I’m a child of the 90s. I grew up listening to Nirvana, Boys to Men, SWV and had Quicksilver t-shirts and wanted to wear Dickies like Gwen Stefani…you know the ones like in No Doubt’s video “I’m Just a Girl,” and of course in the sixth grade my favorite movie was Clueless. I even went so far as to ask my parents for her closet. Which by the way, is still incredible. Can you imagine what you could do nowadays with an iPad. Best. Closet. Ever.
Anyway, so when a friend recommended Alcicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet, I figured I’d give it a go. I sat and read the first few chapters; it was informative, impactful, taught me things I never knew about veganism and the possibilities of it changing your health.
I felt kinda empowered and so for the next twenty minutes I started considering turning vegan. It kinda made sense. I’d been sufffering with allergies for a few months and maybe me eating dairy and meat had something to do with it. I love animals and don’t want to live a life hurting them. So I started to think; going through all the things I’d have to give up.
Chicken? Eh..I mean, I love buttermilk fried chicken, but I don’t eat it all that often and I could maybe live without it.
Steak, hamburgers, short ribs. Uhhh…I started to immediately mourn In-N-Out and the truffle burger from Umami Burger, which really deserves its own category of awesome–it’s life changing, really. BUT I could probably eat less burgers. My thighs would be grateful, though I am doing yoga everyday. Have I told you that? Whatevs. No big deal. I just work out or whatever.
And then fish, sushi, shrimp…LOBSTER! Ugh. This would also suck. But I mean, she has a cookbook–I’m sure she has some cool stuff in there that would help me forget about lobster drenched in salty butter. Or not.
I also figured maybe I’d even document my vegan journey on this said blog. Maybe I’d figure out how to make “cozy” and comforting vegan food. I dunno…I could like revolutionize vegan food. Who knows!
Then…I thought of cheese…and butter…and cheese…and cheese.
And then I remembered a slice of vegan cheese I had a few months ago that was seriously an insult to normal cheese because it’s nothing like it. They really shouldn’t even be able to use the word “cheese” on the packaging. Total insult.
I eat cheese with everything. If something kinda sucks, I put cheese on it and melt it. Voila! Problem solved. I’m not really sure if I’ve ever met a problem cheese couldn’t solve.
Heads of nations should bring melted cheese to their meetings. I bet we’d live in a more peaceful world. Seriously.
My favorite thing to pair cheese with is vegetables. It’s kinda like cheddar on broccoli…it’s only sorta healthy but all sorts of amazing.
So when I saw a recipe for Eggplant Parmesan, I decided to swap out the eggplant for zucchini because the devil made eggplant (along with raisins), in my humble opinion.
And it was incredible. Instead of being mushy and squishy, the zucchini held up nicely. The zucchini was soft on the outside but when you bit through it there was a good amount of crunchiness going on. It was topped with marinara sauce, cheese, basil and more cheese.
When it came out of the oven, the cheese was all melty and delicious. The only regret I have was not scooping this over a bowl of pasta. It’d be a great way to jazz up some noodles. Or if you wanted to have a lighter dinner, you could pair it with a salad.
Oh I guess you figured I couldn’t do the vegan thing. I just love cheese that much.
Recipe adapted from Goop by Giancarlo Giametti
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
2/3 cup of your favorite tomato sauce*
1 large ball fresh mozzarella (about 4 1/2 ounces)
Small handful of basil leaves, roughly torn
3/4 cup finely grated parmesan (about 2 ounces)
Slice the zucchini into about 1/3″ discs. Sprinkle slices with a small pinch of coarse salt on each side.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Lightly dredge the zucchini slices in the flour. Heat 1/4″ of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When a pinch of flour sizzles on contact, add the zucchini slices in a single layer, turn the heat to medium-high and cook for about one and a half minutes on each side or until dark golden brown. Drain the zucchini on paper towels and repeat in batches until all of your zucchini it is cooked, adding more oil as necessary.
In a 13″ x 9″ baking dish (or cast iron skillet), arrange as many slices of zucchini as can fit snugly in a single layer. Top each slice with a small spoonful of tomato sauce, a few small pieces of torn mozzarella, a bit of basil and a dusting of parmesan. Continue the layers, evenly distributing all the ingredients, until everything is used up.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cheese is melting and bubbling and the house smells divine