Just a thought… Cooking demands attention, patience, and above all, a respect for the gifts of the earth. It is a form of worship, a way of giving thanks. [Judith B. Jones]
NO, you aren’t on the wrong blog site – I’m actually going to share with you a little appetizer trick that I made last week!
Do you love Caprese salad? You probably know it: slices of tomato interlaid with slices of sweet mozzarella and garnished with fresh basil and balsamic vinegar. We love it, too. And after being inspired at a dinner party, I decided to try making a miniature version for appetizers.
Well, here’s the first tip: buy enough tomatoes. I bought a small plastic carton and it turns out I had about one per guest for the dozen or so who came over. That was a real mistake – they were popular!
I bought tomatoes that weren’t full size but weren’t tiny cherry ones either. I wanted them to be pop-in-your-mouth and about the same size as the tiny balls of mozzarella I found in marinating, herbed oil in the deli section.
Then comes what (to me) was the same amount of work as making sushi. I pulled up a chair and started to work. It was really quite enjoyable! First, you slice the bottoms of the tomatoes to make them sit still on a plate.
Then you slice them across the equator (or what I felt was in half). Then you add a slice of the tiny cheese balls and a small basil leaf, either from a plant or a package.
Then add a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper and salt and you’re done! Place them on a plate and get ready for accolades….
….or that’s what I thought. I’d just wiped a plate clear of spices and a few errant tomato seeds and carefully placed my little creations on it, when I realized I’d forgotten the balsamic. DRAT! Back to the drawing (or cutting) board. I had to take the lids off all of them and start again, but how to make the vinegar stay in or on the tomato? I poured some into a small dish and dipped the tops of the tomatoes – open side down – into the vinegar. And then, using small ice tongs, put these little treats back together.
The finished product went fast and I realized the error in my counting skills! (But I also had prosciutto-wrapped canteloupe slices while we awaited the fruits of Rob’s barbecuing skills. And cashews that I forgot to put out.)
As I said last Friday, in the midst of the scurrying to try to get a last-minute voice job done, I’d been glad to have prepared most of the meal the day before. These ones, however, were done a little earlier in the day. The melon was prepared as Rob changed computer files between each of the “chapters” of the video I was voicing. Talk about multi-tasking!
Me being me, however, I had to ruin something: in this case I left almond slices in the toaster oven too long and had to pitch them. Luckily I was able to candy some pecans in the few minutes remaining before our guests arrived, so that the spinach salad would have a little bit of sweetness (besides the strawberries).
OH! That reminds me: did you know you can slice strawberries with a hard boiled egg slicer? I did just that, and even though I bent one of the wires that is used to cut the egg, it still was a massive time saver. Give it a try if your berries are just soft enough but not too mushy!
I just thought I’d share this tomato idea with you today in case you were looking for something to do with your kids or to try yourself. It was a lot of fun and so worth it. Have a terrific weekend and I’ll be back with you Monday. We’re on the road again – this time California or Bust!