Caprese Salad…so fresh and oh so good!

Summer is here and there is nothing I love more than a melt in your mouth Caprese Salad. Even better when the ingredients are coming from my own back yard!

Caprese Salad

One can say the Caprese salad is reminiscent of Italy’s tricolored flag with the sumptuous red of garden fresh tomatoes, vibrant greens of basil leaves hand picked from the herb garden, all off set by the pillowy white of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese. The salad is named after the island of Capri, but is now enjoyed the world over.

Basil from the garden

So simple to make, the flavours of the Caprese Salad are enhanced by only using the freshest of ingredients.  It is sure to steal the show at any summer bbq!

Ingredients

  • fresh ripe tomatoes
  • large basil leaves
  • buffalo mozzarella
  • olive oil
  • optional – I love the zing of a splash of balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of sea salt to taste

Directions are really not required – slice and layer as desired.  Personally, I place a slice of tomato, followed by a basil leaf and a slice of the buffalo mozzarella which has been warmed ever so slightly in the toaster over.  Top with another slice of tomato.  Drizzle olive oil and a splash of balsamic.  Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt et voila – summer perfection on a plate!  For best results, let sit for a few minutes to allow the flavours to mingle and enjoy!

fresh tomatoes

For a dinner party, fan the layers out on a plate rather than in a stack and wow your guests.  It’s a success every time.

Indonesian Sate adapted from Vegetarian for Dummies

One of my favourite Asian food flavours – sate!  I have made the original version of this recipe a zillion times, but for something quick and easy, I prefer my adapted version.

Indonesian Sate stir fry

Sate Sauce:

  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 – 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • * I like to spice it up with 2 – 3 thai chillis

vegetarian Indonesian Sate

  • Assorted chopped veggies
  • drained and rinsed can of chick peas
  • garnish: peanut pieces, fresh coriander
  • prepared rice

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, peanut butter, oil, honey, soy sauce, cayenne pepper and ground ginger.  Mix well and add boiling water.  Mix until smooth.

Indonesian sate sauce

Super easy.  Chop up assorted veggies and saute for a few minutes.  I usually start with onions and garlic, progressively adding veggies starting with the ones that will take the longest to cook (carrots, cauliflower), add in peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and green beans.  Add canned chick peas and sate sauce.  Saute until desired tenderness (or crunchiness).  Garnish with peanut pieces and/or fresh coriander.  Serve over rice.

vegetarian recipe

I paired my sate with a bottle of medium dry riesling from Huff Estates in Prince Edward County.  The crisp acidity of the riesling made for a perfect compliment with the spice of the sate!  I picked this bottle up when writing about Wine Tasting in Prince Edward County.

Chef in the kitchen?   www.nutritionallyyours.wordpress.comPerfect on a cold winter’s night!

 

Valentine’s Pavlova

For the foodie romantic….Lucy Waverman’s cookbook “A Year in Lucy’s Kitchen” has a delightful Valentine’s menu.

Do you prefer to stay at home, share a romantic candlelit dinner for two without the crowded restaurant scene?  There are so many options – a personal chef experience, take out by candle light or surprising your someone special with a romantic dinner at home!

Lucy’s Menu for Valentine’s is spectacular.  She starts with Spanish Shrimp, gently sauteed in garlic, wine, tomatoes and cheese (what’s not to love), followed by a melt in your mouth roasted ribeye, spinach gratin, mashed potatoes and finishes it off with the romantic, heart shaped pavlova.  Words do not describe how decadent the combination of tart lemon curd, shaved white chocolate and colour exploding red pomegranate seeds can dance on your lips – the perfect finish to a romantic Valentine’s dinner.

Sadly, I don’t have a picture of my own just yet – this photo has been borrowed from the Globe and Mail until I make my own for tomorrow!

Pavlova with Lemon Curd, White Chocolate Shavings and Pomegranate Seeds

3 egg whites

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp cornstarch

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 cup lemon curd (buy from a gourmet shop, or try yourself – recipe link here)

1 cup shaved white chocolate

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (dried cranberries or fresh raspberries will do in a pinch)

1.  Preheat oven to 275 F.  Draw a heart template, approx 7 inches in diameter, on a piece of parchment paper.  Place ink side down on a baking sheet.

2.  Beat egg whites in a large bowl using an electric mixer on high speed for 4 – 5 minutes, adding sugar gradually until very thick and glossy.  The meringue should look like thick shaving cream.

3.  Beat in vinegar and cornstarch until just incorporated.

4.  Spread meringue on parchment paper inside the heart outline.  Bake for 1 hour, or until pale gold and crisp on the outside.

5.  Turn off oven and leave meringue for 30 minutes.

6.  Whip cream in bowl, fold in lemon curd.  Spread evenly over meringue.  (Meringue top will most likely shatter – that is ok!)

7.  Top with shaved chocolate and pomegranate seeds.

Happy Valentine’s Day.