Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Caprese Upgrade.
These past two months have been very interesting. I feel like I have lived two lifetimes growing and and experiencing things. I am now in a healthy place and therefore I have met some really wonderful people who are very good for me. That said, one of those people is a foodie like me and turned me on to something new. (get your mind out of the gutter...or don't lol) My friend stumbled upon preserving garlic in wine and of course I had to put my sexy little spin on it. So here we go minions, this is Caprese salad on a whole new level.
First we will start with the garlic. Buy a tub of peeled garlic. And I know some of you purists out there will have to peel your own. (freaks!) Then simply cover those babies with some leftover red wine and let sit for a few days until the scent of the garlic permeates the room and makes your plants wilt.
Salad ingredients
2 pints of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half. I like to mix the colors
2 Tbsp basil sliced into a chiffonade (fancy term for really thin strips)
1 large ball of fresh mozzarella diced into a 1/4 to 1/2 inch cube or a package of the smaller balls each sliced in half
1 ripe avocado diced same size as the cheese
2 or 3 wine marinated garlic cloves crushed and minced
A generous handful or two of toasted walnuts or pine nuts
Fresh cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste
1 cup of your favorite commercial Italian salad dressing
1/4 cup garlic infused red wine
In a large salad bowl mix the tomatoes, basil, cheese, avocado, nuts, garlic and salt and pepper. In a smaller bowl whisk together the wine and dressing and add enough of the mixture into the salad bowl to coat the salad generously. There may be some of the dressing left over, save it for later.
Now this step is important. WAIT! it must marry and have flavor love children before you eat it. Give it an hour or so to marinate. After its soaks in that lovely flavor,go ahead and enjoy.

Monday, June 1, 2015

It's coming up on Summer and that means one thing to me. Good freaking tomatoes. I don't care what kind of Frankenmater someone tries to make in a lab. It will never ever compare to a fresh garden tomato. The perfect sexy menage a trois in the tomato world is the Caprese. Red white and green baby! So mangia on this easy recipe that is killer, and it will get you raves at family picnics.
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 large ball of fresh mozzarella cut into 1/2" cubes
1 c. freshly made or store bought Italian dressing
1 bunch of fresh basil, sliced in chiffonade, reserve the top for garnish
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
1 c. Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. molasses or honey
1/4 c. chopped shaved prosciutto or a rough chopped salami or pepperoni (optional)
In a bowl, add the cheese and dressing and marinate for one to six hours. If you do it over night the cheese will be rubbery.
Slice your tomatoes in half or quarters depending on your preference. Add to the cheese mixture. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper to your taste, add sliced basil. Add the meat of choice at this point if you wish. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and refrigerate.
In a small saucepan add your vinegar and boil til reduced by half. Add in the molasses or honey and reduce til the vinegar is the consistency of a thick syrup. (watch closely because it can burn if unattended) Cool and drizzle it over the salad when ready to serve and garnish with the basil top. This salad can be multiplied easily for bigger crowds. Serves 4 to 6