You may have noticed less recipes in the past couple of months from me or maybe you haven't. It should be no surprise to myself that working more hours in my job as a Special Events Coordinator and attempting to buy a house can suck your time right away from you. After getting home from work around 6:00 pm, I have little energy or time to concoct an exciting recipe. Instead, we have been eating a weekly turkey burger or beef burger, still home made, with a side salad and corn on the cob. Usually there is also a pasta dish with veggies and maybe quesadillas or tacos throughout the week. Sometimes, it is as simple as a salad and fresh bread. The other reason for the lack of cooking is because the use of the stove makes our kitchen about 120 degrees during the hottest summer ever. Forget about the oven. I have boycotted the oven ever since the week in mid-summer when it was 100 degrees for a week straight. With no central air conditioning, cooking can be unbearably hot.
Another thing that has been difficult to maintain this summer is our garden. With the stretches of incredibly hot weather and then a week straight of downpours, our garden has been inconsistent to say the least but we do have one successful plant, our basil plant. The basil in my garden has been growing rapidly producing 3-4 inch long delicate, fragrant basil leaves. I trim and trim and it keeps growing and growing. Basil has been my key ingredient this summer in salads, pizzas, and pastas. And to think that if I didn't have it growing in my garden that I would be paying $2.99 or more for a rink-a-dink plastic container of less than 10 basil leaves, which would brown in less than 2 days. What a money saver! Even though I have been cooking less, simple dishes come alive with a touch of this beautiful, fresh basil. A Caprese Salad is the epitome of how delicious and simple a dish can be. If you have not tried this classic or have not had it in a while, then I suggest giving it a go this summer, especially if you have access to fresh basil and/or tomatoes.
Lizzy M.'s Classic Caprese
1 large beefsteak tomato, sliced medium to thin
1 large ball of fresh Bufulo Mozzarella Cheese, sliced in round, thin slices or small balls of fresh Bufulo Mozzarella cheese, each ball sliced in half
Fresh Basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Prepare ingredients. Place tomato slices on each plate first, followed by the slices of fresh mozzarella and basil.
2. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Serve these Caprese Salads with fresh crusty bread or as a side salad with any meal.
I hope you enjoy this simple summer salad, a satisfying meal that you can make even if you are short on time. Happy Summer!