Today for our assigned Month of Food prompt, we talk about my favorite regional cuisine. This is a total no-brainer on my end.... Italian food. I never tire of Italian food, and lucky for me so much of it is accidentally vegan. Further, to veganize most Italian dishes is also not typically overly difficult either.
Being that I just returned from a short trip, my pantry is bare and I couldn't showcase my favorite thing.... eggplant Parmesan. I'm a total sucker for pasta and red sauce, but pasta has been scratched off my list for quite a while (not including this last trip..... RIGATONI!!!) instead both of us happy vegans eat an edamame "pasta" by Explore Asia which actually is completely flourless and made with beans, yet is so delicious. We were introduced to that line actually by a chef at a fine Italian restaurant last fall while we were on a road trip. Upon finding out we were vegan, the chef/owner happily scurried back to her kitchen and came out with a bag of said "pasta" saying she had just purchased it for herself to try, and wondered if we would like to try it in a dish she made. Of course we were thrilled, it was so good, and the rest is history. It's in my pantry all the time (and the local health food stores here also carry it).
My most perfect dinner is some Chianti (check the Barnivore app to make sure it's vegan!), a simple salad with balsamic vinaigrette, gnocchi with red sauce, orange sorbet, vegan tiramisu or vegan biscotti (if available) and a double (or triple) espresso. While I was on this trip, I had one of the best cups of espresso I've had in as long as I can remember, brewed to perfection. I ate Italian bread (so crispy, so perfect) dipped in real olive oil, pasta, vegan tiramisu, espresso, salads, salads and more salads, and of course broccoli rabe. Italian food is lacking in the Keys, but there IS one place I think is worthy of a mention, La Trattoria in Key West, which is actually where I chose to go for my birthday this year (their gnocchi is vegan!) On the plus side, being that in my opinion true Italian food is so lacking where I live, it's been zero trouble ditching the extra bread which was my nemesis up north. If someone gave me a loaf of bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I'd be absolutely content.
Did someone say "high raw?" Yikes.
I'm back in my own territory, and more accountable for my food choices again so out went the oil, sugar, wheat, gluten, grains, nuts and most cooked food. I managed to eat no nuts while I was up north, so that's a win in that department at least. Lest anyone forget, I'm healing a chronically injured ankle with this high raw, anti-inflammatory elimination diet. It's temporary for sure, but it's not quite over yet; that's brought an extra dimension to Month of Food for me that has been interesting to say the least.
I could wax poetic all day and all night about Italian food. If you live in an area where this great regional cuisine is always available, count your blessings. I scream, you scream, we all scream for Italian food (I never claimed to be a poet).