Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Will Travel for Food

The timbale, as served in Taormina
From Daryl aka Avery:

My husband and I took a trip that we'd planned for 30 years. Okay, perhaps not planned. But we'd been planning to get the idea. We went on a cruise that took us to Italy, Greece, and Croatia. Including Venice, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Taormina, Amalfi/Positano, and the island of Sardinia (great to visit if you're rich and own yacht!).

The beauty, the history, the food. It was all wonderful. [The jet lag...not so much fun!]

Venice, canal
We had a fabulous time exploring the back streets of Venice with a tour guide who loved to give us the inside scoop. Tidbit: Did you know "stua" which I would have assumed meant street actually means "sauna or spa" and was the name designated for the red light district streets. During the Middle Ages, there were 11,600 prostitutes in Venice, all encouraged to show their wares to keep men from choosing an alternative lifestyle, considered a venal sin.

Another tidbit: the city is sinking. We knew that, right? But to see where the original steps are, beneath the water level, is amazing.

Positano, built into the hill in terraces

On this trip, we got our fill of walking up steps and the insides of churches! Loved Positano! It is often depicted in paintings.

St. Mark's, built 9th century; floors very uneven

The churches in each port of call were amazing. Even the ceilings of arcades were gorgeous.

The markets were beautiful, too.

From the overlook in Dubrovnik.

And the streets of Dubrovnik, a walled city, are marble. Slippery when wet, we were told. No cars. So much fun! They had a throne for Game of Thrones at the end of the plaza where people could sit and take pictures of themselves in power. LOL

View from Greek odeon on Taormina
While in Taormina, Sicily (not far from Mt. Etna, which was active, although we couldn't see the activity) we were directed to a hole in the wall restaurant, off the beaten track. I was assured the place would know how to deal with my gluten-free issue. In Italy, everyone by the age of two is tested for celiac disease. How's that!  This place was fabulous. They had gluten-free pasta, which they did with a delicious pesto sauce. I ate fresh Amberjack fish, caught by the owner's boyfriend that morning, and made Sicilian style with olives, tomatoes, and garlic. Oh, boy, was it good!!! And they made a delicious zucchini appetizer that melted in my mouth, which I'm trying to recreate for you today. The flavor is right, but I sure can't make it as pretty as they made it. I'm guessing they used a tart pan or even a hamburger press to make the little "timbale" shape, as shown above. If you have ideas, let me know! This is going to be a regular on our menu.

By the way, there is a fabulous old Greek odeon/outdoor theater with an overlook of the island in Taormina. Not to be missed.

Buon appetito!!

Sicilian Zucchini

Per person:

1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise in thin slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons red pasta sauce
Basil leaves, if desired (I didn't have any on hand)


Slice the zucchini.

Heat the oil on medium high in a large frying pan. Lay the zucchini in and cook 1-2 minutes a side, until lightly browned.

Remove from the pan and lay/fold the zucchini on a preparation plate, dusting with Parmesan before each fold.

Place stacks of zucchini side by side and trim to a circle shape, if desired. Top with more Parmesan, pasta sauce, and basil leaves, if you have on hand.

That's it.

Here are photos of other items I ate on the trip. I didn't starve, that's for sure.

Pasta, cheese platter, at Barbabao ristorante in Venice

Gluten-free pasta with pesto in Taormina

Amberjack Sicilian style in Taormina

Gelato, gussied up! In St. Mark's Square

You can find more pictures on my Facebook page.

As for my writing...

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  1. what an amazing trip Daryl--so glad you finally got to go! And the zucchini looks yummy and delish. xo lucy

    1. Thanks Lucy. It was totally fun and I'm still remembering things we did and ate. Yum.

      Daryl / Avery

  2. Che bella! (or something like that) I wanna go! Isn't it fun to tour markets in other countries? And try the food?

    1. The markets were amazing, Sheila! So beautiful. The fish...smelly but fresh! LOL

      Daryl / Avery

  3. Lucy must wish she could trade travel foods with you!
    It all sounds and looks marvelous.
    I got to go to Italy once. When we were on lake Garda in Limone, we went across to get gelato for lunch many days! huge, delicious sundaes of gustatory delights. With all the walking up and down the hill sides, we did OK.

    1. Did you notice that they both went to countries where fish is a mainstay of the diet?


  4. I am drooling on the screen...

    Congratulations to CHRISTINE, winner of the signed copy of CRIME RIB from my Sunday give-away. If you'd like another chance to win, my publisher is offering 25 copies on Goodreads -- check it out!

    Ciao, bella!

    1. WoW! 25 copies! You're going to make a lot of people happy, Leslie!


  5. What a great post, Daryl! And I love all the gluten-free choices you managed to uncover.