Mmm… Tomato & Basil

Balcony Grown Tomato & Basil

So you know my little balcony garden, right? Well, it’s harvest time for the tomatoes and I really couldn’t be prouder. I’ve never gardened before, and so really this is my first crack at it. I’ve learned a lot along the way, but I hafta say that eating your own home-grown tomato is very rewarding. Yes, you have to enjoy the simple things in life to say that confidently, but I do. So there.

Have you ever gone to an Italian restaurant – a real one! East Side Mario’s DOES NOT count – and ordered a caprese salad? OMG, there is nothing better. Traditionally known as insalata caprese some quicki Wiki research tells me that this “a simple salad from the Italian region of Campania made of sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil”. It’s so perfect because it’s not only the easiest thing you’ll ever make, but quite possibly the tastiest salad ever to be made. So simple. So perfect. Green, red and white – it’s as close to Italy as it gets.

Tomato and basil should just get married right now and call it a day. I mean it. Never were there ever two things that belonged together more. And then you add the buffalo mozzarella into the mix. Forget about it! (say that like Tony Soprano would…)

Before you ask, no I did not make the cheese. Am more than slightly concerned that having a cow on my balcony is against condo rules. BUT I did get the proper stuff, and by that I mean wet mozzarella. Not this brick shiz. BLECH! I’ll never go back.

Caprese Salad

RECIPE: Mmm… Caprese Salad

INGREDIENTS

1 medium tomato, sliced
1/4 cup of buffalo mozzarella, sliced
5 basil leaves
1 tsp olive oil
S & P

DIRECTIONS
  1. Layer ingredients, alternating cheese, tomato, and basil
  2. Drizzle with olive oil
  3. Season with S & P

Caprese Pasta

Adding these same ingredients over warm pasta is a nice alternative, too. Dress with a garlic basil vinaigrette, and… FORGET ABOUT IT.

RECIPE: Mmm… Caprese Pasta

INGREDIENTS

1 serving of cooked whole wheat noodles
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup of buffalo mozzarella, torn into chunks
2 tbsp of Garlic Basil vinaigrette
S & P

DIRECTIONS
  1. Toss pasta, cheese & tomatoes together
  2. Drizzle with Garlic Basil vinaigrette
  3. Season with S & P

RECIPE: Mmm… Garlic Basil Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS

6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp vinegar (try balsamic, white wine, or red wine vinegar)
1 tbsp water
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
1/8 cup onion, finely chopped
S & P

DIRECTIONS
  1. Blend together in food processor or blender
  2. Store excess in the fridge in an air-tight container (keeps for a week)

Caprese Pasta

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