side dish

Ballin' on a Budget: Lemon Asparagus Risotto by audrey gebhardt

I moved away from the home I lived in my whole life a bit less than a year ago. Some things have felt like a huge adjustment (not having a beach, not having a dozen houses nearby I can walk into unannounced, not eating pizza four times a week).

One of the things that I didn’t think about when I moved was the crocuses. The tiny white flowers that would pop up through the frost right outside my front door! The little flowers that could! Like clockwork, they’d show up within the first few days of March every year, snow or sunshine.

They were like the lighthouse bringing us to shore. The microwave minute nearing an end. The last hour of a red eye flight. And I miss them! I miss their cute lil faces popping up to remind us that one day we’ll be barefoot again.

So today, in Colorado, I’m calling in the crocuses of home with this Lemon Asparagus Risotto. This creamy, bright, flavorful dish comes together in about 30 minutes and pops in your mouth with a zing. All of the flavors of spring with the comfort of a still needed warm bowl of food.

In this recipe you can absolutely swap out the asparagus for whatever dark leafy green you have on hand, or even broccoli if that’s what you have! Risotto is extremely forgiving so this is a very loose recipe.

Lemon Asparagus Risotto

Lemon Asparagus Risotto (vegan optional)
Makes enough for 4 as a side dish

1/3 c diced onion
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 3/4-1” chunks
1 lemon
1 c arborio rice
4 c vegetable stock (room temperature or warmed up-not cold!)
1 c water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese (optional)
2 Tbsp butter (optional)

Toast the rice. In a large saucepan over a medium low flame, place the dry cup of arborio rice. Allow the rice to toast, moving around every so often so it doesn’t burn on one side. It will turn light brown and smell super nutty- remove from pan and place aside for now.

In the pan you just used, add the olive oil and onions over a medium flame. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the toasted rice and two cups of the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.

When almost all of the liquid is absorbed, add another cup of stock and repeat the simmering process.

Repeat with the final cup of stock. At the end of this simmering point, the rice should be nearly finished cooking.

Add the cup of water and the chopped asparagus, cook for another five minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed and the asparagus is bright bright green.

Stir in the lemon zest, salt and pepper (and at this point you can add the parm + butter if you’re using them! It’s still creamy and delicious without it but that definitely adds an extra layer of flavor!).

Serve immediately.

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

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!