If you hadn’t noticed (RUDE), I’ve been gone in Italy the past 2+ weeks. Glad to be back! Travelling is great, aside from when you have multiple delayed flights, flat tires, lost luggage, and are really hangry resulting from said struggles and zero food. I have a great/horrible story about that from my last trip to Italy, I’ll share soon. Luckily that didn’t happen on this trip! Still, even though Italy was beyond amazing, it is nice to be home in the US after about 3 weeks. Things in the US just kind of…function better. At least more consistently. I remember from European history in high school that ever since WWI, the only thing that runs on time/functions correctly in Italy is the trains.
FACT. Confirmed by experience.
Everyone has a much more laid-back, relaxed attitude over there. Which is really nice. Except when it comes to getting a rental car, taxi, or being anywhere on time. Oh, and if you have a death wish, jump on one of those mopeds so many Italians drive. Traffic laws, four-way stops, speed limits, and double yellow lines don’t really exist there. I thought I was going to die multiple times on our drive from Rome to the Amalfi coast. NEVER AGAIN will I rent a car with my family in a foreign country and be the navigator. NEVER. It was really funny though driving along the cliffs in Amalfi when the little road was so narrow the two public buses literally got stuck and they couldn’t figure it out for a good few minutes.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the slower paced lifestyle. Definitely less stressful and GO GO GO than over here, which is really refreshing. And the slow food movement started in Italy too. Ahh, the food. That’s what you were really wondering about. Obviously. It was AWESOME. And it’s so easy to be celiac in Italy, contrary to what you might think. More on this later. Check out this veal scaloppine.
Oh also, a (not-so) fun fact, especially for when traveling: I’ve been severely lactose intolerant since about 2009. BUT. Every time I’ve been to Europe since then (I lived in France for a semester and I’ve been to Italy twice), I can eat whatever dairy I want. No. problems. Whatsoever. No upset stomach, no autoimmune issues, nothing.
You know what that means: CHEESE!! gelato! More cheese!!
How crazy is that?! I’m pretty sure it has to do with the way they raise their cows and (don’t) treat them with crazy amounts of antibiotics and preservatives (gross) the way they do over here. Sheesh. We’re talking I ate some form of cheese, gelato, yogurt, whatever, every. Single. Day. I was over there. So riddle me that.
Yeah, doesn’t make any sense to me either. But I’m definitely not complaining. Please admire this cappuccino. Made with REAL milk. That I drank. And didn’t feel like crap afterwards. Whaaaat?! #mindblown.
I’m not really too keen on trying dairy back here, so we did bring back some parmesean-reggiano and pecorino cheese. MMM. Hopefully my stomach’s still okay with it.
For now, I’m sticking with this. If you haven’t heard of Hayley Ziegler and her genius zucchini cheese recipe, you’re seriously missing out – whether you can tolerate dairy or not. This stuff is great!! And you can make tons of different flavorings with it. Here’s the original recipe on Gutsy By Nature.
The version I created is garlic-chive, but my other favorite is sun-dried tomato, basil, and caramelized onion cheese. I’ve used it on eggs, spaghetti squash, burgers, as a snack by itself…anything you would do with cheese. It’s that good.
convinced tricked my friends and family into trying it and they all said it was great! Don’t knock it till ya try it!
- 4 cups of veggies, chopped: 1C zucchini, peeled and sliced, 3C cauliflower, chopped (you can also use carrots)
- ¾c water
- ¼c oil: I used a combination of ghee and coconut oil.
- 2 tsp coconut aminos
- juice of ¼ lemon
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 handful chopped chives (2 large chopped scallions)
- 7 Tbsp gelatin (I used great lakes)
- Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add your veggies. Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until you can easily pierce them with a fork. Drain completely.
- While the veggies are boiling, add the oil, butter, lemon juice, sea salt, aminos, and garlic to a food processor.
- Add the veggies to a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Add the chives, and sprinkle in the gelatin by 1-2 Tbsp increments, pulsing after each addition.
- Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, and pour your mixture in. Refrigerate overnight, or for a couple hours (at least 3) to set.
- Slice and dice it how you want it.
- To store, wrap and refrigerate. Best flavor is within 10 days.
Here are some other flavor combination ideas for different types of “cheese”!
- Swtich up the veggies: use combinations of zucchini, cauliflower, carrot, summer squash!
- Roasted garlic + chives
- Add flavorgod seasoning
- Nutritional Yeast (for an american cheese flavor)
- Sun-dried tomato and basil
- Dill, lemon + chives
- Sub olive oil or melted butter for the coconut oil/ghee
- Caramelized Onion, Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato (I’ve done this one before – might post it soon!)