Tomato Salad, with a Twist

Tomato Salad, with a Twist

It is, oh, so hot here right now. Minnesota, land of extremes. Given it is ‘freeze the snot in your nose’ cold in the winter, and winter lasts for what seems like FOREVER, you’d think I’d have nothing to complain about when summer finally rolls around. But, being the bi-polar state it is, if it’s not -20 and so dry your skin turns to shoe leather, it is blistering hot, humid and buggy. We get a smattering of lovely days, but it’s not till fall that the bugs die off (vicious, biting, carry your baby off, nasty bugs) and it becomes a ‘pleasant’ place to be. By then, the days are short and the nights longer.

I can’t bear to think ahead to that LONG, COLD winter, so instead I’ll muddle through this heat, taking advantage of the locally grown produce, and make a refreshing salad. This one is a twist on a traditional Caprese Salad. Enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato Salad with a Twist

Heirloom Tomatoes
Goat Cheese
Fresh Mint & Basil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
1 clove garlic minced or put through a press
Salt & Pepper

Whisk the oil & vinegar together, add the garlic, season to taste.
Chiffonade (slice in to thin ribbons) the mint and basil, and add to the dressing.

Pour over thick sliced tomatoes, sprinkle with goat cheese.

Enjoy as a light lunch or as a side with grilled meat for dinner. Heck, this is so good, I’d eat it for breakfast…and I have!

Grilled Eggplant & Goat Cheese Salad

Grilled Eggplant & Goat Cheese Salad

Can I say: you HAVE TO MAKE THIS?!
If you like eggplant or even if you think you don’t like eggplant: MAKE. THIS. NOW!

Farmers market is bursting with fresh, tender eggplants, especially japanese eggplant, which are sweet, silky and mild.
So DEE-lish!

This recipe was a genius inspiration by Giada De Laurentiis.

Slice japanese eggplants on the bias, lightly drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Grill on a medium-hot grill until tender, approximately 8-10 minutes, turning half way through.
Let cool to room temperature then sprinkle fresh goat cheese and toasted pine nuts over the top.
Drizzle with a dressing made with equal parts Balsamic Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive oil, whisked with freshly chopped Mint and Basil.

This is so good, be sure to make more than you think you’ll eat, cause you’ll eat more than you think you will!
Make this. You WILL thank me, trust me, it’s really THAT good!

(Serve alone for lunch or with a freshly grilled salmon or shrimp. Heck, I’d have this for breakfast!)

Easy Winter Salad

Easy Winter Salad

Hubby decided to work from home and forgo the traffic jams that were sure to be on the highways following the 18 inches of snow we got in 24 hours. (Good call, the commute was 3x’s as long as usual this morning)
So, when he took a break for lunch, I had prepared a lovely (and tasty) hearty salad.
I cook a lot from my pantry, and all these items were either in my fridge or in the very well stocked pantry I keep.
Make a simple vinaigrette: blueberry vinegar (mine is home canned) , smidge of honey mustard, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Toss fresh baby greens in the vinaigrette and top with:
Hard boiled eggs
Quartered pickled baby beets (home canned)
Leftover chicken breast
Slices of blueberry/vanilla artisan goat cheese (any goat cheese would do, but I had this on hand and it paired perfectly with the dressing)

Our family does not care for nuts, but for those who do like them a candied walnut would be nice. I think if I had to do again, I’d add shallots to the dressing.

The key is to keep a decently stocked pantry. The culinary world is open to you if you have more than canned tuna and peanut butter on hand. I think a well stocked pantry discussion is a great future post.