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Posts Tagged ‘grape tomatoes’

Today is my birthday, and in normal Pamela fashion (from Downton Abbey Cooks), I plan to continue the celebrations as long as I possibly can, so I’ll be celebrating all week long with luncheons and dinners and of course, the obligatory trips to the gym to offset the effects of said celebrations!

JT is actually taking me out for a special “Iron Chef” dinner which will require a post of its own. Stay tuned.

We were out Friday night at a relatively new place and I had the Caprese salad which was drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil without balsamic (this place is notorious for sticking to authentic Italian food and if it is NOT authentic, it’s simply NOT done) and it was delicious. Although I do love balsamic with tomatoes, this version allowed the subtle flavour of the bufalo mozzarella and the acidity of the tomatoes through. It was a very lovely experience, so I decided to create this simple hors d’œuvres the same way.

We were able to find mini Bufalo Mozzarella Cheese balls for this delightful hors d’œuvres. Mind you, we had to put a second mortgage on the house to buy them. When I asked JT how much they were, he said, “Don’t ask.”

Caprese Salad Bites

Serves 4, or two really hungry people!

Ingredients:

  • 16 grape tomatoes
  • 8 mini bufalo mozzarella cheese balls
  • 16 small basil leaves (I used both Italian basil and variegated basil)
  • 1-3 tbsp EVOO
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 16 wooden toothpicks

Directions:

  1. Slice the bufalo mozzarella in halves.
  2. Skewer one tomato, one smallish basil leaf and the bufalo mozzarella; continue until you have them all done.
  3. Serve at room temperature, in a little bowl, drizzled with EVOO and Himalayan pink salt

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As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, my brother and his family came for brunch this past weekend and I wanted a slightly healthier salad to go with a slightly less healthy savoury bread pudding (you can see a similar recipe at Bits and Breadcrumbs, but my version had ham and cheddar cheese, you get where I’m going with this?). This spinach salad comes from an old recipe book that I bought for my MIL about 15 years ago. She had talked about Oprah and her chef and that they were coming out with a cookbook, In the Kitchen with Rosie; she loved Oprah, so I made a mental note and put it on her Christmas list. Well, I should have known because she went out and got it for herself, so then I was stuck with the book.

There are some darn good ‘low fat’ recipes in this little book and some great tricks as well. But the one recipe that keeps making an appearance in my kitchen is the warm orange dressing on a spinach salad (this one is for you, Lisa). Now you can add what-ever you wish to create your very own spinach salad, but this is what our’s had on Sunday: baby spinach, hard-boiled egg whites, grape tomatoes (I like the colour), a little crispy fried pancetta (I know, not healthy but there was not very much of it), thinly sliced mushrooms, orange sections and toasted pine nuts. When you toss this lovely salad with the warm dressing a symphony of flavours start playing in your mouth. So delicious.

A slightly healthier alternative to Spinach Salad

Warm Orange Dressing

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 Navel orange
  • 1⁄3 c Shallot, minced finely
  • 2 Cl Garlic, peeled and minced finely
  • 5 T White Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 t Sherry vinegar
  • 1/24 cup of orange juice with pulp
Directions:
  1. Peel the orange and remove the white pith, and separate the segments (do this over a bowl in order to reserve the juice). Squeeze the residual juice from the membranes into the bowl and reserve; add the additional OJ to this mix.
  2. In a small saucepan, add the shallots, garlic, vinegars, and reserved orange juice, and bring to a boil over low heat.
  3. Just before you wish to serve, combine all the salad ingredients, add the warm dressing and toss to coat.

I know it's just salad, but doesn't it look yummy?

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