Balsamic: Worth the Wait

During a recent family visit, my aunt surprised us with a gift from a new shop in town that sells olive oils and vinegars. “It’s the most delicious balsamic vinegar!” she said. No doubt about it — she seemed very excited about this vinegar. We planned to fly back home with only carry-ons so she insisted on mailing it to us. It seemed like a lot of work for a bottle of balsamic vinegar, but how could we argue? The same day the box arrived in the mail, our neighbors brought over fresh garden tomatoes and we dressed them simply with a drizzle of olive oil, the aged balsamic, and a bit of sea salt. She wasn’t joking about the flavor. Yum.

Leftovers Recipe: Caprese Pasta

We picked up some beautiful heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese to make caprese salad the other night, using fresh basil leaves from the garden. But we made too much and I put the leftovers in the fridge.
Yesterday:
Caprese salad
Leftovers:
A couple of slices of tomato and mozzarella
Today’s Leftovers Meal:
Pasta with caprese
Pasta with Caprese
Pasta of your choice
Mozzarella
Tomatoes
Basil
Olive Oil
Garlic
Salt and pepper
Saute a few cloves of chopped garlic in olive oil. Add al dente pasta and the chopped tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Enjoy.

Staple: Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta

For a friend’s birthday dinner last week, I was asked to bring bruschetta–simple and easy. But I wanted spectacular, so I used heirloom tomatoes.

Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta

Ingredients:

French bread baguette

4-5 ripe heirloom tomatoes

One red onion

2-3 garlic cloves

Handful of basil leaves

Olive oil

Fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Other fresh herbs optional (I use lemon verbena)

Preparation:

Chop tomatoes, separating the tomato chunks from the seeds (most of the seeds, anyway).

Chop red onion.

Toss tomatoes, onion, basil in bowl and dress with olive oil and lemon juice (2 parts olive oil to one part lemon juice). Add sea salt and fresh black pepper. Chill 15 minutes or more.

Drizzle slices of a baguette with olive oil and grill or toast. While still warm, rub toast pieces with halved garlic cloves.

Top toast pieces with the tomato mixture before serving. Top with extra pieces of basil (and lemon verbena).