatoes we should be eating. 

If there's a man in your life that you've been trying to get to eat tomatoes for years, now is the time. Mid August-early September is when they are prime and ripe and perfect. Run-don't walk to the farmers market because in a blink they'll be gone. Heirlooms are best, give them a gentle squeeze and if it gives a little you're in business. If The Man needs further coaxing than just a slab of tomato with salt and pepper, wrap the tomato in flaky pie crust over a bed of pesto and you will change a life. 

***I made this pesto with sunflower seeds because they're so much cheaper than pine nuts and less flavorful so the basil can be the real star of the show. Also, it's nice to think that if you're eating the seeds of your favorite flower you are that much closer to becoming just like a sunflower. 

Vegan Heirloom Tomato Tart

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Sunflower Pesto (vegan)

1 olive oil pie crust

1 c basil leaves, washed and stemmed
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

2 large or 3 medium heirloom tomatoes
2 TBSP olive oil
pinch salt
pinch pepper

Prepare the pie crust (this can be done up to three days in advance and left to chill wrapped in saran wrap in the fridge).

In a medium saucepan, toast the sunflower seeds over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes until they get toasty and smell nutty, shaking them around occasionally. 

In a blender, combine the basil, sunflower seeds, olive oil, salt and peppers. Blend until combined, adding more olive oil if it's too thick to blend but not too much because you want this to be a pasty olive oil- just to the point that you can spread it. 

Preheat the oven to 425. Roll out the crust so it's about 18" in diameter and 1/4" thick. Transfer the rolled out dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the pesto out on the dough, leaving a 3" border around it. 

Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-1/2" slices, cover the pesto-ed part of the crust with tomatoes. Fold the edges of the dough over the tomato, pressing to seal any cracks along the bottom seam.

Drizzle the whole tart with the remaining 2 TBSP of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 425 for 35-45 minutes, until the edges turn golden and the tomatoes are roasted and wrinkly. 

Cool and serve at room temperature. 

xo
Audrey

 

Summer Zucchini Pappardelle by audrey gebhardt

This is not the prettiest thing you will ever eat. 

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It's the kind've beauty that your eyes won't understand, but your tastebuds will. 

Sort of like when you have a new crush and you're showing them off to your best friend but their few random instagram pictures really don't do them justice and your friend is just no understanding what your heart knows. 

Or like when you go to show someone the funniest Youtube video of all time and all of the sudden it's fallen flat and you're sitting there in the discomfort of waiting for it to be funny. You know it, but everyone else doesn't. 

It's secretly the most beautiful thing you'll eat this week. 

I made it with butter (grass fed, because I'm still bougie about butter) because I'm not always vegan. I really really like creamy salty butter. So much so that I think it belongs on a pile of sautéed vegetables that I'm trying to pass off as pasta. You can sub the butter for more olive oil and it will still be yummy!

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Summer Zucchini Pappardelle
serves 2

2 zucchini
2 cloves garlic
1 head baby broccoli
1 c cherry tomatoes
1 ear corn
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 TBSP butter
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
8-12 leaves basil

Prep the zucchini- using a vegetable peeler (lots of people will tell you that you need to go buy a crazy contraption to make zucchini noodles but I'm here to tell you that's nonsense and I made pretty bomb zucchini pappardelle with a vegetable peeler I got in the Target dollar section in 2006.) peel long ribbons of the zucchini (skin and all) to the seedy part, then flip it over and repeat on all four sides. You can use the seeds but I don't because they kind've fall apart and don't hold together like long noodles should. Stack the widest noodles and cut lengthwise. 

Smash the garlic and heat it over medium heat with the olive oil in a sauté pan. Chop the broccoli lengthwise as well, into 1/4 in segments. After the garlic is pretty aromatic (about one minute), add the broccoli and cover. Allow to steam for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Chop half the cherry tomatoes in half, leave the other half whole. Add all the tomatoes to the pan and cover again, lowering heat to medium low continuing to steam the broccoli and heat the tomatoes until they start to wrinkle and burst. 

Cut the corn off the cob, then use a spoon to 'milk' the starchy liquid from the cob. 

Bring the heat back up to medium and add the corn, corn juice, zucchini ribbons, salt, pepper, red pepper, and butter to the pan. Cover and allow to steam for five minutes, tossing occasionally. Add basil and cook down just until the basil wilts and the zucchini is 'al dente'.

If you want more greens! Add them when you add the basil! A handful of arugula would be delightful- or spinach!

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

Party Hummus! by audrey gebhardt

I'm going to tell you my favorite kitchen secret. 

party hummus

You never ever have to make your own hummus in your whole life.

You don't have to peel individual chickpeas like lots of people will tell you. 

You don't have to remember to soak dried chickpeas overnight.

All you have to do is keep some cumin in the pantry and a few lemons in the produce drawer.

I promise you- no one will ever be sad if you show up to their house with hummus that you didn't make from scratch. They will not care that you stopped at the grocery store on the way to their house if you follow these simple tricks:

1. Take it out of it's ugly plastic container.
2. Make a pretty swirl on the top of it, drizzle some olive oil in the crevasses. 
3. Throw fresh crunchy things on top of it, surround it with bread/chips/other delicious things for dipping.

Here's a bomb recipe hack that will save you when you forget to get something for the party you are supposed to be at in a half an hour.

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Party Hummus!
makes you know, as much as it makes

1 tub of your favorite store bought hummus (I love love Whole Food's original or Hope Brand)
1 lemon
1/2 tsp cumin
1 cucumber, seeded & diced
1 large heirloom tomato or 2 medium other tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, sliced super thin
Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
Pinch salt & pepper
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
2 TBSP olive oil

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss the cucumber, tomato, onion and parsley in with the quick dressing you just made. 

In a separate bowl, stir the zest and juice of the lemon + 1/2 tsp cumin in with the tub of hummus.

Plop the hummus on a pretty plate, swirl it all nice (don't do this too far in advance or it will get crusty and nasty on the outside)- top with salad + another drizzle of olive oil and serve with whatever your little heart desires! I especially love pita if it's been grilled! 

(also- go wild with this concept and stir in whatever you like. Other good options are dill or roasted garlic or even some greek yogurt to make it super light and fluffy. Basically make your own flavored hummus. OG flavor hummus is usually pretty delicious from a grocery store, it's when they start adding a bunch of flavors that things can sometimes get weird.)

xo Audrey
 

Sugar Snap Pea Salad by audrey gebhardt

How to tell it's summer:

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You are enveloped in what feels like a too-hot blanket every time you get in the car.

Potato chips and watermelon count as lunch, ice cream counts as dinner.

Grandpas are logging lots of hours sitting on a folding chair in their driveway looking at (?!?)

The air is so still that you can hear your friends laughing in the backyard from a block and a half away.

Bedtime? What's that? Too many nights are spent sitting around a fire, solving all of the problems of the world.

The days go on forever but still seem to end too quickly.

Backgammon is a perfectly good way to spend hours of the afternoon. 

Sugar Snap Peas start disappearing from the farmer's markets and in their place: STRAWBERRIES!

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Make this salad now, before it's too late! 

Bring it to a BBQ and prepare for everyone to instagram it. It's so gorgeous that you will look like a Top Chef even though it's just a few simple, fresh ingredients prepared with care.

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Sugar Snap Pea Salad
(adapted from Bon
Appetit)

3/4 C Buttermilk
3 TBSP Greek Yogurt
Juice of 2 lemons
large pinch of salt
pinch black pepper
1 lb Sugar Snap Peas
2 TBSP olive oil
zest & juice of one more lemon
salt & pepper, to finish

First, prep the Sugar Snaps. Remove the string by pinching the 'stem end' with your thumbnail and pulling the string off. Rinse, allow to dry on a paper towel then slice into thin strips lengthwise (it's okay if the peas pop out!).

To make this ahead of time: Place sliced sugar snaps in a dry bowl covered with a damp paper towel in the fridge until ready to serve.

When ready to serve: Prepare the buttermilk dressing (if vegan-simply omit this part! I found the sugar snaps just tossed in the simple lemon dressing was just as delicious!)
In a small bowl (or bullet style blender), whisk together the buttermilk, yogurt, juice of two lemons, salt and pepper. Pour into the bottom of the bowl you are serving the salad in.

Toss the sugar snaps with 2 TBSP olive oil, remaining juice and zest of the third lemon, salt and pepper. Serve over buttermilk dressing with tongs!

To enjoy this salad the next day, squeeze another half a lemon over the top to brighten it up and it will be as good as new!